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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 go ahead and finish our hand rig by wiring up the joints to the attributes that we added in the last lesson, and let's go ahead and zoom in here. So what we want to do is actually take these attributes, Index, Mid and Pinky Curl and wire them to the joints of these fingers, so that when you dial that up to 10, the finger joints will curl. So in order to do this we need to start using set-driven keys.
I am going to select the index finger 01 joint on this left hand, and under Animate I am going to do a Set Driven Key > Set, and that brings up my Set Driven Key menu. Now we need to figure out which value we wanted to affect, and so if I select this and just hit Rotate, you can see that I am actually rotating around the Z axis. So Z is what we need to use to rotate that.
So we want to hook this up to the index finger Curl control. So I am going to select my left wrist and load that as the driver. So I want to select Index Curl and Rotate Z. Now let's make sure Index Curl is at 0 and the finger is straight out and we will go ahead and select and press Key. Now once I do that, if you select the index finger joint, you will see that I have a keyframe set. So let's go ahead and set the next set-driven key.
Again, I am always starting with the driver when I do set-driven keys. So I am going to go ahead and set my Curl up to 10, and then in the second step, rotate this to where I want it. So I am thinking it's looking like around -80, -85, so I am actually just going to type in -80 to give it a nice round number, and then press Key. So now I should be able to get my index curl -- should be able to bend this finger, and it does.
Now we need to do this for each joint in the hand. Now if we want we could create additional attributes for each joint, but I am going to have this control all of the joints. So I am going to go ahead and select my second joint, Indx02, load that as Driven and again, select Rotate Z, because that's what we are going to do and make sure everything is at 0 and then hit Key. You can see that keyframe comes up and again, I have got Index Curl selected here, so I have made that connection between Index Curl and Rotate Z of that second index finger joint.
So I am going to select my wrist and again take my Driver and put it up to Maximum, to 10, then select my Driven and rotate that. So I am going to go ahead and select this and rotate it, and in this case, I'm not going to do it all the way to 80, I think I am just going to do it to -60. And again, hit Key. So now I should be doing both joints here. So now, when this is at 0, the hand is straight out and now it's bending those joints evenly. And let's go ahead and do the same task for the last one.
So again, select Indx03, load that as Driven, select Rotate Z, make sure I have Index Curl selected on the wrist, and hit Key. And again, you can see the keyframe comes up. Go to the Driver, set that to its Maximum. Go to the Driven, which is the index finger joint, and let's go ahead and rotate that in. And again, I think I am going to rotate this to say -60 degrees, which should be about right, and then again hit Key.
So now we have a pretty good finger curl there and now when I go to my wrist you can see how I can rotate that. So the next step is to do this for every joint in the hand. So now I've gone ahead and added in the exact same controls for each of the fingers. So I have index finger curling, middle finger curling and a pinky curl.
If I want, I can select all of these and curl the entire hand. This makes it very easy to do this sort of animation. But we also want to be able to spread the fingers as well. So I want to be able to move the fingers this way, left and right. So again, we can do that using a set-driven key. So I am going to go ahead again to my index finger, and the spread control is going to be the Y control. So I am going to start with 0 here and we are going to select Finger Spread, and I am going to load this finger as the Driven.
Okay, so I have Indx01_L, make sure that's selected, and I want to have Rotate Y as my Driven object, and I am going to go ahead and hit Key, and that should key that index finger. Now I am going to select my wrist, again select the Driver, and in terms of Finger Spread, I can go to positive or negative 10, so let's go to positive 10, select that index finger and rotate it as far as we think it will go. And so in this case, I am thinking maybe -30 degrees, somewhere around there, and again press Key.
So now I have this Finger Spread going from 0 to 30, but we also want it to go in, so that the fingers come together. So again, I am going to bring Finger Spread into -10, again, affect the Driver first, select the Driven object, which is Indx01, and rotate that in. So let's say about 18 degrees, that would be a good number, and then again hit Key. So I actually have three set-driven keys on this. So if I select my wrist, my Finger Spread will go from 0 all the way in.
So now I have got that coming in, but we can also do that for the pinky as well. So let's go ahead and select that. So again, I want to make sure my left wrist is selected, Finger Spread, and then just Load Driven, and I want to actually use Pinky01_L, and I want to drive Rotate Y from Finger Spread. So let's go ahead and hit a Key for the neutral position, select the wrist, put Finger Spread all the way up to 10, select that joint, and then rotate that out.
Let's say we are going to rotate out, say maybe not quite 30 degrees, maybe 20 degrees. There we go, and press Key. Select the wrist again. So now you can see from 0 to 10 we've got that kind of coming out, and then for -10 we want to bring that in again. So again, I am going to select the pinky joint, rotate that in, say -16 degrees, sounds about right, and hit Key. So now I have got controls to spread the fingers as well.
So I can spread the fingers and I can curl the fingers, and I can curl and spread the fingers as well. So I've got a lot of control over this hand. Now we can do the exact same thing for the thumb. We can use the Thumb Bend control to curl the thumb in, and we can use the Thumb Up and Down control to again, move it up and down almost like a Spread control. And I am going to go ahead and leave that you, and I will do that so we can see how it works in the next lesson.
But again, remember when you're adding these set-driven keys, you will always move the Driver first and then move the Driven, and set the keyframe.
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