🔴In this Maya tutorial, explore how to create a human IK rig for a character.
Start with a basic skeleton, refine it using the human IK tool, and ensure proper skin binding.
🔴Address weight painting issues, separate clothing elements, and use a helpful smoothing plugin.
🔴The final rig allowed for dynamic character poses and was ready for animation in Maya.
Before we can begin making a rig for the model, we first need to change the workspace to be set on Rigging.
There are many ways and plugins for Autodesk Maya that can help us speed up the rigging process for a character.
Their tools only work for humanoid characters but the community has many plugins to offer that can also assist you in making a rig as quickly as possible for non-humanoid models as well.
One of the fastest ways to create a skeleton and IK handles for your character is by opening the Skeleton tab and clicking on the Quick Rig option.
A new window will appear on the screen.
Click on the Auto-Rig button and a progress bar will appear.
After the progress bar fills up, the model will have a full rig.
This rig might look good but by industry standards, it isn’t ideal at all.
The second way of creating a rig for your character is through the built-in Human IK system.
In the Human IK options, click on the Create Skeleton button.
This will only create the skeleton joints for the model, speeding up our process instead of adding these joints manually.
From here, begin aligning the joints with the model by rotating them and scaling them down.
You only need to do this for one side of the model and mirror the changes on the other side.
After you’re done placing the joints on one side, use the mirror tool on the upper right corner to mirror the changes to the other side.
If some joints are longer or shorter, you can always change them on one side and then mirror them once more.
Make sure you bend the joints at the torso, ankles, knees, and neck so that the rig moves the model naturally.
To create the Control Rigs, in the Source options select Control Rig and the plugin will add all of them where they need to be.
In the Spider Rig tutorial, we added the control rigs by hand.
This is also possible for humanoid characters but if there is always a way to speed up a workflow don’t hesitate to go the faster route.
Before we bind the model and the skeleton, we first need to open up the Bing Skin Options.
Here, make sure the Bind to: is set to Joint hierarchy, the Bind method: to Geodesic Voxel, and the Max influence: to 4.
After that click on the Apply button.
The next step is to add the Weight Paints.
Make sure not only the body but also the clothes and accessories are moving well when moving the control rigs.
This process will take some time so be patient.
We can mirror the weight paints from one side to another, but because there are a lot of asymmetrical accessories on the model, it is best to weight paint the other joints manually.
If there is a place where mirroring the weight paints on certain parts of the mesh is viable, feel free to do so.
After the weight paints, we can freely pose the model or use the rig for animating.
Bonus - Adding quick Animations with Mixamon
Mixamo is a website where you can download characters and animations to use in your projects or to practice.
You can also use your own models and add a rig and animation to it within seconds.
On the Mixamo website there is an Upload Character button, click that and select the FBX file of your model.
A progress bar will appear and will take a bit of time to load in the model.
After the model has been loaded in it will show you a preview of how the model looks imported inside of Mixamo.
Clicking the Next button will lead you to the second step of the import.
Here you need to follow the guide on the right and place each circle on the correct spot on the character’s body so that in can create the rig.
Once all the circles have been placed, click on Next and wait for the software to finish making the rig for the character.
After it’s done, it will give you a preview of the character doing a slight movement to test out the rig.
If the movement isn’t right, you can always go back a step and try placing the circles again on the model.
In the search bar In the upper left corner, you can look up any pose or animation to put on your character.
Double-click on an animation you like and see how it will look on your character.
On the right side, there are values you can adjust to fix any errors or clipping from the animation that is impacting your model.
To download an animation, click on the Download button In the upper right corner.
In the Download Settings, you can change the format, skin, frames per second, and keyframe reduction.
If your character isn’t in a T pose BUT instead in an A pose, you can use Mixamo to add that pose to your character and import it back inside of Maya.
Of course, there will be incorrect deformities on the model from the animation but it is easily fixed with the skin weights painting.
To add the animation inside of Maya, drag and drop the new FBX file from Mixamo into your scene.
After it has loaded in, click the Play button next to the animation timeline.