Maya Rigging a Dinosaur in 4 hours

Learn how to proper Rig a digital Dinosaur in Autodesk Maya for animating a dinosaur doing a walk cycle
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1,590 students enrolled
Instructed by Isaac Yap Design / Design Tools
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  • Lectures 19
  • Contents Video: 4 hours
    Other: 0 mins
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
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About This Course

Published 10/2013 English

Course Description

What is the “Maya Rigging a Dinosaur“course about?

This exciting course is about learning the Rigging Tools in Autodesk Maya.

What kind of materials are included?

1. A series of video tutorials

2. A downloadable ZIP file that contains Maya work files of the dinosaur.

How long to complete?

More than 5 hours to view the Maya Modeling tutorials and to create the model.

How is this Maya training course structured?

It is mainly a hands-on learning experience whereby you create the dinosaur while viewing the videos. The series of video tutorials flows in an orderly manner to lead you to the completion of creating a digital dinosaur. You can also jump start to your preferred modeling stage at any time. What you can do is to simply make use of the Maya work files to work on.

Have a wonderful JURASSIC Rigging experience!

What are the requirements?

  • Learners can also download a free trial copy of Autodesk Maya from http://usa.autodesk.com/maya/trial/
  • Learners need to download a free learning copy of Autodesk Maya from http://students.autodesk.com/?nd=download_center
  • Learners can download and make use of my pre-prepared Maya work files to head start from any one of my lesson

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Course Goal: By the end of the course, you will be able to Rig a 3D dinosaur
  • Course Objectives: In this course, you will learn Maya Rigging tools such as joint tool, skinning tool, IK handle tool, Ik spline handle tool, Local rotation axis orientation, using constraints etc. You will also pick up many useful rigging techniques along the way.

What is the target audience?

  • Learners who have some basic understanding of Autodesk Maya and is interested in 3D rigging

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

Maya Rigging a Dinosaur workfile
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Article
Section 1: Construct the Skeleton of the Dinosaur
24:26

Create the Leg Bone

  1. Using the Joint Tool(secondary axis=positive y), from the side view, create the hip joint, knee and ankle joint.
  2. Orientate the LRA(local rational axis) of knee joint to align z-axis to be the same as the LRA of the hip joint by using skeleton>orient joint, secondary axis=negative y.
  3. Orientate the LRA of ankle joint to be the same as knee joint using attribute editor>joint orient, set x,y,z=0.
  4. From front view, orientate the LRA of the hip joint to match the slanted leg bone by using attribute editor>joint orient.
  5. From side view, using the Joint Tool, (secondary axis=positive y) create the 2nd ankle joint and place in same position as the 1st ankle joint.Then continue to create the ball and the middle toe. LRA are automatically orientated.
  6. From side view, using the Joint Tool, (secondary axis=positive y) create one of the side toe.From top view, translate each toe joint to position them.
  7. From top view, duplicate the finished toe to create the other side toe. Translate each toe joint to position them. Parent them to the ball joint.
  8. Create an IK RP solver for the hip and the 1st ankle joint. Parent the 2nd ankle joint to the 1st ankle joint
08:47

Create the Tail Bone

  1. Name the joint accordingly.
  2. Mirror the leg bone using mirror joint command, taking advantage of replacement name for duplicated joints.
  3. From side view, using joint tool(secondary axis= positive y), create a root joint. Using point constraint to position its center position between the 2 legs. Then unconstrained it.
  4. From side view, using joint tool(secondary axis= positive y), create the tail. Parent he tail to the root joint.
12:17

Create the Spine,Neck,Head,Jaw,Arm Bone
From side view, using joint tool(secondary axis= positive y), create the spine, neck and head joints. Parent the spine to the root joint.
From side view, using joint tool, create the jaw joint by clicking on the head joint.
From side view, using joint tool(secondary axis= negative z), create the arm from shoulder to finger tip.
From the front view, translate all in position. Notice many of the LRA are disorientated.
To re-orientate the LRA altogether, using skeleton>orient joint(secondary axis= negative z).
To refine LRA at finger, use component mode>?, rotate LRA manually.
To create the other finger, duplicate the existing finger. If LRA refinement needed, use component mode>?, rotate its LRA manually.


