Join Adam Crespi for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating steering, body, and master controllers, part of Vehicle Rigging in Maya.
With wheel and steering control and locators in place, I'm ready to get more controllers that distill the control higher up on my car. You can use any shapes you want for this or any kind of objects. What I prefer to do, though, is to keep in line with what I've done on the tires. I've used a kind of object, here a nerve circle that is different than anything else on the car. If I'm only using NURBS controllers, for example, I can choose it here in my selection filter, NURBS. And this way I can click all I want on my polygon objects but I cannot select them.
(SOUND) If you use all polygon-based objects, there's two things that could happen. There's a chance of an accidental render of a controller object and you may accidentally select part of your car. I'd rather be doubly insured by object type and layers that I'm not selecting the actual car geometry. I'll start out here in a top view, zooming out and creating some circles under curves, choosing circle. This first circle will be my steering controller. I'll move it out here and really you can use any shape.
What I'd like to do is to Right click and choose Control vertex. And pull the back one forward to make a boomerang or a kidney shape we'll call it. This way, wherever it's rotated I can tell which way the car is facing. I'll name this object Control Steering, and I'll take this nerve circle and center it on the car, holding V for snap and snapping it on the center line, pulling it back over the hood, and in a front or left view, pulling it up.
Rather than land the control on the steering wheel, what I like to do is to be able to have that steering control accessible from an outside view. Let's say we're going to see the car go by and right here, turn the wheels, I want to be able to grab the steering controller without having to hunt. So in that camera view I can turn these wheels to be the right direction. Now make two others, a body and a master controller. The body controller is just a circle, I'll create it and let it be just under the body.
Again, choosing to center it on the car. In this case using my align tool. I'll center it, and then i'll take this body controller and center it on the wheels. The reason for this, picking for example a tire back here, is that this body needs to rock back and forth on the axles. So being able to parent all the body geometry that is essentially static to this controller. Lets me animate it forward and backward and side to side over the axles so the car will rock and lean while steering correctly.
The last controller I need is a master, and again, you can use any kind of object you'd like to fashion for this, arrows, circles, squares, text, whatever strikes your fancy. I'm going to use some circles here because they're easy. I'll click and drag to make a master control, and then I'll right click and choose Control Vertex and pull the front one out. This kind of teardrop shape is a, we'll call it a large arrow, but shows me which way the car is facing.
This way, I can judge how much I've rotated it by where that point is. I'll choose Object Mode, pick the whole object, center it on the car body again using the Align tool, and center it on the front wheels. If you noticed, I haven't left my Align tool as part of this selection. I'll pick my steering control, pick one of my front tires, and center it. What I'll actually do though, is move this control object forward, and then pull its pivot back to match on the front wheel so the car pivots around the front.
I can do this in, let's say a right or left view. Pressing V and D to move the pivot, and on the blue z axis here, snapping back onto the center of that hub. Then I'll take the master control and pull it up. It's up to you where you would like to leave it. But personally I find that if it's down here on the zero plane it tends to get submerged in the road. So I'm going to take this and move it up. Even with the tire. Even holding v to snap. This way I can manually sit the car on the road, squish the tires down, and in any view, especially a camera view like this where the car is coming towards me let's say, I can grab this controller and rotate it or lean it as I need. I'll name this Control Master, and I'll go underneath and name the last one Control Body.
It's important to keep your naming conventions consistent so you can recognize objects. Additionally, you might be rigging this, and somebody else might be animating it. Or, you might be animating a rig that, somebody else rigged. Everybody likes it when the naming is consistent, because it makes the things that we expect to find easy to find. Hunting through 5 or 10 nerve circles is kind of a drag after a while. But finding Control Body, or Control Master makes the job much easier.
With my controllers in place, I'm much, much closer to getting a rig in. I get the geometry ready and I've got locators and controllers for stirring, wheels, body, master, and stirring control in. Now I can start to assemble things together and begin to get in the fun stuff, like squishy tires for deforming on the road.
Note: Some experience with polygonal modeling in Maya and beginning knowledge of rigging and constraints will help you get the most from this course.
- Opening and accessing the model
- Scaling a model uniformly
- Creating and cloning controllers
- Parenting the tires and hubs
- Controlling the suspension
- Stitching the rig together
- Writing expressions for the wheels, steering, and body
- Adding brake lights and turn signal controls
- Creating chrome, rubber, and glass shaders
- Applying interior finishes