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If my character needs to do a split, how should I place the bones?

Obviously I know that the arm also needs to be moved but it was a test.

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enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm no expert on rigging, but I've seen some videos where they use Shape Keys to fix that kind of problem. Might be something to look into? $\endgroup$
    – Psyonic
    Sep 23, 2022 at 11:08

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First, warm up! ;-)

warmup

Poses like a straddle, middle splits, and front splits result in a massive mesh deformation.

I would change the placement of the pelvic bones similar to Rigify's. Additionally, adding twist bones for the thighs because you need to rotate them around two axes at the same time to do such poses. The twist/tweak bones are created by subdividing the upper and lower legs. Rigify creates them automatically for the animation rig (screenshot 4).

pelvis bones Warning: The body's proportions seem to be a bit off. The upper body seems to be too short and the legs are a bit too long.

The hip/pelvis bones usually start at the coccyx and end roughly where you see the hip bone of the pelvis. I use the Rigify rig here but other rigs should work, too. It's important to have a clean mesh topology and that the bones are aligned properly.

The thigh bones are placed fairly low. If you place them too high they begin to squeeze the abdomen and the sides of the thighs. Don't worry if it doesn't work on the first try. I usually need several tries and adjustments to find a good placement of the bones. Each model and its mesh is different and requires individual adjustment. Often I even have to adjust the body mesh a bit because the proportions are not right or the rig works better if you change the rest position (e.g. have the feet parallel to each other).

To keep the volume of the body, enabling the Preserve Volume option of the Armature modifier and a Corrective Smooth modifier with default settings are recommended (see the following screenshot):

Middle splits:

middle splits

Front splits, with visible deformation bones. The pelvis is rotated by about 45°. The tweak bones of the legs are used to move the thighs closer to the floor.

front splits

Standing splits (with a stretched upper body to match the reference):

standing splits

Happy contortion!

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