I’d be happy to be a bit of a travelling partner with you on your rigging objectives. I am taking the day off from my database work and this is an area I have wanted to explore more.
I’ve done very little character work but am happy to try a bit today. Perhaps we can share some notes along the way.
Here is what I can tell you:
Primary tools for you to consider:
-Joint chain. A simple chain can be applied to manipulate just about anything. You might want to start by just adding a joint chain to a row of polygons to get the feel for it.
-You will want to be familiar with using the following deformers: Bend, Jiggle, Twist, SplineWrap, FFD, Twist, Collision…and maybe a little bulge, taper, shear and smooth. Cineversity has a nice new series on all the deformers. It’s lightweight consumption. https://www.cineversity.com/vidplaylist/an_artists_guide_to_all_deformers_full_series/an_artists_guide_to_all_deformers_introduction
C4d has pre-built rigging templates for bipeds, birds, insects, etc.
Tim Clappham is a highly esteemed trainer and he has a Rigging Course. I’ve gone through some of it. This course isn’t focused on character rigging, but on rigging in general. Paid course here.
One guy who does a lot of c4d character rigging and also a lot of FREE tutorials is Vozz. Vozz also has some free rigged models and some modestly priced one as well. You might opt to adapt something he has set up.
The thing to remember is…even if you build a perfect rig you still have to animate it…which with tons of keyframes can get quite time-consuming. So you might want to see if you can find a suitable MoCap file. Alternatively you can create animation cycles that can be looped.