Shiny Blenders

Home Of The Blender Impaired

This is an unofficial Blender site. I can not be held responsible for the things that may go wrong while using this software. It is here mainly for the purposes of evaluating and testing. This software is frequently updated with the Blender trunk and is not officially sanctioned by Blender.

Click here for official Blender site.

Click here for the revised binary of Blender 2.53+ Beta.
Click here for the revised binary of Blender 2.54+ Beta.
Click here for the revised binary of Blender 2.55+ Beta.
Click here for the revised binary of Blender 2.56+ Beta.
Click here for the revised binary of Blender 2.57+ Beta.
Click here for current patch of Blender2.55+ Beta SOURCE.

Click here for Tutorials.

New Rigging Features!

  1. Object Wireframe Color
  2. Bone Coloring
  3. Bone Shape Primitives
  4. Bone Handles
  5. IK Twist
  6. Workflow suggestions
  7. Backface Culling
  8. Image Tiling
  9. Display Mesh Borders
  10. Build Armature

  1. Object Wireframe Color - the property for this can be found in the property panel under object properties. I have added an expanded group called Extras. In there you will find a property called wireframe color in wire mode. It's pretty self explanatory.

  2. Bone Shape Colors - this property is also found in the property panel under the bones properties. As you add or extrude bones the colors will be set randomly based on a set of predetermined colors.

  3. Bone Shape Overrides - is a series of properties that visually change a bone to look like a one of six primitives. This is much simpler than creating a custom shape. It also adds lots of options for governing the shape visually.

    These options include:
    1. Position Offset - this moves the pivot of the shape.
    2. Direction - rotates the control down one of 6 axis. X, -X, Y, -Y, Z, -Z.
    3. Rotational Offset - more detailed control of the direction of the shape.
    4. Scale - this allows you to scale the shape without affecting children of the shape.

  4. Bone Handles - The bone handle is basically the Z axis. It helps to show the roll of the bone. By clicking on the handle it will, if in manipulator mode, display a circle manipulator. If you select the manipulator and drag it will start rolling the bone. If not in manipulator mode just use the Ctrl-R hotkey to roll the bone.

  5. IK Twist - an extension on the already existing inverse kinematic constraint. The modification keeps the polevector angle around even when there is no polevector target. This is so that the polevector angle can be driven entirely by a dynamic property added by the artist to a rigging control. This lets the animator animate a float on say the control hand or control elbow to twist the ik chain.

  6. Workflow Suggestions - I found it best that when I was in Armature Edit Mode that I didn't override the bones shapes while I was manipulating the bones this is because in edit mode you move the translations of the pivot and end of a bone. The shape controls work best with rotation which is how Armature Pose Mode works. When you have finished positioning all of the bones you can then override the bone shapes. The bone shapes are mainly to facilitate animation which happens in Pose Mode.

    Additional Visuals of coloring and controls. Description of images from left to right. Bone Edit Mode Wire, Armature Pose Mode Wire, Armature Pose Mode Solid, Object Mode Wire.

  7. Backface Culling - adds a check box to the display panel that lets you turn backface culling on or off.

  8. Image Tiling - adds a "Tiles" check box to Image Property Panel. As well as a properties to set TileX and TileY. This is only for manipulating tiling in the UV/Image Panel and the 3d Viewport. It does have the potential to affect Rendering and Export. Right now these properties have no affect on Rendering or Export.

  9. Display Mesh Borders - displays edges that have only one adjacent face. Otherwise known as border edges. This makes it easy to see tears and holes in geometry.

  10. Build Armature - this Python script builds a constraint rig from an XLS file. The XLS file has to be of a very specific design to work. It is very much in a testing phase. I'm not even sure if its very useful to other people. The file that gets used when the command is executed can be found in the same folder as the blender file. It is called "buildarmature.xls". Provided with the 2.57+ build is a "buildarmature.xls" file biped rig.

    To use BuildArmature, you need to first enable the BuildArmature "AddOn". In the preferences there is a list of buttons on the left of the panel that filters all of the "AddOn's". Click on the Rigging button. You should now see the BuildArmature checkbox. By clicking the checkbox you are enabling BuildArmature.

    There are 3 phases to building an armature using this plugin.
    1. Create Base Skeleton
    2. Create Control Rig
    3. Apply Constraints

    "Create Base Skeleton" builds a deformer rig using the "BuildArmature.xls" excel file. The excel file is only there to help guide the process. It uses the "Bones" sheet in the excel file to build the deformer rig. The reason we don't build the whole rig all at once is so that that you can change things as you go along.

    After you have created the deformer rig move the bone positions around to fit the mesh that you have created.

    Once you build the deformer rig you can access additional options through the Armature Tab. The other 2 buttons are Create Control Rig & Apply Constraints.

    "Create Control Rig" builds a second bone rig that for the most part rests on top of the base skeleton rig. The Control Rig is what the animators use to animate. The deformer rig is what actually gets skinned to the mesh. The "Apply Constraints" phase creates all the necessary constraints so that the Control Rig can transform the Deformer Rig around. This level of indirection is so that the Animators can manipulate something far simpler then having to rotate bones. Well there ya go that is the skinny. More detailed information on the XLS file is below.

    The XLS file is broken up into several sheets. The sheet type is declared at 3A for each sheet. This tells the python script what type of information will be provided. The sheets are used in a time critical manner. They are BoneSheet, BoneLimitSheet, ControlPropertySheet, Attributes_PRE, Attributes_POST, SimpleConstraintsSheet, IKConstraintsSheet, and DriverSheet. The BoneSheet is used to create the Armature. This is where you add bones and their properties. In my XLS file I have 2 BoneSheets one for the deformer bones and the other for the controls that constrain the deformer bones. The reason certain sheets have to be executed at certain times is because of their dependencies on one another. For example the Constraint Sheet is dependent on the Bone Sheet having finished creating all the bones that it will need to create the constraints. Below is an example of a BoneSheet. Notice how C3 in both sheets has different names "Bones" and "Controls". These names represent the names of your armatures.

    The next step is to create and add attributes that you might need for your constraints. The Attribute_PRE is specifically for creating attributes before the constraints are added. These attributes mostly serve IK Constraints and Facial Sliders, but can be used for alot of other things.

    Step 3 is adding the constraints that you will need to constrain the deformer bones to the controls that the animator will be using. Simple Constraints include CopyLocation, CopyRotation, and CopyScale.

    This is an IK sheet. The reason IK has its own sheet is because of the major differences between IK and other constraints.

    The Attribute_POST sheet is mosty for setting attribute values after constraint have been created.

    The DriverSheet is for hooking up SingleProperty expressions. To help with things like IK switching and rolling elbow polevectors.It can also be used with Facial sliders.

    It isn't very robust yet and could use alot of work. I'm not sure how much time I will get to work on it. But I thought I would put it out there and see if it was useful to anybody else.

Contact Information: Antony Jones