[Bf-funboard] Empties in the bone hierarchy

David Bryant aceone at bellsouth.net
Mon Mar 30 14:23:30 CEST 2009

When you are working in a pro studio enviroment, time is money so any time 
you save is time to meet your deadline and less money squandered on paid but 
lost manhours.So, most pro rig rig controls use simple controls (boxes, 
circles,crosses,spheres). Secondly, non armature controls makes the rig 
"cleaner" for the animator to be able pose effectively.The less you have to 
"hide"on a rig represents less package computation thus faster graphical 
response.In Blender, you have to designate which shape you would like the 
bone to take by calling forth an object, cause the bone to draw the object 
(which has to already exist somewhere in your .blend file) and hide the 
object that the bone is going to look like (that has to exist but is doing 
nothing but existing)and use the bone that looks tlike the original object 

Imagine 6 characters with complex rigs with bones that look like something 
they're representing with the original objects just "exisiting" in the 
.blend file when all that had to be done is to be able to use the original 
object anyway.You have objects in your files doing nothing but they have to 
be there "hiding" because if they didn't exist you would have no icons 
because the bones would have nothing to "look like".

Other packages don't have pose mode either.So there are no objects that 
can't be used in their versions of the action editor.Try using the action 
editor and try to adjust timing with an empty or non bone in concert with 
your rig (using bones)in pose mode.You simply can't because it's not an 
intergrated part of your rig.So, now you have to use workarounds that take 
more time.That's why you need bone heirarchy with objects in Blender.

If you're a hobbyist, you have all day to do these things.If you make your 
money by rigging and animating, and have to meet deadlines, every step saved 
is a plus.The less you have to "hide" on a rig, is less you have to remember 
to keep track of and in a pro setting, the less the animator has to tamper 
with to break your rigs.

Just my two cents.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "joe" <joeedh at gmail.com>
To: <bf-funboard at blender.org>
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2009 7:05 AM
Subject: Re: [Bf-funboard] Empties in the bone hierarchy

I'm still confused why you'd want to do this at all.  We don't support
the concept of character sets, so it doesn't make as much sense to
have non-armature controls.  You can mix bones and non-bones just fine
(situations the parenting system doesn't support, constraints do), but
generally non-armature helper objects are used behind the scenes,
controlled by bones.  Also, empties as controls wouldn't have a rest
state, the way armature bones do.

I don't see how this adds any power at all. . .abstractly, a bone is
simply an empty with length.  Getting rid of the length isn't going to
help you any.

> The reason I coded the new empty shapes that blender already has is so 
> that
> the rigger didn't spend his time modeling icons for his rig controls.This
> would just take Blender's rigs to another level.

You realize modeling icons for a rig only takes up a very, *very*
small percentage of the time?  Why would this "take Blender's rigs to
another level"? What power does this add?  Modeling icons simply isn't
a time-sucking activity for riggers.  Besides, different people have
different tastes in rig controls.  I myself prefer very visually
minimalistic controls, while others prefer more prominent ones.

A better solution is probably to have an option to put an empty shape
on an armature bone directly.  Using empties simply for their shapes
is a bad solution, I think.


On Mon, Mar 30, 2009 at 3:10 AM, David Bryant <aceone at bellsouth.net> wrote:
> You could be right but, the action editor should be able to use anything 
> you
> throw at it ( as far as rigging is concerned). You should be able to use
> bones and non bones together. If the empties could be directly used in 
> pose
> mode you would have the full range of all the shapes available and use 
> them
> to their fullest potential.Object to bone level is not new.Proprietary
> animation systems in VFX and animation studios already use this technology
> for complex rigs.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Jason van Gumster" <flaw at misaligned.net>
> To: <bf-funboard at blender.org>
> Sent: Monday, March 30, 2009 4:59 AM
> Subject: Re: [Bf-funboard] Empties in the bone hierarchy
>> "David Bryant" <aceone at bellsouth.net> wrote:
>>> If the empties can be used without using them as a object shapes "in
>>> pose mode" you can directly use them. As a matter of fact, Lightwave
>>> has just put this empty into bone heirarchy functionality into their
>>> package in their new version 9.6. Maya and Max can do the same as
>>> well.It's not a new idea. Most high end packages have had this
>>> functionality for years.
>>> You shouldn't have to have a bone "drawn" as an empty to use it in
>>> pose mode.Just be able to use an empty itself in pose mode if you
>>> want to use it in heirarcy.
>> Ah... but that's the rub, isn't it? An Empty has no notion of what
>> "pose mode" means. As far as what the other packages have done and can
>> do, who knows how that's implemented? From userland it may look like
>> you're adding a regular empty to the Armature hierarchy... but under
>> the hood it may just be a bone drawn to look like an empty. The user
>> just isn't told the difference.
>> Now, if this is the route you want to go, have a go and try. It'll
>> probably work fine since the changes are largely cosmetic. If you're
>> pushing Objects to bone-level, though... you may want to wait until the
>> animation system in 2.5 is fleshed out.
>> But... I'm no authority.
>> -Fweeb
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