How to build a simple Character Rig in Autodesk Maya?

Rigging Basics in a 3D animation pipeline
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Instructed by Isaac Yap Design / Design Tools
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  • Lectures 22
  • Length 3.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 8/2012 English

Course Description


Hi ! I am Isaac. Before you can animate a digital character, you have to build a skeleton with some animation controllers for your digital character.
I have created this series of video tutorials that teaches how to create a simple rig in Autodesk Maya. The videos are designed to show in an orderly manner that covers from concept to practice. Hence for the learner to truly understand the subject, one has to make use of the provided work files to do the lesson in Autodesk Maya while following the videos. Have a pleasant journey!

What are the requirements?

  • Basic knowledge of Autodesk Maya

What am I going to get from this course?

  • To understand the basic concept of a character rig
  • To build a simple character rig in Autodesk Maya

What is the target audience?

  • For those who are interesting in learning basic rigging in a 3D animation pipeline

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.

Curriculum

Section 1: Quick Overview (video)
01:03

Dear students,
Have you wonder how a proper digital rig is built? I hope this quick overview will allow you to see the big picture of this course. This course sets the core foundation of Rigging in a 3D animation production pipeline. It emphasies the proper understanding of the Rigging basics to ensure better enagagement in complex Rigging process in your days to come.

Article

This is the work file for the lessons.

Section 2: Creating a Skeleton and the effect of Local Rotational Axis
15:08

Step by step:
1. Create arm joint from clavicle-shoulder-elbow-waist-finger tip
2. Ensure LRA orientated to your intended movement for each joint

12:35

Step by step:
1. Create spine joint from root-spine-neck-head
2. Ensure LRA orientated to your intended movement for each joint

09:09

Step by step:

1. Create spine joint from hip-knee-ankle-ball-toetip
2. Ensure LRA orientated to your intended movement for each joint

09:14

Step by step:

1. Name all joints as bon_****
2. Name the end of a joint as bne_***
3. Mirror all joints to the opposite side
4. Create the Rotate Plane IK for the Limbs

Section 3: Creating Animation Controls to control the Skeleton
14:15

Step by step:

1. Create Main Control using EP curve tool (set as 1-Linear) and snap-to-grid
2. Name it as CTRL_main and point-snap its pivot point to the root joint (bon_CenterMain)
3. Create Spine Control using EP curve tool (set as 1-Linear) and snap-to-point on a polygon cube primitive
4. Name it as CTRL_spine and point-snap its pivot point to the spine_B joint (bon_CenterSpineB)

5. Modify the appearance of the Controls in the component mode using the transform tool
6. Parent root joint to Main Control
7. Create a IK Spline Handle from root joint to spine_C joint
8. Create a Cluster deformer and name as cluster_spine
9. Assign weights to the CVs in the Component Editor
10. Hook up the rotation of both CTRL_spine and cluster_spine using Connection Editor
11. Parent CTRL_spine to CTRL_main

09:05

Step by Step:
1. Create head control using EP curve tool (set as 1-Linear) and point-snap to a polygon cube primitive
2. Name it as CTRL_head and point-snap its pivot point to the head joint (bon_CenterHead)
3. Create neck control using circle curve
4. Name it as CTRL_neck and point-snap its pivot point to the neck joint (bon_CenterNeck)
5. Modify the appearance of the Controls in the component mode using the transform tool
6. Orient constraint the neck joint(follower) to CTRL_neck(leader): first select the leader then the follower, then select orient constraint
7. Orient constraint the head joint(follower) to CTRL_head(leader): first select the leader then the follower, then select orient constraint
8. Point constraint the CTRL_head(follower) to head joint(leader): first select the leader then the follower, then select point constraint
9. Point constraint the CTRL_neck(follower) to neck joint(leader): first select the leader then the follower, then select point constraint

05:10

Step by Step:

1. Create the left clavicle control using EP curve tool (set as 1-Linear) and snap-to-grid
2. Duplicate special (set x scale as -1) to create the right clavicle control
3. Name it as CTRL_R_clavicle and point-snap its pivot point to the right clavicle joint (a.k.a bon_R_clavicle)
4. Name the left clavicle control as CTRL_L_clavicle and point-snap its pivot point to the left clavicle joint (a.k.a. bon_L_clavicle)
5. Orient constraint the CTRL_L_clavicle(leader) and bon_L_clavicle(follower)
6. Orient constraint the CTRL_R_clavicle(leader) and bon_R_clavicle(follower)

