Cinema 4D / BodyPaint 3D Program Documentation Tutorials Character Builder Tutorial
Function available in CINEMA 4D Studio

Building the Rig

Load the reference file for the character rig. You will probably recognize our character Bruno from the organic modeling tutorial:

Let's get started by creating a rig with the Character object. First, you will need a model to rig. For the purpose of this tutorial I will use my previous character Bruno, created in the beginners’ modeling tutorial.

Next, add a Character object, which can be found in the main Character menu.

If you select the Character object you will notice that its interface is fairly simple at first glance. On the Object tab you have most of the controls you will need to create the rig. There are 4 tabs that you will need to use throughout the process:

To start building your rig, make sure the Build tab is active, then choose a template from the templates list. Here, you can find preset rigs that come with Cinema 4D R13 but you will also find any template that you create yourself with the Component tag and place in the library / characters folder of your user preferences folder.

For this tutorial, we will use the Advanced Biped template created by Bret Bays, which is a pretty solid rig with a fair number of options.

With this template selected, you will notice that the first component available is the Root component. This is the main controller for the character, which will control its position on the floor. Click the Root button to add the Root component to the Project.

When done, you will notice that it added the component to the Project, and that it is selected in the Object Manager. Selecting this component opens a new component option, the Spine (IK/FK Blend) component. Click to add it to the Project.

Now that the Spine component has been added to the Project, the first thing you will probably notice is that the rig is tiny compared to the character's mesh. Select the Subdivision Surface object and note the size displayed in the Coordinates Manager. The character is really out of proportion and is roughly 665 centimeters tall! You have two options for dealing with this: either correct the size of the meshes manually before starting the rigging process; or simply change the size of the template. For the purpose of the tutorial we will take some time and talk about template resizing, as this can be very useful for your future projects.

Template resizing

Biped templates come with default sizes that match their real-life counterparts, so the Advanced Biped template has roughly a size of 170 cm by default. You can change this by selecting the Basic tab of the Character object and adjust the Size options from there. Now you will notice that these options are grayed out and can't be accessed. This is because the Character components have already been added to the Project. Select the Root and Spine components in the Object Manager and delete them.

Once done, you will notice that the Character option is active again. This option is used to determine the size of the rig that will be created. Do not mistake this option with the template option found in the Object tab, as this option will only take into consideration the size parameter of each template, not the template itself (so, if you need to create a Biped rig with the scale of an insect, you can choose your default size independently from there).

Select the None Character option, and disable Auto Size. Auto Size takes the default scale of a template and applies it to the current Project. We need to deactivate this option to set a custom size ourselves. Once done, set the Size to 650 cm, which should be good enough for this Project (no need to be extremely precise, we will adjust the rig later on).

Now that we fixed the size issue, let's add the Root and Spine components once more by following the same procedure as before. You should now have these two components in the Object Manager, the Spine component selected and two new options available to add the arms and legs components.

Depending on the template, you will have Head and Neck components available. These are added automatically with the Spine component of the Advanced Biped template.

These two component buttons feature little arrows to show that there is more than one type of arm and leg rig available. Here we don't need to use the bendy setup, so we will click on the arrow and select the Leg (IK/FK Only) and Arm (IK/FK Only) components.

If you hold the Shift key while clicking on the component button you won't select the newly created component but will keep your current selection active - this is a great way to add multiple parts from a specific component without losing your current component selection. If you hold the Ctrl key while clicking on the component button, you will create symmetrical rigs (but not in every instance - this won't work on the Spine component for this rig, for example). So, holding the Shift+Ctrl keys will allow you to quickly add arms and legs on both sides of the character with only two clicks, without the need of coming back and selecting the Spine component over and over.

We now should have Root, Spine, Legs and Arms components on both sides of the character

Since we held the Shift key when adding the arms and legs components, the Spine component is still selected. You can now select both arms components to access their specific options. When doing so you will notice that you have the option to add hands from there. Click to add Hands components.

Note that since both arms are selected, you don't need to hold the Ctrl key to create a symmetry of each hand.

With the Hand components selected, you now have access to fingers. This time we will hold the Shift key, so the Hand component stays selected, allowing us to add several fingers without losing our current component selection.

First, add a FK (Thumb) component, then add four FK (Fingers) components. You will notice that this template only allows for one thumb at a time per hand, so the button reflects that by removing the thumb option once a thumb component has been added.

You should now have a complete rig. Note that the Legs components have options to add toes, but we won't be adding any for this mesh, since our character is not bare-footed.