Finger Spider (Animated)

by Keith Morgan in Models

[The following guide is also packed inside the .blend file]


  • Packaged 'Valet' add-on with source files
  • Removed old script files after being replaced and enhanced by 'Valet'
  • Fixed rotation error on right hand for walk cycle
  • Disabled drivers on hand rigs for the walk cycle (THIS CURRENTLY DISABLES THE HAND IK SCALE DRIVERS TO CLOSE THE FINGERS. Re-enable them in the drivers section of the curve editor by unmuting their channels to regain functionality. A proper fix is yet to be added soon!)

### GUIDE ###


  • The character mesh is modeled to look good at multiple detail levels. With a base resolution of 44000 triangles, performance for realtime playback is smooth even at 60fps.
  • Applying SubSurf can help to smooth out the round forms at render and keep a clean edge
  • The model is fully UV unwrapped, so feel free to paint your own textures or add decals and tattoos as you see fitting.
  • In the material for the skin, there is a colored node that allows you to color the finger nail using a custom colour. Hover over the node and hit 'M' to unmute the node and enable the paint color.
  • A set of 10 corrective shapekeys are included on the mesh. They are driven by the rig itself, but there is a performance error due to the dependency graph that makes them lag behind a frame in Blender v2.79 and below. To correct this, I've developed an add-on called 'Valet'.
  • NOTE: Importing into Blender 2.8 will fix this without having to bake the drivers to keyframes as the dependency graph is updated to handle this situation correctly. However, there is a 2.8 compatible version of Valet if you still want to bake your driven shapekeys to frames.


  • Valet adds additional buttons to the shapekeys tab in the properties panel. The new functions let you bake any driver-run shape keys down the keyframes so they feed their correct values per frame without the added mess of caused by the dependency graph. This is also helpful if you are exporting the mesh to another suite and need accurate mesh representation per frame.

    • Open the Blender User Preferences by going File > User Preferences [or in 2.8, go to Edit > User Preferences].
    • Navigate to the Add-Ons tab, and choose the 'Install Add-on from File' option. Select the appropriate version of Valet for your version of Blender from the download folder for the Finger Spider.
    • Enable the Add-on by checking it off in the Add-On tab.
  • To use Valet, first animate the rig how you want. As a finishing step, select the finger spider mesh, and in the Object Data tab > Shape Keys you will see a section called 'VALET TOOLKIT'. Choose the 'Bake Drivers to Keys' option. This will bake all of the shapekeys down to keyframes. Next, with the mesh still selected, click 'Disable Shapekey Drivers'. This will temporarily disable the drivers on the shape keys for the mesh so that the keyframes are what act on the mesh instead of the driver result.
  • NOTE: Currently the 'Bake Drivers to Keys' button bakes from the start frame to the end frame.
  • To reverse the process, select the mesh, and the choose the 'Delete Shapekey Keyframes' button to remove the baked keys. Unlike the Bake button, this function removes all keys, regardless of the Start/End frame. Finally, click the 'Re-enable Shapekey Drivers' to restore full functionality to the drivers.


Valet does NOT currently affect the drivers running the fingers in the rig. Once you bake the transforms for the rig, you will still have to manually mute the drivers for the finger bones in the drivers panel. THEY ARE CURRENTLY DISABLED IN THIS FILE. To have full functionality of the rig, you will have to unmute the drivers. Reference the section below about the rig to unhide the hidden finger bones so you can select them and disable/enable the rotation drivers as necessary.

 Again, this is not a big deal in 2.80, but necessary if you want accurate updates in 2.7X due to the dependency graph. This is on my to-do list to keep it simpler in the future.



  • The rig is comprised of 127 bones, of which, only 18 are readily visible and necessary for most applications.
  • Accessory bones can be found on the two hidden bone layers in the Object Data tab for the rig.

    Bone Layers:
    [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]   [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][#]
    [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]   [ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][#]

  • Turning on these two layers will reveal the rest of the bones. Feel free to use them to have finer control or perform FK-transformations.
  • IK constraints on each arm allow you to easily move and pose each limb using the controller found at each hand.
  • Translating the Hand Controller will move each hand to that position. Elbow poles (floating diamonds) can give you additional posing freedom.
    • Rotating each Hand Controller will rotate the hand in a 1:1 ratio. Be mindful of twisting on the wrists.
    • Scaling each Hand Controller either up or down will stretch out or close each hand respectively [see change-log and above WARNING for details].
    • Certain axis and transformations are locked by default to simplify your decisions. Feel free to unlock transform locks as necessary.
  • Bone shapes are included on layer 2 for reference.