Basic Rigging Tutorial

In this chapter, we’ll be taking a look at how to create a character rig. As an example, we’ll be using the simple model (simple_model.casc file) included in the Cascadeur package. This is a humanoid model with a skeleton of medium complexity.

See also: Rigging Non-Humanoid Characters

Before reading this chapter, make sure you’ve done every necessary preparation described in the Rig chapter:

A model prepared for rigging should look something like this:

Here we have a 3D model with a set of joints attached. What we need to do is to create prototype elements for every joint in your character model.

1. Where to Start

For our rig to function properly, we should follow the hierarchy set by the joints that make up the skeleton of our character.

We should start with the first joint in the skeleton. In our example, it is the pelvis bone.

How to find the first joint

If the first bone looks like this:

This is a root bone. See Dealing with root joints.

In our example, it is the pelvis bone.

2. Creating Prototypes

To rig a joint:

1. Select the joint (pelvis joint in our example)

2. If the joint has several child joints, we need to select one of them to set the direction in which prototypes will be oriented
Hold Shift and click the child joint to add it to the selection

3. Set the direction for the additional point controller
For example, if you want the additional controller to face forward, select Z from the Additional Point in Axis group of parameters

 4. Click the Add rig element button

5. A set of prototype elements should appear. Note how the additional point controller is directed forward

Usually, we need to create a set of those for every joint to build a complete rig. However, there can be exceptions:

Rigging multiple joints

Rigging complex skeletons


Zero-Length Joints

If a child joint occupies the same place as the parent, the proto component created for it will have zero length.

This will cause the rig to work incorrectly, so to fix this:

1. Select the Direction Point in the Outliner

2. Use Manipulators to change its position


Adjusting Positions

Sometimes, you might want to move the additional point controller to make the resulting rig easier to control.

Other types of proto components should not be moved aside from some rare cases.

However, the position of the proto component should always coincide with the position of its parent's Direction Point Controller.

If you have a situation like the one shown above, your rig won't work properly.

To prevent this from happening, move only the proto components along with their parent's directional point:


In our example, we start with rigging the spine. The result should look like this:

Now, it is time to attach limbs.

3. Adding Limbs

Limbs such as arms and legs are often symmetrical. This means we can rig, for example, the right arm while the left will be rigged automatically.

Make sure the joints are properly named (Naming Symmetrical Joints)

1. Enable Multiple Create

2. Create prototype objects for the joints in the limb

3. Do not deselect the joint in the limb

4. Open the Mirror Group panel

5. Select the mirroring plane
For bipedal characters, the YZ plane is usually the best choice

6. Click Create mirror object

The other limb (the right one in our example) will be rigged automatically

Now we have our limb rigged.

What's to consider when rigging limbs:

Here is how the prototype for our rig should look once we're finished with the limbs

Now, it is time to add some finer details to our rig

4. Non-Physical Parts

Creating rigid bodies for fingers or clothing elements would only make the rig more cumbersome and slow without really improving the quality of physics simulation. On the other hand, we still want to be able to animate them.

Pieces like these can be rigged using only box controllers:

1. Check the Only box controller option

2. Select the joints you want to rig

3. Click the Add rig element button

This way, minor parts of the model can be rigged.

5. Non-Warping Objects

Sometimes, a character model includes objects that are attached to the character. This may include certain parts of the outfit (such as shoulder pads, bags/pouches, etc.) or something a character holds in their hands (such as tools or weapons). Objects like these should not warp along with the character's body. However, you still want to be able to animate elements like these.

How to Rig Non-Warping Objects

6. Setting Masses

Prototype rigid bodies are always created with the mass equal to 1. In reality, however, different body parts weight differently.

Setting appropriate masses is necessary if we want our character to move in a physically accurate way.

1. Select a proto rigid body

2. It will also be selected in the Outliner

3. In the Outliner, find the Proto Union Component tab

4. On this tab, find the Mass parameter

5. Use this parameter to set the mass for the rigid body

6. Repeat the process to set an appropriate mass for every proto rigid body in the rig

Typical masses for the character body parts can be found on the dedicated page.

7. Finalizing the Rig

1. Save the scene to a file
This way you will be able to make adjustments to your rig in case you'll need

2. (optional) Save your rig data to a JSON file by clicking Create JSON File...
JSON files can be used for transferring rigs between scenes and for quickly rigging characters with the same set of joints.

3. Click the Create rig button
After a short wait, your rig should be generated. Switch to the Point Controller Mode to test it.

And this is how rigs are created in Cascadeur.


See Also

Rigging Tool

Standard Masses

Common Issues

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