Rigging Hugh in Maya

Well I’m back in Maya and doing some rigging. I’ve completed Hugh’s expression blend shapes and have finished the skeleton. Soon comes the binding.


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Importing SketchUp Models to Maya

I wrote up some instructions on how I export/import from SketchUp to Maya for someone and I figured should post them up here.


Right now I’m remodeling Hugh’s body to put him into the typical natural pose for better rigging in Maya. I didn’t do that for Chan, and I believe that hurt some of the more extreme arms over the head poses. So now I’m fixing my mistakes with this model.

I can’t wait till that’s done, because when that’s done I’ll be doing some major scene set ups for the final comic. “Finally”, is what I say.

Here are my SketchUp to Maya instructions: 

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Sam Modeling Part 6? (not really, more like 2.5)

This is more like Sam Modeling Part 2.5

I was in the mood to figure out the problem with an old video I recorded quite a while ago and couldn’t post on Youtube.  To keep a long story short, I’ll just say, I fixed it.

This video shows how I tune the model up from tube shapes to the muscle groups in the arm and the torso with the Sam model for Fuel & Fire.

Check out the video:


The end result after this video:


Hunter Rigging – DONE!

Holy frijoles, Batman! Did I learn a lot from building this rig. It was relatively painless but it’s save to say that there were few roads untraveled, explored and retraced. Developing the rigging scheme for Chan’s tow truck and Hugh’s XR311 might have been tricky—this one was a handful.

And frankly, I loved every minute of it.

So here’s the final rig set up:


I tried to structure an easy to use visual guide into the rig that points to all the rotation inference points. For the most part, I made it so that any intersection with red touching it is off limits to rotation.

Here’s the hierarchy in the outliner:


As you can see there are a lot of “groups” in that list. Though I like to name things, I kept most of the “group” names because it was simpler visually. The most important items are named.

Anything with a CN in front of it is rigging geometry. Anything with a CNX is off limits to rotation.

Here’s a pose I made using the Frazetta “Stone Age” illustration as a target reference:


Here’s the Hunter running across the landscape:



hunter12.jpg hunter13.jpg

Hunter SketchUp Posing Rig

So today I starting working on the posing rig for the Hunter. It’s becoming pretty complicated but I’m very hopeful that it’ll work. Well, I know it’ll work, but will it work the way I want, i.e. will it be easy enough to pose, and could I stand to pose ten’s and ten’s of these. These guys travel in packs, and are known to attack in packs.

There are several differences between rigging in Sketchup or using Maya. Here are the big ones I see:

  • In Maya control nodes are easily selectable, with all rotation axis available to grab. In Sketchup I have to snap the rotation tool to a surface that mimics the angle I want to rotate on (hence why the strangeness in the rigging shapes see below).
  • In Maya I can use reference of the real model in real time with other models I might be posing.
  • In Sketchup, all hidden and “inking lines that I’ve already sculpted are maintained. If I import a posed model in from Maya, I have to re-hide all the poly lines that I didn’t want to show up.
  • I wouldn’t use IK tools in Maya anyway.
  • I wouldn’t use blend-shapes, or soft skinning in Maya.
  • I still might rig a hunter model in Maya if I need to really pose one with a character.

Enough bullet points. Here are some images of the rig:




Hunter Head

I’m pretty much finished with the Hunter. Here’s a shot of the details inside the head. I connected the jaw, the teeth and the upper plates to the main head pivot.


Over the next few days I’ll start to organized the parts into viable groups, and components and build a hierarchy that will allow me to pose the model using the rigging methods described in my old posts (here). It’s going to be pretty complicated doing it in Sketchup. I’m using Frank Frazetta’s, “Stone Age” illustration as a posing target (see below). If I can pull that off I’ll be quite happy (obviously).


After all this I’m going to focus on the Hugh model. I need to make sure that his head geometry is good enough based off of the things I’ve learned rigging and creating blend shapes for Chan. I might redo the whole head since I have a new idea for his design though.