Base Rig

So here is the baserig that I will be using to animate my athlete models and other characters built off of this model. In this post I will describe the controls available on this rig.

There are a number of controls available on this rig. I will go through the usage of each one.

Main body controls

    fullBodyCTRL – overall top control node. trans and rot available for this node
    hipCTRL- used to control the movement of the character from the hips. Also used to bend the character at the hips.
    hipAngle- used to rotate the hips only
    backCTRL- used to bend and twist the back
    neckCTRL- used to rotate the neck
    headCTRL- ummm.. this is starting to get redundant

In the interest of brevity I will only describe the controls for the left arm and leg.

The arm controls

    LshoulderCTRL- used to shrug and rotate the shoulders
    LarmFKCTRL- FK(forward kinematics) control for rotating the upper part of the arm
    LforearmFKCTRL- FK(forward kinematics) control for rotating the forearm
    LhandFKCTRL- FK(forward kinematics) control for rotating the hand
    LhandCTRL- IK(inverse kinematics) control for controlling the arm. Move the control and the arm will follow. Changing the IKtoFK attribute from “0” to “1” will switch to forward kinematics control. Any value in between (.5, for example) will split the arm’s position between the placement of the LhandCTRL and the locations of the FK controls.
    LelbowCTRL- used in conjunction with the LhandCTRL the control the plane upon which the arm rotates. Translating this locator changes the plane used to rotate the arm. *Note* Make certain the locator stays behind the imaginary line from the shoulder to the hand as the arm will flip otherwise.

The leg controls

    LfootCTRL- Used to place the foot. Also has a “Knee” attribute to change the plane the leg rotates on.
    LfootROT- used to rotate the foot from the heel to the ball of the foot, pivot the foot from the inner ball of the foot(like stomping out a lit cigarette), and roll the foot from side to side. The rotation is limited so that you cannot rotate below the LfootCTRL, leaving the foot flat upon the ground plane.
    LfootPIVOT- used to pivot the foot from the outer ball of the foot
    LtoeROT- used to stand the foot up on the point of the toe

There are three layers in this Maya scene. “animGeo” contains the low-poly geometry used to represent the character for animation. “controllers” contains the animation control objects. “bones” contains the joints of the skeleton, currently hidden to make for a cleaner work file for the animator.

So for those of you that have read all of this, if you are interested I will reward(maybe?) you by providing the scene file( for your inspection. Please check it out and let me know is this rig is useful, if it’s wack, if it worked well, whatever. Please only use this for your (and my) education. If you use the rig for anything other than playing around on your home system, please credit me. Do not use this for commercial work without my written permission. If you want to use this as a basis for your own rig, let me know @

Creative Commons License, and by Jamal Obi Sullivan are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

In later posts I can discuss the expressions and constraints used to make the controls work to move the underlying skeleton. There are also some custom attributes that allow switching from FK to IK and back for animation, providing more control for the animator. Let me know in the comments if explanation of that kind is of interest. Stretchy limbs will be the next edit for this rig. As well as a separate animation skeleton to which the animation can be baked.


Changelog now available for download!

    1. separated the left right and main body controllers into three separate layers
    2. color coded the left(blue) and right(red) controllers for easier selection in the orthographic views
    3. added some dimension to the foot controllers to make them easier to see and select from the orthographic views
    4. the selection mask to “Select surface objects” is turned OFF by default making it easier to select only the controls and not the representative geometry now available for download!

    1. got rid of extra layers
    2. set up limbs so mirrored animation using control objects was possible
    3. removed extra geometry from scene

1 Comment »

  1. Charles says:

    Truly a King among men… I’ll give this a whirl I think.
    I dont know about anyone else but I for one am always interested in more knowledge.

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