Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Here is how to do a controller to control the rotations of multiple controllers on an FK Spine.

First draw at least 3 joints from the root of your character (assuming a humanoid). Label the joints Spine_1, Spine_2, and Spine_3; make sure that you use a script such as cometJointOrient.mel from comet cartoons:

X axis should be pointed down the heirarchy and the Z rotation axis should match on these joints. See figure:

create 3 NURBS controllers for these joints (I use circles); then create 3 nulls by going to create>empty group or by hitting Cntrl +G with no objects selected.

you will then select Spine_1 joint and then a null and go to contrain>parent (make sure that maintain offset us UNCHECKED in the options). Repeat this for each null and then delete these constraints by selecting them in Window>hypergraph:hierarchy .

move the NURBS controllers to the joint they will control (hold V to snap to a joint); now freeze transformations on your NURBS controllers then parent them P by selecting the controller and then the null associated with the joint they will control. select the NURBS controller and then freeze transformations on them again.

Select a controller and hit control-G to make a group between it and its null. Repeate for each controller and name them BACK_A_GRP, BACK_B_GRP, and BACK_C_GRP.

Select each Spine controller then the joint it controls and do a constraint>Parent Constraint for each one.

Awesome; now you will create or choose a NURBS shape to work as your BACK_ALL_CNTRL. I usually take a larger circle or other shape from a library of controllers I have. Create a null; select the Spine_2 joint and then the null and do contrain>Parent Constraint. Delete the constraint. Now freeze trasnformations on BACK_ALL_CNTRL and then parent (hotkey is P, NOT the same as parent Constraint). to the null. Freeze transformations on the controller again.

Now select BACK_ALL_CNTRL and BACK_A_GRP , BACK_B_GRP, and BACK_C_GRP and go to  window>Rendering Editors> Hypershade.

Now you will hit the graph input and output connections and in the work area selec the little output arrow from BACK_ALL_CNTRL and select rotate> and then connect the green connector to the input arrow of the BACK_A_GRP and choose rotate. Repeate this between the BACK_ALL_CNTRL and each back group.

You are now done; if all is right in the world you now can control your spine controllers individually or all at once with the SPINE_ALL_CNTRL. Well done!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reverse Foot Rig, Part 2

It's been a while since I have updated....so forgive the absence. I have been one busy gal. If you have found the tutorial helpful or it needs some clarifying on any step, just let me know!

The rest of the reverse foot rig is pretty easy stuff. You have done all the hard work up til this point. Give yourself a pat on the back. Go ahead! You deserve it!

Okay, now back to work.... you can't go patting yourself on the back all day.

As you remember last time we had a heirarchy now set up for the reverse foot. I will usually just go ahead and grab that in the hypergraph and parent it to the rig_ALL_CNTRL ; this is the controller that should be at the top of your heirarchy of controllers.

Once you do that we are going to create TWO groups in this hierarchy. This will be to control the banking of our foot from side to side.

repeat this for the other foot!

Now we are going to do some set driven keys to automate a few of these processes. Stand by in part three!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reverse Foot Rig Part 1

Hey guys and gals; so this is the reverse rig set up for Maya; I am using 2011 but it should work with previous or later versions (I have done this in 8.5, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2012 Maya versions). The reverse foot is a rig that exists outside the joint heirarchy of the skinned joints to help control an IK leg.

To do this we create joints at the heel of the characters foot and flow to the toe, mid foot, and ankle.

You will need the joint orientations of these to match; in the case of my reverse foot here I will make the Z all be the primary rotations and all point the same direction. I will suggest the cometJointOrient melscript at comet-cartoons (http://www.comet-cartoons.com/melscript.php) . If you want to follow along with me, here is my joint orientation shown.

You will want IK handles (using the RPsolver) to stretch from the characters hip to ankle. Then ankle to foot and foot to toe_dummy. Just like in the image here:

place the reverse foot rig (R_heel should be the root) in the foot. Then starting at Reverse_Toe; select the joint then shift select the IK handle near it (the one that goes from foot to toe_DUMMY) and use constraint>parent contraint with maintain offset checked. Repeat this step by selected Reverse_Foot joint and the IK handle that goes from ankle to foot. parent constrain again. Then select the Reverse_Ankle and the IK handle that goes from hip to ankle. Once again use parent constraint. See the illustration to see these connections and relationships:

I will usually now group all my IK handles and call them something like R_IK_GROUP (L is for Left or use R for Right). I will also select my reverse Heel joint and group it and call it R_REV_FOOT_GRP. I will then parent my R_IK_GROUP to my R_REV_FOOT_GRP and in turn parent the R_REV_FOOT_GRP to the NURBS controller called R_FOOT_CNTRL. The heirarchy will look like this:

next tutorial we will add banking and foot roll and really show what the reverse foot is full capable of!

Monday, January 23, 2012


Video is available for the bring in an animated mesh from Maya to UDK; take a gander and don't forget there is a pdf on the previous entry!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

bringing animation from Maya into UDK / Unreal

I can't seem to find the part with the exporter; but this part is once you have exported the .psk and .psa files from Maya

just an additional fyi, the max number of mesh influencing bones in a skeleton is 75, the max number of total bones in a skeleton is 256 and you can set an influence limit of 4 joints per vertex.