rplate wrote: Vern,
I have a serious question; I noticed that all your demos don't have backgrounds or other objects or characters in the scene. Won't the bone setup effect those as well as the main bone character?
I wouldn't put backgrounds and other elements in the same bone folder as your character. Or at least they shouldn't be influenced by those bones.
If you have a situation where you need to do something like that you can bind points to specific bones or use bone offset to put them in a different spot with different bones to influence them. I like to keep the head totally separate from the body.
On the face rig itself, you need to look at the original vector head that came with it in relation to the bones. Look on frame 0 carefully to see where the mouth and the eyes go.
Another trick I use with complex meshes is to put the shapes on different layers as I draw it or adjust it for the rig. Put the basic head on one layer, the mouth on another, hi-lites and shadows each on a layer etc etc. That way I can work on one problem area at a time and then paste them back into one layer when finished.
This rig works best with as few points as possible... or just the ones you need to define the shape. If you have like 50 points to define a simple curve you got way too many points. You also need to see where the bones are and the points you may need there for smooth motion, like around the cheeks and jaw. Use the original drawing from my sample as a guide.
This rig will NOT work with un-edited imported Illustrator or EPS files. WAY too many points.
I am going to document this set up process as thoroughly as I can for the final product. It isn't as hard as it seems, but you do need to have a basic grasp of using bones... at least moving them around.
I have had some ideas about aiding the setup. These are things I've been using to make it easier. Like selecting a small group of bones and changing the parent to a "mover" bone temporarily for easy placement.
For instance the lip bones are all parented in a chain. So only the first bone in the chain needs to be re-parented. They eyes and lips are the most "bone dense" areas. Each lip has... uh... has 6 sets of chains. 3 for each side. You may need to move those bones. This is the hardest part in my opinion. There are 5 bones in each chain plus an additional 3 bones for the center of each lip, need those center bones so the lips don't split in half ).
And the teeth are sort of below the mouth in the set up. The "bottom" points of the teeth are right on the lip bones. These are the teeth areas that stay inside the mouth.
The points of the teeth that show are controlled by a set of bones below the mouth on frame 0. This allows a separate control. I may add in some extra teeth controls. Sometimes you want to change them in relation to the lips.
Once I document the process it isn't that hard... it IS DEFINITELY considered work. But it isn't hours and hours. There is a lot of repetitious moving of bones though. I've found they don't have to be "exactly" in the same spot (I may offset them slightly for ease of selection.)
I could go on and on but I won't .
Bare with me as I finish this up. It is complicated and I want to document it and also I plan to <gasp> redo the whole thing from scratch so the bones are ordered in the drop down list properly.
p.s. Rasheed wrote a new script that controls LAYER Z-DEPTH! This is GREAT! It will allow the translation of a bone change the ordering of layers for ears for better head turns... and of course arms and legs. By dragging a bone you can make a layer pop up in front of other layers. You have to use depth ordering in the layer properties.