Rigging a Scorpion Mech: Part One, Prepping the Model

I thought it be interesting to document my rigging process from start to finish using a fairly challenging model. I’m not going to push this series of tutorials as an “ideal” way to rig such a machination, but it will show one approach. I’m going to rig a scorpion model I came across in the forums of CGTalk (original post here). The artist, Nicholas Silveira, modeled and rigged the creature and was nice enough to share the bare model to give anyone else the oppurtunity to rig his creation.

Like any rigging project, the first I usually have to do is inspect the model, and if there’s any issues, have it fixed by the original modeler or tweak the geometry myself. I downloaded the model file and after some inspection, my first priority would be to edit the model such that:

  1. Considering the model imported as 1200+ peices, some organization was needed through either grouping or combining related parts of the mesh
  2. Tail was modeled curved, and I’d prefer it straight to streamline the later setup if I decide to use a Spline IK rig

Combining parts of the mesh was the first step and my first chance to get intimate with the inner workings of the model. After making a pass organizing the mesh, I reduced the 1200 peices down to a more manageable 83.

Next step was straightening the tail since it was modeled in a curve. I thought about remodeling it straight, but figured I could get a good result by straightening it with a temporary rig. This was done b creating a joint chain along the tail, binding it to the mesh, then straightening that joint chain; thus, straightening the tail itself. I baked in this deformation by deleting the skinCluster history, and now the tail is perfectly straight.

After a couple simple steps, the model is primed for rigging. Tune in for the next part, where I’ll start to formulate approaches to rigging  various parts of the creature. I’m also thinking of making a proxy version of the model to enhance viewport performance for the animator.

One comment

  1. The website with the rig was seized by the government (oops!)
    Mind sharing the model with the rest of the world? lol

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