Saturday, August 20, 2005

Auto Clavicle - How?

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ben, I and many others read your Log with interest. However rigging is beyond the realms of my current knowledge. Good luck, it seems to be progressing well.

I should have a new build with instancing implemented soon, so I'll send it to you for framerate feedback on your graphics card.


August 29, 2005 2:45 PM  
Blogger Ben Cloward said...

Good to hear from you again, Daniel. I've gone off on a bit of a tangent here with my rigging script, but you wouldn't believe how much time it's going to save me and how much better my work will be because of it.

Good to hear that things are progressing nicely for you also. I'll be happy to give you some more feedback on your project. Just send it when you're ready.

August 29, 2005 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I've read your Blog on "Auto Clavicle". I am assuming you are looking for an IK solution for this.

I've studied a rig recently that allows you to use both IK and FK and "mix" between them using a slider. In IK mode, there is an Auto Clavicle, however you can still adjust it using spinners in the Custom Attribute...and of course, FK is control it yourself.

If you still need help on this (I know it was a while ago) just post a blog and I will read it in the near future.

December 25, 2005 7:50 AM  
Blogger Ben Cloward said...


My current rig works like that. There's a slider value that lets you choose IK or FK for the movement of the arm - but I don't have the part that makes the clavicle move correctly. I decided to put that project on the back burner for awhile since I was getting frustrated with it. If you have some information for me or know how to do it, I'd love to hear from you!

December 26, 2005 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again,

The version of the rig I decided to use (I made it myself) does use IK and FK but does not use a slider.

The rig I was studying DOES use a slider AND have auto clavicle. It seems to use a helper node (off the top of my head). It uses a look at constraint that always looks at the wrist and I think using script controllers takes the values of the angles and do something with it. Don't quote me on it since I stop studying it since I decided that it wasn't going to solve my current character's problem.

Send me your e-mail address and I will send you the file for the arm rig. I am interested on how you did the IK - FK mix. I for my rig, I just used Attribute holders to toggle modes because the mixer didn't really seem to be really using an IK chain (hence harder to track, for my case specifically.)

December 30, 2005 4:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi Ben Cloward,
it is very good thing that ur sharing ur works with others and helping them.can u mail me ur Character Rigging MaxScript at

January 19, 2006 5:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to offer my thanks for the texture library. They were just what I needed

March 10, 2006 8:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out this introduction article on Clavicle:

July 05, 2006 6:42 AM  

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