Character Animation

Contents Character Animation
10 Understanding Character Animation
Modeling the character Skinning the skeleton Using flexors 181 183 184 Animating the character Workflow summary 168 170 178 Building, posing, and animating the skeleton

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11 Building Skeletons
Understanding skeletons Joints Limbs 188 189 190 Joint chains

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IK handles and IK solvers

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Contents Creating a joint chain or limb Viewing a skeleton’s hierarchy Resizing joint display Positioning joints Inserting joints Removing joints 196 197 198 199 204 202 205 206 207 208 208 210 210 211 211 195 192 195 Mirroring limbs or skeletons Connecting skeletons Rerooting the skeleton Disconnecting a joint to make two skeletons Setting joint creation options Setting degrees of freedom Setting scale compensation Setting automatic joint limits Viewing joint creation options Setting automatic joint orientation Setting automatic creation of IK handles Setting IK handle options automatically Editing joint attributes Renaming a joint 211 212 214 216 217 Viewing editable joint attributes Editing degrees of freedom Editing stiffness 217 219 220 223 Editing a joint’s preferred angle Editing joint orientation Editing joint limits 220 Editing scale compensation Dampening rotation near joint limits 4 Using Maya: Animation .

orientation (PO) weight Editing IK handle attributes 246 247 Viewing editable IK handle attributes 246 Using Maya: Animation 5 .Contents 12 Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Forward kinematics 226 Posing and animating with forward kinematics Inverse kinematics (IK) IK handles and IK chains IK solvers 231 231 233 237 238 239 240 Single chain (SC) solver Rotate plane (RP) solver Spline solver Creating IK handles 237 238 Multi-chain (MC) solver Adding an IK handle Creating an IK chain 229 225 226 228 230 Posing and animating with inverse kinematics (IK) 230 Displaying IK handle’s end effector Displaying IK handle’s goal and goal’s axis Setting IK handle creation options Setting the current solver Setting autopriority Setting solver enable Setting snap enable Setting sticky Setting priority Setting weight 244 245 245 243 244 244 242 243 241 241 240 240 Displaying IK handle’s twist disc and pole vector’s axis Viewing IK handle creation options Activating the multi-chain (MC) solver Setting position vs.

Contents Renaming an IK handle Editing skeleton info 249 249 250 251 Editing transform attributes 250 Editing IK handle attributes Editing pivots Editing display Editing IK solvers 251 Editing IK solver attributes and choosing an IK solver Editing limit information 252 253 253 253 254 254 255 255 255 255 Editing node behavior 252 Editing IK solver attributes Editing node behavior Using IK systems 254 Creating an IK system Accessing an IK system Renaming an IK system Viewing an IK system’s IK solvers Editing global snap and global solve Editing node behavior Posing IK chains 256 256 Posing with single chain (SC) solver IK handles Twisting with rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles Sticky posing 258 259 259 261 256 257 257 257 Positioning with rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles Eliminating flip in rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles Using IK spline handles Creating IK spline handles Animating the joint chain Setting options before creating the IK spline handle Setting attributes after creating the IK spline handle Preventing unwanted start joint flipping 272 265 271 6 Using Maya: Animation .

Contents Working with soft body curves Working with human skeletons Working with animal skeletons Animating IK chains Keyframing 280 281 Motion capture 280 274 274 276 277 278 Tips for working with IK spline handles Working with sinuous motion on skeletons 13 Skinning Skeletons Understanding skinning Closest point skinning Partition set skinning Skin point set colors Bind pose 285 284 283 284 285 285 285 Skin detachment and reattachment Binding by closest point Binding by partition set Returning to bind pose Editing skin point sets 285 287 288 290 290 289 290 Binding multiple objects as skin Displaying skin point set colors Detaching and reattaching skin Detaching skin without preserving skin groups and percentages Detaching skin while preserving skin groups and percentages Reattaching skin while preserving skin groups and percentages 291 292 292 Using Maya: Animation 7 .

