Rigging Characters for Animation, Pt. 2, From New Riders | 6
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Inside Maya: Rigging Characters for Animation. Pt. 2.
Hooking Up the Head Skeletal Hierarchy
For the head of a character, you can create a separate hierarchy that is point-constrained to a locator that is a child of the spine or neck. This leaves the rotational controls free from the hierarchy and enables the animator to animate them by hand (see Figure 17.62). You will do this in the next exercise.
Exercise 17.10 Attaching the Head Setup
This is a short exercise that goes through a few simple steps to create a joint hierarchy for the head. The head is created first. Then it is connected to the neck using a combination of constraints that allow for additional freedom when animation occurs, giving the character's head extra flexibility later.
Facial Controls and Blend Shape Deformers
Although facial rigging was a smaller portion of the setup for this project, the way that the rigging was accomplished can also be used for complex scenarios of lip-synching and high-range emotional facial animation. All facial expression controls can be successfully implemented in a very traditional way. You first model them as separate models and apply them as blend shapes targets. Then you rig each attribute of your blend shape into a single faceController node simply and quickly by adding attributes. Then you use the Connection Editor to quickly hook them all into the single faceController node so that they are easily accessible to the animator.
Eye blinks can also be modeled as blend shapes and hooked up using set-driven key onto attributes of a driver. Each eye should have a separate blink control so that the eyes can blink at an offset of each other (see Figure 17.64).
The opening and closing of the jaw can be achieved using joints and painting the smooth bind weights to achieve an appropriate and appealing opening and closing of the mouth corners.
It is important to note that all the blend shapes for the lips must be modeled with the geometry in the default pose, with the mouth closed, to avoid double transformations of the jaw being double deformed while opening.
Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: November 7, 2003