I just polished up a longstanding todo item from animators: Make the controls easier to distinguish/select.

A bit of history: My old blender rigs used controls that spanned each finger, that scaled up or down to curl it, and rotated to rotate it. I used IK, which meant the tip of the control always aligned with the tip of the finger- but it had limited reverse-curl, and no tweaks. For Big Buck Bunny, Nathan Vegdahl took the idea, but changed the implementation to action-constraints, solving both problems but creating another ( controls no longer align with the fingers – hard to select). I’ve taken that same setup for Gilga, and animators instantly complained about the difficult selection.
My solution was to color each finger uniquely (duh!) and to make the controls themselves deform matching the fingers, that way, they stay completely aligned with them. Short Demo video below:

  1. Cool. Music sounds like Paul Stretch.

  2. David Cavitt :

    Very cool rig setup…..where can I get the .blend file for this rig set up? I’d love to try it out.

  3. Hi David! well, hopefully you won’t have to wait too long πŸ™‚ Since tube is an open movie project, we plan to release everything under CC BY when it is all ready, so hang in there! benefit of patience: you’ll get the nice ‘final final’ rig, with all updates, bug fixes, improvements, and not have to suffer like the rest of the anim team πŸ˜‰

  4. schorsch :

    interesting video but really bad sound πŸ˜‰

  5. Bryan :

    First off loved the music, nice touch, second awesome rig. Someday I will get that good, but until then will keep havin fun.

  6. p@ddy_anim :

    so go thumb, 1 2 3 4

    nice controls.

  7. I do not know what method did you use. But I have always use the Copy X Rotation Constraint from the bone before. This method is quite neat. I did not invented, some Russian guy ( whose name can’t remember now) was the one who came out with it. Finger rigs always look a bit unrealistic, like if the person had some sort of paralysis since the fist is never tight enough. ( Unless your model has fat fingers )

  8. hehe Animaticoide, that russian guy is Dimetrii, who modelled Gilgamesh! I like both ways, but I like this one slightly better as it gives you more control for the same number of controllers.
    you can ball her fist quite tight actually! For some reason I don’t like ‘fist’ poses, they’re not as lovely and expressive has more graceful fingers.. but she does make a fist quite a few times in the movie. I think the main reason is animators afraid of breaking the rig , and lack of ability to deform the palm- In the gilga rig we have quite good deformations of fingers even at extremes, and in addition to the palm controls you can ‘rubber hose’ the palm to get it really the shape you want.

  9. Bassam that’s correct Dimetrii ! Well looking forward to study your fingers’ rig and its new implementations !

  10. I like very much this finger setup, makes me want to animate fingers right now πŸ™‚ Nice finger naming btw

  11. thanks rogper!

  12. Hi, I’m still a wannabe 3D artist learning about Blender.
    All I’d like to learn is how on earth do you create those type of wirframe like controls and how do you impliment them ? Is there some tutorial somewhere about that ?

  13. Hey Anemotion, good luck in your voyage! some steps:
    1- create the shape you want as a mesh object. if you want wireframe, you can delete only faces, leaving edges intact.
    2- select the bone you want to make a control (you have to be in pose mode for this), in the bone properties/display panel, make sure you turn on draw wireframe, and select that mesh object in the Custom Shape field.

  14. Josh :

    Why not just use the standard nomenclature for fingers from clinical anatomy? Ray 1 = Thumb. Ray 5 = pinky. Everyone might as well know the same terms.


    There are also descriptions for all finger motions.

  15. Josh, well, I doubt any animator would really be able to see at a glance which is which .. and you’d have to number / name each joint so you’d end up with things like Ray_1_2 and Ray_2_1… confusing.

    Trust me, this is the only good naming convention for fingers. Use it.