Introduction to Rigging in XSI

Establish a solid foundation and learn flexible rigging methods, various rigging and character setup tools, and the essentials of building animator-friendly controls in XSI. Software required: XSI 6.0 and up.
Course info
Level
Beginner
Updated
Feb 27, 2008
Duration
6h 56m
Table of contents
Introduction and Project Overview
Introduction to Rigging in XSI
Creating Custom Toolbars and Working with Softimage Layers 14m Parenting Objects in Softimage 12m Object Hierarchies in Softimage's Explorer and Schematic 9m Drawing and Editing Bones in Softimage 11m Attaching Objects to Bones Using Parenting in Softimage 10m Creating Pseudo Roots in Bone Chains 5m Safely Repositioning Bones in Softimage 10m Working with Chain Bone Properties 11m Display Settings for Roots and Effectors 5m Understanding Softimage's Kinematic Chain 14m IK/FK Blending Bone Chains 7m Delving into Softimage's Kinematic Joint Properties 16m Creating a Wire Shell for a Control Object 9m Connecting Geometry to Control Objects 12m Cleaning up SRT Parameters with Neutral Pose 6m Utilizing Softimage's Position Constraint to Control an Object's Translate Parameters 10m Manipulating an Object's Rotation with the Orientation Constraint 9m Controlling an Object's Rotation with Another Object's Position Using Softimage's Direction Constraint 9m Constraining an Object's SRT Parameters with Softimage's Pose Constraint 7m Working with Chain up Vector 8m Utilizing Duplicate Symmetry 8m Efficiently Renaming Objects in Softimage 5m Automatically Invoking SRT Manipulators on Objects 10m Working with Models 9m Creating an Envelope to Drive Geometry with a Bone Chain 9m Envelope Attributes - Automatic Envelope Assignment 8m Returning Enveloped Meshes to Their Reference Pose 3m Alternative Solution for Returning Envelopes to Their Reference Pose 9m Modifying Envelope Weights 13m Utilizing the Weight Editor 7m Locally Reassigning Influence Weights to Vertices 7m Blending Influence Weights 8m Mirroring Weights in Softimage 10m Exporting Weights 7m Adding and Removing Envelope Deformers 7m Creating Shapes in Softimage 13m Alternative Way for Creating Shapes 12m Driven Key Relationships via Simple Expressions 7m Driven Key Relationships with the Parameter Connection Editor 9m Using Deform Keys to Correct Deformations 10m Understanding Clusters 9m Working with Cage Deformers 6m Working with 3D Chains 5m Cleaning up Object Parameters for Animation 8m Using Character Key Sets to Organize Animation Data 8m
Description
Course info
Level
Beginner
Updated
Feb 27, 2008
Duration
6h 56m
Description

Establish a solid foundation and learn flexible rigging methods, various rigging and character setup tools, and the essentials of building animator-friendly controls in XSI. Contains nearly seven hours of project-based training for aspiring artists. Popular highlights include: XSI Rigging Tools Overview; Organizing Scenes; Working with the Schematic; Parenting Objects; Using Groups; 2D and 3D Bone Chain System; IK Capabilities; FK Capabilities; Chain Properties; Repositioning Bones; Choosing Workable Rotation Orders; Position Constraints; Orientation Constraints; Direction Constraints; Pose Constraints; Controlling SRT Parameters; Chain Up Vector Operators; Mesh Deformation Overview; Envelopes; Enveloping Techniques; Resetting Envelopes; Understanding Operator Stack; Editing Envelopes; Weight Paint Panel; Redistributing Weights; Weight Editor; Blending Envelope Weights; Mirroring Envelopes; Working with Shapes; Modeling Shapes with Tweak Component Tool; Secondary Shape Modeling for Corrective Shapes; Setting up Driven Key Relationships; Working with Character Key Sets; Organizing Animation Data. Software required: XSI 6.0 and up.

