The essence of creating a rig in Cascadeur

In Cascadeur, it is possible to work with the physical behavior of the characters because the characters have a special physical rig. This rig consists of rigid bodies, each of a certain size and weight.

Rigid bodies and controllers are created for the joints. Creating the joints themselves, as well as skinning, are not possible in the program at the moment.

To work with your own model in Cascadeur, you need to create a physical rig first.


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Exercise 13.1: Preparing the scene

To create a rig in Cascadeur you will need an .FBX or .DAE model with joints and skinned mesh. Let’s take our simplest character - Chibi.

  • Open the Chibi_for_rigging.casc scene. A model in fbx format has already been imported into this scene,so you only need to create a rig for it.
  • Switch to rigging mode
  • Open the Object menu and select the Rigging tool

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Exercise 13.2: Choosing mirroring plane

In order to correctly work with character mirroring in the future, you need to select the axis of symmetry.

  • Choose the Translate manipulator
  • Set the Global manipulator mode
  • Select any character joint and look at the arrows of the manipulator.
  • The direction of the character’s gaze coincides with the Z axis (blue), so you should choose the YZ plane.

If your character is facing the X-axis (red arrow), then the XY axis will suit you. The XZ plane is used for characters who have the same upper and lower parts, and the mirroring plane is horizontal.

You can also use Viewcube to determine the plane that you need:

  •  Red- X-axis (side view)  
  • Green- Y-axis (top view)  
  • Blue- Z-axis (front view)

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Exercise 13.3: Choosing direction of an additional point controller

Additional point controllers are those that will determine the rotation of the body parts of the character. For humanoid characters, it’s convenient when they face forward.

  • For the additional point controller, choose the axis that corresponds to the direction of the character’s gaze. In our case, it is the Z-axis.

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Exercise 13.4: Creating the first rig element

The hierarchy of rig elements will correspond to the order in which the elements are created. Therefore, it is important to choose the joint from which the creation of the rig will begin and then create the elements sequentially. Begin the creation of the rig with a joint that corresponds to the character's pelvis. 

Since the pelvic joint has several children - two legs and a back, you must also choose a back joint to set the direction.

  • Holding Shift select the pelvic joint and the first back joint.
  • Click the Add rig element button.

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Exercise 13.5: Setting weight

  • Select the created rigid body.
  • Open the Proto union behavior tab
  • In the Mass field, enter the weight of the rigid body in kilograms. For example, 10.

Usually a human pelvis weighs an average of 12 kg, but since it is a cartoonish character, you can set the weight as you wish. Try not to avoid extreme weights though.

  • In the Widht_rigid_body field, type a higher number than the original, for example 50.

Make sure that sizes of rigid bodies approximately coincide with body parts sizes. This will also affect the physical behavior of the character in the future.

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Exercise 13.6: Creating multiple elements at once

You can create several elements of the rig for several joints at the same time.

  • Enable the Multiple create option
  • Holding Shift, select the back and head joints. (No need to choose the very last little head joint!)
  • Click the Add rig element button - the elements will be created immediately for the back and for the head.
  • Set weight and dimensions for rigid bodies. Since the character has a very large head, it may well weigh as much as the pelvis. The chest will be a little lighter, for example 7 kg.

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Exercise 13.7: Creating arms

Our character has symmetrical limbs, so you can create rig elements for only one arm and one leg.

  • Select the arm joints. (No need to select the smallest last limb joint!)
  • Add rig elements.
  • Select additional point controllers for the first and second arm points and press the union to hinge button to create an elbow direction controller.
  • Set weights for arms. Arms weigh no more than a couple of kilograms.

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Exercise 13.8: Creating legs

  • Select the leg joints. (No need to select the smallest last limb joint!)
  • Add rig elements.
  • Select additional point controllers of the leg and press the union to hinge button to add a knee direction controller.
  • Set weights for legs

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Exercise 13.9 Box controllers

For small parts of the character, you can create box controllers. Such parts will not affect the character’s physical behavior. For example, you should not create rigid bodies for the character’s fingers, because box controllers are enough. Our character does not have fingers, but there is a joint capable of controlling the foot. Since this is a fairly small element, a box controller will be enough for it.

  • Select the last joint of Chibi’s leg.
  • Enable the Only box controllers option
  • Add rig element.
  • Increase the size of the created box using the Scale manipulator.

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Exercise 13.10: Mirroring sides

For correct mirroring, it is necessary to enter the designations of the left and right sides.

  • Click on one of the joints of the limb and see how its side is indicated in the name of the joint. In this case, the right side is designated as R_, and the left side as L_.
  • Click the Mirror group tab.
  • Enter the designation of the side for which rig elements were already created in the first window.
  • Enter the designation of the opposite side in the second box.
  • Select a mirroring plane. As a rule, it coincides with the general mirroring plane of character.

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Exercise 13.11 Creating mirroring elements

Now that the sides are correctly indicated and the mirroring plane is selected, you can create the second arm and leg.

  • Select the rig elements of the arm and click the Add mirror object button to add the second arm
  • Select the rig elements of the leg and click the Add mirror object button to add the second leg

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Some skeletons have special joints called twists.

These joints help maintain a correct mesh appearance when rotating some parts of the body.

Do not create rigid bodies for twists!


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Exercise 13.12: Creating rig elements for twists

  • Choose a joint of the twist 
  • Make sure Only box controller option is enabled
  • Add a box controller for the twist.
  • Select the added box controller and chest joint, since in this case the twist will have to depend on the rotation of the chest.
  • Click the Main actions tab and click the Set twist button.

To verify that a twist has been created, open the Proto box tab - twist strength should change to 0.750


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Exercise 13.13: Finalizing rig

All the rig elements are ready, but so far they are just prototypes. To animate the character using these controllers, you need to create a rig out of them. Before rig generation, save the scene or create a JSON file, so that you can quickly generate the rig again or make changes to it later.

  • Click the Create JSON file button. This file will be needed if you decide to make changes to the rig.
  • Click the Create rig button. Point controllers will turn black.
  • Switch to point controller mode and try the new rig!

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