Wednesday, 3 April 2013


The Kelpie rig is done!

I finished the rig a few nights ago, but I have been putting off writing a blog. So here it is!

I'm not gonna lie- the kelpie's rig has been largely based on the DigitalTutors "rigging quadrupeds" tutorial. Something that really annoys me about resources like DT, is seeing countless versions of the exact same rig. Our studio is a fine example of this- with not many people specialising in rigging, and no one really teaching us anything, DT is the first stop for creating rigs. I fully understand this, but it saddens me that people are generally copying these tutorials step for step, rather than learning from them and attempting to put their own creative spin on things.

I have tried, where possible in this rig, to use a collection of my learning. For the majority of the time, I would watch a bunch of DT videos without working along, and then I would take a break. I would then open up the Kelpie file, and start building from what I had learned. Anything I didn't know how to do, things which I hadn't really "learned" from the videos, I would then use google and my own rigging books to try to find the answers. I have found this method a good way to understand what I'm actually doing, rather than re-hashing someone else's work.


The kelpie 

The controls are pretty typical. The controls displayed as Box Curves affect the area they encompass- this can be seen in the video at the top of the post. 

The hip control is displayed as a H, and the Joint Control Curves are used to direct the knees and the neck. The star shape is the Global Control.

Many of the controls on this rig have Custom Attributes.

LEGS. The foot controls, for example, contain a foot roll.

SPINE. The controls along the horses spine, and the controls on his neck, contain a 'broken hierarchy' option, displayed as a "Lock" attribute.

This allows the control directly down the chain to either follow or move independently.

Another set of Custom Attributes shown on the Thoracic Control allows for quick and easy animation of the upper body. The kelpie can Sway, Twist and Curl with this control. 

HEAD. The kelpie's head works as a typical control curve, but also contains a custom attribute- Show Facial Controls. When this value is set to 1, controls for use on the Kelpie's eyes, ears and jaw become visible. The ear controls work using attributes, too.

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