[QUESTION] Rigging ropes and dangling jewelry


Novice rigger here. I’ve been working on this guy for quite some time and I’ve run into a bit of a wall on how best to proceed.

I’ve currently got it set up so that clusters of jewelry are simply skinned to short joint chains, but I’m wondering if there’s a better, or at least less tedious, way of doing it. On a similar note, I’ve got two joints bound to the rope sash he’s wearing; one at the top, one at the bottom. Deformation tests look okay but it seems like it will be difficult to skin once its part of the main model. Looking for better/easier ways of doing it.



I’m not sure if it’s still in there, but a cheap trick is to use Maya Bonus Tool’s “Make joints dynamic”.


For the rope, I think I would use proxy mesh as close to the rope, then skin it with few joints, then wrap deform the low poly proxy mesh to the rope.(Joints should not be parented to each other, parent them individually to the closest spine joint)


This actually brings me to another question; this would involve skinning the character as a couple separate objects all tied to one skeleton, yes? What are the pros and cons of having everything as one singular object as opposed to several? Most of the tutorials I’m reading seem to prefer the former.


You can create top group for the rope and then parent it to the closest control (closest spine control for example) so it will follow your entire rig. If your mesh is combined, separate the rope and then delete the history on both the body and rope. If you already skinned the mesh and dont want to lose the weighting, I would suggest:

  1. Duplicate your mesh
  2. Separate rope and body
  3. Select exactly same joints as you used to skin the mesh
  4. Bind duplicated mesh geo to those joints(the one you separated from rope)
  5. Select the mesh you skinned earlier, then the separated body mesh
  6. Copy skin weights

I think those steps should fix it.


The one single advantage I can see to single combined mesh is that it’s faster to evaluate. That’s it. (also maybe it’s better for game engines but that’s not my field).
It’s more difficult to UV, more difficult to manage visibility, WAY more difficult to paint maps on. I would at the very least split out each separate piece of the costume into its own transform. This also allows you to constrain or parent rigid pieces if you can, which is way faster than skinning.