Better Managing Pole Vectors on an IK Chain
Ever have an issue when setting up pole vectors in Maya? If you have had IK joints that seem to snap out of place when setting the pole vector constraint, you are not alone. Rooster Teeth’s Rigging Artist, Giovanna Coutinho is right there with you. She has run in to this problem a few times. A pole vector in Maya is meant to confine an IK chain so that it moves and follows the position of a control object.
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Technical Artist Greg Hendrix walks through a method for creating set driven keys in Maya for a joint chain and their controllers so you can have the best of both worlds. This set up will allow you to have a set driven key that drives the joint chain, but also controllers that can be key-framed normally. This makes for a really flexible and animator friendly setup for any rig component.
We all know that rotations are important when rigging a character, and depending on the rig, it can become quite complex. In the case of a chain representing a character’s arm, some joints are really limited in their movement, while others such as the forearm can twist. In terms of anatomy, this is possible because there are two bones in the forearm than work in position, giving you the ability to twist with a move of the wrist.
EZ Select allows you access various selection options all in one easy to use panel. With this this tool you can: - Save a selection to memory and add / subtract to that same selection at a later point in time. Ideally, adding this tool to your workflow can greatly reduce the need for Selection Sets. - Mask selection by type or select a single object type within a hierarchical chain...
There are no shortage of tutorials that will show you how to create a wheel rig in Maya, so that the wheel can automatically rotate based on the distance an object is moved. Most of these tutorials however, will use simple circumference maths that gets plugged into a single axis channel. This means that if you are moving your car, or object in one direction, it works great. If the car needs to turn however, things break down.
Learn to write your own custom wrap deformer for Maya on the GPU, for better performance. Creating a wrap deformer on the GPU will allow you to add more features and have better performance over Maya’s native deformer. After taking the course, you will have created a deformer that is much faster than Maya’s Wrap deformer. The GPU driven wrap deformer can be rebounded, has a GPU implementation, and also supports inverted front of chain blend shapes.
XGen is a really versatile tool in Maya 2016. As an arbitrary primitive generator, it can be used for scattering elements, or creating and managing things like grass, feathers, fur or hair. XGen has a full suite of grooming tools that you can use to art direct to exactly what you are looking for. Here, Michael Todd creates a complete fur groom on an animal, which shows off Gens unique and powerful workflow.
A Space Switch is really important concept in character rigging. One of the rigging challenges is managing parents and spaces of a rig and being able to switch between them easily. Really, a rig should consist of a hierarchy of spaces. This will allow an animator to temporarily alter the parenting of the character’s parts so that it can interact with other objects such as props, its environment or even itself — think of a character placing a hat on its head as an action of all three of those dynamic parenting examples.
Autodesk’s Daryl Obert offers some great insights into working with Maya’s XGen. The primitive generator in Maya can be great for creating things like a grass field, but how do you manage resources when working with XGen archives such as high res models that will ultimately make up the grass field.
XGen is a great tool for scattering elements in a scene giving you enough control to quickly randomize or govern placement. It all comes down to the XGen Archive. This is the geometry, piece or element that gets replicated. It can be a modeled blade of grass, trees, rocks, or hair.
One thing that can get quickly out of hand is the amount of rescues needed for replicating objects at high density in a scene. XGen is built to handle a high amount of objects, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to worry over the size of your Xgen Archives.