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Learn rigging in Autodesk Maya using Human IK!

🔴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.

- Workflow

  • 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.

  • End Result.

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.

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