Archive for Rigging Tutorials

Tutorial: Create a 360 degree Twist Extractor

Tutorial: Create a 360 degree Twist Extractor

Important note:
This setup isn’t really as stable as I first thought it to be, so you should probably stick with the 180 degree setup if you want to be sure not to get any problems. Cedric Bazillou first pointet out that you really can’t go beyond 180 degrees (trigonometry limit of angle between vectors) using only math, and the “hack” in my tutorial relies on maya’s cache/history in the orientConstraint-node in an attempt to resolve the angle past 180 degrees. The setup looks okay when scrubbing through the timeslider, but it won’t be able to resolve angles past 180 degrees if you jump between frames. The reason I haven’t removed this post is simply that the setup also shows how to setup a normal twist extractor, though the 360 part should be ignored. In the comment section of the video link you can read a comment made by Oyvind on how to actually trigger the problem with this setup.


The tutorial:
I forgot to mention in the video, but if you’re using translate-based stretch in your rig, you must have offset-groups on the twistextractors, which you connect the translate of your driverjoints to.

12,086 total views, 4 views today

Tutorial: Create a Procedural Ribbon in Maya

Tutorial: Create a Procedural Ribbon in Maya

Since I put up my rigging reel I’ve received a lot of questions and requests for a tutorial on the procedural ribbons, so I’ve finally put together a tutorial on them. When I finished the tutorial I realized that it was really slow-paced, so I’ve written a script for it (attached at the bottom of this post). So for those of you that find it easier to figure out what’s going on by skimming through some code, you know what to do 🙂


This kind of technique might be old news to some people, but it’s too awesome not to be shared. These ribbons actually evaluate slightly faster than the traditional ribbon-setup, which is crazy considering they’re so much more flexible. What makes this setup powerful though, is that they utilize the nonLinear deformers in Maya, which means you inherit the same flexibility as you have with deformers, so you won’t take a performance-hit as you’re just adding functionality to an already existing deformer. This technique could of course be altered to ride ontop of FK-rigs, which could be used to rig tails/tentacles/fishes etc. When I figured out this technique I felt like it opened a door to a new way of thinking about rigging challenges.

The tutorial:

The script:
The ribbon produced by the script is almost identical to the ribbon created in the tutorial, with the exception of some cleanup in the setup and an option to offset where on the surface the twist occurs.

Download Script

50,600 total views, 27 views today

Tutorial: Create a Sine with Nodes in Maya

Tutorial: Create a Sine with Nodes in Maya

Wow! It’s been more than a year since my last post here… Time flies 😕 Anyway, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the procedural ribbon from my rigging reel, and I promised I’d do a tutorial on that, I’ll try to get that done next week or so 🙂

This however, is actually the thing that got me started on the procedural ribbon in the first place. My first thought was to start with getting the sine-function to work with nodes, and then work my way from there. The ribbon turned out totally different from this tutorial though, but I thought this could still be a useful technique to share.

First off, there’s several tutorials out there on how to create a sine-function in Maya, but I’ve never seen anyone do them with nodes. The main reason you would want to do things with nodes instead of using expressions is that expressions doesn’t always evaluate when you want them to, some times you have to scrub the timeline or playback the scene to force an evaluation of the expression. That can be really cumbersome if you need to adjust attributes that affects the result of the expression without seeing the changes instantly. Also, nodes evaluate way faster than expressions 🙂

The concept:

This is very basic, and the concept is very well demonstrated here, the tutorial just shows you how it can be applied to several objects in a way that lets you control the entire chain of objects affected by the sine with one controller of the games, since animation is used for different games for computers or phones, and you can get this type of games in sites like AndroidHackers online and others.

Even if you know how a sine works, there’s still something to take out of doing it this way in Maya. Instead of dealing with just the math to get this to work (which you do with expressions), you’re dealing with a more practical setup, which easily can be modified to behave however you want it to. So as long as you know the “pattern” of the mathematical function, let your rigging brain take over and do a practical setup in Maya that lets you extract the behaviour of the function.

Here’s an interesting example Disney Research Lab released a little more than a year ago:
Computational Design of Mechanical Characters

The tutorial:

I’m using the translateY to output the sine in the tutorial, but remember that if you for example use this on a joint-chain, you could just connect the output to the rotate of the joints instead.

11,492 total views, 8 views today

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