ek_characterToolkit.mel

This is an update to the scripts and interface I created in 2008. Each button has a "?" button next to it that describes each task. Each button activates another subroutine/script that is manipulated with a separate interface. Within almost every interface, there is a help button that describes how to use the script. One major change I made from earlier is that I combined all my scripts into one .mel script called 'ek_characterToolkit.mel.' This has made distribution to my students and updating individual script much easier. Of course, this means the script has 8900 lines of code at present!

This is a list of steps I use to create character rigs.

Each button activates a subroutine/interface which allows the user to accomplish a particular task. These tasks are generally listed in the order which the user would use to create a rig.

Make Proxy Skeleton-allows the user to create a skeleton by moving joints on a basic skeleton. The script allows symmetrical arranging of the joints on one side; the bones on the other side move into position by means of expressions. The last task is to clean the skeleton of all scripts and unlock all attributes.

Renamer-Based loosely on Michael Comet's renaming script, it allows the user to search/replace, add prefix and add suffix to object names.

Create Group node-Creates a translate node/curve that serves as the top level node for the rig.

Rig Leg-This complexly named command creates a IK leg rig with feet controlled with Jason Schliefer's grouped reverse foot technique. While the script uses a no-flip knee as default, this makes the rig incompatible with HIK. So it also allows for conventional pole vector control on the knees.

Rig Arm-Rigs the arm using IK and creates curves for hand/finger controls.

Rig Spine-Creates an FKSpine.

Rig Hand-Creates fingers direct connected to finger attributes on the hand control. Requires fingers to be oriented in a particular way using the Orient Joints utility.

Rig IK Eyes-Rigs Eyes using IK to point them along with controls to point eyes together or individually.

Make Face CTRL-This creates a curve control and attributes to control facial blendshapes and joint movement.

Rig Pects or Blades-Allows the rigging of Aim-constrained joints that facilitate deformations in the chest and back.

Add Gimbal Control-Creates a separate node under the IK Arm control that animators can use to fight Axis flip. Can be seen as redundant given Maya's animation layers.


Make Ribbon Arms and Legs-Experimental-Creates ribbon arms and hooks them into the rig.

Appendage Maker-Experimental-creates FK tails.

Make DEF Set-Creates a set of joint names with the DEF suffix.

Delete Rigs-Deletes rig either individual controls or in total.

Clean Up Controls-Makes a locked and hidden DONOTTOUCH group into which all loose ikhandles are placed.


Rigging Utilities

I created these to help with broader rigging tasks

Orient Joints-This utility is based heavily on Michael Comet's gold-standard Comet Joint Orient script and methodology, but I rewrote the basic MEL code and interface and added (and subtracted) some features, like a select hierarchy button and the ability to rotate LRA's in user-defined increments.

Ctrl Curve Creator-Allows the user to edit/create/substitute control curves by shapes and components as well as change their colors.

Make Follow Control-Places a pop-up on the control and allows the user to specify which node the target control will follow. It parent constrains a parent offset group with SDK'd targets to switch spaces allowing, for example, the wrist controllers to follow either the world, the hips the shoulders or any other control the animator might wish to use.

Attribute Wrangler-This is a MEL script which allows the user to change the order of attributes as they appear in the Channel Box. Surprisingly difficult to do in MEL.

Pose Wrangler-similar to Pose2Shelf, it allows the user to save selection and poses to any shelf. It also allows user to add a shelf. It uses icons internal to Maya.

Rig Pose Based Reader-This script uses the rotation normalizing technique found in Marco Giordano's most excellent video . The difference is that I have created an interface that lets the user specify a target and blendshape target that the script automatically connects through direct connection.

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