19:28

Step by Step:
1. Create the left arm control using EP curve tool (set as 1-Linear) and snap-to-grid
2. Duplicate special (set x scale as -1) to create the right arm control
3. Name it as CTRL_R_arm and point-snap its pivot point to the right waist joint (a.k.a bon_R_waist)
4. Name the left arm control as CTRL_L_arm and point-snap its pivot point to the left waist joint (a.k.a. bon_L_waist)
5. Rotate both arm controls matching their respective angled waist joints
6. Orient constraint the CTRL_L_arm(leader) and bon_L_waist(follower)
7. Point constraint the CTRL_L_arm(leader) and ikRp_L_arm(follower)
8. Orient constraint the CTRL_R_arm(leader) and bon_R_waist(follower)
9. Point constraint the CTRL_R_arm(leader) and ikRp_R_arm(follower)
10. Create the 2 elbow controls using EP curve tool (set as 1-Linear) and snap-to-grid and name them respectively as CTRL_L_elbow and CTRL_R_elbow.
11. Simply position both controls a distance away behind the each elbow joint
12. To position the elbow control accurately, create a triangle connect from left shoulder joint to left waist joint to left elbow joint
13. Set translation tool to average-normal, then move the vertex that is at the left elbow joint towards the left elbow control.
14. Point-snap the left elbow control to this vertex
15. Delete the triangle
16. Pole Vector constraint the CTRL_L_elbow(leader) and ikRp_L_arm(follower)
17. Repeat step 12 to 16 for the right elbow control
18. Point constraint CTRL_L_arm(leader) and CTRL_L_elbow(follower)
19. Point constraint CTRL_R_arm(leader) and CTRL_R_elbow(follower)

14:54

Step by Step
1. Create a circle curve to be the Knee Control and name it as CTRL_L_knee
2. Simply position it a distance away behind the left knee joint
3. To position the knee control accurately, create a triangle connect from left hip joint to left ankle joint to left knee joint
4. Set translation tool to average-normal, then move the vertex that is at the left knee joint towards the left knee control.
5. Point-snap the left elbow control to this vertex
6. Delete the triangle
7. Pole Vector constraint the CTRL_L_knee(leader) and ikRp_L_leg(follower)
8. To create the Reverse Foot Control, select bon_L_ankle and ctrl+D to duplicate the existing bon_L_ankle, bon_L_ball and bne_L_toe
9. Move the whole duplicated chain out of the existing, shift-P to unparent it
10. Create a joint at the side view panel, align it to the ankle joint in x axis
11. Unhide the 3D mesh and move this single joint to the heel area at eh side view panel
12. Hide the 3D mesh, parent the single joint to the duplicated toe end
13. Reroot the chain
14, Joint orient to world axis
15. Name the bones as CTRLbone_L_heel, CTRLbone_L_toe, CTRLbone_L_ball, CTRLbone_L_ankle
16. Point constraint CTRLbone_L_ankle(leader) and ikRP_L_leg
17. Orient constraint CTRLbone_L_ball(leader) and bon_L_ankle
18. Orient constraint CTRLbone_L_toel(leader) and bon_L_ball
19. Create a 2D foot shape and named it as CTRL_L_leg
20. Parent CTRLbone_L_heel to the CTRL_L_leg
21. Parent CTRL_L_knee to CTRL_L_leg

06:13

Step by Step
1. Lock and hide unwanted parameters of the CTRL_L_leg
2. Add attribute, min=-5, max=10, default=0
3. Setup set-driven-key. Driver is CTRL_L_leg at Roll. Driven are CTRL_bone_L_heel, CTRL_bone_L_toe,CTRL_bone_L_ball all three at Rotate X
4. Set key at Roll=0, -5, 5,10.
5. Test the foot Roll.

