Maya Tutorial - My character rigging tutorial

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Old 12 December 2010   #1
Maya Tutorial - My character rigging tutorial

Hello everybody

I had 3 weeks of rigging with a teacher called Nico. Who is a rigger at dreamworks, before that he was at framestore. After the 3 weeks I decided to make my own rigging tutorial, it is not a copy of what he does, but what i learned trough him and other teachers, plus some dvds i watched over time. It is a free tutorial on youtube, and the first 2 series are allready available.

1st Serie - The Skeleton:

2end Serie - The Leg:

3. - The Spine

4. - The Arm:

5 - The Hand:

Bonus - Painting Weights:

Update - 17-03-2011

6 - Facial Rigging:

It is done in Maya 2011, let me know what you think. I will be posting the new series in this thread.

If you liked the tutorials I recommend that you take a look at my site at:



Remember to subscribe ;D
Dennis Jensen - 3D Artist - See the stuff I make.
My Maya Tutorials - Learn the stuff I do.

Last edited by Deje3D : 03 March 2011 at 05:47 PM.
Old 01 January 2011   #2
We are moving on to the arm! Dont be a stranger let me know what u think

The Arm:
Dennis Jensen - 3D Artist - See the stuff I make.
My Maya Tutorials - Learn the stuff I do.
Old 01 January 2011   #3
Good stuff. It's always nice to have people like yourself take the time to give back to the cg community and create helpful tutorials. Lucky guy having Nico as your teacher too.

btw, I like the arm tut. blendColor node was a good option


Old 01 January 2011   #4
Because of you Sean, I use the blendcolor option. I did a tutorial at my school of rigging a character, and my teacher came up to me and asked me how i did the blendcolor again. I felt special.

Joshua McCollom
<-My Webpage->
Old 01 January 2011   #5
Did you have Nico as your teacher aswell? He is awesome I got the colour blend from him.

That is pretty awesome ;D Can i see your tutorial anywhere?
Dennis Jensen - 3D Artist - See the stuff I make.
My Maya Tutorials - Learn the stuff I do.
Old 01 January 2011   #6
Well, Nico works in my dept but at our Redwood City campus.

When I was working on my own arm tutorial a few years back I wanted to come up with a way to keep my outliner less cluttered with constraint nodes so I happen to come across the blendColor node and it was kind of a "duh" moment.

Old 01 January 2011   #7

great tutorials,thank you so much
Old 01 January 2011   #8
Thank you

The brand new tutorial is up, check it out at:

Dennis Jensen - 3D Artist - See the stuff I make.
My Maya Tutorials - Learn the stuff I do.
Old 01 January 2011   #9
Robot rigging question.

Hello, I wondered if one of you rigging specialists could help me with a rigging dilemma?

I am in the process of learning how to rig. I have modelled a robot and I'm trying to rig the legs to move a certain way, but without any luck.

Please see the attached images at this link -!-(Maya)

Basically, I want point 'A' to work as a knee pivot, causing point 'B' and 'C' to close and come together when the leg bends (and vice versa when it moves outward). I want point 'D' to be a fixed position, with the leg moving forward, back, right and left from that point.

Whenever I have tried to rig the leg, point 'B' and 'C' have either stayed the same distance or just moved outward, and not inward.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Old 01 January 2011   #10
Hej MtatFluler!

When ever you are making a IK for the leg, you should make sure that when you create the bones, you make a little bend in them, to show how the leg would bend. This helps maya when you are creating the IK. It is also a good idea to create it from the side view.

I hope it helps otherwise let me know

A new bonus tutorial is up, this time about painting weights in maya:
Dennis Jensen - 3D Artist - See the stuff I make.
My Maya Tutorials - Learn the stuff I do.
Old 01 January 2011   #11
Hey Dennis, great stuff. Keep it up.

I've done a butt load of skinning over the years and I've found that I prefer to control the falloff on my own than allowing Maya to determine it for me during the initial bind. I start with a max inf 1 and falloff of 0 so each weight is very blocky. Then I go back and set the inf back to say 4 and then start painting using only Add and then a little bit of smooth at the end. You'll have much less counter painting due to falloff bleeding between joints that way. Just my $0.02.


Old 01 January 2011   #12
These are useful videos.... Thanks, Deje3D.

One question though.... on the skeleton tutorial, is there a reason why 9 joints were used to create the backbone (or spinal cord) of the character?
Old 01 January 2011   #13
Wow that is really smart. Sometimes I also set the value to 0.2 or 0.1 and add the influence. It is a nice way to get control over the gradient between the joints. Thanaks for your comment

Basicly you want the spine to have a smoothe curve, because the human spine consists of many bones and has this smooth curve. So I use 9 joints because I think it is enough to make the smooth curve but it is still not to many that you will drown in work. I guess you could make 26 joints like in the human spine, but I would say it is a bit overkill

I hope that answers your question
Dennis Jensen - 3D Artist - See the stuff I make.
My Maya Tutorials - Learn the stuff I do.
Old 01 January 2011   #14
Thanks, Deje3D... On another note, have you ever used "rigid bind" to skin an organic character? I've been hearing that "rigid bind with flexors" is good for skinning joints like shoulder & elbow. Though, I don't know of anyone who's used rigid bind for organic characters and I doubt rigid bind can be combined with smooth bind.

Last edited by amazingjay : 01 January 2011 at 05:51 PM.
Old 01 January 2011   #15
great work!

wow Dennis,
awesome Tutorials !

did someone already see these videos ?
those are really great , too - but unfortunately i dont understand portuguese :(

( and sorry Dennis , for interrupting your thread by posting someone else's videos , i thought maybe these are also interesting for you to see )

again : great work Dennis !
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