Contents Animating with skin and skeleton groups 292 14 Using Flexors Understanding flexors Lattice flexors Sculpt flexors Cluster flexors 295 296 296 298 299 301 302 303 302 303 Creating lattice flexors Positioning lattice flexors after creation Editing joint lattice flexor attributes Renaming joint lattice flexors Editing creasing Editing rounding Editing length in Editing length out Editing width left Editing width right 303 305 306 308 310 311 313 Viewing joint lattice flexor attributes Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Renaming bone lattice flexors Editing length in Editing length out Editing width left Editing width right Editing bicep Editing tricep 321 322 314 316 318 319 Viewing bone lattice flexor attributes 314 313 8 Using Maya: Animation .

Contents Creating sculpt flexors Joint-driven sculpting Creating cluster flexors 324 325 325 326 328 328 Editing sculpt flexor attributes Editing cluster flexor attributes Editing with cluster flexor manipulators Using Maya: Animation 9 .

Contents 10 Using Maya: Animation .

abstract. no matter how realistic. posing. hierarchical 3D character in Maya.10 Understanding Character Animation As a character animator using Maya. Using Maya: Animation 167 . and animating the skeleton” on page 170 “Skinning the skeleton” on page 178 “Using flexors” on page 181 “Animating the character” on page 183 This chapter concludes with a summary of Maya’s workflow for skeletal character animation: “Workflow summary” on page 184. Maya offers the most sophisticated tools available for defining the timing and motion of characters. You can animate virtually any character imaginable. describes how to use Maya’s skeleton-based shape deformation tools to animate articulated. or surreal. hierarchical 3D characters with forward or inverse kinematics techniques. Character Animation. The essence of character animation is timing and motion. Using Maya: Animation. This chapter presents an overview of animating an articulated. you can create the illusion of life. Animating a character includes the following: Character Animation • • • • • “Modeling the character” on page 168 “Building.

For best results. A geometry defines the shape of the character’s surface.Understanding Character Animation Modeling the character Modeling the character Modeling is the process of creating a geometry for the character. 168 Using Maya: Animation . create the geometry with limbs outstretched. Modeling is the first step in animating a character. This will make building a skeleton much easier. A geometry can be a non-uniform rational B-spline (NURBS) geometry or a polygonal geometry.

The next step in animating a character is to create a skeleton so you can control a character’s actions. use the modeling tools in Maya’s Model menu. To use the particle system. Using Maya: Animation 169 . Note that you can also use Maya’s particle system to define the character’s features. When you create the geometry. use the tools in Maya’s Render menu. be sure you have Maya’s Animation menu selected. For rendering.Understanding Character Animation Modeling the character Character Animation To create a geometry for a character. use the tools in Maya’s Dynamics menu. First you build a skeleton for the character’s geometry. Note To use the animation tools this document describes. This lets you control the geometry’s shape and actions. you should also define how the character will look when rendered. and then you bind the geometry to the skeleton.

Understanding Character Animation Building. and animating the skeleton Building. 170 Using Maya: Animation . You could begin building a skeleton for a human character by creating some legs. You might create a skeleton for a character that would lack one in real life. posing. you might even have the skeleton influence the geometry from a location outside of the geometry. hierarchical actions. and animating the skeleton A skeleton is a structure for animating a character’s articulated. A skeleton consists of joints connected by the bones of the joints. Additionally. Depending on the effect you want to create. and they facilitate animation. IK handles enable you to pose the character easily. a skeleton can consist of special tools called inverse kinematics (IK) handles. posing. The skeleton you build for a character need not exactly resemble what the character’s skeleton would be like in real life.

