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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.
As you rig your characters you are also going to want to pay attention to layers. Now layers in Maya is underneath the Channel Box and the Layer Editor. So if we go down here we will see we have our Object Layers, we should be familiar with this by now. But let me go ahead and expand this a little bit. So right now this particular character has a number of different layers. We have the rigging controls on this top layer here. We have the character's Skeleton on this layer, and usually the skeleton is hidden for the character.
We also have this character's Geometry, which we can turn on and off, or we can enable if we want to actually select Geometry, but typically, we lock that down so that we don't accidentally select the character's geometry. Now I have some additional ones, I have some blend shapes here. These can probably be deleted. They are extra baggage that we have for the character, they're not critical to having this in the scene, but I'm keeping them there so you have them as reference. But if you were to distribute this, you'd probably delete what's on this layer.
And then we also have another layer here called BGLabels, which is basically just all the text labels in the scene. Now if we want, we could create additional layers, a lot of characters have many layers. So you have different layers of the characters rig, you may also separate out the geometry in two different layers. But the main goal here is to make the rig easy to understand and accessible. So if somebody has to use your rig, they will be able to get it without having to consult you as to how to use the rig.
So remember, using layers is very important in creating rigs.
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