A Prezzy!

Early last year I set about learning a fair bit about rigging in Maya. As I went I made a rig called SB Man, I put everything I learned into him. The result was a pretty complicated rig that hasn't been touched by one student yet.

I think the things that I thought would be useful were based on years of animating, but just seemed confusing to students, or maybe people just didn't like the design. One thing I learnt was a way of attaching a piece of geometry to a joint that made Maya think they were the same thing, it was used to make handles for selecting joints. I had this idea that you could make a simple rig where all of the geometry was attached to the joints this way, basically you can just select the geometry and animate it. In reality you are animating the skeleton, but you don't ever have to see it.

So I've made a new rig I'm calling EASY MAN! As I made him I tried to keep everything as simple as I could, keeping switches and handles to a minimum. Download him HERE, have a play, let me know what you think, I'd love some feedback :)


frank said...

Ian. There's a forum at the 11 Second Club entitled "All About Rigs". Can I post a link up there for (Whoa)EASYMAN? Or do you want to do it?

The time has come (the Walrus said) for me to reacquaint myself with Maya and get some practice in before the start of another year at animation school. Easyman may just ease me in.

Ian said...

I don't know if he is suited to the 11 second club as he dosn't have a mouth. Maybe version 2 will :)

I have put him up on the highend3d.com forum and as of Jan 3rd 1656 people have downloaded him.

I put a link to this blog in the description and its generating quite a bit of traffic (by our standards).

HI THERE! Visitors from High End 3D :)

sean lanyi said...

Hi ian,

Would like to try out your rig. You have on highend3d that it will works in maya 6,7,8...

Would you mind uploading a .ma version as the .mb only opens in 8.5+ ?

Thanks in advance for any help with this,


Ian said...

Hi Sean and welcome to the ARC.

Terribly sorry about that version issue. Both here and on Highend I have replaced the mb file with a zipped folder containing both the mb and ma files :)

Hope that’s got it sorted for you. :)

Anonymous said...

The selection thing is pretty niffty... I've been thinking about it... a friend of mind has written a script that will do that.... if you wouldn't mind sharing your techniques... I would greatly appreciate it....


Ian said...

Hi Pixelbow

Its something I learnt from the DVD Rigging for Feature Animation from Fahrenheit Digital. On the DVD Aaron Bio uses this technique to make selection handles for his characters joint.

The main thing that you need to understand to get your head around it is that when you select an object in Maya the selection automatically jumps up one input level to the objects shape node. You can see this happening if you pick any object and then open the Attribute editor. You will notice that by default the tab second from left is selected and that this node has the same name as the object accept with the word “shape” inserted. When you select the object, the selection automatically jumps up to the shape node input and we can us that to our advantage.

If you parent the shape node to another object then when the selection makes that automatic step it will actually jump up to the object it is parented too.

So if you have an object called Fred and a joint called Bill then you parent the shape node of Fred to Bill. As far as I know you can’t do it with any available tools, but you can do it with a short line of Mel.

Before parenting there are a few things you need to do.

1. Parent the geometry to the joint and then freeze the transformations ( Modify>Freeze Transforms), then un parent the geometry from the joint. This resets the position of the object relative to the joint so it won’t move when you parent its shape node.

2. Next make sure you are 100% happy with the geometry before you parent its shape node to the joint, many of the ways you can manipulate it will no longer be available to you afterwards. Because when you select it you will actually be selecting the joint.

Now its time for the code, in this case it would go like this:
Parent –r –s Fredshape Bill;

I usually copy the name of the shape node from the attribute editor and paist it into the code, because when Maya inserts the work “Shape” into the name is a bit of a mystery to me sometimes.

And that should do it. :)

I should point out that I am no rigging wiz and I’ve just explained almost everything I know about Mel. I’m an animator and my goal was to make a rig that was easy to animate, so I might not be much help beyond this point.

Hope this helps. :)