Hands can be difficult. They’re tricky to model, rig, and weight, and they’re not particularly easy to animate. I thought I had a modeled a good hand a while ago and saved it to my computer for future use. However, while I was working on the main character for Days Go By, I realized that the hand that I made wasn’t as good as I remembered. The knuckles weren’t deforming all that well, and I wasn’t crazy about how the thumb was connected to the main body of the hand. It was time to go back to the drawing board.
After a considerable amount of work, I finally came up with a better hand. The knuckles and the thumb now look a lot better and the point weighting has been improved. For those of you who don’t do character animation, every vertex on a model needs to be bound to an underlying structure of joints and bones which is also known as a rig. By manipulating the rig, you deform, and thereby animate, the mesh of polygons that form your model.
The thing is that each vertex on the mesh may be influenced by more than one joint. Therefore, in order for the model to deform correctly while you are animating, you must define the joint influences for each point. This is called weighting.
I made the following video to test out how my new hand model performs with the rigging and weighting. It is officially the first video of the Days Go By Blog:
For the test, I did not concern myself with textures or shaders. That will come later.
The 3D software that I am using to make Days Go By is MAXON’s versatile and easy to use application CINEMA 4D. The Studio version of C4D has a full set of character animation tools including the ability to build your own complex rigs. You can also use the Character Object which allows you to easily build entire advanced character rigs (for humans or animals) in just a few clicks. That’ll save some time.
For this test, however, I built the rig myself using the Joint tool and manually bound and weighted the points since I wanted to focus just on the hand.
To render out this test, I used Redshift Render, a new unbiased third party GPU render that I had heard good things about. While I am still learning how to use it, I must say that I am impressed by it and looking forward to seeing what else it can do. I’m not sure which renderer I will use for the final frames, but it very well could be Redshift.
Well, that’s it for this installment of the Days Go By Blog. I’ll see you on the next one.