Author: Chris Lelidis
In this tutorial I will show you a simple method of rigging a 3D cord in a simple way. Although there are many rigging techniques, i think this is the fastest if you want to animate something like a straight cord, snake, or other tube like 3D object. Let me start…
I chose a medical object, a stethoscope I used to make a tv commercial. In the pack shot of the commercial the stethoscope’s cord was forming a heart.
The model comes both in collapsed (non-edit) mesh and fortunately in a editable mesh.
I will choose the editable version because it will give me more freedom to apply meshsmooth for example and of course to animate it without problems. The basic problem that occurs is when you have to apply the skin modifier (meaning: to attach the mesh to the riggid system in order to animate it). Some vertices will blown away because Skining needs a good setup (vertices weight). But in this tutorial I will show you? some basics thing, you’ll have to tweak the skin modifier as you like.
Create a spline by clicking Create -> Shapes -> Line. In the Line rollout box name it as? Spline IK and choose as Creation method -> Initial type -> Smooth.
Click about 10 times same height as the cord (forming a line with 10 vertices).
Put the spline inside the mesh (critical) and highlight (pick) the stethoscope. Apply Physique modifier (click Modifier tab -> Physique) and at the rollout box expand the Floating Bones. Click Add and choose Spline IK (the spline).
You have just setup the modifier! Simple as this.
Now the model has been attached to the Spline IK line and you can animate it by moving the vertices of this line.
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— Below text applies only to the specific 3D model—-
Oops you see that the bottom of the stethoscope, the instrument,? doesn’t follow the cord. Let’s see. I tried various constraints but the best for this issue was to use the path constraint.
So, go to the Motion tab, expand the Assign Controller and highlight Position: Bezier Position.
Click the icon with the question mark (assign controller button) and pick Path Constraint. In the Path Parameters click Add and choose the instrument of the stethoscope. In the box %Along Path type 100 and you will see that it will be aligned? the bottom part of the cord. Now the instrument will follow the moves of the stethoscope cord.
Some close-ups of the 3D Stethoscope…