Section 2: Construct the Skinning of the Dinosaur
07:47

Applying Smooth Bind

  1. To apply smooth bind, select all CTRL by using the select by name (type CTRL*) ans shift select the model, then Skin>Bind Skin>Smooth Bind(bind to selected, bind method:heat map).
  2. Group the upper teeth.Parent upper teeth group and upper gum to head joint.
  3. Group the lower teeth.Parent lower teeth group, tongue and lower gum to jaw joint.
07:47

Skin the Head

  1. Select the vertices of the skull, using the window>general editor>component editor.
  2. Enter 1.0 into the bone_headA column.
  3. Notice the total skin weights that goes beyond 1.0.
  4. To set the total skin weight to 1.0, select the model, in channel box, choose inputs>skincluster1>normalized weights>interactive.
  5. Choose skin>edit smooth skin>normalized weights.
  6. Re-enter 1.0 into the bone_headA column. Now the total skin weight is 1.0.
  7. Select the vertices of the jaw area, using the window>general editor>component editor.
  8. Enter 1.0 into the bone_jaw column.
27:08

Skin the Head

  1. To check the skinning at the arm, keyframe to animate an arm swing by rotating the shoulder joint.
  2. To generally eliminate all skinning influences to the shoulder joint, grow select the vertices of the entire arm.Invert the selection by using edit>invert selection, so that all vertices are selected except the left arm.In component editor, assign 0.0 to bon_L_shoulder,bon_L_elbow.
  3. To inspect the shoulder joint again, scrub the timeline. No movement of the selected vertices indicates no skin influence to the shoulder joint. Once done, delete the keyframes for the shoulder.
  4. To check the skinning at the elbow, keyframe to animate elbow bending by rotating the elbow joint.
  5. To fix the flattened area at the elbow joint, use the Paint Skin Weights Tool, value at 0.2, add influences (or paint white) to either the shoulder or the elbow joint to obtain the appropriate volume of that portion at their extreme pose repectively..
  6. DO NOT paint BLACK! Maya would do a terrible job of redistributing the weights.
  7. Repeat these process for all the other joints.
16:02

Skin the Leg

  1. To check the skinning at the leg, keyframe to animate a leg swing by rotating the bon_L_hip.
  2. To generally eliminate all skinning influences to the leg joint, grow select the vertices of the entire leg. Invert the selection by using edit>invert selection, so that all vertices are selected except the left leg. In component editor, assign 0.0 to bon_L_hip, bon_L_knee,bon_L_ankle and bon_L_ball.
  3. To inspect the shoulder joint again, scrub the timeline. No movement of the selected vertices indicates no skin influence to the shoulder joint. Once done, delete the keyframes for the leg.
  4. To check the skinning at the knee, keyframe to animate knee bending by rotating the knee joint.
  5. To fix the flattened area at the knee joint, use the Paint Skin Weights Tool, value at 0.2, add influences (or paint white) to either the hip or the knee joint to obtain the appropriate volume of that portion at their extreme pose repectively.
  6. DO NOT paint BLACK! Maya would do a terrible job of redistributing the weights to other joints.
  7. Repeat these process for all the other joints.
19:38

Skin the Foot

  1. To fix the flattened area at the foot joint, use the Paint Skin Weights Tool, value at 0.2, add influences (or paint white) to adjacent joints (e.g.bon_L_knee and bon_L_ball) to obtain the appropriate volume of that portion at their extreme pose respectively.
  2. DO NOT paint BLACK! Maya would do a terrible job of redistributing the weights to other joints.
  3. Repeat these process for all the other joints.
13:39

