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Maya Tutorials -- Rigging for Animation

Tips and techniques to help improve your workflow
Less is More:
Keeping your controls to a minimum and your functionality to a maximum can greatly increase animator performance. When you first start rigging a character, you try to include every single control you can think of. Anything and everything you think that you might animate, you attempt to somehow include it with the rig. This is good, because youre planning ahead, but its also bad, because you just might go overboard.

A good rig has just the right amount of controls. When possible, try to consolidate. A good example of this is foot controls. I have seen as many as four separate controls for one foot. This is confusing for an animator, and will just end up being a pain. Instead of four separate controls controlling toe, ball, heel, and ankle rotations, you could just make one control and add attributes to control each part. Now when the animator wants to move the foot, there is only one control to deal with, making his/her job easier.


Consolidated 1 (Click for larger view)


Consolidated 2 (Click for larger view)


The same principle applies to your hierarchy. Try to keep extra nodes to a minimum, and organize your controls into groups so an animator can quickly grab what he/she needs. If someone else will be using your rig, then its important that your controls are easily recognizable and are arranged properly.

Hierarchy Ex. 1 (Click for larger view)



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Related Keywords:Maya, 3D Tutorials, Rigging, Animation, characters, Joe Harkins, modelling

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