Squishy Character Rigging Tips


We are trying to rig this character in my studio and I am very open to suggestions.

It needs to be a squashy- slime like character and it will take the shape of a ball as much as it can and roll on the ground.

I tried ribbon spine but could not get the best results. Maybe you guys know a better way of rigging this kind of character.

Have a nice day!


It might be better to have the body as just a simple ball with clean topology, and then have separate geometry for the arms and legs. And then find a way to make them seamless, like using some kind of a surface-constraint/projection/shrink-wrap effect to make the arm blend onto the body.

Study this Mindbender rig (and their previous rig breakdowns too) and you’ll see this kind of flexible dynamic rig takes a lot of fakes and hacks and geometry switches. Starting from a single static geometry like you have, is going to be very challenging. Look at 0:37 where the eye is sliding along the body. This is what I am imagining for your legs and arms. https://youtu.be/5_aWZkWN9y8?t=37s

Also effects like this:


Hello, Chris is right. I would detach the limbs, make a blendshape from body to ball.
Each limb is a module, the whole rig translate/rotate/scale, so you can manipulate all the module.
Then you shrinkWrap each geometry to the body, and keep the history “on”. It’s all about it, the rest is cheat and animation.

Another solution, maybe you can do a simple blendShape to the ball?? Seems to be hard when i see the body, but if it’s possible. Then you have a control on top of the rig that you can use for rotations. and hide the body rig??


Thanks for the suggestions, did not expect to get fastest feedback of my life:)

The problem is character has layers of shells in his back and they form up to be a ball so he can roll. And since we will be able to see the character when he is inside the shell-ball (its not a completely closed ball), I am not sure how I could manage to do that.

And I have seen Mindbender rig, its way too advanced for me. I think C++ is involved in that rig and I am too afraid to learn it to create my own solutions. But again, thanks for the suggestions as I am looking into shrinkWrap right now :slight_smile:


Seems to be more like a transformer Rig, so you need to design the shells so they can form a ball using SDK rig.
And then you need to pose your character he can fit in the ball. Need to synchro two rigs together.


Exactly, but they might use the character without shells and they asked if I could make the character more like Zac in Leauge of Legends. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lr8kHe4vqZQ)


Would be great to see the back - what might work is just scaling the limbs down to a point that they can be hidden by additional shells (if I’m thinking this is like an armadillo). You could then maybe use lattice/blendshape to form the ball a little easier.


It seems like even in the game animations, they use a lot of cheats with different meshes when he turns into a blob, it’s just too fast to notice.
It can be difficult to get characters like these to move properly without showing any seams - is there any chance of using an effects pass in your animation? Either remeshing finished animations in Houdini, or just using nParticles in Maya? If you’re using procedural or projected shaders it can be a very powerful way to work.


I agree that the Zac character is using some cheats. Looks like Zac scales down and there is a blob mesh visibility swap then vice versa when Zac comes back. I suggest following the advice of Jules and Chris. You may want the ball mode of the character to swap in separately if blendshaping to the character isn’t an option. Another suggestion for the shells on the back/ball is to use either follicle or cMuslcleSurfaceAttach nodes on the ball surface then parent the shell pieces to follicles or cMuscleSurfaceAttach locators. You may need a NURBS sphere as a skull if using the cMuscleSurfaceAttach nodes. Then you can use SDKs on the UV position parameters for placement.


I think they are too advanced for me. But thanks for all the tips and advices. You guys are great