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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.
At this point we're getting our rig pretty much built. Now we are just working on the rig, we haven't skinned the character to the rig at all. But let's go ahead and organize our rig a little bit further. If we take a look in the Outliner you'll see that I've got a number of different control nodes here. I've got the hips of the character here, which can control the skeleton's hips. I've got the right foot and the left foot, which obviously control that, and then I also have my knee direction controls.
But this is getting kind of messy and if we want to move the character around and place it somewhere in the scene, we either have to move all of this stuff and that's going to get a little messy. So let's go ahead and just create a master node or a master container for our character, and then get everything organized. So I'm going to go ahead and create a NURBS > Circle. Go ahead and draw that right around the origin, and in fact, if we want we can make sure all of our translations are zero, so that the master node is at the origin.
And let's go ahead and name this, I'm going to name it MASTER, and that's the name of our master node, and then all we have to do is go into the Outliner and select all of our controls, middle- click and drag them over that master node. So now when I select that node I can move my rig around. Now remember, we haven't skinned the character to the rig so we're just dealing with the rig at this point. But now that we have this, we have one master node and underneath that is all the controls for our character.
Now we also need to make sure that we get this into this rig layer. I'm going to make sure I have everything selected, right-click over this, and hit Add Selected Objects. So now I've got my rig on one layer and I can turn that on and off along with my skeleton and my geometry. So now we have a basic rig set into place. I've got controls for my feet, my spine and my arms, and I also added in another control for the head, which is identical to the way that we connected the spine and we just did an Orient constraint for the head.
So now that we have this basic rig, we can start adding advanced rigging controls, which we'll do in the next chapter.
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