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Maya: Character Rigging

via LinkedIn Learning


Learn how to rig a character from scratch in Maya. Discover how to create joints and controls for effective animation.

Rigging is a crucial step in character development and animation. A rig is the interface for your character, dictating how the character moves. Learn how to rig a character from scratch in Maya by following along with instructor George Maestri. George introduces the rules of rigging—good geometry, organization, and controls—and shows how to create joints, constraints, and connections. He then dives into a real-world project, taking a model and building out the skeleton and the leg, foot, body, and hand controls required for effective animation. He also devotes a chapter to FK/IK switching for finer control over arm movement. Finally, learn how to attach a character mesh to your skeleton with the skinning tools in Maya—and take your skills up a notch with a time-saving mirroring technique.


  • Rig a character from scratch in Maya
  • Make the most of the exercise files
1. Getting Started
  • Rigs and interface design
  • Basic rules of rigging
  • Creating joints
  • Rotation order and joint flipping
  • Creating constraints
  • Connections in the Node Editor
  • Offset nodes
  • Offset Parent Matrix
2. Creating Skeletons
  • Setting up the character
  • Drawing the leg chains
  • Drawing the spine
  • Adding ribs to the skeleton
  • Positioning arm bones
  • Creating hand skeletons
  • Finalizing the skeleton
3. Creating Leg and Foot Controls
  • Positioning the foot control splines
  • Setting up IK leg chains
  • Rigging the heel and toe controls
  • Controlling the hip
  • Controlling knee direction
  • Organizing control rigs
4. Creating Body Controls
  • Aligning the body controls
  • Connecting body controls
  • Setting up the spine controls
  • Connecting spine controls
  • Creating shoulder controls
5. Creating FK and IK Controls
  • Understanding FK and IK rigging
  • Creating control skeletons
  • Constraining the control skeletons
  • Connecting the main skeleton
  • Creating floating controls
  • Wiring up the FK and IK switch
  • Hiding and showing controls
6. Rigging Hands
  • Setting up offset nodes
  • Setting up finger FK controls
  • Creating custom attributes
  • Getting the fingers to curl
  • Controlling finger spread
7. Skinning Characters
  • Preparing the skeleton for skinning
  • Applying the skin modifier
  • Adjusting skinning via paint weights
  • Fine tuning weighting
  • Mirroring weights
  • Next steps

Taught by

George Maestri

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