Inverse Leg Rig Tutorial (Blobby Model)

•April 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment


Skeleton rigs in Maya are built using the joint tool, and by using this tool, we try to mimic as much as possible the way a real skeleton behaves on actual person. Building skeletons for characters however don’t require all the actual bones a real person might have. If this was the case, rigging would be a lot more tedious then it already is. Instead, we implement only the necessary joints, sections of the character that bend and/or rotate.

Blobby Model
Step 1
The first step in all rigging is actually drawing the joints. Joints can be drawn in either front or side view, depending on how your character is positioned. Once in either of the two of these views, you must make sure you have the option box ticked X-ray Joints, which can be found in the shading tab, just right of the Q select tool.

  • Your first joint must be placed roughly at the same height as the groin, but slightly more to the right if viewing the character in frontview.
  • The next joint will be placed where the knee is located on the Blobby Character
    The following joints will be placed at where the ankle starts on the blobby character, then at the ball of his foot, and finally at the toe of his foot.

Step 2
In this next step, we must begin to give names to our specific joints, to allow for ease of access to various joints in our rig. When rigs get much more complex, naming conventions are crucial, as the outliner can get a little messy if we were not to name our joints. The joints should be named as such

  • l_Hip_Bind_Joint
  • l_Knee_Bind_Joint
  • l_Ankle_Bind_Joint
  • l_Ball_Bind_Joint
  • l_Toe_Bind_Joint_End

Step 3
All joints must be orientated, meaning they all must be facing the same direction, otherwise if we were to rotate our joints, they would have skewed rotations, and funny things would be happening. Joints can be oriented in the Joint tool section of maya.

Step 4
Now we must set the preferred angle of rotation on the knee joint. Rotate the knee joint in the axis which roates toward the back of the characer, to mimic the way in which a normal knee would rotate. Preferred rotation of the angle will be set, and so therefore, connecting IKs at the later stage of the rig will be much easier. Set the knee joint back to 0 from the original rotation.

Step 5
Go to create > Locators and create locators at the ankle, ball, and toe joints of the rig. Place an extra locator toward the back of the foot, the heel. Reselect the joint tool, making sure you have orient Joint to World ticked in the Tools setting sections (sets worlds orientation). Now we must create our joints at the 4 Locators we positioned earlier.
The joints should be connected in this manner
Ankle > Heel > Toe > Ball > Ankle

Rename Joints

  • l_Inv_Main_Joint
  • l_Inv_heel_Joint
  • l_Inv_toe_joint
  • l_Inv_ball_joint
  • l_Inv_Ankle_joint_end

These joints must be added to a new layer to help maintain a clean workspace.

Step 6
In this step, we are going to connect up the joints using the IK handle tool.

  • Go to the IK handle tool option box before opening the tool, and make sure the option ikRPsoliver is selected. Leave all other settings as default.
  • Now, with this tool active, click the Hip joint (l_Hip_Bind_Joint) and then click the Ankle joint (l_Ankle_Bind_Joint).
  • An IK handle vector will be created, rename it to l_Ankle_IK_Handle.

Step 7
In this step we are going to connect the joints on the foot

  • Open IK handle tool options, change solver to ikSCsolver (leave other settings)
  • Create new IK from joints l_Ankle_Bind_Joint to Ball_Bind_Joint
  • Rename Ik handle –  “l_Ball_IK_Handle”
  • Another SC handle must be placed between the Ball joint and the toe joint (end joint)
  • Rename the SC handle to l_Toe_IK_Handle

Step 8
In this step of the tutorial, we are required to make a control for our foot. Controls are the most useful aspects of rigging, as a control makes everything easier for an animator. It’d be much harder selecting IK handles at the ankle and toe of a skeleton to position characters than it would to just select a control that moves the entire foot. A control for a certain part of your rig can be built in any manner you wish, using a CV or EP curve tool, either one will do fine.

Once you’ve made your control, position it under the foot and align it correctly around your foot (make sure to freeze transformations). Rename control to l_foot_Control, and parent constrain the inv_Main_Joint to the control.

Step 9
In this step we are going to add attributes to the control to allow for easier movement of the foot on the rig.

  • Open Add Attribute Window for foot control

In Long name selection type the following one at a time, hitting add attribute after each one:

  • heel_rot_x
  • heel_rot_y
  • heel_rot_z
  • ball_rot_x
  • toe_rot_x
  • toe_rot_y
  • toe_rot_z

These new attributes control nothing of yet, and need to be connected to the proper atrributes of the joints they are connected to.

  • Open connection editor
  • In outliner select l_Foot_Control, click reload left in connection editor
  • Select l_Inv_Heel_Joint, click reload right in connection editor
  • Left menu has newly created attributes at the bottom of the list (from last step)
  • Locate the rotations of in the right menu of the l_Inv_Heel_Joint
  • Connect attributes from left to right respectively (x-axis to x axis, y to y, etc etc)

Step 10
Proper naming conventions are now required for the new attributes added to the control of the foot. Naming isn’t always required of these new control, however it makes the life of an animator much easier. The rotations of the various axis should be named accordingly to the particular movement of the foot eg, heel_rot_x = Heel_lift

That concludes the tutorial on the inverse rig leg.

Package Man Playblast

•April 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Here is the rough playblast of my character box animation. Its a fairly rough version of it, and the animation isnt all too good, however, I feel that I can do more to perfect my animating skills by practicing more. I dont particularly like the shift between the object being lifted from his shoulder to in the air above his head. There is a limited sense of weight being displayed here, and more tweeks here and there would make this animation much better

Package Man, 6 Key poses

•April 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment


Character Poses

•April 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Character Poses

Here are the 6 character poses requested from jacqui

Animation Bouncing Ball Research

•April 2, 2013 • Leave a Comment


To create an animaImagetion of a Bouncing ball, first we must observe an actual bouncing ball. Not all balls bounce at the same rate as others. For example, a tennis ball is much bouncier than a bowling ball, and upon dropping it on the ground, would also have more squash and stretch than that of a bowling ball. The same applies for various shapes and forms of balls, as a Golf ball is much bouncier than a tennis ball, however its hard rigid surface shows no squash and stretch upon landing, and accelerating up after its impact to the ground.

