[Bf-funboard] Empties in the bone hierarchy

bassam bkurdali at freefactory.org
Mon Mar 30 19:06:41 CEST 2009

	It might be pointless to introduce or even propose major changes to the
animation / armature system unless you are think of 2.5 - this means you
have read and are up to date with what is proposed there. Changes to the
2.48 series are at this point just going to add a burden of porting, for
something that will get replaced soon anyway.

	Somehow I didn't get the original post in my inbox, so I don't know
what the issue is, but I suggest for now using an empty as a draw type
for bones, that you want 'as empties'. It doesn't take long, and is a
quick workaround until 2.5. Remember an bone and an empty are
functionally almost equivalent, except that bones have some extra
features you can safely ignore if you don't want them.

	In 2.5 the plan is to break actions out of the per-object 'shell' they
are in. Most of you will find you are *still* using bones, not empties
as control objects (try pressing alt-G on an empty and see where it
goes, vs. a bone) but at least that will be solved. From there, it might
be possible to request a special stored position that 'clearing'
location (or rotation or scale) goes to, kinda like the same magic that
happens when parenting (indeed, you can use parenting to create these
positions for empties, but it is, imo, a messier substitute than just
using bones with empty drawtype).

	Small note: for the reason Sangwoo Hong mentioned, I will be
encapsulating my controls in an armature probably even in 2.5- and I
have a feeling that the most animator friendly rigs will be doing the
same thing. Armatures provide several convenience features that plain
objects don't, and I don't see why I would want to throw that away.

On Mon, 2009-03-30 at 09:37 -0700, Sangwoo Hong wrote:
> I normally wouldn't comment on this sort of subject but seeing how
> it's getting pretty heated, let me throw in my two cents.
> Simply put, I think having empties or objects "in the rig" in the
> context of Blender's, for lack of a better word, "encapsulated" bone
> system is...  pointless.
> The reason for this is simple.  The reason why one needs character
> sets and such functionality in other 3D apps is because they have no
> encapsulation which segregates objects belonging to rigging systems
> from "normal" objects.  Blender provides this functionality as a base
> feature of "rigging objects" in the form of armatures so why would you
> want to break that veil and throw in objects from the outside
> confusing things further when it already allows you to use objects
> from "outside" to be used to draw in place of the default bone
> shapes?  Other packages offer stuff like character sets because it's
> such a mess to have rigging objects intermixed with regular objects
> but they have no recourse because their bone system was like an after
> thought.  Blender does not suffer from this problem.
> A good example of this is 3DS Max's Character Studio Bipeds.  I
> personally really like Bipeds BUT try working with more then a handful
> of them in a scene and keeping track of the hundreds if not thousands
> of bones all named Bip something or other gets old real fast.  It
> would be so much better if say the creators of Character Studio
> decided to "encapsulate" all the bones belonging to a single biped in
> to a, I don't know, an ARMATURE?
> I don't see anyone else mentioning this but I'll say it.  The real
> issue here is people looking for features they are used to from other
> apps in Blender.  But if you examine the underlying reasons for why
> these techniques exists in other apps you'll realize it's a lot
> messier then at a glance.  What I think makes Blender great is that it
> breaks from a lot of this legacy stuff which is actually a drag on
> people's productivity.
> Let me leave this thread with this.  I was never a full time rigger
> when I worked at Pixar but I did get to work with their in-house
> rigging system some which btw is an encapsulated system completely
> separate from other scene objects.  It didn't even have bones back in
> the days when I used to work with it. (It might now but I highly doubt
> it.)  But everything you needed was available anyway because the
> system makes one realize that a collection of 4 points and their
> spacial relationships is all you need to create the end of a logical
> "bone" and, by using these collection of "bone tips", it's possible to
> create a fully functioning rig with no problems.  As a matter of fact,
> not having "bones" frees one up to use tricks like including the
> points making up the end of one "bone" in to the rigging of other
> logical "bones" for secondary motion or even including those points in
> completely "unrelated" parts of the "bone hierarchy" so the motion of
> a single "bone" can move many different parts all at once.  See, you
> might be scratching your head going "How can you have a rigging system
> which has no bones?!?" but that's the point here.  Once you get so
> used to words like "bones" and "character sets" and "empties" etc, you
> start thinking that is the be-all-end-all of what you need but the
> truth is that is not necessarily the case.  It's just your comfort
> with the word associated with a particular functionality which is
> making you cling to the word but the word is not the idea, the word in
> this case is... a useful lie.
> As a quick side note, let me add that what would really speed up
> rigging in Blender isn't empties but an auto-rigging script.  The
> biggest reason why I like 3DS Max Bipeds is the fact that you just
> size it in to the scene and it brings in a rig which basically covers
> 90+ percent of what one would need to rig a humanoid character.  (Hey,
> it's good enough for Epic Games to make Gears of War with it, it's
> good enough for me.) I looked in to writing an autorigging script for
> Blender recently and it seems all the pieces one would need under the
> hood for something like this is already there.  Now if I only had some
> time...
> phong.
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