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Rigging Animation Fundamentals

Rigging Animation Fundamentals

Introduction

Here is a brief introduction to the process of rigging and animation using Houdini. This chapter talks about setting up the guide rig, making the proxy mesh, skinning the final mesh, weight painting, and finally, setting keys in a walk cycle.

Biped Auto Rig - Guide Rig

First, we import the mesh file and create the biped auto rig. When we first bring in the biped auto rig, it is in "guide rig" mode. In this mode, we can easily move around the guide joints to match the mesh. Special care is taken to show the most optimal locations for the joints for best deformation. The user only needs to match half of the rig in symmetry mode. We also create a convenient proxy rig for fast interaction while animating your character.

Weight Painting

Next, we work to properly distribute the weighting of the muscles to the skin of the mesh, using the weight painting tools. These tools allow the user to quickly adjust the weighting for beautiful deformations. The built-in metaball muscle system is one of the strengths of the Houdini animation system. Although this process takes time to do correctly, the results can be stunning.

Animation - Walk Cycles
Once the rigging is complete, the process of animation can begin. We will use the Channel Editor (called the Graph Editor or Animation Editor in other packages) to set keys and make adjustments to the interpolated curves. This chapter will also cover the Dopesheet, as well as the timeline on the main interface. The tools are in many ways very similar to other animation packages, but have some surprisingly flexible tools under the hood.