Ludwig: Character and Rig v1.0

Ludwig is a fully rigged and animation ready character for Blender. His features include IK/FK arms, stretch and squash head and spine, and a lip sync ready face controlled by a custom UI. Ludwig was created to provide the Blender community with a high-quality humanoid rig and to promote Blender as a character animation tool.

Requires Blender 2.40 or later.

Big thanks to Nathan Dunlap (LGM) for extensively testing Ludwig, and for his advice and suggestions.

Download: ludwig.blend (245 KB)
(Firefox users: If you are having difficulties downloading the file, right click on the link and choose "Save Link As...")

Sample Animations

"I Said Dance" elYsiun Animation Challenge #28 Winner (2.1 MB) - Nathan Dunlap
Lip Sync Test (843 KB) - Nathan Dunlap
Cannonball! (580 KB, DivX 6.0) - Jason Pierce
Crazy Dance (202 KB, DivX 6.0) - Jason Pierce
Creepy Valentine (2 MB, DivX 6.0) - Jason Pierce (This animation does not use the Ludwig character, but it does use the Ludwig rig)


Body Rig & Controls

The body rig is named "ludwigArmature" and is found on layer 1. It deforms both Ludwig's mesh, and a low poly maquette. The low poly mesh is on layer 3 (this layer is hidden by default). The low poly mesh is useful for blocking out animations on slow computers. It does not support finger or facial movement. Ludwig's mesh is on layer 2 (visible by default). It does support finger and facial motion.

All unhidden bones control something, so play around with them to see what they do.

Here are some of the more important bones: (A "G" in parenthesis means that you should move the bone, an "R" means you should rotate it. "G/R" means that the bone will do interesting things if you both move and rotate it)





Face Rig & Controls

All facial controls are located in a seperate armature named "FaceControl". An armature was used for this purpose (as opposed to a collection of empties and/or meshes) so that alt-G can be used to reset the face pose. To use a facial control, simply move it around. None of the facial controls respond to rotation.

Ludwig has the following face controls:




Tips & Tricks:

Squash & Stretch:

Ludwig features a stretch and squash head as well as a stretchy spine. Although there are no limits on how far these controls can be pushed, they are meant to be subtle effects. Stretching or squashing too far can lead to unwanted results.

IK/FK Switching:

Ludwig's arms can be animated using both forward and inverse kinematic techniques. By default he uses IK. To switch to FK, first select the Forearm bone (Forearm.L or Forearm.R, for left and right arms respectively). In the object buttons (F7), locate the Constraints Panel. There will only be one constraint. It is named "LeftArmIK" (or RightArmIK). Find the influence slider, and drag it to 0. If you need both IK and FK, the influence slider can be keyed.

Next select hand bone (Hand.L or Hand.R). Find the Copy Rotation constraint (named "LeftHandRot" or "RightHandRot") and set its influence to 0 (once again, if you will be switching between IK and FK during your animation, the slider can be keyed).

If you won't be using IK for the arms at all, it may be helpful to hide the IK_Arm bones.

The legs can also be animated with forward kinematics, but not conveniently as the arms. The IK Solver constraints for the legs is located in the Shin.L and Shin.R bones.

Using the Ludwig Rig With Your Own Meshes:

Using the Ludwig Rig with another mesh is by no means trivial, but it is much faster than creating a custom armature from scratch. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Licensing and Using Ludwig in your own work

Using the Ludwig Rig

The Ludwig rig may be used royalty free for both commercial and noncommercial purposes. This includes all armatures and the face maquette. You do not need to credit me, but you may if you so desire. As a courtesy, I would like to be informed when you use the Ludwig rig in your own projects (this is not a legal requirement, it is simply to satisfy my own curiosity).

Using the Ludwig Mesh and Character Design

The Ludwig mesh or derivatives of the Ludwig mesh may only be used for noncommercial purposes. This includes all parts of the mesh (body, mouth, eyes, etc.) and all shape keys. Acceptable use of Ludwig character includes school projects, demo reels, animation practice and contests (for example, 10 Second Club and elYsiun/ animation challenges).

You do not need to credit me when using the Ludwig mesh in your own projects, but you may do so if you wish.

If you would like to use the Ludwig mesh in commercial works, contact me for pricing and terms at:

Redistribution of Ludwig

You may freely redistribute the Ludwig source file or derivatives of the Ludwig source file. However, this licensing agreement must included with any distributions of Ludwig. You may not modify this license in any way. Any derivatives of the Ludwig mesh and armature are subject to the licensing terms outlined in this document.

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Copyright 2006 Jason Pierce