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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 let's take a look at how to keep things organized in a rig. We have a basic foot rig already constructed and let's go ahead and start using some tools to keep things tidy as we start to build our rig. Now the first thing you want to do is, again, enforce a naming scheme. So if I go into my Outliner, you'll see that under my right foot, my left foot, I have actually named them with a descriptive name. Another thing I did was I named all of my rig parts in uppercase.
Now this isn't particularly necessary, but it's just a nice little added thing that you can do to make sure that people understand that this is part of the rigging controls and not geometry, or a skeleton, or some other object in the scene. Uppercase tells you it's important. Some people do this, some don't, but it's just one of many methods. Another thing you can do is to start layering your rig, so create a separate layer for your rig. So, we can do that by selecting and Shift +Selecting the right and the left foot, go into Layers > Create Layer from Selected.
So now I have a layer here that I can turn on and off for my rigging controls, and if I double-click on that, I can rename it, so in this case I'm going to name it RIG. Now another way to stay organized is by using color. We can separate out left and right by color, so that way you know looking at a left or right foot, or right arm, that sort of thing, so each one of these curves can have its own unique color. Now for this rig I'm going to use green for the right side and blue for the left side, and then red for anything that is centered.
All of these are already green, so I'm going to go ahead and just do the left foot and change their color to blue. We can do that in the Attribute editor. So if I go into the Attribute editor and go all the way down to Drawing Overrides, you'll see I have a color slider here, and all I have to do is just pick the color that I want, in this case I want blue. So again, color overrides, and then just pick the color. So I'm just going to make sure that I have all of my right side controls colored in blue.
Now finally, another way to keep things organized is to restrict how things move. So those are some very basic and simple ways that you can keep your rig organized. Now as you start building your rig, just go ahead and assign the proper color for the part, make sure that your naming scheme is in place, and make sure that everything is assigned to the proper layer, and you'll have a much more organized rig.
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