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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 the lower body pretty much rigged, let's go ahead and start moving up the spine and rig the upper body. We are going to start with the spine. Now I've created a couple of different controls here to manipulate the spine. And you can see that they have their own unique shape, and I have a kind of a little point at the front. So you can tell which way the hip joints are facing. So let's go ahead and move these into place and get everything hooked up. So the first thing I want to do is snap these to these spinal joints.
I'm going to turn off geometry here in my visibility, just so we can see this a little bit more clearly. I'm going to select my lower joint here called SPINE_1, turn on Snap, and go ahead and move that into place and snap that to the SPINE_1 joint, same for SPINE_2 and again for SPINE_3. So I want to make sure that those are snapped, and when I move those obviously, we need to freeze transformation, so I'm going to go ahead and turn off Snap here.
Shift+Select all of these, Modify > Freeze Transformations, and that sets everything to 0, so that we are all kosher on that. So now all we have to do is start constraining. Now in this case, I really just want to constrain orientation, I don't want to constrain position. So I'm going to select this object here, SPINE_1 and then Shift+Select Spine01, which is my joint.
Again, I want to select the constraining object first, the constrained object second, and in this case, we are just going to do an Orient constraint. Make sure we have Maintain Offset clicked on, hit Add. So now I can select this control and rotate those joints. Now I don't want to move the spine joints, so orient is all I really need. So let's go ahead and do this again for the other two joints. Again, I'm just going to go into Select mode here, and then I'm going to select my Spine02 and the corresponding joint, Constrain > Orient, do it one more time, select SPINE_3, Shift+Select this joint, Constrain > Orient.
Okay, so now I should have good control over all of these. Now because we are not going to do translation with these, we do want to make sure that we lock and hide the appropriate attribute. So I am going to select my Spine_01 and Shift+Select everything but Rotation, right-click, lock, right-click Hide. Let's do that one more time, select Spine_02, left-click and drag, hold down the Ctrl key, left-click and drag again, right-click Lock, right-click Hide.
Okay, one more time, I'm going to left- click and drag, hold down the Ctrl key, left-click and drag again, right-click, Lock and Hide. So now these can only be rotated. Now we still have a little bit of an issue here, in that, nothing is hooked up. So, when I move this, you can see that these don't move with my spine joint. Well, I want those all to be part of that same hierarchy and I want them to move in a hierarchy.
So I need to go into my Outliner and organize this. I'm going to go into my Outliner here, I'm going to scroll down here, I want SPINE_1, SPINE_2 and SPINE_3 to be part of that same hierarchy. So I'm going to middle-click, drag SPINE_3 under SPINE_2, SPINE_2 under SPINE_1. So now, when I rotate these, they are going to rotate together, and then middle-click and drag SPINE_1 under my HIPS.
So now, I should have everything in place. So now when I move my hips, the spine controls move with them, and then each successive spine control moves the object on top of it. So now, I've got my spine in place and now we can move on to the arms.
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