Blender & Unity: Manually Rigging Blender Humanoid Characters for use with Unity Mecanim


I’m definitely no character animator by trade, but there comes a time when you end up with a Unity project that somehow requires it. There are obviously many automatic rigging methods available (Blender does actually have an auto-Rigging system called Rigify for biped humanoids) and you could even try to download other rigs made by other people and plonk them into your scene, but I found that so many of the rigs including the rigify one seems to involve so many complicated bones you don’t need, so you end up having to sift through the bones, deleting so many unwanted bones, renaming bones, perhaps even having the impression of the impossibility of rigging up them bones.

Although it may seem terrifying at the beginning (I’m not an animator or rigging specialist!), I found that surprisingly, it is not that difficult to manually rig up all your bones if what you have is a very simple humanoid character. You just need to be orderly and to stick with the admittedly tedious bone naming process. (Although our character is blobby, we’re sticking with a humanoid as we’re going to use it with the Kinect to sync it with the movement of the human user, and our human user is going to return a humanoid set of values that we’ll need to rig up our character to…)

According to the Unity Blog’s post on Mecanim Humanoid:

“The skeleton rig must respect a standard hierarchy to be compatible with our Humanoid Rig. The skeleton may have any number of in-between bones between humanoid bones, but it must respect the following pattern:”
Hips – Upper Leg – Lower Leg – Foot – Toes
Hips – Spine – Chest – Neck – Head
Chest – Shoulder – Arm – Forearm – Hand
Hand – Proximal – Intermediate – Distal

This is the list of all the bones you need (I found it useful to copy and paste in these names directly)

head
neck
collarbone.L
collarbone.R
upperArm.L
upperArm.R
lowerArm.L
lowerArm.R
hand.L
hand.R
chest
abdomen
hips
upperLeg.L
upperLeg.R
lowerLeg.L
lowerLeg.R
foot.L
foot.R
toes.L
toes.R

Optional: eye.L and eye.R

For starters: Ensure that your character model is positioned at origin and that its pivot point is also at origin (0,0,0). Make sure you reset the scale to 1 just in case (Ctrl+A, Select Scale). The hip bone is the key bone in all this, so start by creating one big bone starting from the bottom of hip to top of the chest. Hit Space and start typing “Subdivide Multi” (Armature) and give it 2 cuts so you get 3 bones. These will form the hips, abdomen and chest bone.

After you’ve done the main spine bones, you can turn on x-axis mirror.

– Select the ball on top of the bottom bone (hips bone). Make sure Options>Armature option>X-Axis Mirror is selected, then press Shift-E to extrude mirrored bones. When you’re in mirror mode, every time you create a new bone, you’ll have a second one mirrored on the other side of the X-Axis. Remember that you’ll have to rename BOTH bones later on – if you are facing your model face-on, also remember that L is actually to the right and R is to the left, and name it accordingly.

– Arrange the leg bone into position (you may need uncheck “Connected” in order to let the leg bone go into the right position). Reposition the leg bones away from the hip. Subdivide Multi (1 cut) this leg bone into two bones, forming upperLeg and lowerLeg.

– Shift-E to extrude two more foot and toe bones, and also add in the collarbone, arms and neck+head bone. Do make sure you keep it all in a standing T-pose (as if the character is standing in the shape of the letter t).

– Ensure that all of your bones are renamed correctly as per the list. If there is an L bone there must always be a R bone.

– Go into Object Mode and Select first the character and then Shift select the armature. Press Ctrl+P and select Set Parent To – Armature Deform – With automatic weights. Your computer might lag for a second before its all connected up.

From there, you’re in the home stretch. Export your Blender model in FBX format and then import it into Unity, and in Unity set the rig to humanoid (instead of generic) and at the bottom of that, hit Apply.

Let the wild rigging begin!

See also:
Animate Anything with Mecanim

From Compassvale to Coney Island: Casuarina Pines, Chicken of the Woods, and CCTV

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Here is a visual documentation of a weekend walk we did to Coney Island. Starting from the… er… ‘charmingly named’ Compassvale, we made a beeline to Punggol Jetty and then crossed over to Coney Island by foot. On first glance it looks like a popular haunt for groups of school children and families going for a picnic, but if you step off the path and to the beach, you’ll find the crowds thinning down… to practically nothing. The island is quite sizeable and most visitors seem to cycle on the paths rather than to stumble over driftwood and sand. A rather beatifically peaceful tropical park with strangely neat and new paved paths, huge airy casuarina pine trees, tall grasses, marred only by the brightly coloured plastic pollution from the oceans. At the boundaries of the island, CCTV cameras and other metallic monitoring devices stick out incongruously between sea apple trees and coastal shrubbery, silently watching the waters between Singapore and Malaysia at all times.

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Shelf Mushroom aka Chicken of the Woods!