Understanding Character Animation Building, posing, and animating the skeleton

Character Animation

In this example, each leg consists of a simple series of joints connected by bones. For clarity, these legs are shown without a geometry in the scene. When you create a skeleton, you should have the geometry in your current scene so you can be sure the skeleton fits the model properly. When we think of a real skeleton, we tend to think first of the bones and then of the joints that enable movement. When it comes to animating movement, however, we must first focus on the joints and their hierarchical relationships. In Maya, the joints of a skeleton always exist in a hierarchy that defines how they can move in relation to each other. Any two connected joints have a hierarchical relationship for defining articulated actions. This relationship is indicated by the bone that connects the two joints.

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Joint Bone Joint

Note that the bone has a wedge shape. The joint at the thicker end of the wedge is higher in the hierarchy than the joint at the thinner end. Whenever the joint at the thicker end rotates, the bone and the joint at the thinner end will have to move in an arc. But when the joint at the thinner end rotates, the joint at the thicker end will not have to move. This is just like how a real skeleton moves. The joint at the thicker end is called the parent joint in relation to the joint at the thinner end, which is called the child joint. We can think of the parent joint as being “above” the child joint and the child “below” the parent.

Parent joint

Child joint

Parent joint’s bone

As far as hierarchical movement is concerned, the bone that connects the two joints is really part of the parent joint. A bone belongs to a parent joint, which completely controls the bone’s movements. Note that a joint can have more than one bone, each bone connecting the parent joint to a different child joint.

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Understanding Character Animation Building, posing, and animating the skeleton

Character Animation

Any simple series of joints connected together by bones is called a joint chain. The highest joint in the joint chain’s action hierarchy is called the parent joint of the joint chain. The action of a joint chain’s parent joint affects everything below it in the chain.
Parent joint of joint chain

You can create very elaborate skeletons consisting of multiple joint chains organized into a complex hierarchy. A limb consists of one or more joint chains that branch off from one another in a tree-like structure.

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the hip joint is the highest joint in the action hierarchy. In the leg. and animating the skeleton The highest joint in a skeleton’s hierarchy is called the root joint.Understanding Character Animation Building. The order in which you create joints and their bones defines their action hierarchy for rotation and movement. 174 Using Maya: Animation . everything must move or rotate with it. when the root joint moves or rotates. then the knee joint. and so on. posing. The hip joint was created first.

For example. posing. and animating the skeleton Character Animation You can limit how joints rotate so that you can easily put the character in realistic poses.Understanding Character Animation Building. you can limit how a knee joint can rotate so it can’t bend from side to side but only forward and back. Using Maya: Animation 175 .

You just think about where the object is that you want to reach. 176 Using Maya: Animation . With inverse kinematics. your elbow. and animating the skeleton Setting and editing the characteristics of the knee joints will make the animation of a walk cycle much easier. when you pose a joint chain all you have to do is tell the lowest joint in the joint chain’s hierarchy where you want it to be. An IK handle begins at a joint chain’s parent joint and can end at any joint below the parent joint. you need to add some special tools to a skeleton. for each leg you could create an IK handle that controls the joint chain beginning at the hip joint and ending at the ankle joint. This approach is excellent for creating detailed arc motions. “Building Skeletons”describes creating and editing joints and bones. To pose a joint chain with inverse kinematics. You can set each joint’s characteristics as you create a skeleton and later tweak them as you pose and animate the character. These tools are called inverse kinematics (IK) handles. When you reach for an object. Inverse kinematics offers a very intuitive way to pose a joint chain because it enables goal-directed posing. there are two basic ways to pose a joint chain: forward kinematics and inverse kinematics. and your body automatically does the rest. After you’ve created all the joints and bones that make up a skeleton for your character. In Maya. starting from the parent joint on down to all the joints below. posing.Understanding Character Animation Building. and all the joints above it will rotate automatically. That’s how inverse kinematics works. With forward kinematics. An IK handle enables you to pose a joint chain intuitively. and so on. too. you don’t think about how you are going to rotate your shoulder. For example. you’ll want to move the skeleton around and put it in various poses. when you pose a joint chain you have to specify the rotations of each joint individually. Chapter 11.

