10 ways to create more expressive character rigs

The process of creating 3D art (opens in new tab) isn't an easy one, with many artists struggling, in particular, with rigging. When building a good character rig you need to have some knowledge of animation – and this also applies in reverse. If using a rig to animate, it’s useful to know the basics of how one is constructed, not only to help with bug fixing but so you can also aid with its construction and tailor it to your animation style.

How the character is going to be animated also has a huge impact on the rig. A cartoon character, for example, is going to need to move in a completely different way to a realistic human one.

The film Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a classic example of this. You have the real-life actors like Bob Hoskins, next to traditional cell animated characters like Roger – so both extremes. Roger is a lot more fluid and flexible than Bob, so to rig these they would have to be planned differently. The body would need the ability to bend, squash and break and the face would have to be almost fluid.
Here are 10 things to look out for when creating your next cartoon rig.

Download follow-along assets here (opens in new tab)

This article originally appeared in 3D World (opens in new tab) issue 209; buy it here (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

For over two decades Antony Ward, creative director at antCGi Ltd, has been provoking pixels. In that time he has worked for many top studios and also written three technical manuals.