Here’s Dummy

dummyMugShotPortrait_180So as I’ve mentioned before, my side project for the past couple years has been developing a rigging system, and Dummy is the poor sap I’ve been testing it on. I’m afraid some people might be a bit disappointed to find out he’s a pretty boring-looking, averagely-proportioned character with no facial rig. But my goal for this guy was to be a test pilot, and a first step in producing puppets with my toolset. I just wanted to create a robust, stripped down biped, focussing at first on the control rig rather than things like deformations.

How To Use Him

Head over to the new Maya Rigs page, or download him at the end of this post. I’m hoping the setup should be pretty straightforward, the one thing which may be different from other rigs you’ve used is where to find the settings. There’s no control curves for them, so it might not be obvious how to change things like FK/IK. However, if you just expand the top node in the outliner, directly underneath it you’ll see a group for every part of the character (grp_Root, grp_Head, grp_Spine, etc.). These groups have attributes to control the settings which affect that element of the puppet.

What’s So Special

Dummy is a pretty generic character and rig, there’s probably not a lot of surprises for someone who has much industry experience with biped rigs, but even so there’s a couple features which are the tiniest bit “experimental” to me. I’d be interested in getting feedback on these aspects of the puppet in particular:

  • Auto Pole Vector – The default mode of the pole vectors are “Auto,” which keeps them hopefully in a stable and default position when moving a hand or foot. This isn’t a new concept, but I’m hoping it’s a more useful and stable implementation than some I’ve seen.
  • Spine Extend/Collapse – In addition to stretching, the spine will straighten out a bit when stretched, and bend when compressed. It’s meant to evoke a bit more of an IK feel, as well as allow for animating stretching and compressing without too much scaling.
  • Soften IK – This also isn’t a new concept, but generally I see it used in conjunction with scaling limbs. In this case I didn’t want the limbs to be scaleable, but I still wanted this effect.

I may go into these features a bit more in future posts, including how they’re set up, if people are interested. The next post though will be about Puppeteer, the system behind the rig. Now without further ado:

Version: 8
900.4 KiB


Forgot to add that there’s also a basic support script for FK/IK switching and a few selection tools (also requires ml_utilities):

ML Puppet
ML Puppet
Version: 9
31.7 KiB
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One Response to Here’s Dummy

  1. Guy says:

    I would love some information on how you implemented those “experimental” features! Always looking for some good rigging know-how.

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