When I came to Jacksonville University, I faced the challenge of converting the school’s animation program from Lightwave to Maya. One of the first classes I was to teach was a character design and animation class that covered the creation and rigging of characters. Anyone who has touched Maya knows that character rigging is perhaps the most excruciatingly technical of character creation tasks. At ACA, I taught this class to students with three semesters of Maya experience, and it still took us 8 weeks to rig our characters; for beginners, this wouldn’t do. So over the course of the summer of 2007, I wrote most of the scripts that went into ekCharacterToolKit.mel.

Basically, the script is a collection of rigging scripts that sets up characters in the exact way that I use in my animation classes. I wrote all but four of the scripts (cometRename and cometJointOrient written by Michael Comet, and FS_faceCurves and FS_AddInfluences written by Warren Grubb at Fathom Studios) and enclosed them in a push button interface. I then wrote documentation for the scripts called Maya Character Rigging with ekCharacterToolKit.

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