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Character Rigs


Figure. Overview of motion capture based character animation using a Maya workflow. A few of these steps, e.g. sculpting, painting and animation, are suitable for classroom projects while many others can be automated.

INTRODUCTION TO RIGS

Character Rigs represent a unique, stylized character which can be animated. Different from a 3D sculpt, a rig is a model prepared and ready for animation. There are three main types of rigs with differing capabilities:

  • FK Rigs – Forward-Kinematic rig. Bones & skin that move together. Forms the basis for other rig types.
  • IK Rigs – Inverse-Kinematic rig. Joints move based on controllers. Commonly used for keyframe animation
  • MC Rigs – Motion-Capture rig. Joints move based on motion data. Commonly used for capture-based animation

    We provide several completed MC Rigs ready for animation with data on this website. Below are details on how to build your own FK, IK and MC rigs.

    PREPARED CHARACTERS – Complete Motion-Capture (MC) Rigs

    These characters are ready for animation in Maya using the DMD Motion Library datasets. They have been Rigged for Motion Capture (MC Rig) and can accept motions from any of the data sources found on this website. These rigs represent the completed process up to Fig 2c above, not including motion capture & animation.

    Nathan Rig
    This is a simple, realistic male MC Rig.
    Download here: Nathan_Rig.mb
    Saber Rig
    This is an anime style female knight character from the Fate Stay Night series. This rig has full hand animation capability and textures already applied. To open, just download .zip file and extract the contents and open the Saber_Rig.mb file.
    Download here: Saber_Rig.mb.zip
    Rin Rig
    This is an anime style female character from the Fate Stay Night series. This rig has full hand animation capability and textures already applied. To open, just download the .zip file and extract the contents and open the Rin_Rig.mb file.
    Download here: Rin_Rig.mb.zip
    Hero8 Rig
    This is one of many hero characters from the popular Dragon Quest series. The hands are not completely rigged, but is great for beginning animation.
    Download here: Hero8_Rig.mb
    XJ-9 Rig
    This is a sci-fi robot character rig. This rig has full hand animation capability and textures already applied. To open, just download the .zip file and extract the contents from the XJ9.mb file.
    Download here: XJ9 Rig.mb.zip
    Eric Rig
    This is a realistic human male character rig. This rig has full hand animation capability and textures already applied. To open, just download the .zip file and extract the contents from the Eric Rig.mb.zip file.
    Download here: Eric Rig.mb.zip
    Heidi Rig
    This is a realistic human female character lab assistant rig. This rig has full hand animation capability and textures already applied. To open, just download the .zip file and extract the contents from the Eric Rig.mb.zip file.
    Download here: Heidi Rig.mb.zip
    Allison Rig
    This is a realistic human female character rig. This rig has full hand animation capability and textures already applied. To open, just download the .zip file and extract the contents from the Allison Rig.mb.zip file.
    Download here: Allison Rig.mb.zip

    FORWARD-KINEMATIC (FK) RIGGING TUTORIALS

    After modeling a character in 3D, the FK Rig is the first step in making a useful rig which contains bones & skin. The following FK tutorials are provided to help you quickly create new characters. Historically it was necessary to do joint and bone placement manually, a tedious process (Fig 1b above). Now those steps can be automated with Auto Rig tools. This lets the character creator focus on sculpting (Fig 1a), painting (Fig 1c) and parts (Fig 1d).

    A Quick Tutorial On FK Rigging
    by Angela Humphrey
    Download here: A Quick Tutorial on Rigging.pdf
    How to Animate A Rigged Model Using Motion Capture Data Download here: How to Animate a Rigged Model Using Motion Capture data.pdf
    How To Set Up A Kinect Sensor For Motion Capture Download here: How To Set Up A Kinect Sensor For Motion Capture.pdf
    How to Resize .BVH Animations Download here: How to Resize .BVH Animations.pdf

    These additional references are helpful in the early stages of rigging a new characters:

    How to add hands to a Quick Rig
    How to rig without weight paints
    How to quickly orient joints
    Joint Orientation Cheat Sheet
    How to fix wonky IK handles (knees)

    MOTION-CAPTURE (MC) RIGGING TUTORIAL

    We are interested in complete data-driven animations using motion capture, rather than the more classical workflow of keyframe animation. These tutorials are more advanced, and are only needed if you wish to animation your own custom character with motion-capture data.

    The following Motion Capture Rig (MC Rig) tutorials were developed by the DMD Motion Lab to provide a clear, consistent pathway to rig character models for motion-based animation.

    Rigging for Motion Capture
    This video shows how to rig a character for motion capture in Maya. Several fail points are clearly explained to move toward a stable, usable MC Rig for working with motion capture data. This video focuses on the steps in Fig 2a, 2b and 2c.
    DMD Motion Lab Rigging Tutorial Video
    This video shows a more detailed guide to creating a rig from scratch in Maya, how to paint skin weights with the Geodesic Voxel method, and how to manually adjust weight paints.
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