How Characters Are Made Part 05
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How Characters Are Made Part 05

Fri, 21st Feb, 2020

BMR on Fri, 21st Feb, 2020

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Rigging! Here is where the character comes to life. Bones are placed and weighted, allowing the character to move. Remember how the model had all those vertices in the the previous steps? Each one can be given a certain weight, governing how much a certain bone affects it. Multiple bones can affect the same vertex by different amounts. For example, a ring of vertices in the shoulder area might be affected 70% by the shoulder bone, 40% by the upper arm bone, 20% by the collar bone, 5% by the chest bone, and so on and so forth.

But wait! You say, doesn't that tally up to more than 100? Well, yes. But it's not so much the sum total of all that can affect it, but rather by how much that specific bone affects that vertex. So, if a vertex is affected 50% by bone A, it means that when I move that bone, it will only have half the effect it would compared to one that had 100% on it.

The process of doing this can be time-consuming, but thankfully, there is the ability to automatically assign weights to the model based on the structure of the skeleton. Unfortunately, this is far from perfect, and lots of editing needs to be done. Still, better than doing it all from the ground up, especially for parts like the fingers.

The face, however, that's tricky, as it requires the most level of control. I never automatically generate the weights for faces, as it's extremely complex. In the future though? I might be able to build myself a rig that better takes automatic assigning for the face, but it's unlikely.

As it stands now though, my current rig (shown in the bottom right) does most of what I need it to do, but it could be better. Especially the face. That's why I've been working to rebuild everything, but that's still a ways away.

On Monday, back to the story!

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