WHY SO MANY WAYS TO CONNECT?
A main reason to use Constraints, Connections, and Set Driven Key for all Controllers is that only objects parented to the root joint are part of the hierarchy that is automatically Skinned when selecting the Root. The non-parenting methods offer ways to connect to the rig without being a part of the Skin.
Click on the downward arrow to left of shelves to create a new shelf, Name it "Rigging Tools" and [Ctrl]+[Shift]+click a menu item to add the tool to the new shelf.
ADD AT LEAST:
- Animation Module: Skeleton Menu/Joint Tool,
- Display/Transform Display/Local Rotation Axis.
- Melscript "Select -hi" middle-mouse drag up (hiearchy).
NOTE: To select all joints in a chain, select their root and rightClick for Select Hierarchy.
SELECTION ORDER REMINDER:
Parenting: Select child, then parent.
Constraining: Select thing to be constrained TO, then thing to be CONSTRAINED.
- Companies sometimes use METERS instead of centimeters as their Maya world grid unit. Easy way to access and switch world units: the Animation Preferences button in the lower right corner of interface.
- The default playback setting "Play Every Frame" is for dynamics (to calculate every particle in a waterfall, for example). It is not for displaying character animation. Set to "Real Time (24fps)" instead.
CONCEPTS FOR FURTHER LEARNING:
- Most studios with advanced rigs make at least the arms (sometimes the entire body) with THREE sets of joint chains: three rigs sitting on top of each other! 1 for IK, 1 for FK, and 1 to manage "switching" (blending) between the other two.
- Typically, arms also have joints for lower arm-length rotation.
- The "Shleifer" spine continues where we left off, to allow twist along the spline length and torso stretch.
- A "Reverse" node is similar to a multiply/divide node, but it reverses the axis of a particular node so that they can all be the same in the hierarchy.
- Expressions, written in Melscript or Python, are an important part of learning to do significant rigging tasks beyond the scope of this tutorial. Give them a try!