A character model is all fine and good, but my character can’t just stay in T pose for the rest of his life! He’s gotta get some bones in him or he won’t be able to move around.
When people talk about a rig, they’re talking about the bones that animators use to pose a model. The basic idea is that each bone controls part of the body (or sometimes just other bones!), and so moving the bones lets you deform and pose the model without having to make a new model all the time. A good rig can save animators hours or days of time, because they can get exactly the right pose without having to fight against their rig to get it.
This was a pretty nerve-wracking process because I had no experience with making a rig and because it’s typically considered a pretty tough process from what I read. It’s very easy to mess up and only find out days, weeks, or months later.
Again, Sebastian Lague’s tutorial series was a godsend for making the rig. It’s not an exaggeration to say I probably could not have done this without his videos.
I finished the rig around the end of August 2015. You can see some of the early pictures below.
You can see in the last picture one of the random goofy poses I did just to test out the rig.
If people are interested in hearing more about the rig I’d be happy to make a post that goes into more detail on how the rig works, as well as some of the more interesting parts of my own rig (like the fingers!).
Unfortunately this was not the final version of the rig. I only realized months later that there were issues with the rig, things that only became apparent when I got much further into developing the engine in Unreal Engine 4. This caused me to lose months of animations, and currently I’m redoing all of the animations I had with the old rig. On the bright side I’ve nearly finished redoing all the animations I had done before, and they’re pretty obviously of higher quality this time due to the extra experience in animation.