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 humanoid simple model (simple_model.casc file) included in the Cascadeur package.

Before reading this chapter, make sure you’ve done every necessary preparation described in the Rigging Guide 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.

Where to Start

1. We are starting by rigging the character’s spine, moving from the pelvis up to the head. In the Outliner window, unfold the Armature list

2. Select the first joint in the list

If the joint you've selected looks like this...

3. Now, we need to set the direction in which prototype elements will be oriented.

Orientation is determined by children of the joint we've selected. In our example, the pelvis joint has several children. We need to select one of them: one that is pointed upwards.

Hold Shift and click this joint to add it to the selection

Note: If a joint has only one child, we don't have to select this child when creating prototypes (as prototypes can only be oriented in one direction)

4. Now, we need to set the direction for the additional point controller.

For the spine, we want additional point controllers to face forward, so select Z from the Additional point in Axis group of parameters:

5. Click the Add rig element button on the Rigging tool panel. A set of prototype elements should appear.

Note that the additional point controller faces forward

Congratulations, you have just created the first element of your rig

Creating the Spine

Now we need to create the rest of the spine, which means our goal is to add a set of prototypes to every joint in the spine.

This can be done by manually creating prototypes for every joint (using the process described in the previous chapter), but there is also a way to speed things up.

6. Now, select the next joint - the same one you’ve selected in step 3

7. Then, hold Shift and select every following joint

8. Enable the Multiple Create option on the Rigging Tool panel

9. Once again, click Add rig element. This will create sets of prototypes for every selected joint

10. The end result should look something like this:

Now we have the main part of our rig. It is time to attach limbs to it.

Prototypes can also be attached to several joints at once.

To do this...

This technique can be useful if you want, for example, create a character with a rigid spine, or if your character's limbs have more joints than necessary

Adding Limbs

Limbs such as arms and legs are often symmetrical. We can use this symmetry to our advantage

We’ll start with the left arm.

11. Select the first joint in the left arm

12. Its name will become selected in the Outliner

13. In this name, find the part that that designates the joint as the one on the left side

For example, if the joint is named “arm_l”, this part is “_l”. If its name is “ArmLeft”, then this part is “Left

14. Enter this part in the left text field on the Rigging tool panel, right below the Mirror create option:

15. Do the same for the right joint. This time, however, enter the text into the right field:

16. Enable the Orthogonal to joint fold option:

It is required if you want character limbs to bend properly.

17. Make sure that the Mirror create option is enabled

18. Create prototype objects for the joints in the limb

Note that the right arm will be created automatically

Now we have our limb rigged. However, we also need it to bend properly: not in any direction, but across a bending axis

Cascadeur can determine the bending axis automatically if the Orthogonal to joint fold option is enabled (this is why we previously turned it on).

Note: This only works if the limbs are bent - at least a little - by default. If they are not, we recommend to bend them manually by selecting joints and moving them using Manipulators.

To create a hinge:

19. Select additional point controllers of the joints you want to connect.

20. Click the Union to hinge button:

21. Create hinges for the legs in the same manner

22. This should be done for every pair of joints that should be connected using a hinge:

  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Feet

Creating a hinge connection also creates a direction controller for it. If you don't need it, select it and click the Delete rig elements button

This 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

Fine Details

For smaller parts, such as fingers or clothing elements, we don’t need rigid bodies. However, we still want to be able to animate them.

Pieces like these can be rigged using only box controllers:

23. Check the Only box controller option

24. Select the joints you want to rig

25. Click the Add rig element button

This way, minor parts of the model can be rigged

Now, every joint in our character has a set of prototypes attached to it. But there is still one thing we have to do before finally generating our rig.

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.

These objects can be rigged in the usual way. However, after creating proto rig elements for them, you should:

  1. Select the rigid body associated with the objects     
  2. In the Outliner, open the Proto union component panel     
  3. Disable the Bind with parent option

After this, the object will be excluded from Inverse Kinematics simulations (meaning that moving it won't influence the character's body parts). However, Forward Kinematics will still work for it, so it will move along with the body part(s) to which it is attached, and it can be animated using box controllers.

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.

26. Select a proto rigid body

27. It will also be selected in the Outliner

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

29. On this tab, find the Mass parameter

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

31. 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

This completes the process of creating a prototype for our rig. All is left is to convert it to a real thing.

Final Touches

32. Save the scene to a file

33. Make sure that the Delete proto objects after create option is unchecked

This way, you’ll be able to re-generate the rig if necessary

34. 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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