December 27, 2007 Justin Chin

New Video: Posing With My SketchUp Rigging “Hack”

I just uploaded a new video that shows how I use my rigging hack to pose a model.

If you haven’t seen my posts before, reading these might bring you up to speed. Here is one of my first blog posts about the subject:

And here are a few on the character in the video:

In case all this is a clear as mud (which I suspect it might be) I explain it a little after the jump.

For this character I rigged him in both Maya and in SketchUp. I made the Maya version because I thought I’d better align interacting characters (i.e., this quadruped fighting with a biped) that I already needed to pose in Maya (soft body geometry). In the end I found that the export process was way too taxing on my SketchUp and my aging machine. I found that I could do the posing in SU almost just as fast as Maya. But when you add the export process, and the hardening and softening the appropriate poly-lines I found that just doing it SU was the way to go.

This is the best link to read to understand how I set up a rig:

This rig was much more complicated than any of the vehicles I worked on.


The blue and beige “intersections” indicate where it’s safe to rotate (and will not break the model).

My posing process really breaks down to this:

  • All my objects are organized with layers. I use this to hide and show the model, the rig and the scene that I’m creating.

  • I create a scene that just as the rig, one for the model, and one for the actual scene. You can see that i create a scene in the video.

  • I click through these scenes to edit the rig, and see how it looks in the view I’m trying to create.

  • All the parts you see above are specially grouped in a hierarchy that relates to how they should rotate.

  • All the parts above (the raw geometry) are on the “rigging layer” and can be hidden and shown when I switch the layer on or off.

  • The hierarchy of those rigging groups above are on “layer0” and that’s why they do not “grey out” when layers are hidden.

  • Those groups also use the naming convention, “CN_nameOfgroup” (CN stands for “control node”)

  • The CN allows me to use the filter in the outliner to show only the items I want to rotate, no matter what layer is being shown.

(UPDATE) I forgot to add this image to the post. This better shows the CN_ filter in the outliner. The full hierarchy can be seen in this post.