Intro to Proxy Rigs

Proxy Rigs are our  short hand for rigs created by MRS (our rigging system) that is using the custom generated geo as an approximation of the final model or character.

In the above image you can see some proxy rigs we’ve done. We’ll update the image periodically with new stuff.

Why Should I Care?

That’s a great question. Perhaps it’s easiest to talk about how we use the proxy tech day to day.

For Riggers:
  • Rapid character prototyping
    Rather than doing many bounced backs from modeling to rigging to animators to test a creature or character design you can use the system to quickly setup a proxy rig of the design with decent approximation of shape and hand it off to an animator to start playing with. Bad proportions or other issues tend to rapidly present themselves quickly and the TD can simple modify the template, build again and iterate directly with the animator (especially when that animator is a TD as well)
  • Client NDA Interactions
    Instead of having to hand off actual project geo, a client can simply provide the template for fixes or troubleshooting without worrying about revealing sensitive actual final geo.
  • Skinning Framework
    Sometimes assets come all broken up into small chunks for some render pipelines. This can make skinning those assets rather tedious. Using the puppet mesh setup for MRS, a unified, skinned mesh that approximates the character is generated. This unified mesh can be used as the basis for transferring skin weights onto your complex final geometry.
  • Controls that Conform
    Our control curves are also lofted and offset from our base setup to get nice control curves that require less work getting to look decent for animators and look pretty good
  • Direct Control that Matches the Model
    In many setups we have direct per joint control and we can generate geo to be the shapes for those direct controls that have transparent shaders on them so when you click on the mesh you most often get exactly that piece you want.
For Animators:
  • Faster Rig Interaction
    When animating, rig speed is everything. You want to see your results as close to real-time as possible so you could quickly animate and iterate without having to playblast constantly. The proxy rig is faster to interact with than your final skinned geo rig so it allows you to work through most of your animation before polishing with the final mesh.
  • Visual Clarity
    The proxy mesh is visually clean and appealing. You could quickly see the differentiation between right, left, and center limbs, so you could focus on your arcs and timing instead of missing textures and default shaders.
  • FK/IK Snapping, Mirroring, Selection Tools
    All of these can be their own bullet points, but the proxy rig is as full featured as the final rig. You have all of the features that come standard with all of the MRS rigs – FK/IK Snapping, Mirroring tools, Selection tools that allow you a ton of selection and keying options.
What place will Proxy Rigs have in the Asset release plan?

First is we plan to have regular free releases of proxy rigs open to all. Subscribers will have access to the full back catalog of any proxy rigs we’ve done whether they’re open to all or not.

All major rigs will go through a testing phase with proxy rigs while we finalize designs. Doing this will save modeler time and money so we can make more rigs.

Proxy rigs are also great for testing new modules and ideas and doing simple character tests. Want to impress a studio with your animation of Spider Man but don’t want to go through the legal trouble of procuring the rights to Tom Holland’s likeness? Just create a proxy rig and go to town.

How does it work?

Lots of setups can create simple block geo from joints but what we do is a little more depth and something we’re continuing to iterate on.

Our template system for creating rigs uses series of curves for ‘shaping’ lofted geo to your mesh. You can change the kinds of curves used, modify the cv’s or pretty much manipulate those how you want.

Those template curves are used to generate loft mesh and other loft curves for the rig, proximate geo, direct controls, and more.

I wanna make em….

Awesome! We want to teach you. Check out this post!

Josh Burton

[MRS Project Lead | CG Monks] Josh is an animator turned TD who hails from Oklahoma, pre-undergrad in the Marine Corps, animation basics at Savannah College of Art and Design, cut his teeth in gaming and commercials before co-founding CG Monks and more recently the CG Monastery. The Morpheus Rigging System is a culmination of years of R&D and he is now thrilled to see what users can create, collaborate and expand on with this open source MRS platform.