Thursday, 8 November 2012

Uni exercise: Rigging an IK setup in Maya

During our 3 week Maya exercise, one of the weeks was spent learning how to rig within Maya with a basic IK leg setup, which was then layer used to create a walk cycle.

In order to create the bones for the rig, we grabbed an image from the internet to serve as a guideline to place the bones within, as usually when rigging there will either be a model or an image for the rigger to place the bones in.

Once the bones were created and matched up the leg in the image, they were then mirrored to create the other leg quickly.

After that, the IK handle was created, from the hip to the ankle, in order for the foot to control the motion of the leg, emulating the natural motion of the human leg.

The image was removed as it was no longer needed, and then we proceeded to create a foot-roll control switch which the animator can use in the channel box to create a quick foot-roll motion of the foot, as someone walks.

The same process was repeated for the other leg, completing the legs. The next step was to create controls for the feet, knee's and hip so the animator can control the rig, as you cannot animate straight from bones. In Maya we use NURBS shapes, such as circles to create 2D wire-frame type shapes which are then parented to the IK handle/bones so that the bones will follow their movement, thus allowing the animator to move them and therefore move the rig. In this case I used oval shapes for the feet controls around the feet, circles for the knee controls and a big circle for the hip control.

Most rigs will usually have a model that it will be created in and then skinned to, however since we didn't have a model nor need one for this exercise, we made feet, legs and a ball for the hips out of simple shapes which are then parented to the bones, so they will follow them, eliminating skinning time. This can work for simple shapes/animation exercises like this. After that was done this was the finished rig, ready to animate a walk cycle to!

A little rig test:

Will update soon with the finished mini-showreel of the final animations!


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