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  • Difficulty Level:

    workshop-level-a A
  • Keywords: 3D| ANIMATION

Bink art is courtesy of Eric Miller Animation Studios


Class Format:
Length: 8 Weeks
Lectures: Pre-Recorded each week
Assignment: Deadlines each week
Feedback: Individually recorded
No Q&As


Aimed at students that already have a background in rigging and want to take their skills to the next level, industry veteran Nico Sanghrajka will use his 9 year experience of rigging for feature films and showcase advanced rigging techniques that can be applied in cartoony and creature rigs alike.

This 8 week workshop will start with a look at what is meant by an advanced rig and what some of the key components are.

Starting out by building a solid and robust base rig, you will then build additional layers to add more functionality, while still keeping the rig fast and responsive and keeping simplicity for the animator in mind. There will also be the artistic aspect of creating nice and plausible deformations and appealing shapes.

The course will conclude with a look at anatomy, muscles and automated secondary motion.

Last but by no means least, you will create either some poses or a short animation, to test the rig and showcase your work.

Each week there will be an assignment to complete.

Note: The format of this class will be Forum replies for Assignments and Forum replies for student Q&As.

Classroom Access Policy

CGMA policy states that all students will have access to classroom content for the duration of the class plus 4 weeks to review content. After this time is up classroom content will no longer be available.

For those classes with live Q&As, Q&A recordings as well as feedback recordings will be available for up to 6 months after the class is complete.


Week 1 - Introduction

● Introduction

● What makes an advanced rig?

● Analyzing some existing rigs

● Model pose and topology considerations for rigging

● Naming Convention

● Joint Placement

● Joint Orientation (Rotation Axis)

● Modular Rigging (Break it down)

● Creating the FK spine

● Custom Attributes

● ColorCoding

● Locking and Hiding attributes

Week 2 - Arms, Legs, Fingers and Feet

● Arms and Legs

● IK­FK­Blend

● Blend­Color Nodes vs Orient Constraints

● Creating Hands and Fingers

● Foot setup with multiple pivot points

● Utility / Math Nodes

● Macro finger attributes and secondary micro controls

Week 3 - Connecting it all together

● Connecting everything together

● Point Constraints and Orient Constraints

● Creating shoulder, head, jaw and eye controls

● Rough Skinning

● Managing the visibility of controls

Week 4 - The Spine

● Building a more advanced spine

● How many joints do I need

● IK Ribbon spine

● Squash and Stretch Spine

● Volume preservation and color­feedback.

● FK spine with variable controls

● reverse FK spine

Week 5 - Limbs

● Advancing the legs and arms

● Squash and Stretch Limbs

● Condition Node

● Split knee and split elbow

● shoulder blade setup

● Building a native Maya Pose Reader

● Auto Clavicle

● Optional: Bendy Limbs

Week 6 - Deformation, Smoothing and Corrective Shapes

● Deformations

● Looking at edgeflow and topology

● Weights Painting

● Additive vs Subtracting

● Smoothing

● Weighthammer

● Influence objects

● Optional: building a lowRes cage.

● Corrective Shapes

● Pose­based deformation

Week 7 - Muscles

● anatomy and muscles

● faking muscles and skin sliding

● dynamics in rigging

● soft bodies and dynamic curves

● delayed animation ctrls

Week 8 - Does it all work

● Testing the rig

● Picking three (extreme) poses

● make sure all is working and ready for anim

● Creating a script to reset all the control back to default



Maya (ideally 2015 but older versions will also work).

Students should have their own biped model (in t­pose) they are going to rig or they can use the model provided.

Skills required

The level of this course is Intermediate to Advanced, so students should have done some rigging before and for example know what the difference between IK and FK is and how to add custom attributes.

Although we will start with a basic rig in the beginning as a base, we will very quickly get into more advanced topics and won`t spend too much time on covering the basics.

Ideally students should also have some experience in animating, but its not a must.

Modelling and scripting experience are a plus.



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