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Character Rigging in Maya provides a basic introduction to rigging theory, and delves into the details of how to create professional, realistic 3D characters. Instructor and animation veteran George Maestri shows how to combine Maya's skeleton, inverse kinematics (IK), and constraint tools to create a basic rig for a character, and how to attach the character mesh to the skeleton using Maya's skinning tools. The course also explores advanced rigging controls such as IK switches and facial animation and how to create a control panel to manipulate the character's expressions. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.
Now that we have our hands wired up, let's go ahead and continue doing some more advanced controls by setting up an FK/IK switch for the arms. Now, the first step is to actually create an object that turns IK on and off. Now, I have created these little arrow icons and we can use those to actually turn FK and IK on and off. So all we have to do is basically just move these left and right along the X axis.
So the first thing we need to do is actually find the IK handle for the hands or the arms. So in this case, I am going to select the IK handle for the left arm, and we're going to scroll down and the control that we want is IK Blend. We want this to go between 0 and 1, as this moves left and right, and we can do this again with the set-driven key. So I'm going to go in Animate > Set Driven Key > Set, and the Driven is going to be the IK Blend parameter, and the Driver is going to be this object that's called Left FK-IK.
And we're going to use the X Translate to flip the switch. So I'm going to go ahead and Load Driver, X Translate, and right now, this is at 0 and my IK Blend is also at 0, I believe. So let's make sure. So let's go ahead and select our handle for the arm, and IK Blend is at 0, so let's go ahead and hit Key. You can see that it shows up in red, that means it has a keyframe attached to it.
And now, all we have to do is move this over, and let's just go ahead and move this to 1, and then select our IK handle on our left arm, set IK Blend to 1. Now again we can set a Key. So now as this goes between 0 and 1, you'll see that the IK handle -- let's go ahead and close this, that the IK handle goes from 0 to 1.
In fact, you can see it turn on here. You can see it go brown when this goes to 1. So you can see we're switching on and off the IK, and that's pretty cool. Well, one of the things about this is that, while we can move this really anywhere, we need to rein this in just so that it moves only where we want it. So I'm going to go ahead and set my Translate to 0 here, and then for all of these other parameters, I'm going to go ahead and right-click and lock them, and then right-click again and hide them.
So all we have is Translate X. So that's all we can do. Then let's go ahead and limit its travel only from 0 to 1. So I'm going to go into the Attribute Editor, and then under L_FKIK, you see that Translate is the only value that can be animated, and we have what's called Limit Information. So we limit Translate here, and you'll see that under X, and this is only one that we can actually manipulate here, we can set a minimum, and a maximum for this.
So the minimum is going to be 0, the maximum is going to be 1. So now this only moves between 0 and 1. So the next thing we want to do is when we actually have IK on, we want to have a handle with which to actually move that arm joint, and this is going to be very similar to what we have here on the foot. So again, I have this object here already set in place, it's called L_HAND.
If we go into our Outliner, you'll see it's here, and we have our IK handle for our left arm. All we have to do is middle -click, drag it over L_HAND, and now when IK is on, we can move this left hand, and the skeleton will move. We turn IK off and we move this, well nothing much happens. But when we turn it on, you can see how it snaps to that IK handle.
So that's the basic way of setting up an IK/FK switch. We're going to do a little bit more on this in the next lesson.
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