Critique of my rigs in Maya plz!

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  10 October 2002
Well everyone, my time at school has come to an end, and I have made a demo reel! I will update the skeleton rig soon with some new features I have been working on for everyone to download.

You can check out my demo reel here:

It's 720X486 19.1MB DivX AVI @3:10, sorry for the big file size!

Let me know what you think!!!



  10 October 2002
Hi Joe!

I'm a Maya student who wants to mainly focus on character animation, and so I've been trying out any rigs I can find on the net to see what I like/dislike in a rig.

So far I really like yours! I'm making a little animation test with it so that I can find out if anything bugs me. So far there are just a few little things I would add/change..

(if you can already do any of these things just yell at me)

1. It would be really cool if you could choose to set the hands to move with the body as apposed to being sticky.

2. Would it be possible to somehow link the arm pole vector controls to the arms/body so that they don't just stay there. Because in my animation test I practically have to animate the pole vectors as much as the hands.

For example, the skeleton jumps back in surprise, which causes the elbows to aim forward to point to the stationary pole vector constraints. Obviously you still need to animate them, but if they at least moved with the body, that would help.

Along the same lines, the controller that moves both feet and the controller that moves the whole setup stay stationary also. Though I suspect that would be hard to change without them affecting the rest of the setup...

3. Negative footroll would be cool. To tip the foot back on it's heel.

4. The previously mentioned UpBack not twisting.

5. A slider for making all fingers (per hand) clench at once would be nice.

Also, I haven't been using the 'Window of controls' except for the fingers. So perhaps you could make a 'Lite' version that only dealt with things that can't really be animated in the viewport, like fingers and toes, footroll etc.

6. This is mainly a maya thing but, you've nicely coloured all the controllers, but as soon as any of them are selected, they all turn purple to show that they are linked, which means you have to deselect everything if you want to see where things are.

Apart from all the above hehe, I'm finding your rig to work wonderfully. Just two more questions/ideas:

1. Is there a reason why the rig is centered at 0,0,0 rather than having his feet on the ground plane? Because I would have thought that most peoples 'floor levels' would be at 0,0,0

2. Hehe if for instance......someone say.......accidentally closed your 'Window of conrols' would they get them back?

I know my post is long and makes it seem like there are many things I don't like, but that's not the case. I am still able to easily animate with it. I just think it could be even better!

And of course, everything I've posted it just my opinion, and is based on what I personally like.

  10 October 2002
Oh and you can't seem to be able to set keyframes in the 'Window of controls'.

Ok that's definitely it!!!

Did I mention you're the greatest???
  10 October 2002
Hi Jozvex, thanks for all the feedback. I'm glad to hear your animating the rig!

Let me try to answer some of your questions...Also, I will have an update soon of the rig with some new features.

As for the questions:

1. I agree, however, feedback from some animators told me otherwise, and they preferred having the hands separate. This one's just personal preference really.

2. Same answer for the pole vector constraints. They were originally parented to the hands, however, they were causing too much counter animation/stress on the animator, so I left them seperate. If you want to change it, all you need to do is parent the pole vectors to the hand control boxes.

3. Negative footroll is coming on the next update. I wrote an expression that helps keep the controls as "floor targets".

4. This one's got me boggled....I got it twisting, but not really...I dunno, this one I HAVE to figure out..just for my own personal satisfaction if nothing else

5. Hey great idea! I'll go ahead and do that

6. This is all Maya prefs, can't really help you here.

I do think most people use the grid as the floor, but I didn't in this case. I will from now on though, as I think it will make everything easier.

If you close the control window, in Maya, go to Window>Animation Editors>Expression Editor, Click on Filter select "Script Node" and then click on "character controls" and hit "test". That'll do it!

To set keys using the window you have to right click over the attribute you want to key...I might make a lite version of this like you suggested. The window serves as no use to myself, I use character sets (which the next update will also have).

Thanks for all the comments/suggestions, I really appreciate it!
Let me know how your animation turns out.. I'll let you know as soon as I have an update for you to download. Take care!

Best regards,


  10 October 2002
Updated Skeleton Rig for download!!

I still have to finish the hands, they need a bit more work.

