Bruno Blain

3D Character Rigger & TD

3D Rigging Freelancer

3D Animation Film & Video Games

Blog Post

Simple Cloth Deformation Trick

July 14, 2020 Tutorial

Sometimes, it’s the simplest tricks that yield the best results. When it comes to rigging tubular arms, achieving a visually pleasing deformation can be a challenge. However, I applied a technique that made the process significantly easier.

In this approach, I employed a cloth simulation for every pose that I wanted to achieve. By doing so, I was able to attain the desired level of realism and flexibility. To achieve the final output, I extracted the cloth simulation as a corrective blendshape.

To ensure seamless transitions between poses, I developed a system to trigger the appropriate blendshapes based on the arm’s movement. This allowed for smooth and natural arm animations, even in complex movements.

By utilizing this simple technique, I was able to overcome the difficulties associated with rigging tubular arms and achieve a better deformation.

Here are a few methods to activate the blendshapes:

  • Connecting the lowerArm joint rotateY axis to the blendshape weight attribute.
  • Calculating a distance between 2 elements:
    • A locator child of lowerArm + a locator child of UpperArm. With a distanceBetween node, we use each locator worldPosition to feed the distanceBetween node. Then, based on the values when the arm is open vs closed, we use a setDrivenKey to feed the blendshape weight attribute.
  • Using an angle interpolator. This setup is quite complex but works very well. I will detail the procedure in a separate blog post.

Stay tuned for more insightful tricks and techniques to enhance your 3D rigging skills!