Genoma Revealed

Lino Grandi details rigging in LightWave 11.5 with the new Genoma feature

Posted: Wed 17 Oct 2012

This tutorial will demonstrate how fast and easy it is to add and adapt a rig to a spider model using the new Genoma rigging feature in LightWave 11.5. Thanks to  Luca Giarrettino, a terrific LightWave artist for the creation of the spider model used in the tutorial.

The Genoma Rig Modeling System is an innovative new rigging system introduced in LightWave11.5 that can be used to build a rig in Modeler and combine different SubParts using connectors. With Genoma, you can create your own rigs or choose from one of the included ready to use ones, and adapt them to your character. The Complete Rigs have been built using SubParts which means you can freely connect any of them to the rig. For instance, a human rig with four arms can now be easily  rigged in very little time with Genoma. It’s now also possible to save custom Rigs and SubRigs and create a vast library of presets that can be shared or combined with others.

Step 01:

Rigging a spider can be a really hard task, due to the fact that the model has eight complex legs. However, with Genoma this operation can easily be accomplished in minutes instead of hours.

Step 02:

Let’s move to Layer 2 (we can leave the mesh in layer one in the background) and select the Genoma Presets tool from the Setup tab.

Step 03:

From the Genoma Preset window,  we can choose several Rigs and SubRigs. Under the Insects folder, locate the two spider Rig presets. As you select something in the list, you can see a preview showing the Rig model.  Let’s choose Spider_02 and click on OK.

Step 04:

The preset rig has now been loaded in Layer 2; it’s selected and ready to be adapted to our mesh. We can activate Modeler Symmetry from now on, to cut the editing time in half.

Step 05:

First thing to do is to move and scale the Rig so its body size matches the one of the mesh, without considering the legs (for now). As you can see, the Rig contains several elements, identified by a different shape and color.

We have Connectors that are colored in Orange or Magenta. Green arrows are used to specify the Pitch direction of the Bones/Controllers and Green arrows with boxes define both the Pitch direction and the Controller position. The deforming bones are in Blue (the first Bone of a SubRig) and Gray (all the Child Bones of a SubRig). How these elements are placed is very important, editing them gives the you full control of the Final Rig that will be created in Layout. SubRigs can be connected and disconnected and copied and pasted to be reconnected to any Connector present in the scene; moreover, new Connectors can be added to the scene and welded with any other Connector—the combinations are virtually endless. Any item can be edited in Polygon Mode or Point Mode, using all the available editing tools in Modeler—from the classic Translate/Rotate/Size tool to the Magnet and DragPoint tool.

Step 06:

Let’s start editing the body elements. Since the view can be chaotic, we should hide what is not needed at the moment. Let’s select all the bones belonging to the legs and use the View/Hide Selected command.

Step 07:

Let’s do the same for the spider’s mesh legs. We will select one polygon for each leg then use the Selection/Select Connected command and the View/Hide command again.

Step 08:

Now it’s much easier to adapt the bones to the body.

Step 09:

We can also zoom in a little more and adapt the bones to the fangs and the pedipalps.

Step 10:

All we have to do now is to use the View/Hide Invert command, so only the meshes of the legs and bones are visible.

Step 11:

First, we will move and rotate the Genoma legs from the Top View, so they’re correctly aligned to the polygonal legs.

Step 12:

It’s best to work on one pair of legs at time—hide the others—and adapt them to the mesh.

Step 13:

The best method is to select the points belonging to every articulation. Move them to the right location, using mainly two views, starting from the base of the leg.

Step 14:

The Green Arrow with the little box at the end will define the position of the controller and the Pitch direction for the first segment of the leg. The unsselected arrow will define the orientation/position of another controller (in this case, a Pole Vector).

Step 15:

Our Genoma Rig Model is almost ready to be exported to Layout, where we’ll generate the final setup. We need to create and assign Weight maps first. This consists of two operations: creating Weight maps for the Spider Mesh, and assigning the created weights to the Genoma Rig.

Step 16:

Let’s define a weight for the Abdomen first. 

Next, the Cephalotorax. 

Then the fangs.

On to the polipalps. 

And finally the legs.

Step 17:

Now let’s select the Genoma Legs and use the Set Skelegon Weight Map command (Setup/Skelegons/More/Skelegon Weight).

Step 18:

Let’s do the same for the Abdomen bones.

Step 19:

And the Cephalotorax bones.

Step 20:

The Pedipalps bones.

Step 21:

And finally for the Fangs.

Step 22:

Before exporting the Mesh, Copy/Paste the Genoma bones into Layer 1. Save the object and send to Layout.

Step 23:

Once in Layout, all we have to do is to select the Create command under Setup/Genoma/Create Rig.

Step 24:

In a few seconds our Genoma Rig will be created and ready to use. It’s possible to modify the Rig in Modeler and use the Update command to have the Rig updated in Layout (this will destroy any animation, so be careful).

Step 25:

This image shows the Controls and Bones created by Genoma. Since all of the controls are nulls, we can select all the bones and hide them. Having the bones visible and selectable (but not in Object Mode) lets us modify and add other elements and controls as needed.

Step 26:

The rig generated with Genoma gives animators easy-to-use controls to easily pose a character without limitations. Adapting a rig using a modeling tool makes the process much faster than having to do it in Layout and the dedicated Preset System makes the new Genoma Rig Modeling tool a feature that LightWave character artists will put to good use.

About the Author

Lino Grandi is a 3D generalist for NewTek with more than 20 years experience as a LightWave artist. He has also served as technical director on several 3D feature animation projects, specializing in rigging.