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Creating hand skeletons

From: Character Rigging in Maya

Video: Creating hand skeletons

Now let's go ahead and create the hand skeleton. Now the hand is probably the most complex part of the character. And I've tried to make this a little bit simpler by doing a three fingered hand, rather than a four fingered hand, but the process is pretty much the same for any hand. What you want to do is take a bone from the wrist to the knuckle, and then one for each knuckle of the finger, so we are going to do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bones per finger, and then also the thumb.

Creating hand skeletons

Now let's go ahead and create the hand skeleton. Now the hand is probably the most complex part of the character. And I've tried to make this a little bit simpler by doing a three fingered hand, rather than a four fingered hand, but the process is pretty much the same for any hand. What you want to do is take a bone from the wrist to the knuckle, and then one for each knuckle of the finger, so we are going to do 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 bones per finger, and then also the thumb.

So the best way to start this is to go into the top view. So I am going to go into my top view here. Let me go ahead and turn off Grid so we see this a little bit more clearly. Again, I want to draw from here to this knuckle, and then each of these knuckles. Now what I've done is I've actually surrounded each of these knuckles with three edge loops, so we want to aim for that center edge loop. So let's go ahead and select our Joint tool, click on the wrist, highlight that, place one joint right around that knuckle, another one at this one, one more and then one at the tip.

Hit Enter, looks pretty good. Okay, so let's just keep going. I'm going to do one here for this middle finger, again, one at the knuckle, and then each joint in the finger, and one more for the tip. Hit Enter, select the Joint tool again, and let's just keep going. And there's our index finger, and again, we are trying to make sure that these go down the center of the finger as much as possible.

Now the thumb is a little bit different. The joint kind of goes sideways a little bit. So I've got a joint here, as that thumb hits the fleshy part of the hand, so somewhere around here, and then one for each joint again. So we are going to select the Joint tool. I'm going to put a joint right about here, one here, here, and then again, at the tip of the thumb, hit Enter. We've got the joints basically laid out, but only laid out from the top view.

We still need to adjust them in 3D, so that they go through the fingers at the proper place. The easiest way to do that is to go into either a front view or a perspective view, or both, just however you need to work in order to get these aligned properly. I'm going to work in the perspective window and just show you some of the basic techniques. I am not going to tweak this entirely, but let's just show you some of the workflow for this. So let's go ahead and look at the pinky.

I've got X-Ray turned on. One thing you might also want to turn on is Wireframe on Shaded, which will give you a little bit better view as to where the detail is, and where you need to have these working. Now I know that bones are aligned from a top view, so all I really need to do is to move these bones down or up in order to get them in the center of the finger. That's probably the most key part of doing this. So, typically I will just hit my W key, but I'm just going to be working in the vertical axis.

Also notice, how these fingers are kind of curving up just a little bit, but that's really just to give kind of a nice flair to the fingernails on the character. So let's go ahead and do this one more time. Again, you probably only will have to move these up or down to adjust them, because they are adjusted in the X-Z axis, we are just moving them along Y and again, for this index finger. And again, you may need to spin this around just to make sure that it's working.

And if you can look at the thumb, we can see the thumb is totally off here. Now I am just doing a very rough tweak of this. So you may spend a little bit more time than I'm doing to getting this right. But again, you can see what the process is. We get it correct from the top, and then we try and tweak it from the other directions. Now if you look at this here, this thumb is a little bit off, you can see I can move it there.

So those are some of the basics of how to get a hand skeleton blocked out and tweaked. Now I'm going to leave it up to you to fine-tune the positioning of your bones and also go ahead and name these appropriately.

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This video is part of

Image for Character Rigging in Maya
Character Rigging in Maya

63 video lessons · 8232 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 1m 42s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Using the exercise files
      35s
  2. 8m 21s
    1. Understanding the basic rig
      2m 53s
    2. Rigging theory
      2m 15s
    3. Organizing with layers
      1m 44s
    4. Naming conventions
      1m 29s
  3. 37m 11s
    1. Using the Joint tool
      7m 4s
    2. Modifying joint attributes
      6m 47s
    3. Creating the lower-body skeleton
      6m 45s
    4. Creating the spine skeleton
      5m 57s
    5. Creating the arms
      3m 38s
    6. Creating hand skeletons
      4m 41s
    7. Mirroring joint chains
      2m 19s
  4. 22m 0s
    1. Working with inverse kinematics (IK)
      5m 56s
    2. Understanding IK solvers
      6m 33s
    3. Blending between inverse and forward kinematics (FK)
      4m 52s
    4. Using spline IK
      4m 39s
  5. 21m 3s
    1. Point constraints
      7m 56s
    2. Aim constraints
      5m 10s
    3. Orient constraints
      4m 38s
    4. Pole vector constraints
      3m 19s
  6. 37m 6s
    1. Setting up IK
      4m 15s
    2. Setting up foot controls
      5m 59s
    3. Keeping rigs organized
      2m 51s
    4. Hiding unused attributes
      3m 37s
    5. Creating a hip control
      3m 55s
    6. Controlling knee direction
      3m 2s
    7. Creating spine controls
      4m 37s
    8. Controlling forward kinematics on the arms
      6m 20s
    9. Creating a master node
      2m 30s
  7. 28m 11s
    1. Working with set-driven keys
      4m 38s
    2. Creating custom attributes
      3m 54s
    3. Wiring joints to custom attributes
      8m 2s
    4. Creating an FK/IK switch
      4m 35s
    5. Setting up elbow controls
      2m 5s
    6. Hiding and showing controls
      4m 57s
  8. 24m 46s
    1. Creating simple eyes
      6m 58s
    2. Rigging non-spherical eyes
      7m 49s
    3. Attaching eyes to the skeleton
      3m 18s
    4. Applying blend shapes
      6m 41s
  9. 42m 31s
    1. Binding skin using Smooth Bind
      3m 28s
    2. Testing skin using animation
      4m 36s
    3. Pruning small weights
      3m 53s
    4. Painting skin weights
      5m 47s
    5. Editing skin weights in the Component Editor
      6m 1s
    6. Mirroring skin weights
      2m 2s
    7. Using Interactive Skin Bind
      3m 36s
    8. Refining skin on the upper body
      2m 3s
    9. Using skeletons to create a jaw
      3m 22s
    10. Refining jaw weighting
      7m 43s
  10. 47m 20s
    1. Setting up a control panel
      2m 27s
    2. Limiting controller motion
      6m 15s
    3. Rigging basic facial controls using set-driven keys
      2m 31s
    4. Rigging the jaw using set-driven keys
      4m 22s
    5. Rigging pupil controls
      3m 29s
    6. Controlling eye direction
      3m 21s
    7. Controlling eyelids with expressions
      5m 44s
    8. Using expressions to rig mouth controls
      8m 1s
    9. Creating a smile/frown control using expressions
      8m 56s
    10. Finishing up the facial rig
      2m 14s
  11. 6m 42s
    1. Cleaning up the rig
      2m 25s
    2. Testing the rig
      4m 17s
  12. 25s
    1. Goodbye
      25s

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