This rig represents my experience as a lead animator creating production rigs for game development. With all my rigs, I try to strike a balance between the needs of the project and simplicity of use, focusing primarily on removing obstacles from an animator’s job. The easier it is for them to work, the better the end result will be.
The body map floats above the head of the mouse and is an abstract representation of the rig. It contains all the control attributes that don’t make sense as visual control objects (control objects that have their transforms manipulated directly by the animator).Each section of the map corresponds to the represented part of the rig and contains attributes associated directly to that part. The sections are: map_head, map_body, map_L_arm, map_L_hand, map_R_arm, map_R_hand, map_legs, map_weapon and map_tail.
Much of my Lead Animator career was spent using Softimage XSI. Almost all the production rigs I built used an Isner Spine setup, which was provided as part of XSI’s built-in character rigging tools. I wanted this kind of spine for my Maya rigs and had begun creating one when I found Jeremie Passerin’s version. It is awesome and saved me a lot of work. Go check out his site.In simple terms, the spine has two main controls, one at the chest and one at the hips. Manipulating these two controls causes the spine to deform. For fine tuning and FK animation, there are controls that span the distance between the chest and hips.This spine also supports squash and stretch. Attributes to adjust these are found on the map_body object.
Each arm has local and global controls.The local controls are children of the chest. When the chest moves the arms move with it.The global controls are children of the rig’s root. This leaves the arms in place regardless of what the rest of the rig is doing. The ground control is the only one that influences the arms when they are in this state.Additionally, there is a prop system used for animating objects held in the hands. Each arm has two prop controls, one local and one global that work identical to the normal arm controls. This setup allows for animating of the prop and arms together, separately or a blend of both.
The tail is controlled by clusters on a curve, one cluster for each joint in the tail skeleton. There are two rectangle controls at the end half of the tail, one local to the hips and the other global to the entire rig. They are there for easier positioning of the tail with fine tuning done through the cluster controls.
The feet are broken down into a few visual controls. There is the main footpad used for animating the foot and leg. In addition, there are controls (arrows) for foot roll, pivot at the ball, pivot at the toe tip, and toe spread.On the footpad are attributes for controlling the automatic toe curl, as well as each individual toe bone.Lifting the footpad causes the toes to automatically curl.