Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Rig overview, part of Animating Cartoon Characters in Maya.
- Now, if you already have a character, you can use this with the course. This course will work with just about any two-legged character, but if you want to follow along with the rig that we provide, let me show you how to use that. Now, the first thing you need to do is set your project, so I'm going to go into File, Set Project, and I'm going to go into my Exercise Files on my desktop and just set it to chapter one because that's the first chapter we'll be using, and just hit Set, and then let's go ahead and open that scene. So the first scene is just the bare rig, and so that's 01_01.ma.
So here's the basic rig. Now, the rig has all the controls as NURBS curves. Now, that might make it a little bit easier to hide and show the controls as well as to select. Now, the main control for the character is this one called rig master, and that just allows you to position the entire rig. The main control for the character is the hip control. So when I select this, I can move the body, and notice how the legs stretch in response. Now if we want to, we can also go into the feet controls here.
So each foot has its own control as well as a separate control for the heel and the toe. Right in there is the toe control, and then, because this is an IK chain, we have these controls here, which control the direction of the character's knees. Now, moving up the body, we have these controls here and here for the spine. So if I select these and rotate them, you can see how it rotates the spine.
Now, one nice little thing about this is that this can also be a stretch control. If I select one of these and I move it vertically along Y, you can see how I can squash and stretch that, and we'll be using that a lot in this course. Now, the arms are pretty typical for a character. We have a shoulder control, which allows you to positionally control the arms, and we also have these controls here for forward kinematics. So these allow you to rotate the arm. Now, if you want to do inverse kinematics, you can select this control, but this control won't work unless we set the FK/IK switch.
So we have two switches here, one turns it from FK to IK, and the second one turns on and off stretch. Now, typically, I turn on both at once, but if you don't want your arms to stretch, you can leave that second one off, and now this allows you to do IK with stretch. Now, if you turn off the stretch, you see how that goes back? And if you turn off FK, you can see how that goes back as well. Now, up here, we have control for the head, and that head control also has the eye control as well.
Now, if you want, you can take this and move it out of the hierarchy, but right now this controls the direction of the character's eyes. And if you want, you can select these ones in the middle to control the angle of each individual eye. Now, up here above the eyes, we have eyebrow controls. Now, each one of these are just a positional control, so if you want, you can shape the eyebrows this way or just use the main controls to position them.
And then, finally, we have our mouth controls here. So we have a control here for the jaw. We have control here for the position of the mouth. Now, if you want, you can also select that and rotate it, so that gives you a little bit of angular control on the mouth. Here, we have a smile. It's a good smile, and if you go the other way, you can frown. This one here is a sneer, so that controls the inner muscles of the mouth.
Over here, we have what's called an M. It closes the mouth or bares the teeth, so it's really just kind of the lip control. Here we have our O control. O to ooh. And now up here we have eyes, so I have upper and lower lids. Up here is my upper lids, and here we have another control, which can dilate the pupils, which can also be fun. So that's the basic rig that we will be using and the basic character that we'll be using for this course.
Now, if you want to follow along with this rig, go ahead and familiarize yourself with the controls before we get started.
- Working out the walk timing
- Blocking out footsteps
- Animating the character's walk
- Animating a jump, including the landing and follow-through
- Blocking out and timing poses
- Creating facial expressions
- Animating a quick exit
- Adding lights
- Rendering in Maya