School for becoming a Character TD???



I want to pursue my career in Chracter Rigging. I want to be a character technical director ultimately…

Can anyone suggest a appropriate school?

I have applied to a Sheridan…(its too tough to get) I am considering applying to Vanarts…but is there anything else anyone can suggest?



There really is not a specific school that teaches you how to be a character TD. Character TDs are usually people who work in CG, but also have a technical skillset derived from somewhere else.

These are the skills you need basically:

1)Strong understanding of animation. You’re gonna be doing what the animators want. So work like a character TD but think like an animator.

2)Scripting or programming. You want to automate as much as possible and make life easier for youself and your coworkers. Learn scripting like MEL or JScript, and pick up C++. Oh yeah, grab a cliff note book on mathmatics. You’ll need it.

3)Strong understanding of anatomy, especially muscle structure and how they work in conjunction with skeletons.

These are the basics. If any of the other riggers on this site have anything to add please do. I think rigging is one of the weakest topics covered on this forum.




Seema -

Though character TDs seem to come from all over the place and there isn’t a lot out there in the way of structured school rigging programs, I have met a few alumni from both Sheridan and Texas A&M (Dallas, TX) who have done very well with their careers. Obviously Sheridan leans towards foundations in animation, and A&M leans toward technical groundwork. These people seemed to get solid support towards rigging-oriented thesis / final project research.

Good luck, and please share any other findings you might run into…

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I’d suggest getting degree in regular computer science if you are more technical oriented or just go to regular art school if you are more artistic one. look at Technical Director. This is Jeremy Birn site, he is long time living legend 3D guru :wink: and TD at Pixar now (in case you didn’t know).

I’d not go to any specialized 3D CG school. Most of them are waste of time and money IMO.

You can learn rigging at home by yourself. It does not matter what package you will learn. What I can recommend is videos from advanced character rigging by Adam Sale (these are for XSI), he is great teacher and another 3D guru :slight_smile: and covers in depth rigging a complex human skeleton step by step, presents many alternative techniques etc… You basically get all basics and way beyond basics for little money. Ima sure there are similar products for Maya, but be carefull, most of stuff out there is for beginners - so depends on your skill level, evaluate before you buy. You need to know how to build advanced facial setups, muscle systems and what not…

Then all you need to do is practice. Find a fellow animator and rig for him. Animate your rigged characters as ntmonkey said, you need to understand animation, learn scripting, do life drawing to learn anatomy. You have to meet Levator Labii to get the job ;).

There is a shortage of good riggers in the industry, everyone wants to be a modeller or texture artist (forget it, there are no vacancies), then few people want to be character animators, the remaining one person wants to rig and lit it all :).


Being a character TD means you will have to do a lot of learning on your own. Most instructors aren’t nessesarily the best character riggers. The best forums out there for character rigging are and

If you’re using maya, just go throught the node reference guide. If you can stomach that, then maybe TD-ing is the thing for you :wink:

And learn scripting!



if you’re interested in rigging, then i’d highly recommend getting the Jason Schleifer rigging dvd’s from Alias…they’re awesome!!!
And also get the Paul Thuriot DVD (Advanced Character Pipelines and Tools.), which covers pipeline and other scripting issues…very good.
Both of them are for maya, but i’m sure that after watching them, you’ll be able to addapt them to other packages if you feel like it (most of it anyway) :slight_smile:


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