Rigging Characters for Animation in Maya
- Setting Up a Character for Animation
- Creating Clean Joint Hierarchies for Animation
- Rigging a Simple Quadruped Character: The Dog
- Creating Advanced Bipedal Character Controls
- Advanced Stretchy IK Legs and Classic Reverse Foot
- Advanced IK Arms and Clavicular Triangle
- Hooking Up the Head Skeletal Hierarchy
- The Hair of the Jerk
Chapter 17: Rigging Characters for Animation
By Erick Miller
When setting up a character for animation, you need to complete several tasks. This chapter discusses those tasks in relation to the Parking Spot project outlined in Chapter 3, "Digital Studio Pipeline," and explains why they're important.
Specifically, this chapter explains setting up a character for animation through revealing the step-by-step workflow involved with rigging the following setups in Maya:
Quadruped spine and hips setup
Quadruped IK legs and feet
IK spline tail and ears setup
Low-res stand-in geometry
Control boxes hooked up to your character rig
The advanced biped spine
Stretchy IK legs and classic reverse foot
Advanced IK arms and clavicular triangle
An advanced additive hand and fingers
Facial controls and blend shape deformers
Smooth binding proxy geometry
Painting of smooth skin weights
Painting of weights using per vertex selections
Additional influence objects
Setting Up a Character for Animation
The very first step in creating a character setup rig is to research and gather the animation requirements of your character, including the types of motion the character has to achieve and the types of controls the character must have to fulfill these requirements.
Next, you should analyze the storyboards for the project and get a feel for what the specific shots might need. Also look into what kind of extra controls or capabilities might need to be added for each character or on a shot-by-shot basis.
One important thing to keep in mind while reading this chapter is that the characters in the project are not necessarily supposed to be photorealistic. Instead, they're 3D puppets that an animator will be controlling in both realistic and unrealisticand perhaps even cartooneyways to act and tell the story.