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A Tour of London’s Historical Wetherspoons

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Wetherspoons! The smell of spilled ale, steak pie, salt and pepper, and red wine stains on the carpets! I’ve always liked the historical buildings in which Wetherspoon pubs are located, so for Boxing Day LAST YEAR I decided to design a tour of London’s historical Wetherspoons! (Unfortunately I have only come around to writing out my guide NOW, and I’m in a different country, but still..)

In theory, a spoons day sounds like it would be an excellent boxing day out, but all of central London seems to shut down on Boxing Day so the pubs in the most central part of town are closed. So we had to make a visit to some of the pubs on the list on another occasion.

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Empty Central London.

Secondly, London is a pretty big town so any “cross-London” journey is going to involve a significant amount of time and energy spent walking or taking public transport.

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Hours and hours of Buses. Forever.

Finally, what follows is obviously going to be a day entirely centred around the endless consumption of ales and pub food, which starts off well and fine until you get to the fourth Wetherspoons of the day and will suddenly find yourself (and anyone else unfortunate enough to have done the route) having voluntarily sworn off going to any more pubs for possible for the next month…. (Or at least until the next weekend, when the wild pubbing can start all over again!)

Debbie’s Historical Wetherspoons Tour

(Central and North London)


My selections were based upon the following simple three criteria:

IS IT HUGE?
IS IT HISTORIC?
IS IT EPIC?

You’ll have noticed that several Wetherspoon pubs have got ‘moon’ in their names. These all relate back to “The Moon Under Water” – the name of a fictional pub in an article by George Orwell, published in the London Evening Standard. This fictional pub was described as the perfect pub, serving a wide range of beers, extremely decent food, and yet curiously without any music or loud entertainment. So indeed the Wetherspoon pubs have been modelled after that idea of the ideal pub – a pub without loud music you have to shout over! Indeed, Tim Martin also felt that ‘moon’ was a good link for some of the pubs to have to the fictional one. Some required reading is the Orwell’s “Moon Under Water”.

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1. The Crosse Keys

9 Gracechurch St, London EC3V 0DR, UK

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IS IT HUGE? – Tall ceilings. Said to have the MOST NUMBER of handpulls in any Spoons pub. 24 in total apparently.
IS IT HISTORIC? – It was first built as the Woolpack Hotel & buffet in 1899 and later
IS IT EPIC? – “Marbled columns, coffered ceilings a Victorian baroque facade and a drinking space large enough to house a whole fleet of Routemasters…”

2. Knights Templar

95 Chancery Ln, London WC2A 1DT, UK

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IS IT HUGE? – A very high ceilinged bar.
IS IT HISTORIC? – The Knights Templar owned land on which Chancery Lane was built, along with this former Union Bank of London. Grade II Listed building. Its front railings are also listed! And it was in that Da Vinci Movie or something…
IS IT EPIC? – It has retained many decorative features such as the original scroll of the “union bank of London”.

3. Lord Moon of the Mall

16-18 Whitehall, Westminster, London SW1A 2DY, UK

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IS IT HUGE? – Huge and tall ceilinged
IS IT HISTORIC? – Former Cocks Biddulph Bank. Latterly Martins Bank. Then Barclays, closed 1992.
IS IT EPIC? – This is Spoons home turf – perhaps could be seen as its the Central London home. There’s a massive painting of Tim Martin in here. Also the pub sign has his face on it. Apparently this is often lauded in tour books for being “too grand”. People comment that its like “withdrawing a beer” instead of investing in a pint.

This place has rather more the vibe of a tourist trap than the earlier two (Knights Templar and Crosse Keys). Teeming with gaudy signs in multiple languages warning of pickpockets and thefts, its hard to

4. Montagu Pyke

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IS IT HUGE? – Huge old cinema
IS IT HISTORIC? – 1911 cinema and former Marquee Club venue
IS IT EPIC? – It feels squeezed in the middle of high street shops. From its description it was very promising, as most pubs do not have the benefit of a large interior area like this, however its current modern interior update doesn’t seem to do the historic venue justice.

5. The Coronet

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“WHAT? ITS THE SAME MENU AGAIN?”


IS IT HUGE? – Huge old cinema
IS IT HISTORIC? – Former Savoy Cinema. Was renamed ABC in 1962, then Coronet in 1979; last screened a film in 1983.
IS IT EPIC? – Appears on many highlights lists of spoon pubs in London for its grandeur and interiors

6. Spouter’s Corner

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IS IT HUGE? – No
IS IT HISTORIC? – Part of the Hollywood Green leisure complex, that corner of the High Road was called Spouter’s Corner in the past for its popularity for free speech, or “spouting” in a similar style to Speaker’s Corner at Hyde Park. Open air meetings were held until the 1950s and it was also an assembly point for hiring workers.
IS IT EPIC? – Honestly, I only added this one as a palette cleanser and because it was pretty close to home.


#LATERGRAM
I hope it doesn’t confuse people that I’ve decided to backdate my posts even though I’m writing this in Dec 2017 – but it does make more sense since I’ve had such a huge number of posts to push out and I like to think of this as a #latergram