Rigging longer skirts

Since the number of new users has exploded after the release of v.6, and many of them are super excited and impatient to start using SMR right away, we thought it would be appropriate to compile a couple of articles that will give quick answers to questions that seem to be common.

One such very interesting question is:

“Is there a way to rig a skirt and avoid Shape Tweens in a synced timeline?”

We understand the excitement and impatience, which discovering the wonderful world of Smart Magnet Rigs can cause, esp. to people who have wrestled for years with Adobe's less-than-ideal implementations.



Simple and effective 4 piece approach


The traditional Flash approach to animating a longer skirt would be to nest its animation inside a Graphic Symbol, and run this symbol in sync with the character timeline, matching each keyframe of the character animation with an internal keyframe. Usually the skirt would be shape tweened inside the symbol. Each keyframe should match the positions of the thighs at character level.
The results can be very good, but this requires constant attention and, therefore, is quite time-consuming.

Smart Magnet Rigs are so flexible that they provide an effective alternative.
A simple setup of four elements allows dynamic and interactive posing, where the skirt is mostly animated at character level, and the body poses are automatically matched.

Two elements soft-welded to the thighs allow easy control of the silhouette. Inside, these elements can contain short flowy animations, and several variations to cover all extremes.
There is a mask, which is responsible for the hem line. It, also, can have multiple frames inside, or even be animated. The mask is a child of the Master Parent – in this case the pelvic area of the skirt.



Video demonstration


The following video demonstrates the setup in detail.

 
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