I need some help creating the rig for a clavicle that works automatically. If anyone actually reads this blog that knows what I'm talking about, send me an email. I really want to know how to do it. More details below.
More progress on my character rigging script. I turned it into a macro script and added a control panel GUI. Now you can add the script as a button to a Max tool bar. When you hit the button it brings up the control panel which allows you to choose the settings that you want for the rig before creating it.
First you push a button that lays down all of the guide points. You position these points where you want the joints to go. It creates 6 points for the spine and 4 points for each of 4 fingers on each hand. If you want fewer joints than that, you can just delete the points that you don't use and the script will only create joints for the points that are there. Once you've got the points in position for one side of the body, you can hit another button to mirror the positions of the points on the other side. This is a nice time saving tool.
Before creating the rig, you can choose the colors that you want want for all of the various parts of the rig, give the rig a name (which gets prepended to all of the rig objects), choose options for adding additional twisty bones to aid in deformation on the arms and legs, etc.
Once you've got the settings the way you want, you just press the "Create All" button and you're rig is automatically generated. There are also buttons on the control panel to create all the various parts of the body individually if you want to do that.
So far, I've used the rigging script on two characters that I've rigged at work and it's amazing. I wish that I'd done this a long time ago. It saves so much time and I'm able to have a high quality rig for every character without having to build it from scratch every time.
Next I'm planning to add more options. I want to allow you to pick if you want IK arms, FK arms, or both, etc. I also want to add an auto clavicle system - hense the name of this blog entry. I want the clavicle joint to stay where it is unless you raise the arm control (at the wrist) higher than the shoulder. At that point I want the clavicle to rotate up instead of the shoulder - just like a real shoulder joint works. I want this to work automatically so the animator doesn't have to manually tell the clavicle when to rotate. If anyone out there knows how to do this, I'd love to hear from you. I'm planning to spend some time this week investigating the problem. If I come up with a good solution, I'll post it here.