About the author
About the author

Delano works avidly as an animation author at Pluralsight. Starting his career at animation studios like Shilo, Delano has developed a strong passion for his talents. His animation and rigging background help him teach and create some of the most-watched training on Pluralsight.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
Hi, and welcome to Introduction to Rigging in XSI, presented by Digital Tutors, on official SoftImage training partner. My name is Delano and I'll be your instructor as we journey through the process of understanding the fundamental tools and techniques needed for rigging in XSI. We'll aim in this training to become very familiar with the powerful and innovative rigging tools XSI provides that assist us in implementing a solid workflow that one can comfortably embed into a production pipeline while learning methods for building proficient setups that animators will find very entertaining. Rigging and character set-up can seem daunting for new artists, but during the course of this training, our goal will be to make you more knowledgeable of the rigging process and help ease your rigging fears, thus making them a thing of the past. We'll learn a flexible approach to this subject while learning the essentials, like understanding exercise robust rigging tools, choosing good naming conventions for our objects, creating bone chains, parenting objects, exploring exercise, built-in inverse kinematic bone chain system, working with the formers, and ultimately, learning how to develop animated friendly controls for our characters and props. An abundance of exciting information has been prepared for you that I know will make the process of learning the art of rigging in XSI an enjoyable one. With that, let's say we go ahead and get started by determining a good naming convention for our objects. This lesson is entitled 01_Start, located in the Intro to Rigging Project in this training disc, or on this training disc. Now, to get started, first off, let's make sure that we're in the toolbar we're going to be using a majority of the time in this training. Right now we're under the modeling toolbar. So, if we'll like to switch that, we'll go to our toolbar menu at the top left. Select the drop down arrow and simply select the Animated toolbar. You'll notice now some of our settings have changed. Now, if we'd like to quickly access that, if we go back to the menu, notice it has hot keys what we can use to quickly access different toolbars. So we can get to the Modeling hitting 1, Animate hitting 2, so on and so forth. Now, another thing I like to do is just go to Transform. We'll tear off the menu, selecting the perforation at the top. And I'd like to go down to the Transform Preferences and make sure that the Click Outside Manipulator is going to be set to Select Tool. That's going to allow us to select objects a little bit faster, even within our manipulators. Now we can go ahead and close this out. Close out our Transform menu, and get started, focusing in on our user camera. So, naming conventions. They are very important, very useful for when wanting to keep things organized within our scenes. If we were to work on a rig, especially one that involved a lot of objects, if we needed to access just one of those objects, it might be a little bit difficult if we haven't named our objects or haven't named them properly. So, what we're going to be doing is going over what I feel is a very useful naming convention, so we can avoid those type of problems. Basically, the way it works is first we would establish an object type. So what is it? Is it a root? Or is it an effect or is it geometry? Then from there we can determine the object's direction. So, is it on the left side or is it on the right side, or is it centered? And then we can specify the object's label. So, is it for the thigh or is it for the shin? And then we can say, all right, how many iterations or how many of this object is within the scene? Is it unique, where we could use 1? Is there more than one? Well, we'll be able to use or find that out by using what I find, again, is a really useful naming convention. So, let's get right into it and we'll start by working with our chain here. If you look at the actual geometry, you can see that we kind of get an idea of the naming convention that we're working with here. And we'll even look at this a little bit clearer in the Explorer. So, we'll hit 8 on our keyboard. And to access this, we can simply go ahead and just select one of our pieces of geometry, go into the Explorer and hit F to quickly frame it and access that. Excellent. And from here, what I'd like to do is switch Objects Only to All Parameters, okay, All Even Animated Parameters to see everything. Now, with the geometry selected for the thigh you can see, all right, we've established the object type, which is geometry, or using geo for an abbreviation, followed by the direction. Well, notice how there's nothing there. So, that will tell us that there's just this object is either unique to the scene. There's no right side to this thigh at all. Or, this will tell us this is a centered object, so like the torso, for example. And then, followed by thigh, the object label, and then 01. So this tells us that there's only one of this type of object in this scene. It's unique to this scene. If there was a 2 by this, we would say, or we can know by that, all right, there must be, this must mean that there's another of this type of object within the scene. So, I find this very helpful. So, let's go ahead and work down the list and basically establish a good naming convention here. All right, so for our leg, starting from its root. What we could do here is use root as our prefix to the name. We can select that. And then to rename it, for the rest of the name of this object, with it selected, we could hit F2 on our keyboard and go right after root and type in as follows. Let's say if we were going with the left direction here, we could use _l for the left direction, followed by _ what this object is basically a part of, which is the leg, and then followed by 01 since it's unique, and we'll hit enter. Great, so what this tells us is that this is the root of this chain. This is the left side of it, since this would be the left leg. And this is a leg, so this root here is for the leg object. And then we know there is just one of this type within the scene. And again, if there was another of this sort, that would be switched to 2 as a suffix. Okay, so I find, again, this is a very