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Full Ragdoll

Manikin Ragdoll

In the previous tutorial we assigned markers onto a rig such that you can achieve overlapping motion.

That's enough for some things, but other times you don't want any animation. You just want to drop a ragdoll someplace dangerous and watch it go.

Version 1.2 - Up to date

Written for Ragdoll 2023.08.01 and above.

Estimated Time

  • 🕐 10 minutes

You will learn

  • ✔️ How to prevent unrealistic poses
  • ✔️ How to author and tune "limits"

Where to find help

If you find or run into any issues with these tutorials, here's what you can do.

Bring Your Own Rig

Either continue from the last tutorial or start anew with your own rig.


Next let's see how our character behaves when there isn't any animation around to steer it.

  1. Select hip_ctl_rGroup
  2. Set Rotate Stiffness = 0.0

As in our last tutorial when we changed the hip_ctl from Animated to Simulated, now we do the same but for the whole character!

Yikes! That's a mess. No longer is the animation holding a pose together, it's all up to gravity and the anatomy of our character now.

The way we will address this is via "limits", which is like locked rotate channels except they also lock a range of values. We can use this to replicate natural limits in our human joints.


Let's start at legs and work our way up. First, let's figure out what axis we want to rotate, and which we want to lock.

Ok, great. The Z axis should rotate but X and Y should be locked.

  1. Run Ragdoll -> Manipulator
  2. Select the lower leg
  3. Switch to Limit Mode
  4. Enable limits around X, Y and Z
  5. Lock X and Y

Next, tune the minimum and maximum values of the limit.

Tune Minimum and Maximum Separately

By holding the Ctrl key, you can manipulate one bound at a time.

Then we can do the same for the feet.

Something like that should do the trick.


Let's keep the clavicles simple. We'll allow only 1 axis of rotation by locking the others.

  1. Run Ragdoll -> Manipulator
  2. Edit the clavicle


We'll lock the X and Y axes of the lower arm like we did for the lower leg.

  1. Run Ragdoll -> Manipulator
  2. Edit the lower arm
  3. Edit the hand

Hip and Spine

Both the hip and spine should be allowed to rotate around all three axes, so we can leave these at their default values for now.

  1. Run Ragdoll -> Manipulator
  2. Edit the hip and spine

And that's it! From here, we can hide the limits to have another look at contacts.


If we hide away our limits for a moment, we can see something that's not right. Notice how the arms and legs intersecting each other? That's because, per default, limbs within a single group are allowed to overlap.

Should I enable Self Collision?

Normally the answer is "no", but when you do, this can be overridden on the rGroup node.


Overlap Group

Let's address this by having these overlap with Nothing.


You now know enough to construct any character of any anatomy!

You have learnt

  • ✔️ How to limit the motion between two limbs
  • ✔️ How to tune the minimum and maximum bound of each limit

As you tune, try dropping the Manikin from different heights and angles. Put an obstacle underneath for more detail and to catch more edge cases. Once you are unable to produce an unnatural pose, you are done!

Download Completed Scene

For your reference, here is the completed scene with the Manikin file referenced.

Damped Limits

You can tune the behaviour of each limit to capture the look you're after, such as making things a little more damped.

Global Damping

This, and other stiffness and damping-related attributes, can be controlled globally - for every limit in your scene - via the rSolver node.


Soft Limits

Sometimes, a limit is hard. Like your elbow. It won't allow you to continue rotating it once it's straightened out. You'll break it!

Other limits are more flexible. Let's reflect this in our simulation by reducing their range and lowering their Stiffness, accepting that they will exceed it, but get gently pushed back.

Accurate Feet

Feet contact with the ground is often more important than other contacts. For such cases, a box or capsule shape may not be enough.

So let's use Replace Mesh to fix that.

  1. Select L_foot_jnt
  2. Select a mesh
  3. Run Replace Mesh


In most cases, you'll want some control over the resulting simulation. Just a little bit.

Group Markers

You could add/remove groups as you go for better control, each group multiplies stiffnesses and damping on each contained Marker.