Using bones as a modeling tool: its knot hard

Here is a handy technique for making a detailed linear object bend into a complicated shape.

It can be hard to bend an object into a convoluted shape with Modeler's bend tool. It is not as hard to bend a spline curve into a complicated shape.

I know this technique is not new, but since I almost never do any animation I have not studied bones very much, and I did not know about this until recently.



 
 

Here is how it works in a nutshell, using the knot pictured above as an example:
— Make a spline curve in the shape you want. Use the spline to make Skeligons.
— Create a linear rope running down the Z axis.
— Create an endomorph of the rope so it can be scaled in Lightwave.
— In Lightwave convert the skeligons to bones.
— Set all the bones rest rotations to zero.
— Set the rope to use the bones, and the rope will follow the shape of the bones.
— Use the endomorph to stretch or shrink the rope along the bone chain until it is the correct length. Finally saved the transformed rope as a new object.

Here is how to do it in detail:

PART 1: CREATING THE SPLINE CURVE

PART 2: MODELING ROPE

PART 3: MAKING THE ROPE TEXTURE

PART 4 : GETTING THE ROPE TO FOLLOW THE BONE CHAIN