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Chapter 17. Rigging Characters for Anima... > Hooking Up the Head Skeletal Hierarc...

Hooking Up the Head Skeletal Hierarchy

For the head of a character, you can create a separate hierarchy that is point-constrained to a locator that is a child of the spine or neck. This leaves the rotational controls free from the hierarchy and enables the animator to animate them by hand (see Figure 17.62). You will do this in the next exercise.

Exercise 17.10 Attaching the Head Setup

This is a short exercise that goes through a few simple steps to create a joint hierarchy for the head. The head is created first. Then it is connected to the neck using a combination of constraints that allow for additional freedom when animation occurs, giving the character's head extra flexibility later.

Create the head joints for your character using a similar joint layout as shown in Figure 17.62.

It is a good idea to place the jaw's point of rotation slightly in front of and below the side view of the ear lobe. Usually you should include a few extra joints that stem from the jaw, as well as a joint that goes up to the top of the head of your character, for extra weighting of the facial geometry.

Next, create a locator and point-snap it to the root of the head skeleton that you just created. Make this locator a child of the nearest neck joint.

Point-constrain the head's root to this new child locator by selecting the locator and then the head's root joint, and performing Constrain, Point (see Figure 17.63).

Figure 17.63. Full head setup with control boxes.

This setup allows the character's head to rotate freely from the spine and neck, but it still translates around with the neck and spine appropriately. If you need to translate the neck by any small amount, the ability is there by moving the locator that the head is constrained onto.



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