Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Staying organized, part of Maya 8.5 Character Rigging.
Now there's one more thing I want to talk about before we actually get into rigging, and that's staying organized. When we create one of these character rigs, we're going to have a lot of pieces. It's kind of almost like a virtual machine, and we have a lot of parts that make up this machine. We have got joints, we have got geometry, we have got control objects, and all of these need to stay organized for us to be able to work on the character and be able to fix things or to even to be able to go on to somebody else's character and understand what they are doing.
It's almost kind of like documenting a computer program or writing a manual for a thing that you have built. Let's take a look at our character, and I will show you a little a bit about how it's organized. There are a couple of things that we need to do in order to stay organized. One of the first things is Layers. Maya has a very good layering system, and we can use that to create some organization. In this particular character, I have my layers over here, they're in the Channel Box, and I have got a bunch of layers, I have got one here for Geometry, one for the Skeleton--I'm turning all these off-- and the Controls that operate the character.
But then I have to two ones that are normally hidden and those are the heads that we use to create the Blend Shapes, in fact that could be deleted. And we also have one for the Proxy which is the character before it's smoothed. Okay, so I have kind of segmented all of those out into their individual layers. Now typically when you animate the character, you are just going to keep on the Controls and the Geometry layer. Now the other way to keep the character organized is the Outliner, and what we have done here is we have segmented out the different types of parts of the character into their own little hierarchies.
So, for example, the Geometry of the character is in this group here. The actual Skeleton of the character-- and now we have turned down that Skeleton layer--is here, okay. So we are actually are taking the Skeleton and making it separate from the actual control of the character, okay. So there's the Skeleton of the character, and then we also have the Controls, okay. And the controls here are really where we're going to be animating. So what we have tried to do is make all of these objects as easily accessible as we can.
Now the other thing that we have for organization is a naming scheme. If you notice here all of these control objects are upper case, all caps, lettering. Now the reason I do that SPINE 1, and so on and so forth. When you're looking at a whole list of things you'll notice that all the things that are in all caps, you know are Control objects. Skeletons I have a very specific Skeleton naming scheme, so Skel_Abd_01, Skel_Thigh, Skel_Shin, Skel_Ankle, all the Skel_Spine, then you go into clavicle, okay.
So every Skeleton part has the word Skel before it. Geometry, Body, okay, and then also I have another group here for all the Heads and in that I have actually named-- here let me show you what the heads are. The heads are all of the targets that we use for Blend Shapes, for example, a smile. So M for Mouth, M_Smile. M for M_smileR right, smile Left, M_smileL.
Frown, so on and so forth. Okay, so by having layers, by organizing everything within hierarchies, and by having a proper naming scheme, we'll be able to keep everything very organized when it comes to building this character. The other thing is is that when you're in a studio situation or in your production situation, every studio is going to have its own type of naming schemes. So again, you need to probably spend some time understanding how your particular production names the parts of its characters.
Now I'm just going to use my own naming scheme, which may not be exactly the same as you encounter somewhere else, but it's going to be fairly similar and everybody kind of follows similar rules of thumb, conventions, those sorts of things, okay. So now that we understand how the character is put together, how it's built and some stuff about naming schemes, let's get on to actually building our character and rigging him.
- 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