Hand Rigging Process Diary

Problem Analysis:

–          A good rig is the rig that will work the way you expect so the most important thing you have to know before you start your rig is what the character’s animation requirements are. If you know them, it will save you a lot of your time and efforts. It’s very important for a rigger to do the rig. If you create a rig with a lot of functionalities but they will never be used by the animator, you are wasting your time (and money). The requirements will be analysed and break them down into smaller tasks so they will be easier to manage. Such as this rigging assessment, I’m required to create a hand rig with the locators to facilitate both bend and side movements of the hand. I’m also required to create a control object that enables the animator to manipulate set-driven keys for the whole hand and its individual fingers. So I have to break it down in to small tasks and find the solution for them by one at a time.

–          In order to find the best solution for each task, you’ll need the accurate reference material otherwise you’ll never find it.


Test of the solution:

–          Once you have all the problems analysed and the accurate reference material, you can create a simple rig first in order to validate it. You’ll have to make sure that all the problems (small break-down tasks) have to be solved before you decide to combine them together because you’ll never want to build a finale rig based on the unsolved problems. It’s easier for you to check and control the solutions at this stage.


Solution Analysis:

–          After all of your solutions had been tested and they all worked right, you have to analyse them again to make sure that you don’t miss any requirements and do a simple test to see if the individual solutions work well when they’re integrated in a same rigging system.

–          Make sure that you have all the attributes and controls that you need for the rig.

–          Remember to check if you have any redundant attribute. Delete all the redundancies if you have any because you’ll not want to waste more time on them on the next stages and the attributes and controls also have to be clean and simple for the animators to be easier to do their jobs.

–          It is strongly recommended that you should request the feedbacks from the animators to make sure that the solutions are all right.


Recreating of the clean solution:

–          As I mentioned above, the attributes and controls need to be clean and simple. Because you’ve already refined them in Solution Analysis stage, now it’s time for you to re-create the rig with the clean and simple solutions.

–          You should simplify the channels (attributes) in the control by locking and hiding the unused ones.

–          Also check if you named all the components correctly because a good naming convention will help you a lot to create a clean, simple, easy-to-understand controls for the rig.


Final recreating:

–          After all the steps above, now you’re able to recreate the rig with the right and clean solutions without worrying too much about if they work well because they’ve already tested and proved that they are all good for the jobs.

–          At this stage you should be more confident on your rig and it is easier for you to discuss it with the animator so you and he/she make sure that all the attributes and controls are functioning as expected before it’s officially ready for animation.



Schleifer, J 2006, Animator friendly rigging, SIGGRAPH.

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