useful, again, especially for when mirroring objects. We're going to be getting into that, as well, and how we can quickly rename objects. Let's go to our next object in the list. If we select that, that'll be our next bone here. And we can go ahead and hit F2 to rename the object very quickly within the Explorer. So with that, we can now type in bn for bone, since this is a bone object, again the object type, followed by _l, for it's on the left direction, followed by what type of bone this is. This is the thigh bone, followed by 01. Again we see, all right, so we know this is a bone object. This is the left leg. This is the thigh of the bone object. And this is just one of its sort within the scene. Great, and also, just FYI, this setup that we have going on here with the leg, we're going to be getting into how we can do this type of setup within XSI. So this is not the primary focus for that, the setup of this leg. What is the primary focus is our naming scheme, because this is very important to understand. So, let's go to our next bone object. We'll select that, bone1. And with that selected, again, we could hit F2 and type in as follows, bn, followed by _l_shin since this is the shin, followed by 01. Great. And then for the next object, you can go ahead and select the Effector. So if we zoom into the foot here, that's going to be this knoll-looking object at the bottom. So let's make sure we select that to get the effector, or it should be labeled eff. Either way, we'll hit F2 again, and we'll use eff as our prefix followed by _l, followed by what this is associated with, which is the leg01. Excellent, so you kind of get the idea of where we're going with this, with the naming conventions, and how useful this can be. Now, for our foot bones, here's what we can do with them. Again, a simpler type of process. We'll select the root of the foot, which is this circle looking node. With that selected, we'll hit F to frame it. There it is, root1. We'll hit F2 and we'll use the root as our prefix here, followed by l for the left side, followed by foot, since that is what it's associated with. Great. Now we can access the other bones, and if you like, if you can't see everything else underneath this foot, you can go to the plus icon and hold Shift and then click with the left mouse button, and that is going to pretty much open up everything that makes up this object. Now, notice how we're seeing everything, even parameters. Now, this can be useful for getting to different parameters. But if we'd like to just see the objects, let's go ahead and switch our view here from All Plus Parameters to Objects Only. So, let's go ahead and select Object Only. Notice how that greatly condenses the view within the Explorer. So, it depends on what you're working on. Right now we can go to the next bone in this hierarchy. With that selected, we'll hit F2 and we'll label as follows, bn since it's a bone, followed by _l_ankle. That'll be the ankle bone01, great. The next object here, hitting F2, that's going to be the ball of the foot. I'm just going to go ahead and back up the camera so we can see. That's the ball of the foot, so with that selected, we'll hit F2, and we'll call that bn_ball01. Oh, followed by the l, we don't want to forget the l to determine what side it's going to lie on. Excellent. And then for the next object, which is going to be the node of our foot, right at the end there, with that selected we'll call this our effector, eff_l_toe. Or even foot, since we know it's the effector for the foot. Excellent, so now we've established a solid naming convention for our objects. Now, when it comes to objects that are unique, that really aren't, let's say, a thigh or a shin. When we come to situations like that, what we could use rather than numbers is use letters. So for example here, let's say if we wanted to focus on our thigh bone and also our shin. Let's say if we wanted to basically go with a leg for those, rather than shin and thigh. So what we could do here is go to thigh, hit F2, and basically change thigh to leg, followed by _a01. And then shin, if we hit F2, we can change that to leg_b01. So you kind of get the idea. Instead of using numbers that help us to know how many iterations of our objects are within the scene, we could use the letters before the number to separate them or to differentiate between them. So, that's how we can label our objects. Again, this is very useful, very important for when keeping things organized within our scene. For things like this control here, this spiral control, since it is a curve, and if we hit T we can see we are able to get to its tag points. So, since it's a curve and since it's a control, what we could do with this is label it as follows. Hitting F2, we can label this CC for control curve, followed by _l for what side it's on, followed by what it controls, the leg01. So that's what we can do for control objects. If this was a node, we could use CN for control node. So you kind of get the idea. And again, this is going to be very beneficial for keeping things organized within your scene. Excellent, so we can always turn this back to All Params and close out. If you like to close out everything back to where it once was, if we go to our leg group, for example, and hit Shift and the left mouse button, that's going to be pretty much close out your, close out or collapse your hierarchy. But if you just left-click it again, notice how you're only going to be able to get to objects directly underneath and not everything else. So, that's just a quick tip. But, with that now done, I'll close out the Explorer. That's how we can rename our objects within XSI very conveniently. And watch this, if we wanted to access, let's say just our bone objects, for example, we could go ahead and use a wildcard within our object selection, parameter. So, we can go right here to our object select text field and type in as follows, just bn, followed by an * for wildcard. So this is going to look for everything with the prefix of bn within XSI. And when we hit enter, notice only those bone objects are going to be selected. They're very convenient, again, for just quickly selecting objects, because we've established a good naming convention. Great, so that is, again, how we can keep things organized just by labeling objects within our scene. Again, we want to get into the habit of doing that. So, with this all discussed, that is the end of this lesson. And in the next lesson, we're going to get into creating things like custom toolbars, as well as exercise layers.