Cleaning up Controls | Create Global Control
05:57
Section 4: Concept of Skinning
11:14

Step by Step
1. Create an arm-down-pose by keyframe translate CTRL_L_arm
2. The total skin weight is more than 1.0 or 100%. To change the total weight to 1.0 (total weight can be found in Component Editor>Smooth Skins TAB), select the mesh,in attribute editor, skinCluster TAB>under Normalize Weights, choose interactive.
3. Choose Skin>Edit Smooth Skin>Normalized Weights
4. Now,select the three rings vertices around the chest area by shift-double-click on edges, then ctrl+RMB and select "to vertices"
5. In component editor, enter "0" into the columns of bone shoulder,elbow,waist.

11:40

Step by Step
1. Create an wrist-rotate-pose by keyframe rotate CTRL_L_arm
2. Select the vertices around the hand area
3. In component editor, enter "1" into all the bon_L_hand columns
4. To fix the vertices at the wrist, select the vertices around the wrist area
5. Choose Skin>Edit Smooth Skin>Weight Hammer
6. In component editor, enter "0" into all columns except bon_L_elbow and bon_L_wrist

08:31

Step by Step
1. Create an arm-raise-pose by keyframe translate and rotate CTRL_L_arm and CTRL_L_clavicle
2. Select the a vertex at the shoulder area
3. In component editor, enter "0" into all columns except bon_L_shoulder and bon_L_clavicle
4. To fix the vertices at the knee area, create an knee-bend-pose by keyframe translate and rotate CTRL_L_leg, then select the vertices around the knee area
5. In component editor, enter "0" into all columns except bon_L_knee and bon_L_hip
6. Continue to enter "0.5" into just column bon_L_knee and bon_L_hip
7. To fix the vertices at the toe area, create a few foot-roll poses by keyframe "Roll attribute" of CTRL_L_leg, then select the vertices around the toe area
8. In component editor, enter "1" into column bon_L_ball
9. To fix the vertices at the lower ball area, select the vertices around the lower ball area
10. In component editor, enter "1" into column bon_L_ball
11. To fix the vertices at the upper ball area, select the vertices around the upper ball area
12. In component editor, enter "0" into all columns except bon_L_ball and bon_L_ankle
13. To fix the vertices at the ankle area, select the vertices around the ankle area
14. In component editor, enter "1" into column bon_L_ankle

18:44

Step by Step
1. Create leg-raise-pose by keyframe translate and rotate CTRL_L_arm
2. RMB the mesh to select Paint Weight Tool. RMB on the bon_L_hip
3. In Paint Weight Tool Editor, select "ADD". Value=0.2
4. To change the brush diameter, hold down "B" button and LMB and move your mouse
5. Paint at the vertices around hip area to maintain its volume
6. To fix the pelvis area, select a vertex below the pelvis
7. In component editor, assign "1" to column bon_CentrePelvis
8. To assign color to Controls, select one of the controls e.g. CTRL_L_arm, in attribute editor, select CTRL_L_armShape>Drawing overrides>Enable Overrides>slide the slider to choose your preferred color

Section 5: AddOns: Concept of Pivot Point | Parent-Child Relation
04:03

what is a pivot point? | what is a parent-child relation?

10:19

how a pivot point affect a parent-child relation?

Section 6: AddOns: Concept of Forward Kinematic(FK) and Inverse Kinematic(IK)
08:41

what is joint drives object?

02:51

what is forward kinematic (FK) ?

04:54


what is inverse kinematic (IK) ?

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Instructor Biography

Isaac Yap, Tertiary Institution in Singapore

I am Isaac Yap. I was born in Singapore and grew up with a great interest in comics and movies. When I was thirteen years old, my first comic strip was published in the local newspaper. Thereafter, I was heavily involved in producing more and bigger comics and eventually, I landed in a job doing story-based serial comic created all by myself. Not long after I worked to create sprite animation, I was introduced to the world of computer animation that impact my life drastically. From that on, I worked for over ten years mastering almost all 3D softwares that existed at that time. Eventually, I went to Bournemouth University in UK to attain my Master Degree.

I am currently entering my 10th years of teaching 3D animation production, Drawing and Visual Story Telling.

Over these years of learning, practising and teaching, I begin to realise and strongly believe that the stories (regardless of what form it takes) not only fascinate us, they can also edify us with its strong messages that empowers us to live life better.

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