Riggy Riggy Rigging Rig

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Riggy Riggy Rigging Rig

I have been quite busy over the last few weeks so I thought why not do a blog post! It’s been a wee while.

I wanted to put together a 2D rigging show-reel just to show off some of the rigging I have done recently. First of all, what is rigging? If you are not familiar with what rigging is, it’s essentially setting up the character or puppet for animation. The role normally exists between character concept and animation and this applies for both 2D and 3D. This can include drawing and setting up various body parts, setting them up in a hierarchy, setting up the deformers (essentially bones) and a bunch of other stuff that makes the character as easy to manipulate as possible so that when it is passed over to the animator they can do their job as efficiently as possible.

I have rigged a few characters in the past, mainly for the animation I am currently working on. These characters were pretty much for practice just so I could get used to the rigging process. You can see an example of this rigged characters below.

In this example these are called ‘cut-out character rigs’ where each body piece is separate and set up in a hierarchy chain. For example the foot is the child of the lower leg and the lower leg is the child of the thigh. Then there are the bones, or deformers, that can be set up inside certain body parts that act like a skeleton. In the 2D software I use (Toon Boom Harmony Premium) there are 3 types of deformers. Bone deformers, which act as…you’ve guessed it. Bones! There are curve deformers which allow the body shape to be bent like a curve rather than a rigid bone. An example of this would be Jake’s arms from Adventure Time which never look like the are made of 2 biological bones but more like a wiggly tube! Then there is the envelope deformer that goes around a shape instead of inside it. This allows the animator to change and morph the shape to suit their needs. For example if a character had a big protruding belly from a profile view and they turned to face the camera, the belly would not be visible and the animator can change the shape of the body using this deformer instead of drawing out a new shape.

I used deformers in a few of my initial characters but not that extensively. I then went on to create a character animation for a game I am working on where the character had both bone and curve deformers in the torso and limbs. The run cycle of this character can be seen here:

Because I planned on making a rigging showreel I decided to rig an additional character that I designed with a more detailed and in-depth rig using different deformers for a variety of different body parts such as different parts of the hair, facial feature, limbs, torso and clothing to really show off some rigging skills.

The rigging showreel essentially shows the rigging process in action being used inside the software, rather than a rendered and exported sequence. Here is what I ended up with:

This was a 2 minute version but I also did an extended version with my previous character rigs as seen here:

I had the drawings from my character turnaround sheet that shows the various angles that I referred to when building the character so I wanted to do a full illustration of the three quarter pose. The original design was simplified so it was more animation friendly so I went back and added more details, changed his expression and did full colour and shade on him and here is the finished result of that piece:
I added a more detailed pattern on the kilt, added the scarf, added the bag pipes on his back and threw a pipe in his mouth. I’ve added this to my illustration portfolio on the front page too and on my instagram.

I actually streamed the whole rigging process and illustration on Twitch which I am still in the process of developing. I haven’t a lot of followers but it’s good fun. Until next time. BWAY!

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