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Character Rigging

Production Practices and Techniques

Sample Clip

A quality character rig is a must for any successful animation production. The rig must be stable, and have the controls and flexibility needed for an animator to tell their story. In addition the rigger must be able to make changes quickly. In this set of lectures, Axel will effectively demystify the "art" of character rigging as well as provide a production-like set of scripted tools to work with. Using the provided scripted tools, Axel demonstrates the benefits of a multi-pose approach to skeleton setup. The separation of deformation and control hierarchies is also used and in conjunction with the pose system, provides the flexibility to easily go back to the bind pose and make changes. Through the process, he details the importance of keeping joint chains planar as well as keeping the joint rotations zeroed out, while showing you how to achieve this through a number of production tricks. Once the joints are all properly mapped, he then moves on to creating the control rig for the character. The next phase involves setting up controls like stretchy IK for the spine, IK and FK with blending for arms and legs, and foot/reverse foot controls. Once the controls are created, Axel wraps things up by generating curve controls for the animators to quickly grab and work with.

  • Model Inspection
  • Production Concerns
  • Joint Orientation
  • Scripted Toolsets
  • Bind Pose vs. Rig Pose
  • Rig Attach/Detach
  • Space Switching
  • FK/IK Layering Setup
  • Spline IK Setup
  • Animator Usability
  • Importance of Rotation Order
  1. Model Cleanup and Preparation
  2. Mapping the Joints - Part 1 "The Basics"
  3. Mapping the Joints - Part 2 "Joint Orient"
  4. Mapping the Joints - Part 3 "The Spine"
  5. Mapping the Joints - Part 4 "Arms and Neck"
  6. The Control Rig - Part 1 "Rig Pose Setup"
  7. The Control Rig - Part 2 "Fine Tuning"
  8. The Control Rig - Part 3 "Leg FK/IK Controls"
  9. The Control Rig - Part 4 "Adding Foot Controls"
  10. The Control Rig - Part 5 "Arm FK/IK Controls"
  11. The Control Rig - Part 6 "Arm Pole Vector"
  12. The Spine - Part 1 "Spine and Chest Controls"
  13. The Spine - Part 2 "IK Setup"
  14. The Spine - Part 3 "Stretchy IK"
  15. The Spine - Part 3 "FK Layering"
  16. Hands - Part 1 "Mapping the Joints of the Hand"
  17. Hands - Part 2 "Creating Controls"
  18. Hands - Part 3 "Hand IK Setup"
  19. Control Curves - Part 1 "Creation and Shape Parenting"
  20. Control Curves - Part 2 "Animation Controls Setup 1"
  21. Control Curves - Part 3 "Animation Controls Setup 2"
  22. Rig Cleanup - Part 1 "Rotation Orders and Space"
  23. Rig Cleanup - Part 2 "Final Tweaks and Locking Down the Rig"
  • Product Code: ASG01
  • ISBN: 1-59762-763-1
  • UPC: 805366018009
  • Duration: 455 minutes
  • Formats: DVD-ROM

DVD-Video Information:

  • NTSC
  • All Regions

Digital Download Requirements:

Minimum Operating System:

  • Microsoft® Windows® Vista®
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • Apple® Mac® OS X 10.2

Software:

  • QuickTime Movie Player (Version 7.0 or higher)
  • Acrobat Reader (Version 5.0 or higher)

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  • Software Used:

  • Autodesk
    Maya

Axel Stanley-Grossman

Senior Character TD at Insomniac Games

Axel is currently working as a Senior Technical Artist at SCEA Santa Monica Studio. He formerly served as a Senior Character TD at Insomniac Games, where he worked on Insomniac's first multi-platform title Overstrike. Axel has also contributed to the success of multiple PlayStation 3 titles, including: Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction, Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time and both Resistance 2 and Resistance 3. Axel is an alumnus of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects and received his B.F.A. from Northern Arizona University.

"Axel is a brilliant technical animator whose impressive rigging techniques, scripting skills, and problem solving abilities provide our team with the cutting edge tools necessary to continue to push the boundaries of animation in the gaming industry."

- Kevin Grow
Lead Cinematic Animator, Insomniac Games

"Axel is one the best riggers I've had the pleasure to work with.  The work he has done at Insomniac to automate technical art tasks is inspiring and demonstrates a mastery of his craft."

- Reddy Sambavaram
Senior Engine Programmer, Insomniac Games

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