Mirror Skin Weights

  1. To mirror the skin weights from left to right, skin>mirror skin, set mirror across YZ, direction is positive to negative, both influence association is 1 to 1.
  2. Fix the vertices on the underside, translate the legs apart, select the affected vertices, in component editor, assign "0" to all the leg joint.
  3. To minimize unpredictable problem, fix all problematic skin weights using component editor assigning value of "1" to the selected joint.DO NOT assign "0" during this final stage.
  4. Inspect the skin weights from neck,shoulder,spine,root,to tail. Paint skin weights if needed.DO NOT paint "black".
Section 3: Construct the Controls for the Skeleton of the Dinosaur
15:27

Create the Controls for the Leg

To create the 2d or 3d shape of the leg control

  1. To create the ball control, create a polygon box. Switch on the x-ray mode.
  2. Use EP curve tool (curve degree= 1 linear) to create a 3d cube outline shape by tracing the polygon box.Name it as CTRL_ball. Snap translate its pivot to position at bon_L_ball.
  3. To create the foot control, create a 2d circle. Name it as CTRL_foot. Transform its components to modify the shape.
  4. To create a reverse foot control, use the joint tool. Name the joints as RF_CTRL_L_main, RF_CTRL_L_toetip, RF_CTRL_L_ball, RF_CTRL_L_ankle.
  5. Snap translate the pivot of CTRL_L_foot to RF_CTRL_L_main.
  6. Use EP curve tool (curve degree= 1 linear) to create a 2d arrow shape
10:10

Connect the Controls for the Leg

To hook up the knee control and the IK handle

  1. Pole vector constraint the leader (CTRL_L_knee) and the follower (IK_L_leg).

To hook up the reverse foot control and the leg joints

  1. Point constraint the leader (RF_CTRL_L_ankle) and the follower (bon_L_ankle).
  2. Orient constraint the leader (RF_CTRL_L_ball) and the follower (bon_L_ankle).
  3. Orient constraint the leader (RF_CTRL_L_toetip) and the follower (bon_L_ball).

To hook up the ball control and the reverse foot control

  1. Orient constraint the leader (CTRL_L_ball) and the follower (RF_CTRL_L_ball).

To hook up the reverse foot control and the leg control

  1. Parent RF_CTRL_L_main to CTRL_L_leg.
  2. Parent CTRL_L_ball to CTRL_L_leg.
  3. Point constraint the leader (CTRL_L_leg) and the follower (CTRL_L_knee).
10:19

Create and Connect the Controls for the Toe

To create the 2d shape of the toe control

  1. Using a EP curve (set curve degree to 1 linear) to create a 2d double arrowhead shape and name it as CTRL_L_toe.
  2. Position CTRL_L_toe above the CTRL_L_ball and freeze its transformation.


To connect the 2d shape of the toe control
We'll use set driven key to connect the driver(CTRL_L_toe) and driven(all toe joints)

  1. In Attribute Editor, set CTRL_L_toe translate limit for x and z to be min=0, max=0. Set translate limit for Y to be min=-1 and max=1.
  2. To drive the toes, use SET DRIVEN KEY. The driver as CTRL_L_toe using translate Y. The driven as bon_L_ball and all the toes(excluding bon_L_toe_A1 and bon_L_toe_C1) using rotate Z.
  3. Set driven key as follow: when the driver(y=0), the driven has the toes at default position(z=0). When the driver(y=1), the driven has the toes spread up(z=20). When the driver(y=-1), the driven has the toes clench(z=-75).
  4. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_L_ball) and the follower(CTRL_L_toe) so that CTRL_L_toe will always be on top of CTRL_L_ball.
10:28

Create the Controls for the root

To create the 3d shape of the leg control
To create the root control, create a polygon box. Switch on the x-ray mode.
Use EP curve tool (curve degree= 1 linear) to create a 3d cube outline shape by tracing the polygon box. Name it as CTRL_root. Snap translate its pivot to position at bon_root.