The material of the surface upon which a ball lands on also depicts its bounce. A softer less dense surface like carpet would produce less of a bounce than a harder surface like concrete.

Squash and stretch example:

In this video demonstration, we notice the tennis balls bounce more than the basketball, and the small rubber balls bounce bore than the tennis and basketball. This has to do with the density of the object, as well as its material and wait.
The bouncy ball is made of rubber, which is fairly dense, but not very heavy. When a ball is dropped in all instances, the material of the ball tries to return itself back to its original shape after is has completed the squash when it hits the ground. Rubber however (in a bouncy ball) returns to its original shape much faster, acting as if its pushing itself off the ground, hence the larger jump.
The Basketball and Tennis ball, both share somewhat similar characteristics. The tennis ball is much smaller than the basketball, and has a less thicker material on its outer shell, allowing for it to jump higher. The basketball is slowed down upon impact due to it being very large, and weighing much more than that of the tennis and Rubber ball. The basketball also carries within it a little rubber balloon bag, which allows for the ball to be re-pumped if it where to deflate.

In conclusion, there are various factors to take into consideration before we animate a bouncing ball. Real-life scenarios help us to understand the different characteristics of the various balls too fully understand what we need to implement into our animations to make it as life like as possible.

Rendering, Animation, Texturing Week 4 (12th-14th)

•March 17, 2013 • Leave a Comment


Today during Rendering with Chris, we worked with different lighting techniques with mental ray. Final gathering is one of the lighting techniques Chris introduced us too in rendering. Final Gathering is responsible for the inderect light when it hits a surface and the rays start to bounce. This makes the scene look more realistic. There are various pro’s and cons that come with this lighting technique.
– accurate lighting
– colour bleeding (when two colours come together and reflects the diffuse colour)
– Light source is not required
– problems associated with lights flickering, increases render time
– surfaces lit by light sources
– surfaces that reflect ambient light
– surfaces that have constant shading, such as bounce cards and light emitting surfaces
– environment images or constant background shading


Today in Texturing, we focused on working quickly on UV mapping the blobbyModel, built by one of our teachers. The model was colour coordinated to allow for different sections of the model to be mapped out at a time, which decreased the time in which it would have take to completely map out the entire model. Once mapping of each section was complete, we then stitched the various sections of the face together, and used both relax and unfold to properly allow for the models UV map to deform correctly so we could limit the amount of seams present in the Map.


Animation class today consisted of a quick review of our homemade bouncing ball projects, followed by an in depth tutorial on the proper procedure in the making of a bouncing ball, which demonstrated the aspect of squash and stretch in our animation.
Our first step was create a path for the ball to follow every 10 frames or so, up and down, and so on until frame 90. We then turned our tangents into stepped tangents to show key poses within the animation. Squash and stretches were added to the appropriate places in the animation. Following a few minor altercations to the rotations of the X-axis (to allow for the balls squash and stretch to follow its path correctly) Our tangents were broken along the Y-axis, to allow a sharp turn in acceleration once the ball hit the ground.
To finish of the lesson, we worked on character posing on a Rig provided to us by Jacqui. Our poses had to first be drawn up, then positioned accordingly.

Rigging Week 3

•March 11, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Today we were given a brief tutorial on how to create different control shapes for sections of our rig, and Mic gave us a little understanding on how to create different shapes for different purposes on a particular rig. The shapes we created in class all varied, and could be used to show the different aspects it controls of that rig.

Toward the end of the class, we worked on building the leg rig for the blobbyModel. We created new attributes in the Channel box for the ball, toe, and ankle of the foot, which allowed for a more controlled movement of the rigged foot.

Week one and two

•March 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

These last two weeks of class have provided to be very useful, and have refreshed my memory on a few things we tackled last year in the course. Rigging lessons with Mic have been very beneficial, as I was having a few problems with rigging last year. He refreshed our memory in the use of IK handles used on certain joints, and control points, for ease of access to these handles on joints.

Lessons with Eric in Texturing have also refreshed my memory. We worked on creating a texture for a dice ball in the first week, but unfortunately, I am unsure what we got up to in our second lesson, because I went home sick.

Animation classes have been fun and informative. We were taught the 12 basic principles of animation, which helped me grasp a firm understanding of what needs to be put across in my future animations. The current project we’re undertaking in Animation is the bouncing of a ball, in which we must make a short animation of a pre-rigged ball Jacqui has done for us.

Animation Lesson 1 (27th)

•March 10, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Today’s lesson consisted of first watching a few short animations, followed by learning the 12 principles of animation.

These principles are

–          Squash and stretch

–          Anticipation

–          Staging

–          ‘Straight ahead’ and ‘pose to pose’\

–          ‘Follow through’ and ‘overlapping’ action

–          Slow in and slow out

–          Arcs

–          Secondary action

–          Timing

–          Exaggeration

–          Solid drawing

–          appeal 

We were given a brief overview of each principle, each coupled with a demonstration by either the students or Jacqui. Toward the end of the lesson, we all watched and studied the short animation Oktapodi. After watching through the clip a second time, we slowed it down, to point out individual principles of animation throughout the clip. This class was pretty good, very informative, I learnt very much.

Hello world!

•June 19, 2012 • 1 Comment

Welcome to! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!