Rigging Characters for Animation, Pt. 1, From New Riders | 3
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Inside Maya: Rigging Characters for Animation. Pt. 1.
When your joint positioning is final, select all the joints, go into Component mode by hitting F8, and activate the Local Rotation Axis option. Make sure that you rotate your rotation axis (using the Rotate tool) so that the same axis (probably the X axis) is always pointing down the joint and that the other two axes are pointing in the proper direction for intuitive rotations to take place when it is time to animate the character. Never rotate a local rotation axis on the axis that would cause it to no longer point "down" the bone of the joint. Figure 17.3 shows the local rotation axis while it is being edited.
Setting local axis rotations.
Finally, after you have moved all your joints into place, oriented them correctly, and modified all their local rotation axes so that the rotations are perfect, you have only one more command to run. Select the top root of the skeleton hierarchies that you have just laid out and oriented, and perform the following command:
joint -e -ch -zso;
This zeroes out the scale orients and aligns the rest of the transform matrices associated with the joint to match the current orientation that you adjusted it to when you modified the local rotation axis. This is quite an important step, especially if you plan to translate or scale your joints. It is highly recommended that you perform this step when you are finished orienting all of your joints.
Figures 17.4 and 17.5 show the final laid-out skeletal structure of both characters in the Parking Spot project.
The laid-out skeletal structure for Spot.
The laid-out skeletal structure for The Jerk.
Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: November 7, 2003