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LinkedIn Learning

Rigging a Cartoon Character in Maya

via LinkedIn Learning


Add squash and stretch to a rig in Maya, using techniques specific to cartoon characters: stretchy joints, IK/FK switching, and facial rigging.

Cartoon characters are known for their exaggerated movement, often created by squashing and stretching the character. In this course, George Maestri shows how to add cartoony squash and stretch to a rig in Maya. He shows how to use Maya's rigging tools to create stretchy joints, flexible torsos, and exaggerated facial expressions. Follow along to learn how to replicate these techniques and bring your own characters to life.


  • Welcome
  • Using the exercise files
  • Assumptions and model requirements
1. Creating Stretchy Joints
  • Basic stretch theory
  • Setting up the leg joints
  • Measuring the joint chains
  • Creating stretch using expressions
  • Creating stretch in the Node Editor
  • Finalizing leg chains
2. Creating Stretchy Spines
  • Drawing the hip and spine joints
  • Adding controllers to the hip and spine
  • Adding spine stretch
3. Setting Up FK/IK Switching
  • Basic FK/IK switching theory
  • Setting up the joints and controllers
  • Wiring up the FK/IK rig
  • Adding in stretch
  • Finalizing the arm
4. Skinning and Blend Shapes
  • Manipulating faces with blend shapes
  • Creating jaw controls with joints
  • Skinning the character
  • Adjusting skin weights
5. Facial Rigging
  • Creating controls for facial animation
  • Controlling eyelids
  • Wiring custom sliders
  • Wiring simple two-way controls
  • Wiring complex two-way controls
  • Rigging the eyes
  • Controlling the teeth
6. Testing
  • Cleaning up the rig
  • Animating a simple test
  • Next steps

Taught by

George Maestri

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