Rigging After modeling and texturing a 3D character it is time to make it move. Rigging is the first step in creating a skeletal 3D animation.

So what is rigging? In 3D animation rigging is the process of creating a virtual skeleton of a 3D model.

The rigging process is completed by a 3D artist also known as a rigger. With help of these joints and bones animator can bend a character into a desired pose. 

At 3D-Ace we have experienced riggers able to create custom sized skeleton for 3D characters of any complexity that can reflect, for example, a bipedal humanlike character, quadruped character like a cat, a dog or other four legged animals or even octopods.

How we do it

Generally, rigging includes the following steps:

  1. Creating and placing a rig (a virtual skeleton) inside a 3D model – a set of bones or joints.

    The plasticity and realism of a 3D animation depends greatly on the complexity of the virtual skeleton. On the other hand, the more bones or joints there are in the rig, the more difficult it is to work with such model.

    We have fair knowledge of anatomy, which is successfully applied when creating rigs of human-like figures. Besides we use the real photos of skeletons to understand how the bones are located inside the body, so that the spine bone, for example, was not closer to the stomach than to the back, where the limbs can be bent and where not, to avoid absolutely unnatural deformation.

    In turn, when it comes to the animation of some equipment or vehicle, we imagine how its component parts move, and, again, try to avoid ridiculous situations.

  2. Assigning hierarchical dependence between digital bones.

    There is a strict hierarchical dependence between the bones of a rig. Therefore, the displacement of a bone in the space is a combination of its own movements and the movement of a parent bone. Our riggers are proficient in customizing dependency settings that significantly save animator’s time and effort. For example, we can specify the transformation values for some bone, which will make the bones in hierarchical dependence move too.

  3. Setting of possible transformation values for each bone.

    Skeletal animation allows to manipulate many constituent elements of animated shapes (limbs, eyes, face muscles, lips, etc.) with help of bones and their control features. We use the most up-to-date editors with special controls allowing to adjust the characteristics of the entire groups of bones. We set the transformation value for each bone, including the possible rotation angles (for example, to avoid situation when fingers are bent where they are not supposed to).

These are only basic steps in preparing a 3D model for animation and this process can vary greatly depending on the model complexity and the desired level of plasticity.

Character rigging Game character rigging Hand rigging

The next stage of preparing a 3D model for animation is skinning. You can read more about skinning here.

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