How the hell am I supposed to model and rig shoulders?

I don’t know if it’s the mesh, the skeleton, or both, but my shoulders always fail somehow no matter what my weight map is.

How do you guys make shoulders? Like, what bones and pivot points have you found that works the best? Do the edge loops on my mesh have to be a certain way?

Try to put less weight on the last vertexes. If you just can rig it with full weight, then you got a problem.

The vertices of the actual shoulder area shouldn’t be rigged to the arm bone that heavily. The weights shouldn’t really go over 0.5 or so.

Your edgeloops look really weird and you have ngons in your geometry. Your geometry edges are really random too.

Also, what they said above. You could also try to have a separate shoulder bone if you’re going for realism. But considering the thumb starts from the elbow, you’re not.

The biggest problem I see is not the rigging but the model geometry itself.

I tried lowering and generally playing with the weights. I think things improved a bit after I rigged the collar bone (before I only rigged the spine and arm bones) but I’m still getting the dent when the arms are lifted. The thing is, lowering the weight on the shoulder vertices causes them to move to the left, when what I’d really like them to do is move up.

Rest position:

Whole character:

My weights so far:

It actually is all quads. They didn’t show up when I took those first screen shots for some reason.

But yeah, I kind of want to know what’s wrong with my edge loops.

If you’re using blender (which it looks like), I suggest using bone heat. Works pretty well.

Here’s a good reference on the two most used shoulder types:

This is what I got when I used plain bone heat.

Bone heat also causes this guy to scream when his head and neck are tilted back.

Good reference. I kind of went with the second option in the first picture, and I’m not sure what I could have done to mess it up. Then again, all the models on that page have their arms in a sort of T-pose while my model’s arms are pointed down. A lot of the models on that page also have triangles, which makes things confusing since I’m trying to model entirely with quads (except for the tips of the teeth, horns, and claws).

Why not raise the clavical too?

The clavicle is pretty good, I think, and I’ll rely on it when I really need to lift the arms. The arm pit still pinches though when I move the arm itself.