Accelerating the Character Rigging Process in Maya


Accelerating the Character Rigging Process in Maya is the second in the “Accelerating…” series, I created this course/tutorial for Digital Tutors over March and April of 2015. Click the picture above to go to the exact place on the site.

Rigging is perhaps the most excruciatingly technical part of the character animation workflow. It is also the most variable. Download any two rigs from or any other source that makes rigs created by separate people and you will see that no two character riggers do it exactly the same.

So, to simplify and standardize the process for my students, I have gone so far as to write my own rigging system based on how I rigged characters at the time. However, I have found a much superior system in a mel script called “abAutoRig.mel.”

A gentleman named Brendan Ross wrote abAutoRig (as well as a host of other scripts) and made them available on his site: As of this writing, he has two versions of the script, which is up to version 6.03 (standard-Scroll down to Free Downloads section) and 6.5 (premium Scroll down below.). He sells the premium version for a very affordable $25, and I recommend it highly. For various reasons too complicated to go in to here, I use the standard version in the course (but I very much wanted to use the premium version!)

In this four-hour course, I use abAutoRig to speed the process allowing me to cover binding and weighting as well as present a workflow for corrective blendshapes.

I also provide a python script I wrote using Marco Giordano’s wonderful Pose-Based deformer using Maya nodes tutorial as a guide (click on the bold text to see it) to automate a pose-based system for driving the corrective blendshapes. (I present the full method in my next course, Accelerating the Face Rigging Process in Maya and Mudbox).

At the end of the course, you have a fully rigged character ready to use in your own animated productions. And, as I mention in the teaser for the course, you’ll also have the knowledge and tools needed to create your own. Happy Rigging!

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