To create the 2d shape of the hip control
To create the hip control, use EP curve tool (curve degree= 1 linear) to create a 2d shape. Name it as CTRL_L_hip. Snap translate its pivot to position at bon_L_hip.

To hook up the root control and the leg joints
Parent bon_root to CTRL_root

To hook up the hip control and the leg joints
Point constraint the leader (CTRL_L_hip) and the follower (bon_L_hip).

13:12

Create the Tail Controls

Create a spline ik chain for the tail

  1. The IK spline chain starts from bon_tailA to bne_tail (set number of spans=4).
  2. Name it as ik_spine_tail

Create clusters deformers for the spline ik chain

  1. Select the created curve that is hidden in the middle of the ik chain.
  2. Switch Maya module to surface.
  3. Choose edit curves> selection> cluster curve. Result: Seven clusters are created along the curve. Name the curve as curve_tail.
  4. Name the cluster nearest to the CTRL_root as cluster_tailA, the next as cluster_tailB and so on.

Create four 2d circle shapes to be the tail controls

  1. Create six circles and name them as CTRL_tailA, CTRL_tailB, CTRL_tailC, CTRL_tailD, CTRL_tailE, CTRL_tailF.
  2. Snap translate CTRL_tailA to cluster_tailA.
  3. Snap translate the rest of the five tail controls to these clusters respectively starting from cluster_tailC to cluster_tailG.
  4. Freeze transformation for all the six tail controls.

To hook up the tail controls and the cluster deformers

  1. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_tailA) and the follower(cluster_tailA).
  2. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_tailA) and the follower(cluster_tailB).
  3. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_tailB) and the follower(cluster_tailC).
  4. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_tailC) and the follower(cluster_tailD).
  5. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_tailD) and the follower(cluster_tailE).
  6. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_tailE) and the follower(cluster_tailF).
  7. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_tailF) and the follower(cluster_tailG).
  8. Parent all five controls to CTRL_tailA.
  9. Parent CTRL_tailA to CTRL_root.
  10. To avoid double transformation, unparent the curve_tail.
11:51

Create Controls for the Spine

To create a spline ik to control the 3 spine joints

  1. Create a spline ik chain from bon_spineA to bon_head. Result: a ik chain and a curve is created. Name the curve as curve_spine.Try moving its control vertex (cv) of the curve to see how it affects the spine joints.
  2. To control these CVs, we will use cluster deformer.
  3. To generate the cluster deformers, select the created curve that is hidden in the middle of the ik chain.
  4. Switch Maya module to surface.Choose edit curves> selection> cluster curve. Result: Seven "c" are created along the curve.
  5. Name the cluster nearest to the CTRL_root as cluster_spineA, cluster_spineB and so on till cluster_spineG.

To transform and ready the spine control

  1. Create 5 2D circles and name them as CTRL_spineA, CTRL_spineB, CTRL_spineC, CTRL_spineD, CTRL_spineE.
  2. Translate and scale the CTRL_spine to the middle of the 3 spine joints. Ensure it is easily selected.
  3. Now freeze its transformation. All its transformation value are set as translate=0, rotate=0, scale=1. If you need to transform the spine control, only manipulate its components (eg control vertex)


To hook up the spine controls and the cluster deformers

  1. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_spineA) and the follower(cluster_spineA).
  2. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_spineA) and the follower(cluster_spineB).
  3. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_spineB) and the follower(cluster_spineC).
  4. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_spineC) and the follower(cluster_spineD).
  5. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_spineD) and the follower(cluster_spineE).
  6. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_spineE) and the follower(cluster_spineF).
  7. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_spineE) and the follower(cluster_spineG).
  8. Parent CTRL_spineE to CTRL_spineD.
  9. Parent CTRL_spineD to CTRL_spineC.
  10. Parent CTRL_spineC to CTRL_spineB.
  11. Parent CTRL_spineB to CTRL_spineA.
  12. Parent CTRL_spineA to CTRL_root.
  13. To avoid double transformation, unparent the curve_spine.
08:48

Create the Controls for Head and Jaw

To create the 2d shape of the head control

  1. Use EP curve tool to create a 3d cube outline shape (refer to create ball control instruction).Name it as CTRL_head.
  2. Use EP curve tool to create a 2d square shape. Name it as CTRL_jaw.
  3. Snap translate to place them accordingly. CTRL_head at bon_headA, CTRL_jaw at bon_jaw.Ensure their pivots are at their respective joint.

