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Newbie Hand Issues

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"Smooth_immobile" is made like in the hand tutorial, but with more segments to have space between the fingers. Tried to animate the hand and fingers using the skinning feature, probably there were too many bones, didn't work. "Seamy_joints" is ugly but functional, each finger and the thumb are cylinders attached to their own separate two bones. It opened and closed surprisingly well. Is there a way to smooth over the places where the different objects join?

I'd appreciate tips on modeling and animating hands from more experienced users. (Searching the forum was difficult, because "hand" or "hands" gives all sorts of search results.)

Since forum members seem to be reading my post, I'll update: I tried using morph targets instead of bones to move the "smooth hand". Not too bad, although more control and ease of positioning the fingers would be nice. I noticed that the conversion to subdivisions had no effect on these edits - the number of points for the 3 extruded joints of each finger stayed the same. Also, selecting faces is a much faster way of working than selecting points, but it's easier to mess things up, too, especially if x and y are both selected. I don't know if more segments would be better or if too many points would make the operation even more tedious.

Hands are difficult in all kinds of animation, but a small library of hands that work well could be used with different characters.

Update: The morph targets have to be inserted in the timeline at 1.0 - trying to gradually close the hand results in horrible distortions.

Hands are pretty difficult.
Remember that morph target points move in a straight path to their morph, so if you want a round motion (like you'd see in a real hand joint), you could either use two separate morphs in two positions, or just use bones. Bones would certainly look the best and give the most flexibility. Plus, you don't have to worry about making the two sides of the hand perfect in their morphs, just the bones (which I find way easier).

If the "horrible distortions" are something else, perhaps it's because you're using integers or values greater than 1.0? That causes the morph points to continue in their straight path and go over the "target" amount, though it can be used to good effect in cartoony characters when you want to bring a little bit more life into facial animations and stuff.

Good luck!

If the Figure is using multiple separate objects there's no way to smooth them together, if you want smooth joints the hand and fingers will need to be a single object.  Using separate objects is ok if you're building a robot hand or a gauntlet or something like that, with solid parts that hinge or interlock.  The trick with organic models is to have enough vertex points in the right locations to allow the mesh to deform with the bones; moving the bones won't bend a line between points, it will only move points themselves, so if the points aren't in the right place the mesh won't deform as you expect.

In Figure mode, you want to build the skeleton structure such that bone joints coincide with the clusters of vertexes in the model.  Mapping which points move with which bones is the really tricky part.  Using 'bone influences' is generally more accurate than 'weight painting' but they can be problematic around the gaps between fingers as points are mapped to bones based on the distance from the bone to the point.  Weight painting allows you to manually map points to bones, regardless of their relative positions, but can be trickier to master and is more like an art than a science.  One method is to start with influences, setting the influence ranges as accurately as possible, then switch to weight painting to make adjustments.

In the example below I used weight painting to map points to bones (not very well, there are a few places where the points don't move evenly in the test animation).  As davdud101 mentioned, hands are kinda tricky due to the proximity of the fingers to each other.

 Hi there exile,
 Good advice from davdud and Ensoniq5
 Although it may all seem a bit confusing at first, you keep at it and things will come together.
 (when weight painting, remember its the vertices that 'take' the weight, not the faces)
 I would suggest using a reference image to model a hand, and make sure the fingers have a reasonable gap between them. The an8 hand tutorial uses 'box modelling', which is great.
 Check some other 'box modelling a hand' tutorials online as well.
 Heres one, and although it was written in blender, its just as do-able in anim8or.
 Box modelling a hand:
 The only thing i would change here is the amount of seams at the finger joints. As you reach a finger joint, give 2 extra 'short' extrusions before the next 'main' finger extrusion. This will give you 3 seams at each joint, rather than just 1.
 The only real way to animate hands successfully is by using bones. 3 bones for each finger an 3 for the thumb. (although the first thumb bone is lodged 'in' the side of the hand)
 Once you've got a hand model you're happy with, and a skeleton to fit it, then try skinning again. Take note of what Ensoniq5 said...
--- Quote ---"One method is to start with influences, setting the influence ranges as accurately as possible, then switch to weight painting to make adjustments"
--- End quote ---
 As you make progress with the skinning in figure mode, switch over to sequence mode and test each finger, then back to tweak in figure mode, then back to test in sequence mode... and so on, till you get the fingers animating well.
 The BONUS payoff you get when you're happy with the results is:
--- Quote ---....a small library of hands that work well could be used with different characters.
--- End quote ---
You can do this by making sequences. Single frame 'pose' sequences and also multi frame actual sequences. (the rig must be the same rig, but a different character can be attached, as a new/seperate figure.)
 nb: With 2 or more 'pose' sequences, added in scene mode, anim8or will make larger proper sequences by filling in the frame 10 -> flat hand pose sequence, frame 15 -> closed hand pose sequence. When you play the animation, anim8or fills in frames between 10 and 15, and the open hand will close.
 So rather than making a sequence of a hand closing, you can leave that movement up to anim8or.
 Naturally, the same applies to any single pose sequences.
 (actually, 'pose sequence' is not the best description. Its really just a pose, made in sequence mode.)

Questions welcome.


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