"Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

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"Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby Víctor Paredes » Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:40 pm

Hi,
There's something about Moho that I never could make work in a right way until today. The ability to have different "sets" of bones inside of the same character.

I think the most evident case can be seen in the arms. Many times, one single drawing for an arm is not enough. Even with the inclusion of smart bones -that finally made easy to have joints behaving exactly the way you want-, the problem is you are still bending one drawing to create all the range of movements you want. And that decreases the expressiveness of the characters.
Image
Switch layers can help in these cases, but they have limits, because you are mostly forced to use the same set of bones to bend drawings that can be very different each other. For instance, one arm pose could be extended and another could have a short bent pose. There's no way you can easily animate that using the same bones.
Check how different are the arms in the image (which is Roz, from Monsters inc, by the way). Animate that character in Moho would present a lot of difficulties.

Now, the "Switch Bones" technique allows to switch between different drawings and sets of bones quickly while you are animating. It's a pretty simple idea and not hard to setup once you understand the basis:
Image Image
Every arm layer is outside the screen and has its own bones (in this case, rigged with "Use selected bones for Flexi-Binding). All the arm layers are inside a switch layer.
Then a Smart bone is used to show the arms one by one. This Smart bone also move the bone of the arm to be close to the character.
Once you have this setup, the animation process is very simple and feels very natural. You just forget about all the bones flying around (because you never see them)
Image

I recorded a demonstration/tutorial you can watch below. I will create a shorter and more didactic one in the future.


And here is the .moho file, if you want to play with it:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jmvulvizd2o85tt/swith_bones_arms_02.moho?dl=0
I hope you enjoy it!
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby ernpchan » Sat Jan 21, 2017 6:06 pm

Thanks for sharing this technique!
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby jahnocli » Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:39 pm

Wow. Really impressive; simple, elegant and powerful. Great results too! Thanks for sharing...
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby Greenlaw » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:08 am

That's nuts Victor. Can't wait to try it myself. :)
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby dueyftw » Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:15 am

I have tried to set up this for some time now. I missed the key of the interpolation getting it to work correctly.

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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby Lost Marble » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:11 am

This is a great idea, Víctor! I think a lot of people will find this useful.
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby DK » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:01 am

Great idea!
Thanks for sharing! I would love t see this technique extended and improved as an AS feature to also include the whole character.
That would be simply amazing.

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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby neeters_guy » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:15 am

I love the creative thinking. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby funksmaname » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:38 am

Excellent, and makes perfect sense! A real 'why didn't I think of that' simplicity and super useful/powerful. Thanks for sharing :)
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby Víctor Paredes » Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:48 pm

Thanks!
I'm extremely excited about this. I feel it will change the way we rig and the quality of the results we can get using Moho. Well, that will happen to me at least :)
I made another test using a character from Steven Universe (I haven't watched the series, so sorry if I'm making spoilers...)
Image
Image
The rig itself is extremely rough and the animation only uses bone strength. This time I tried to animate the legs too. The inbetweens are far to be perfect, but it's very fun to be able to move the character from one pose to another totally different, so quickly!
Some time ago I was tired about the idea of creating the "definitive rig" that could work with most of the scenes of a short or series, but being able to "switch bones" really puts that idea back on track.
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby Lukas » Mon Jan 23, 2017 6:49 pm

That's nice! In the future I hope something like this would be possible without having to need to build the smartbone-dial. (Perhaps with a smartswitchlayer or some other way)

I think I've seen some rigs that have this done trough layerscripts.
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby hayasidist » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:02 pm

very clever! I've been redoing the whole rig for such "limb" swaps ...
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby Greenlaw » Mon Jan 23, 2017 7:45 pm

Wow, that's really cool Victor!

I could actually use this on a character I'm rigging now but unfortunately I don't have enough time to properly R&D/implement it. Can't wait to try this with a future assignment though.

Thanks for sharing your technique! :D
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby DK » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:02 am

Hi Victor.
I know this is a pretty straight forward question but you might have some ideas to share on how you could rig this character so the main skeleton or torso/head/legs sections could also be swapped out just like the arms. That would give you amazing control over a complete character without having to be bound to the one plane like a standard AS vector based rig.

Cheers
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Re: "Switch Bones" technique (a very useful one...)

Postby Víctor Paredes » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:56 pm

Thanks, guys.
I'm still trying to figure out the best way to add new drawings, reducing the creation steps. The ideal approach would be to be able to simply draw and rig in time, but I'm still looking about how to make that work in version 12 (probably we need to use a FBF layer instead of a normal Switch layer). If the Smart Dial could be updated automatically, that would be awesome.

I know this is a pretty straight forward question but you might have some ideas to share on how you could rig this character so the main skeleton or torso/head/legs sections could also be swapped out just like the arms. That would give you amazing control over a complete character without having to be bound to the one plane like a standard AS vector based rig.

Currently, you can swap the head, legs and arms. To swap the torso is tricky, because it contains the parent bones for the rest of the parts. So if you create new bones for a new torso, then you would lose the parenting and the rig would be broken.
I tried to add parenting keyframes over the Smart Bone action, but that doesn't work for several reasons.

Swapping the legs is easy: you simply need apply the same target bones for the feet of all the legs. That is very useful, because the feet are always over the place you want, even if you swap legs.
Anyway -but I haven't tried this yet= each leg could also have its own target bone and that should work well too.
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