I'm working on a short film that features a lot of CGI. That's probably why I haven't been around much. Sorry...
Anyway, here is a short video clip that shows the rig test that I did for one of my models that I'm working on. The animation isn't very good but my main concern was simply to make sure that all of my controls were working.
When you watch the video, you'll notice that the model is broken into about 40 pieces. This is the low res model that I use so that I can scrub the timeline in real time. The idea is to animate on a very light weight model then transfer the animation to the real model. I actually have 2 set ups; a bound rig which has the high rez skin, muscles, skeleton and other stuff. I also have the control rig that has the light weight model, a skeleton and all of the controls. After animating the control rig, I can import the bound rig then "snap" its skeleto to the control rig's skeleton. There are a lot of reasons for doing this instead of just building the controls right onto the skeleton which has the skin bound to it but mostly I do it as habit so that if I ever get in a situation where someone needs a variety of rigs, each designed to do something custom, I won't have to try to build EVERYTHING into a single rig....
You're right, Vlad. THAT clip shows off that the rig works but it doesn't show the rig at all. I made that clip with the rig off to not distract "non CGI" people on other boards who would not understand any of it.
As per your request, here is a clip that demos all of the rig controls. The file is a 10.5 meg quicktime file and it runs a little over 2.5 minutes.
While I was uploading this file to the net, I had a chance to fix some things with the rig that I wasn't happy about. Watch how the locators that control the IK rotators for the elbows work. I didn't like it so I changed the way they are hooked into the hierarchy plus I added joint limits on the elbows because they were flipping when the IKs were manipulated. Problem solved!
The legs are completely controlled by 2 nurbs circles around the ankle. The feet are completely SDKed.
That second video really shows off the rig. I'm very interested in getting good at rigging and am curious what kind of techniques you used. Do you prefer to use expressions more or set driven keys and is an expression coontroling the tail or is is animated in the first video.
Also I've been binding polygon models and using them as wrap deformers on sud-D surfaces. Have you tried this method and do you think it's the best way to deal with sub-Ds
The tail uses an IKspline and 4 clusters. No expressions.
I used SDKs for the feet.
I used expressions for the fingers so that I could get the joints to rotate at different proportions. IE joint1.rx = joint2.rx * .7 ;
I haven't developed a set way of doing anything yet. Mostly, I address the problem then come up with a solution. I'm sure that in time, I will start to use the same solutions for the same kinds of problems but right now I don't rig that many models.
Giving credit: 2 years ago I tried to rig a dinosaur foot very much like the back foot on the create referred to in this thread. Anyway, I couldn't get his foot to work. I tried for 2 months to figure out how to get it to bend and move but I couldn't.... Someone on this board, I can't remember who, showed my how to do it. He even sent me a file showing how it worked.. I took his information and added my own ideas to it and finally came up with a rig that does what I need it to do. To that person who helped me 2 years ago, THANK YOU!