More Rig Dorking Out

How’s that for a title?

Okay, so high off of my writing that last post about rigging, I began thinking, “How can I rig the XR-311’s A-Arm suspension assembly in SketchUp?”

I thought I was going to have to rig this vehicle in Maya. But I after learning more about Maya and realizing that I should keep the importing files back and forth between the two apps (Maya and SketchUp) at a minimum, my brain was prime to come up with a SketchUp solution.

I won’t go into detail but, I figured out how to mock up the suspension arms, the shock, the CV joint and the wheel to an acceptable level of manipulation. With only 5 nodes (the rear wheels don’t need the 5th node, because they do not steer but they’re there anyway).

Here is a shot of the control nodes for the the XR311:


So in fact this is a pretty simple control node set. I might add the steering wheel in the future, but that’s easy enough to rotate in the detailed geometry.

You only need to perform these operations; rotate, move, rotate, and rotate (if it’s the front wheel), for each wheel when posing. Yeah, sounds like a lot, but it’s better than my other options.

Here are some shots of it in action:

XR311_TEST.jpg  XR311_TESTr.jpg  XR311_TESTr1.jpg

Posing Rig “Hack” For SU (More)

I talked about this in previous post ( I wanted to go into this a little further with an example rig.

In short this is a posing rig hack that I patched together using the SketchUp Pro 5 tool set. It’s nothing new, and in fact this was how it was done in the old days. If you haven’t heard of SketchUp, then this will make absolutely no sense to you.

SketchUp is a powerful and unique visual modeling program, but it does not have tools to rig characters or objects for pose manipulation.

Using SketchUp’s current tool set; Groups, Outliner, Layers, and Pages, you can create a simple posing rig.

Some notes:

  • This technique is only for rigid body posing.

  • The rig is purely hierarchical and does not have inverse kinematics.

  • This paper explains a method using SketchUp Pro 5.

  • This paper is not a walkthrough, but an explanation of the method.

Read more

SketchUp Rigging Hack

So this weekend I came up with an idea on how to make a “posing rig” in SketchUp. Crazy, I know. If you listen closely you can almost hear the collective of 3D artist everywhere are cringing.

What can I say, if SketchUp wasn’t already married to Google I’d marry her.

I’m only going to do this for the vehicles in my book, characters won’t be rigged this way so don’t go and freak out on me…yet.

This is the idea –

  • The posing rig is comprised of simple geometric shapes that frame the vehicle’s important features, i.e. wheels and movable parts.
  • With careful arrangement in the outliner I can affect the high poly geo nested underneath the posing rig in the outline hierarchy.
  • In addition by assigning the posing rig geometry to a specific layer I can turn it off and on at will. Or even make it semi transparent .

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Scene Milestone…! (version .1)

So last weekend I spent some time working towards creating an image that would represent the look for Fuel & Fire. Here’s what I came up with so far.


It’s not finished, but I believe a good start.

It’s not finished, but I believe a good start. Some things that I’m going to evolve with the image:

  1. Debris
  2. Dust
  3. More randomization in the crawler treads
  4. Add in Chan as the driver of the tow truck
  5. Add in Hugh on the back of the tow truck flatbed

New Final Tow Truck!


During Christmas break I worked on finalizing some models that I had been tweaking for some time. Chan’s tow truck is now done! The Fuel & Fire book is well on its way.