Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School


First Advisor

Ryan English, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

Sandra Murchison, M.F.A.

Third Advisor

Ann R. Eisenberg, Ph.D.


This thesis project focuses on furthering my knowledge in creating rigs for an organic 3D model with realistic skin deformations. Rigs are the controls used to animate a model. A 3D model's skin deformation is how it squashes and stretches when moved. The project focuses on learning to use simulated muscles, which add the ability to imbue subtle secondary motion to the skin and deliver more realistic deformation as well as the creation of a smooth bind, a standard primary rigging technique. The aim is to compare and contrast their quality based on perceived realism. Subjectively, the muscle simulation was better and more realistic. Objectively, the smooth bind was best when time was accounted for, as it had fewer steps and involved fewer variables. I learned that subtlety in deformation can be worth it if you are willing and able to put in the time for it, but it is not necessary for all projects. Discovery and exploration of the implementation of the muscle tools for this project allowed me to become more skilled with higher level techniques and workflows that I can use to further my career in the animation industry.