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Game Character Creation in Maya
Illustration by John Hersey

Building the spine


From:

Game Character Creation in Maya

with Chris Reilly

Video: Building the spine

Okay, so I've drawn out the bones for my leg joints. Let's go ahead and work on the spine a little bit. Before I go any further, I'm just going to do a little bit of housekeeping here. In my Outliner, I'm going to select my root joint, and all the joints below it, and just make sure that those are placed in the Skeleton layer. Then my low poly layer where my geometry is, I'm going to set that to a Reference layer, so that I don't accidentally select it as I'm going through and placing joints. So let me just zoom in here.
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  1. 3m 50s
    1. Welcome
      39s
    2. What you need to know before watching this course
      1m 9s
    3. Understanding game asset creation
      1m 21s
    4. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 25m 35s
    1. Setting up scene folders (Maya and Unity)
      3m 58s
    2. Optimizing geometry
      3m 14s
    3. Using symmetry
      4m 8s
    4. Extruding geometry
      4m 19s
    5. Sculpting geometry
      4m 1s
    6. Importing reference sketches
      5m 55s
  3. 37m 14s
    1. Modeling the head and nose
      5m 34s
    2. Creating the mouth
      4m 28s
    3. Crafting the eyes
      5m 11s
    4. Building the body and a wing
      10m 11s
    5. Forming the limbs
      8m 5s
    6. Adding finishing touches
      3m 45s
  4. 36m 11s
    1. UV mapping overview
      2m 43s
    2. UV mapping the body parts
      9m 18s
    3. UV mapping the face
      7m 40s
    4. UV mapping wrap-up
      3m 44s
    5. Mirroring
      4m 57s
    6. Texturing
      2m 46s
    7. Normal mapping
      5m 3s
  5. 46m 21s
    1. Setting up the skeleton
      5m 19s
    2. Building the spine
      3m 39s
    3. Finishing the skeleton
      4m 32s
    4. Rigging the legs and feet
      8m 35s
    5. Rigging the torso
      3m 49s
    6. Rigging the arms and hands
      3m 35s
    7. Rigging the face and head
      5m 9s
    8. Rigging wrap-up
      2m 27s
    9. Skin binding and weight painting
      5m 26s
    10. Animating in Maya
      3m 50s
  6. 29m 9s
    1. Exploring the Unity interface
      3m 3s
    2. Importing character and animations into Unity
      5m 50s
    3. Controlling animations with scripts: Third-person character controller
      7m 14s
    4. Controlling animations with scripts: Third-person camera controller
      4m 4s
    5. Making read/write animations using UnityScript Editor
      4m 8s
    6. Controlling scripts with animation events
      4m 50s
  7. 19s
    1. Additional resources
      19s

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Game Character Creation in Maya
2h 58m Intermediate Sep 15, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Get a thorough overview of techniques for creating characters for video games or real-time rendered applications. Author Chris Reilly covers low-poly modeling, texturing and animation, using 3D model and texture assets created in Maya and Adobe Photoshop. The course also includes an overview of Unity 3, including importing characters and making interactive animations with the Script Editor.

Topics include:
  • Optimizing, extruding, and sculpting geometry
  • Modeling a character's head and body
  • UV-mapping the head and body
  • Mirroring and texturing
  • Setting up the skeleton
  • Rigging the head and body
  • Skin binding & weight painting
  • Controlling animation with scripts in Unity
Subjects:
3D + Animation Modeling Character Animation Game Design
Software:
Maya
Author:
Chris Reilly

Building the spine

Okay, so I've drawn out the bones for my leg joints. Let's go ahead and work on the spine a little bit. Before I go any further, I'm just going to do a little bit of housekeeping here. In my Outliner, I'm going to select my root joint, and all the joints below it, and just make sure that those are placed in the Skeleton layer. Then my low poly layer where my geometry is, I'm going to set that to a Reference layer, so that I don't accidentally select it as I'm going through and placing joints. So let me just zoom in here.

So for the spine, I'm going to draw a few joints leading up the center of the character. So the first one I'm going to draw is going to be aligned where the lower arms kind of branch off. So I'll have a spine joint here, and then I'll start the joints for lower arm later on. So I'll bring up my Joint tool by clicking Skeleton > Joint Tool and as I place this, I'm going to Snap to Grid, because I want to make sure this is all aligned to the Y-axis for mirroring later on. So I will set one and I'm going to title this Spine1.

I'll just move that up a little bit. So I'm just going to zoom-in, and use my Move tool, just to slide this up a little bit, so that we're aligned with the lower arms. I am going to draw another joint above it, in between this joint and then the point on the body where the upper arms are going to branch off. So bring up the Joint tool again, Snap to Grid, and do one more. And just clean these up in the Outliner and then these are going to parent to the root joint.

I'll just keep labeling these. Now since there is no left or right spine here, so these are all aligned to the center. So I'm just going to number these sequentially. And let's go ahead and switch to the Side view. So we can see right now the spine is oriented straight up and down and that's not really how spines work. You want to add a little bit of a curvature and kind of follow more towards the back of the wing contour here. So I'm just going to move these joints just a little bit.

So move these back just to kind of follow that profile. Let's make it a little bit more natural. That looks pretty good. Now, another step I'm going to take with the spine is to build some joints coming out that will help to control sort of the abdominal area of the character. That will help the character deform in a more natural way as he sort of bends over or arches his back. So I'm going to close my Outliner here.

So I'm going to add just a few joints here and I'll bring my Outliner back up to parent these. So this I'll just call Rib1, because we think of it as just kind of like a rib cage, and that will parent to root. I'll bring the Joint tool back up again and I'll make a rib for Spine1. So this we call it Rib2. We'll just repeat that process for the other two spine joints.

So I'll keep working on this. Let's skip ahead and I'll talk about a couple of other steps that I take as I build out the skeleton.

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