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few bones

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I want to create a *simple* humanoid model. and I want it to be able to move relativly freely and perform basic 'in-game' actions (e.g. walk, run, attack, crouch, die), but I want it to use as few bones as I can get away with. Will the following be sufficient: skull torso upper arm (left & right) lower arm (left & right) hand (left & right) upper leg (left & right) lower leg (left & right) foot (left & right) TOTAL = 14 bones I have never animated before (well, not seriously) and don't know if things will look wrong without hips, shoulders, several sections to the spine etc.

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Depends on how believable you want the actions to look. For simple baddies that you're going to be gunning down in the distance, 14 bones is plenty. For the main character in the game, you need a heck of alot more than that. I would do (at least):

Feet: heel, toes, ankle X 2 for proper IK handling (6)
Legs: hips, upper legs, lower legs X2 (6)
Spine: pelvis, middle back, lower neck, upper neck, eyes (5)
Arms: shoulder, elbow, wrist (3)
Hands: knuckles, knuckles, finger tips X 2 (6)

For a total of 26 joints. This is provided you don't want a particularly good looking bending over animation and you don't want anything beyond mitten hands.

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Thanks for the speedy reply!

sorry, I'm new to this...

what is IK handling?

what verts would I attach to an 'eyes' bone? (I don't plan on having anything close-up enough to notice movement detail on the character's eyeballs)

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The more joints you have, the more you can get out of it. But if your animation needs are basic, a 14 joint setup can work just fine. You DO need a hip though, it serves as the root joint for which all the rest are bound to.

I made a simple little ascii drawing showing all the joints, but I can't figure how to post it without the forums jumbling it all together. I tried PRE (in HTML brackets) and CODE (in square brackets) tags, but neither worked. Any way?

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IK is Inverse Kinematics.

In typical straightforward animation, to animate a walk, you rotate the upper leg a few degrees and then you rotate the lower leg a few degrees, and by rotating the two you eventually get the foot in the position you want it to be.

IK animation is something special you set up during rigging, and instead of rotating the two leg bones to position the foot, it allows you to just grab the foot and move it to where you want, and the two leg bones will automatically rotate to align themselves to the position of the foot.

...not every 3D animation program does IK. Depending on what you're using, it may not even be an option or anything to concern yourself with.

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Thanks Veovis!

code & /code in [ and ] brackets worked for me:

AAA SSSSS CCCC IIIII IIIII
A A S C I I
AAAAA SSSSS C I I
A A S C I I
A A SSSSS CCCC IIIII IIIII


I'm currently using Milkshape, but I also have gameSpace light & DeleD (I'm working on a budget)

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The eyes bone is used to control the head. Where the eyes bone is pointed it where the head is facing. You can use this track other objects and well, it just makes animating easier.

IK handles will also want to be established on the arms as well. As Veovis explained, using IK allows you to control an entire chain by using the end bone or joint (depending on the app) instead of the parent. This allows things like animating a walk cycle or having a character grab a door handle tremendously easier.

The bone setup I described is for creating a character who will have a bit more lifelike movement capabilities. It depends entirely on what you are trying to accomplish. A 15 bone skeleton can be used for animating, but why would you want to for a main character? Skeletons that simple are only used for distant characters that their crappy movement isn't very discernable.

Quote:
...not every 3D animation program does IK. Depending on what you're using, it may not even be an option or anything to concern yourself with.

What animation package doesn't have IK handling? A basic modeling software might not, but every semi-major animating software does - Maya, 3D Studio Max, Houdini, Softimage XSI, Blender, and the list goes on. IK handling has been used for many years now.

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o
|
o---o---o--o--o---o---o
|
o
|
o-o-o
| |
| |
| |
o o
| |
| |
o o



Ah, it looks like the tag wasn't the problem. For some reason it wasn't displaying the "slash" character (above Enter). Anyway...again...that's a bare bones (no pun intended) joint setup that would animate just fine but without anything too detailed.

Quote:
What animation package doesn't have IK handling?


I know Milkshape 3D doesn't. I'm sure there's others.

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