Thursday, 7 December 2017

Wolfdog Rig from HighEnd3D

We're liking this Wolfdog rig, available for free download from He is loosely based on the character Balto from the movie, and has a good range of controls and even facial expressions.

The rig does have some limitations, especially in the way the wrists and feet have been rigged, but you can get some really nice character work out of Wolf dog.

Find Wolfdog
Wolf dog can be downloaded free from

Wrist Limitations
The wrist/paw has some limitations. When you rotate the front paw forward, the wrist bends in a way that doesn't necessarily make animating a walk cycle easy.  That said, it's a fairly cartoony rig so the motion doesn't have to be 100% naturalistic.

License type - MIT
The rig is made available on an MIT License, meaning that you can do pretty much whatever you want with it as long as you give credit to its creator.

Facial expressions
Wolfdog comes with a facial interface next to his head. We recommend creating a new camera, naming it faceCam, parenting that to the facial controls, locking it off, and then tearing the camera off the Maya interface. Now you have a FaceCamera that you can pull up anytime you need it. To see how to do this in detail, read this blog post.

Wolfdog and Arnold Render
Wolfdog is an older rig and his eyes and teeth do not always render well in Arnold. To make the eyes appear in Arnold,  you must unparent the group folder, and put it last on the Outliner list.  The issue is that the shader on the outer layer of the eye is not clear. So you need to select the geo and apply a new Arnold shader (aiStandardSurface) and turn up the Transmission weight to 1. Depending on which version of Maya you are using, you then need to select the geo 'shape' node and on the the attribute editor go to the Arnold section and there is a tick box for 'Opaque' that needs to be turned off. In more recent versions of Maya, this is off by default so should work fine.

Examples of animation 
Below is a very stylish shot of the wolf dog catching a frisbee by Animation Apprentice student Giuseppe Candido.

And below is a shot of the wolf dog walking, also by Giuseppe Candido.

Have fun with Wolfdog!


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