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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 once you've painted your skin weights, you may think that that's good enough, but we can go through one more round and really fine-tune the weighting. And we can do that using the Component Editor. So let's take a look at what we've got here. We have the legs pretty close to dialed in. I've got those looking reasonably good. But if you notice here, this portion here where the character leans back, it's still not really working the way that we want and basically I don't want him leaning back to affect this mesh at all, because we do have an upper portion of the body, and when he leans back, I want that little belt line to appear, and so I need this to kind of just stay spherical.
So we can do that using the Component Editor. So it's very similar to applying skin weights, we select our character, and then we right-click over it and go into Vertex mode, okay, so now I can start selecting individual vertices here. Then once we're there, we have to go into our Window > Component Editor. Now, this is the window that we used before when we looked at Prune skin weights, and let's just take a look at how this works. I'm going to go ahead and select this vertex here, right kind of at the front of his belly.
And if you'll notice here, it's being affected by a number of different bones. It's being affected by this belly bone here, by the Spine01 bone, and by the Spine02 bone, but it's not being affected at all by the Spine Root, so we need to get that affected by that, so that way we can keep this stable. So again, I'm going to go into Vertex mode and select this here. Now in this, we have a couple of options here, one is, do we want to Hide Zero Columns? I'm going to turn that off and you'll notice here that now we have every single bone in the character's body.
When I turn that on, it only shows those bones that affect this particular vertex. Now one of the things I want to point out is that all of the weights always add up to 1. So no matter what the weighting is, it's always a percentage of 100 or percentage of 1. So if we type 1 into any joint, then basically it will be only affected by that joint. So, for example, if I typed 1 into here, everything else goes away and this is only affected by Spine01, which is right there.
But we actually want this to be affected by the root. So let's go ahead and turn off Hide Zero Columns, and then we're going to find that Spine Root, which is here, and we are going set that to 1 for this vertex. When we do that, now watch what happens, when he leans back that sticks with the spine and everything else goes with the rest of it. In order to make this work, all we have to do is select everything along the top of this, in fact, I can't do that because I have all of these active here, so I'm going to go ahead and turn off my rig and my skeleton at this point, and then rubber band select all of these vertices, and then let's go back into the Component Editor, and I want all of these attached to Spine Root.
So right now when that bends back, in fact, we can turn on the skeleton again, you can see how they're not all affected. So all we have to do here is find Spine Root, Shift+Select all of them. I'm selecting the entire column here, and then just hit the number 1, that puts 1 into all of these and that should work. So now these ones here we also need to guess, I'm going to go ahead and just Shift+Select these individually, and again, let's just see how this works.
We've got them -- right now they're kind of right between Spine01 and Spine02, but I'm going to go ahead and make them connected to Spine Root. So now I'm going to go ahead and select this one and this one, and again, we're going to make those affected solely by Spine Root. So now that we have this, you can see how, when he leans back it doesn't really affect that, and again, we can go through and start tweaking these. I see already we've got a few more that are affected here, and again, all we have to do is go into the Component Editor and then assign them via number to the proper joint.
So once we do that, he is getting there, okay. So basically, another way to do this is to un-assign it to additional joints. So, for example, these ones here are affected just a little bit by that Spine01 joint, so if we go back into my Component Editor here, you can see that these joints are affected by Spine01, just a little bit. So what we can do is we can just take that and zero it out, or be assigned to other bones, we also have this belly bone which is affecting it.
So let's go ahead and zero that out as well. So now that we have that it shouldn't be affected, okay. As you can see this is very precise process, you're just going to be going back and forth between your model and the Component Editor. I just did the upper portion of this character's hips, but you can also go through the legs, the feet, the entire body and really fine-tune how the deformation works.
Again, this is a very precise process, it's a lengthy process, so go ahead and just go through your model and get the weighting right.
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