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Rigging feathers for a wing


Good Day Everyone

I was just thinking, I wanted to hear if anyone has had any experience using mGear when it comes to rigging things like wings and feathers, I have thought of ways and still thinking of more as time goes by ( will be rigging something that has wings very soon and wanted to make sure I’m prepared), just thought i’d post this and see if there are any better ideas out there.

My initial train of thought so far is either

a) I rig the wings like normal arm setup, so it has FK/IK swithcing and then on the arm pieces I do fk chains for the individual feathers then use the RBF Manager to setup some form of automated movement when the wings move.

b) Repeat the same process as above but instead of using the RBF manager, to just delve into the node editor to create the automation with the feathers with nodes like PlusMinAvg, MultiplyDiv etc linked to the rotations of the arms to create feather spreading and so forth

Any insight or guidance would be appreciated. I know advanced skeleton has that setup for wings with the curve where the chains lookat the curve depending on how and where it moves.

Still Loving mGear alot!


Hello @Ruan_Myburgh

You can indeed use a regular Arm setup to rig you wing arm structure. For what concerns the feathers there is a lot involved in order to have something reliable in animation and to do so it already starts in modeling departments and how they are modeling and posing your feathers.

If you have several layers of feathers in order to simplify your life they need to model the feathers layers to be one on top of the other while at the same time been able to properly maintain mesh density structure from each feather layer and as well giving it an organic/believable feeling because of course feathers are not always one on top of the other. The thing with crossing layers is that is you want to animate a specific feather you just can’t because each feather will affect the following and so on.

Here are to quick examples of layers superposition.

I recommend you to take a close look to animated movies having rigs like Rio or Guardians. They use this feather on top of feather type of things in order to be able to have more flexibility later on.

Lastly I would say that there are different ways of driving your feathers but basically one concist on creating a surface or mesh that is your feathers sulhouete and you skin and drive that one with the rig. If you keep it low density you can do correctives shapes pretty easily. Then you have to attach the feathers to that surface (quick sum up of course). A second technique would be to directly drive each shunk of the feathers with the arm rig and then giving the nice transitions with other techniques like you mentioned the RBF manager or others, so many choices there.

One last important thing is that if you have multiple feathers layers you need to make sure that bending the feathers don’t make one layer interpenetrate with another.
This is of course not a detailed explanation but I hope it will help you getting started.


Thank you @Jerome very much, this already helps a lot especially the silhouette mesh idea that already makes sense to me. Going to try and RnD that now while I have time, I haven’t thought of doing it this way yet.

I’ll be sure to relay that message of how the feathers need to be made to the modelers. So no penetration of geo happens.


Hi @Ruan_Myburgh
The first thing that comes to mind is the new chain stack.

I’ve been dying to try it out, but right now none of our rigs need this functionality. I think the spring solver and RBF manager could create some interesting results as well.

Best of luck!