3D animation breathes life into characters and allows them to navigate the digital space using computer technology. Animation is widely used in advertising, film production and game development.

When creating animations, the main goal is to simulate movement in real life as accurately as possible. The character must learn to walk smoothly, bend down, express emotions, and perform other actions. To achieve this, the model is rigged.

Animating and rigging characters

What is rigging and how does it work


What is rigging and how does it work AVADA-MEDIA

Rigging is the process of equipping a finished 3D model with a virtual skeleton, in which all bones connected to each other are in a parent-child relationship, which greatly simplifies the animation process. For example, if a character moves his shoulder, his forearm and hand bones will also shift.

To customize the interaction of the 3D model with the skeleton, the designer manually sets the weight of each bone. The heavier the bone, the more influence it has on the part of the mesh, so it is important to distribute the load correctly at this stage.

During the development of large-scale games and commercials, it often happens that some characters have the same skeletal structure. Therefore, in order to save time, such rigs can be copied and assigned to a new mesh. After equipping the model with a skeleton, the designer adds inverse kinematics to the bones.

Most often this is required for the animation of arms and legs, if we talk about a humanoid character, but the technology can also be applied to different parts of the body of mythical and fictional characters – for example, to the tail of a dragon.

Setting up inverse kinematics correctly keeps the joints of the model in the correct direction, making it easier to create realistic animations.

Movement restrictions are then placed on the bones so that they can only move at specified intervals. For example, the model’s head should not rotate 360 ​​degrees.

The advantage of rigging is that it gives good control over the deformation of the model, but, at the same time, it is practically not applicable for animating detailed surfaces. For this reason, facial animation most often involves techniques that go beyond conventional bone work, such as morphing and blendshaping.

Animating and rigging characters

Overview of the main technologies used in rigging


Overview of the main technologies used in rigging AVADA-MEDIA

A whole stack of technologies is often used to create complex rigs. Let’s consider the main ones, without which practically no project can do:

  • Joints. Bone connection points that are used to manipulate the 3D character model. For example, arm rigging adds shoulder, elbow and wrist joints. This allows for the most realistic movement of the limb.
  • Managed keys. These are special elements that activate control of several points of the model at once.
  • Inverse kinematics. It is used to ensure that the character’s skeleton is positioned as realistically as possible in the space of the game world or animation tape.

The IK principle is that daughter bones and joints influence the position of mothers. For example, the offset of a character’s finger should affect the overall position of the hand.

  • Direct kinematics. This is a type of motion planning in which the model skeleton does not follow a specific chain of interactions between its elements. This gives the designer the ability to create varied and realistic poses for the model.
  • Morphing. A technology that gives the impression of a smooth transformation of one object into another. As stated, this visual effect is most often used when creating complex facial animations.
Animating and rigging characters

3D character animation levels


3D character animation levels AVADA-MEDIA

There are 3 levels of animation for 3D characters. Let’s consider how they differ from each other:

Simplified animation

Often this type of animation is used in training specialists, and is not used for commercial purposes.

With the help of simplified animation, you can depict the physics of a process, the functioning of a simple system, etc.

Mid-level animation

This is a relatively inexpensive animation that is great for most presentation and marketing business tasks. Such 3D animation is characterized by a minimum of complex objects, simple image physics and simple textures. Despite the fact that the visual range is simplified, the picture looks pretty good.

Photorealistic 3D animation

Animation with a high level of detail, in which every detail and texture is carefully thought out and traced.

Photorealistic graphics are characterized by:

  • many textures;
  • the presence of physics of all objects in the frame;
  • the presence of skeletal and facial animation of the character;
  • the study of the physics of liquid objects (if necessary) – glare, waves, etc.

When creating photorealistic animation, it is possible to superimpose real frames on a 3D render, due to which a truly living picture is created. Such characters look bright and are remembered by the viewer more than others.

Photorealistic 3D animation is widely used in advertising, including television, game development and the creation of animated films.

Animating and rigging characters

Animation and rigging of characters in the AVADA-MEDIA company


Animation and rigging of characters in the AVADA-MEDIA company AVADA-MEDIA

The development of three-dimensional animation takes a lot of time, and this process is performed not by one person, but by a whole team, where each person is responsible for his own process: designers, animators, screenwriters, etc.

AVADA-MEDIA has been developing and animating 3D characters for over 10 years. Our staff includes qualified employees who can implement animation of any level, depending on the needs of the client’s business.

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The best confirmation of our qualifications and professionalism are the stories of the success of our clients and the differences in their business before and after working with us.

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