Rigging- Second Attempt

So, determination was strong and I wanted to potter on with the rig- my team were very understanding and were able to adapt to my very long process of failures.

I found another set of tutorials by Dev Dennis online, which seemed, at first, to be a bit easier.

The playlist of rigs by Dev Dennis. (YouTube, 2016).

Setting up the Skeleton (4 videos)

  1. this video was an introduction to the series- showing all of the elements that will be rigged in the series- including the face, arm, legs and spine.
  2. Dennis explained the importance of the geometry in the character overall- the loops on the face and body will be important for placing the rig joints later on. The first process was to position the joints in the body. The leg came first, a joint at the top of the leg (hip) on at the knee and the next at the ankle. A joint was then placed from the ankle to the ball of the foot to the toes. I then had to switch perspectives to move the joint chain into the centre of the leg’s geometry. Dennis advised when moving the joints not to use the move or rotate tool to resize as this would change the joint orientation. Instead, he suggested using the scale tool. The next geometry was the spine, the beginning joint starting around the same area as the hips and then continuing upwards in a curved fashion, based of what Conann had previously showed me, rather than a linear spine. I placed 5 joints in the spine, as Lumo doesn’t require much actual movement, compared to the 9 Dennis used. The neck then led into a joint connecting from the bottom of the neck to the bottom of the jawline, then one to the top of the head. I didn’t include the rest of the chin joints as we don’t require as much movement. Finally, I created the joint in the arm, using the top perspective window. A joint chain occurred from the shoulder to the forearm to the elbow to the wrist.
  3. This video begins with the hand rig- something that was slightly different for ours, due to the “mitten” like look we went for. I followed the tutorial creating a joint chain from the wrist to the finger tip in the following chain. wrist-mid hand-knuckles-finger joint1- finger joint2 – ending at finger tip. I replicated this for the thumb. I only used the one joint chain in the hand, however, I think it might be beneficial to go back and add an additional few, in the rough area were fingers would be positioned. The final process in this video was the process was to parent the arm and leg joints to the spine. To do this I first selected the child (hip_JNT) and selected the based of the spine, pressing control P to parent. The process was repeated for the arm- using the shoulder_JNT as the child and parenting to the spine. Dennis then advised mirroring the joints and replacing the convention (_l_) with (_r_) to note the right hand side joints. I had luckily named the joints as I went along, based on what Conánn had shown me previously.
  4. the beginning of this video is spent painstakingly renaming all of the joints in the chain- thankfully I had already done this. The next main step was locating the rotation axis on the spine- all of the joints  (except the end and start JNT in the chain) should lie on the same axis. However, it was evident they did not. I had to freeze the transformations on the chain (except that translate) and then orientate the joints in a YZX direction.

The Leg (6 Videos)- I managed to get to video 5 before problems occurred

  1. This tutorial showed me how to create the controls for the foot and leg. For the foot, I created a shape around the foot using the CV Curve tool set to linear. I then created a pole vector on the knee as a control. Using the text curve (the letter L is used to differentiate between the left and right hand side) I created a control. Parenting the curve to the joint allowed me orientate the control to the same as the joint itself, by changing the translate x to 180 degrees. I then froze all transformations.
  2. This video shows how to create the reverse foot rig and IK set up on the foot. Dennis explained that IK means Inverse Kinetics, meaning that the control of the joint chain comes from the bottom of the foot. The first IK joint is an SC solver and is from the top leg joint (Hip_JNT) to the bottom joint (ankle_JNT). The next two are RB solver IK’s, having to place one from the ankle_JNT to the foot01_JNT. The final one is from the foot01_JNT to the foot02_JNT. Next, Dennis had me create the set up for a reverse foot rig, creating a joint chain from the heel to the toes before looping back to the ball of the foot and a final joint to the ankle. I then had to parent the reverse foot JNT to the foot control I had created previously. I then had to parent the various IKs in a set order to ensure they moved properly.
  3. In this video I had to get some assistance from Alec as Dennis used a method that doesn’t work with Maya 2016 as well- Alec suggested an alternate workflow. Firstly, however, I had to create a pole vector constraint between the leg control (child) to the leg IK (parent). Dennis realised pretty quickly that we had set them to the wrong resolvers so I had to go back and change these. The two feet IKs had a SD solver wheres the leg IK had a RP solver (as it needs the pole vector). The next step was to add new controls to the reverse foot rig, and remove unneccesary ones.  I began by locking and hiding the scale and visibility controls in the channel box. I then had to create new attributes (__Rolls__ _heel_roll_ _toe_roll_ _ball_roll_ __Twist__ _heel_ _toe_twist_). All of these had to have a float data type and a default value of 0. The next step was to connect these to the rig to make them work. Alec sent me the following tutorial which I followed to make this happen as I could not get Dennis’s hyper shade method to work for the life of me. By the end of this tutorial I had all the foot attributes working correctly (thank god).

Using the relationship editor. (YouTube, 2016).

4. In this tutorial, I had to set up a rubber house on the leg. Firstly, I created a controller using a nurb circle. I had to snap to both the hip and knee joints and then in the y axis typed the formula (/=2) to position the controller equally between both joints. I then duplicated the controller and repeated the process for the lower leg. I then had to create a 3 cubic CV curve between both of the joints, snapping the first point to the hip, once at the new controller, once at the knee joint, once at the second new controller and finally, at the ankle. Dennis recommended that if I wanted a sharp knee action, I place three curve points on the knee joint (simply by clicking on the area three times). After this I had to duplicate the curve and move to the other side of the knee, aligning for the next step. I then had to create a lofted surface from the two curves, this was the rubber-hose, any of the unused lofted surfaces and the curves used to create it could now be deleted.

5. This is the video were it began to go wrong for me. Ok, so first, I had to subdivide the surface through the rebuild surface window, giving a number spans U value of 12. I the had to skin the joints and the rubber hose, changing the options in the bind skin to selected joints. The joints did not have the expected control over them, so, I had to paint weight them to create the influence needed. Once this was completed, the RBH did not have the amount of control as expressed. Trying to parent these in the same way as Dennis was not working for me and I couldn’t get the rubber hose to follow the way he had intended.

As you can see, the leg was going well until it came to adding the surface that would act as expected. After this what felt like gazzilionth failed attempted, I sought the help from Alec. Thank god for Alec.


YouTube. (2016). Maya Tutorial – Character Rigging – The Leg – Part 1/6. [online] Available at: https://youtu.be/h8kd8T8Glj8?list=PL4C5268BCB28B6CAA [Accessed 30 Apr. 2016].

YouTube. (2016). Tutorial: Rigging an IK Leg in Maya. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxogLUq1rd4 [Accessed 1 May 2016].



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