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Understanding new joint drawing styles

From: Maya 2011 New Features

Video: Understanding new joint drawing styles

Another terrific new rigging feature in Maya 2011 is the ability to change the way that joints are drawn. This actually will save you a lot of time when actually building skeletons, because it actually will allow you to create kind of default handles that are easy to grab. Let me show you how this works. I have got this Simple_Character open and in fact let me go ahead and go into Outliner mode, so I can actually see what my geometry is, and in fact I am going to change my Shading to X-Ray Joints, so we can actually see all of the joints in this character.

Understanding new joint drawing styles

Another terrific new rigging feature in Maya 2011 is the ability to change the way that joints are drawn. This actually will save you a lot of time when actually building skeletons, because it actually will allow you to create kind of default handles that are easy to grab. Let me show you how this works. I have got this Simple_Character open and in fact let me go ahead and go into Outliner mode, so I can actually see what my geometry is, and in fact I am going to change my Shading to X-Ray Joints, so we can actually see all of the joints in this character.

So if I select a particular joint and I go into the Attribute Editor, you'll notice that under the main Attribute panel for this, we actually have an option here for Joint. And we can change our Draw Style. So in this case we have Bone, which is the default, but if I open this up, you'll see that I actually have a number of them. So let's go through a couple of these and show you how they would work within a character. So for something like the hips, I would select maybe something like Multi-child as Box.

Now what that does is it finds all of the outlying connections to this and it draws a box between them. So it goes to that bellybutton and then it goes to the hips, and it goes to the base of that skeleton, and it creates a box. So that way I know that this is the hips. Now for something like the elbow, you may want to create like a handle. So I can grab it and manipulate it. So in that case, I may want to do something like a circle. Now we have four types of circles. We have the default Circle, which goes perpendicular to the direction of the joint or you can specify XY, XZ and then YZ exactly what direction you want that circle to be in. But the default typically works.

So that's what I am going to select. So when I do that, what it does is it actually creates a little circular handle. So when I'm actually manipulating this character, now all I have to do is grab that circle and then I can manipulate that arm. Now we can do the same for something like the knee, but instead of a Circle, we could select a Square. And again, just like with the Circle you could actually change the orientation to whatever you want. But generally the default again does work.

So I am going to go ahead and do that, but if you notice that this is actually a little too small. So what we can do is, we can actually use this Radius parameter and bring it up. So let's say we make it a Radius of 3. Well, that's actually a little bit too big, so let's make it a Radius of 2, and once I have that now I have a square that I can select and actually manipulate that knee. Now there is one more and that's called Sticks. So let's go ahead and select this thigh and we can actually go in to Stick.

Now what Stick does is it actually creates geometry, so you can actually see it. This may be something that you'll want to use if you want to actually just render the skeleton running around or something. This can help a lot, but typically Bone will do you just find for this. So Stick is really more for those where you really want to see what the joints are doing. So as you can see this could be very, very handy in setting up a skeleton. You really don't have to do as many constraints to constrain the bones to say circles or squares in order to actually get your rig to work the way that it wants.

You can just click into the bone and get the circle or the square.

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Maya 2011 New Features

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George Maestri
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