New features:

UpBack Twist problem solved
Arm Turn Solution added
New Finger Expressions
FootRoll Expression for Negative footroll
Character Set for Animation
Little things here and there....

If you have any questions/complaints/comments let me know!

Best regards,


Last edited by -dc- : 10 October 2002 at 01:38 PM.
  10 October 2002

Thanks for taking in my suggestions and responding!

And thanks for the updated skeleton!

UpBack Twist problem solved


Arm Turn Solution added

Can you elaborate on that? What do you mean?

New Finger Expressions

Again, what are they?

I like the new finger control objects though!

FootRoll Expression for Negative footroll

That's good, though I was expecting it to pivot back from the heel rather than from the ball of the foot. It may again just be personal preference, but I can see some problems with having it pivot back from the ball.

If you look at the image I have attached, I took screenshots of the footroll progressing from one extent to the other. Not only does the foot roll, it moves quite a large distance as well. Which means you would need to animate against that distance while it rolls.

Get what I mean? It should stay along that blue line.

Character Set for Animation


Hehe I must be annoying but oh well.

Last edited by Jozvex : 10 October 2002 at 03:00 AM.
  10 October 2002
I see your point, and I agree...Fixed the footroll and updated again.

Made a simple IK/FK switching script too for the arms and legs.

Thanks for the feedback as always!



Last edited by -dc- : 10 October 2002 at 04:25 AM.
  10 October 2002
Hi again,

That FK/IK switcher is great!

But of course, it would be even greater if the IK On/Off checkboxes were ticked by default, because IK is on by default and so to turn it off, you need to tick the box and then untick it again hehe!

I'm sorry, I couldn't resist picking on that.

But one thing I forgot to mention again in my previous post is that even though you say that keyframes can be set via the 'Window of Controls', I still can't get it to work!

If you right click on a control slider you get these options:

The path to the attribute
Set Driven Key
Break Connection
Lock Attribute
Ignore when rendering

There's no Set Key!

And now back to the footroll. It is now much improved, but is it possible to stop the heel from sliding?

In this latest version it rolls back from he ankle, which I supposed is more realistic, but could it be made to roll back from a new location at the back of the heel?

I'm really glad you are making all of these improvements! I'm bound to run out of ideas soon and then it'll be my dream rig I think!
  10 October 2002
Hey Jozvex,

I think it's time for me to put on my coding hat and go to work on a new more "animator friendly" MEL window, as this one is, well, useless

I'll make one that has all the keying features you'll ever need....and I'll fix that heel sliding around.

If you do any animations with it, let me know, I'd love to see them!



  10 October 2002
Ok, major update to the rig:

3 new mel windows
Shelf with Custom Icons

Download, play with it, tell me what you think....

you'll need WinRAR to uncompress, which you can download free

Best regards,

  10 October 2002
I might have some time to check out your file shortly...looks/sounds good so far.
  10 October 2002
haha. Ok, thread exploded overnight.

The rig looks really nice!

Jason, I aspire to be a moleman. One of those morlocks locked away in the basement. (Though to be honest I would rather be part of a smaller house so I could have more input) You use skin simulation? I can't figure out what kind of surface to use that slides over the muscles without 'snagging'. Of course, I am only me and don't have a R&D department. (Well... I have a notepad and a toilet. Spend creative time every day or so)

But yeah, that rig looks nice. Is this going to be an underlay for a skin deformation?
  10 October 2002
Hey Zero, thanks for the will in fact be an underlay for a soft body deformation system to affect the skin, i'll add fat pads and tendons too.


  11 November 2002
It's me again!

All the improvements are great!


The arm pole vectors are giving me LOTS of trouble. I probably just don't know any good techniques for working with them.

In my animation, the skeleton puts his left hand up to his face and it's then that the pole vector goes beserk.

Any slight movement in that hand makes the elbow zoom around all over the place no matter where I move the pole vector constraint.

Oh and it appears that lifting a foot so that his knee is near his body causes the leg bones to separate.

  12 December 2002
Hi there..

i downloaded your 'rig' and this is what happening to my minot.

Im going for the arms now.. any suggestions ?

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