Time to rig and animate

Discussion started by zepte


I would like to know how much time does it take you to rig a simple model, and then how long to animate it.

I am getting informed about rigging and animation but it is quite time consuming and I would like to know your thoughts and processes.



Posted 18 days ago

It all depends on the complexity of the character and the software you are using. Rigging in something like 3dsmax can be very easy if you use Biped or CAT preset skeleton rigs, and Blender makes bone creation and skinning extremely simple if you know the tricks to speed up the process. Blender also has some addons that make rigging a complex bone system easier, like Rigify and AutoRig.

The animation is another story. It could always take a lot of time to make quality animation, even if you use motion capture or bvh.

achille-pasquier wrote
You can add Advanced Skeleton for maya an addon who does an incredible job rigging and skinning. Really good if you want to do some facial rigging.
Posted 18 days ago

It depends of what it is, what's the level of precision, realism and what is the main goal. There isn't definitive answer, something can be rigged and animated in seconds, something else can take days. For example: Excavator model, generic excavator model can be rigged in minutes and animated fast by someone who knows what he is doing, but if you want to replicate operation of the real world excavator model for simulator or something else you will need to know it's motion parameters, its mechanical layout etc. wich then take everything to another level and this can take a long time to achive. Also person who does rigging doesn't nesecery need to know how to animate, in game companies often those roles are separated.

Posted 18 days ago

Agree with the comments above. Rigging a "simple" character or object in Maya is extremely simple - maybe just a couple of minutes. But building a rig that includes good controls for animation maybe requires an hour. And, if this is not a skill you need to develop extensively, it is a good idea to purchase some plugin tools for the job. These will automatically build good animation controls for you.

Rigging an object or character that will need very realistic motion in the animation can take a day or two, although most of this time will be spent on the "skinning" portion of the job - that is on building in sufficient geometry in the joints and developing good skin weights. Not really on the "rigging" itself - that part is straightforward in Maya and never takes much time. Maya is a program that has extensive tools just for character development and animation, so it allows for creation of specialized animation controls - that is the control structure you might use for a bear would be different than the controls you might want for a biped or for a bird or for a tractor object.

And then Maya is designed to allow for complex character development where you want to show accurate muscle movement under the skin, and for hair strands moving in your animation, but this is a pretty advanced field of work and can take weeks. Not what you are asking about, I think. And as PhantomDesign says, in this advanced area, skinning, rigging and animation are specialized skills - rarely performed by the same person. (But, as a long-time general freelance modelbuilder, I think that every 3d modeller should be somewhat familiar with skinning, rigging and animation. And have some reasonable familiarity with the tools for those things in the software of their choice.)

If you have a simple biped character and just need some simple animations of that character, you should look into the online Mixamo.com program. This is a free service where you can submit a simple biped character (usually a human) in *.fbx and in *.obj file format to obtain a downloadable animation of that character. The Mixamo program will "rig" your character using an automatic procedure, and then you can select from about 200 different animations. (One or many.) After applying the animation to your character, you can download the resulting animated character, probably also best in *.fbx file format. All this may take you an hour's worth of time.

Of course, as you would expect, there are a lot of limitations in the ability of the automatic tools to do a god job. Often, you will get some distortions of the body, especially in the crotch area, and you will want any clothing on your biped to be pretty close-fitting to the body. Loose clothing can't be animated very well in their tools. But, this is a good service to know about, because even those of us that are long-time character-builders/animators can make use of something quick and simple, for a job that only requires "quick and simple."

Posted 18 days ago

One other comment I should make. You stated that "it is quite time-consuming...". This is always true when you are learning an advanced skill, and it sometimes seems like more work than it is worth. Please keep in mind that things that seem overly complex and time-consuming now will seem to be simple and quick a couple of weeks in the future, or next month. This always is the case. So, patience is required, be patient, and be of good cheer!

For example, I've spent about five or six weeks now trying to learn to make good hair and beards for some characters I made. Ugh!
I'm quite convinced that no character is worth the effort I've put into this. I am mostly a VFX modeller, so I never intend to make many characters in my life and this business of learning the advanced tools for hair texture creation, and for hair card creation and working out the best processes to use is painful, difficult and frustrating. I have very little that is good to show for my efforts so far. Things are terrible!

BUT, ... things that seemed difficult and highly frustrating to me two weeks ago, are really quite simple now. I've gotten to understand most of the tools, and have been able to move beyond those into the realm of where I am starting to develop a sense of "scale", that is, what is the proper size of hair strands that I should make in my textures, in relationship to the scale of the hair cards I should use for beards on a face, and for hair on these characters. I can see now that this hair-making business can only come through practice and constant experiment. Really, I never intend to do this for a living, but I've learned that a freelancer in the 3D world should have as many skill sets as possible, and always must keep learning.

So, be patient and hang in there! Real learning always seems like a terrible thing when you are deep into it, But is ALWAYSs gets easier with time and experience. One day, not too long from now, you'll find that rigging a simple object and animating it to your satisfaction is just a quick hour or so worth of work.

luxxeon wrote
I have a similar experience. The majority of my "career" so far has been for 3d printing and/or environment and architectural prop creation. However, I've always had a deep interest in character creation, and had always been able to create relatively decent organic models. I had never really done any character rigging until about a year ago. Now I'm actually learning more about it and have created a few simple rigs for some of my models. The learning process seems to go on forever, but now rigging characters is so much easier than it seemed a year ago. Granted, I'm not an advanced rigger by any means, but I could do a relatively decent rig for stylized to realistic characters that would have seemed impossible to me just a year ago. Patience is the key. It also helps to dedicate hours in your day to learning. It WILL be frustrating and seem confusing for a long time. At least it did for me, but eventually, you do catch on.
Posted 18 days ago

Hi there,
I am use blender and in blender you can very easy to rig your character, animal and fish .

Posted 18 days ago

I will fully rigged my character just in hour . my mean fully rigged Included character's finger and eyes .

Posted 17 days ago

for some advanced characters where you need blend shapes and precise rig it can take up to 1 week I've already worked more than 3 week on one simple rig for animals. It can also take me one day if it's a simple character for a game. It really depends. For animation you can use some motion capture animation and do it in 1 hour or animate yourself and it can take weeks. If you tell us what really is the project and what you want we can estimate the time it would take us but for you you just have to try and get better.

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