Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Overview of rigging, part of Maya 8.5 Character Rigging.
Let's go through a Rig and show you what it looks like and what we're going to be creating here in this course. It's always a good idea to kind of see what the final product is so that way as we build things you'll kind of have an idea as to why we're building them. So I'm going to go ahead and set things up here. We're going to first of all set our Project. Okay, if you have loaded your exercise files it should have a bunch of directories in there with each chapter. So we're going to go ahead and set our Project, and in our exercise files directory here we have 01_Intro, which is the chapter we're on now.
So let's select that, hit OK, and that will set our paths so we can see our character. And then we're going to ahead and open the scene. Now in that scene, actually in that project, 01_Intro, we have a subdirectory called Scenes. And we'll click on there and 01_01 is the finished character. So that's what he looks like, and this is what we're going to be creating in this course. Now let me explain a few things about this Rig. Let me just show you how it works, I think that's the best thing to do.
You'll notice it has a lot of these curves that are set around the character. Now these basically are our control points. These are what we use to control the character. So all you have to do is select those, move them, rotate them, you can even scale them, and they'll manipulate the character. So if we have this large one here called Character Master, and that just moves the character around this kind of our Master Node where we can place the character in the scene. We have C-O-G, which is Center of Gravity, and that just moves the character up and down.
If you notice his arms are kind of sticking in place that's because we have IK on the arms. These little boxes are IK, and we can turn those off. If we go over to our Channel Box here we have this IK_FK control, which turns that off. So now we can rotate the joints using forward kinematics. One of the things I did was when we built this skeleton we built all of the controls out of curves.
So that makes it very easy to select off just the curves by using our Selection Mask. So if I turn off surface objects, skeleton, so on and so forth, I will only select the things that we're using to control this character, it makes it a lot easier. So again going back, we can rotate the arms, and we also have hand controls, we have custom controls for the hands. So if we select this ring around the wrist that's obviously what we can use to rotate the wrist, but if you scroll down here in the Channel Box you'll see that we have all of these additional attributes for the index finger so I can move all the fingers.
So that way I'll only have to select one object in order to animate the entire hand. And if I want to I can select a bunch of these, animate a bunch of fingers at once, okay. If I select one of these I can middle-click and drag left or right, and that will increase the value of any one of these parameters, okay. So we also have controls for the legs. Let's go down to the legs here. We have what's called the Foot Control, which looks kind of like the heel of that shoe.
All the controls are named in uppercase which makes it easy. And then we also have controls for the toe, so if I want to I can rotate the toe up or down. Also I have another control behind here called the Heel Control, which it lifts the heel above the ground, okay. So these are very handy for use in like walking the character, that sort of thing. We also have Knee Controls so I can actually control the direction of the character's knee, but of course I need to bend the knee. So I'm going to bend the knees there.
And if I select one of those knee controls you can see that the knee is always pointing at those little boxes, okay. Same for the elbow, okay. If I have Inverse Kinematics turned on I have a little box back here, and that's the target that the elbow points to. The remaining controls are for the Face. We select this big box it's called Head Control. And if we want we can rotate the head, and that just moves the head around. Inside of this box are two controls, one is for the mouth and one is for the eyes.
So if I select this little teardrop shape that will open and close the mouth, so if I move it up and down it opens the mouth. If I move it left and right it moves that jaw left and right. So basically, it's a Jaw Control. Now the reason I have it as a teardrop shape is because we can also rotate that, so if I want to I can rotate the jaw left and right, okay. It gives you a lot of control over what the character can do. And then we have these controls here, and this basically just blink, so they'll blink each one of the eyes.
Now for actual facial animation we're using what are called Blend Shapes. So we can find those under Window > Animation Editors > Blend Shape. And what that does is it brings up all of these targets that we can use to control the shape of the face. For example, if we want brow up left, brow up right, mouth frown, okay. Let's see that a little bit better here. Mouth smile left and right, okay.
So when you combine that with the Jaw Control, you can create a lot of different mouth shapes and eye shapes as well. So we also have E is for Eye, B is for Brow, M is for Mouth, and P is for Phonemes. So if you want to like Ooh, if you want to have your character saying Oh or Ooh, you can do that and so on and so forth, okay. So that's our mouth shapes. And then also we have Eye Controls, so this little gizmo here.
If you select the outside oval you can move it to direct the eyes. Inside the oval are two circles and they just control the left and right eye. So that's basically the Rig that we are going to use, and this is very similar. It may not be exactly like Rigs that you'll encounter, but it uses most of the same techniques and technologies for creating a Rig. And if you understand how to build this Rig you'll be pretty far along for understanding how most Maya Rigs are built. Now some Rigs will be a lot more complex, some will be simpler, but we'll give you a good toolkit to use when creating your own Rigs.
Okay, now let's move on, I am going to show you a little bit about what needs to happen with the model before we start in on the rigging process and a few more things. So onto the next lesson.
- Understanding the uses of rigging
- Creating skeletons
- Making inverse kinematics and constraints
- Rigging characters
- Binding and editing skin
- Creating a skeleton and skin for a head
- Finalizing a rig