To hook up the controls and the joints

  1. Orient constraint the leader (CTRL_head) and the follower (bon_headA). This ensure head will not rotate when the spine rotate. However, CTRL_head will be left behind.
  2. Thus to prevent that, point constraint the leader (bon_headA) and the follower (CTRL_head).
  3. Orient constraint the leader (CTRL_jaw) and the follower (bon_jaw).
  4. Parent CTRL_jaw to CTRL_head.
19:52

Create and Connect the Controls for the Arm

To create the 2d circle shape of the shoulder control

  1. Using a EP curve (set curve degree to 1 linear) to create a 2d double arrowhead shape and name it as CTRL_L_shoulder.
  2. Position CTRL_L_shoulder at bon_L_shoulder and freeze its transformation.


To hook up the shoulder control

  1. Parent constraint the leader(CTRL_L_shoulder) and the follower(bon_L_shoulder).
  2. Parent CTRL_L_shoulder to CTRL_spineC

To create the 2d arrowhead shape of the elbow control

  1. Using a EP curve (set curve degree to 1 linear) to create a 2d double arrowhead shape and name it as CTRL_L_elbow.
  2. Roughly position CTRL_L_elbow behind at the left shoulder
  3. To find the exact spot for CTRL_L_elbow, use create polygon tool to create a triangle from shoulder joint, elbow joint and waist joint.
  4. Move (set at normal average) the vertex at the elbow to a distance away.
  5. Position snap CTRL_L_elbow to this vertex and freeze its transformation.

To hook up the elbow control and the IK handle

  1. Pole vector constraint the leader (CTRL_L_elbow) and the follower (IK_L_arm).

To connect the 2d shape of the finger control
We'll use set driven key to connect the driver(CTRL_L_finger) and driven(all finger joints)

  1. In Attribute Editor, set CTRL_L_finger translate limit for x and z to be min=0, max=0. Set translate limit for Y to be min=-1 and max=1.
  2. To drive the fingers, use SET DRIVEN KEY. The driver as CTRL_L_finger using translate Y. The driven as bon_L_fingerA and bon_L_fingerB(excluding bne_finger) using rotate Z.
  3. Set driven key as follow: when the driver(y=0), the driven has the toes at default position(rotate z=0). When the driver(y=1), the driven has the fingers spread up. When the driver(y=-1), the driven has the fingers clench(z=-75).
  4. Point constraint the leader(CTRL_L_waist) and the follower(CTRL_L_finger) so that CTRL_L_finger will always be on top of CTRL_L_waist.
12:20

To finish all Controls

DUPLICATE ALL CONTROLS to the mirror side

  1. Select all CTRLs. Group it (default name is group1). Duplicate group1 (group2 is created).
  2. Ungroup group1 and delete only the group1 node.
  3. Select group2. In channel box, change its scale to x=-1. As a result,all duplicated CTRLs are moved to the mirror side.
  4. Ungroup group2 and delete only the group2 node.


DUPLICATE REVERSE FOOT CONTROLS to the mirror side

  1. Select RF_CTRL_L_main.
  2. Mirror joint(set YZ plane, bahavior, search for=_L_, replace as=_R_) to duplicate a mirror copy that has naming convention modified.


FINAL ADJUSTMENT
In channel box, Hide and lock all unused parameters.
In attribute editor, assign colors to controls for better differentiation.

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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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