posing. and animating the skeleton Character Animation You can select the IK handle where it ends at the ankle joint and move the chain with it in the same way that you would think about moving your own ankle. Chapter 12. but such an animation would show only the timing and motion of a character lacking form and shape. Maya offers several different types of IK solvers for different types of movement effects. you can also specify the characteristics of the IK solvers themselves. Using Maya: Animation 177 . The next step is to bind the character’s model to the character’s skeleton so that the skeleton can control the model’s actions. In addition to posing a skeleton. IK handles also play an important role in the animation of the skeleton. IK handles figure out how to rotate and move all the joints in the chain for you by using an inverse kinematics (IK) solver. You’ll want to create IK handles for all of a skeleton’s joint chains that you want to pose. For further control. “Posing and Animating Skeletons” describes how to use IK handles and IK solvers.Understanding Character Animation Building. An IK solver is the motor intelligence behind an IK handle. The movement of a chain between the keyframes of an animation is also automatically solved by the chain’s IK handles. You can pose and animate a skeleton.

NURBS geometries are shaped by points called control vertices (CVs). Maya first divides the geometry’s points into sets according to each point’s proximity to a joint. (Note that some expert users call skin point sets partitions because any given point can be in only one set. The newly formed skin point sets are identified by various colors. these points are called skin points.Understanding Character Animation Skinning the skeleton Skinning the skeleton After you’ve created the character’s geometry and the character’s skeleton. In both cases. To bind a geometry to a skeleton. 178 Using Maya: Animation . When a geometry is bound to a skeleton. After a geometry has been bound to a skeleton. the next step is to bind the two together. the geometry can be referred to as the skeleton’s skin. Maya can control shape by means of points. the skin moves with the skeleton automatically.) Next. and polygonal geometries are shaped by points called vertices. When you pose the skeleton. Maya binds each skin point set to the nearest joint so the skin points in each skin point set will move with the nearest joint. The process of binding a geometry to a skeleton is called skinning.

Depending on the pose of the geometry and skeleton during binding. a few of the skin points could join an inappropriate skin point set. Using Maya: Animation 179 . Once the skin is bound to the skeleton.Understanding Character Animation Skinning the skeleton Character Animation Note that because skin points are bound to joints by means of deformation tools called joint clusters. exercise the character by putting it into various poses. expert users sometimes call skin points joint cluster points. It’s important to do this because you need to observe how the skin acts in response to the skeleton’s actions.

180 Using Maya: Animation . “Skinning Skeletons”describes skinning in more detail. you can easily move those skin points from one skin point set to another.Understanding Character Animation Skinning the skeleton If so. Chapter 13.

and cluster flexors. knee caps. changing the shape of the character’s skin. A sculpt flexor provides anatomically based deformations such as muscle bulges. It can provide very realistic smoothing effects. and elbow caps. A lattice flexor influences skin around joints or the bones of joints. A sculpt flexor can influence skin around joints or the bones of joints. With a lattice flexor. Character Animation Using Maya: Animation 181 . The effects of flexors can be driven by how you pose and animate a skeleton. sculpt flexors. you can create a flexor that wrinkles the skin around an elbow as you bend a character’s arm. A cluster flexor controls the points in a skin point set around a joint with varying percentages of influence. and provide muscle definition around bones. Flexors are high-level deformeration tools for use with skins and skeletons. Maya offers three types of flexors: lattice flexors. a joint can directly influence skin points. For example. You can create a lattice flexor that will deform skin when the joint it is attached to rotates. Let’s look at a lattice flexor attached to a joint.Understanding Character Animation Using flexors Using flexors You can animate skin deformation effects by using special deformation tools called flexors. It can smooth or wrinkle skin around joints.

Understanding Character Animation Using flexors

Similarly, a lattice flexor attached to a bone can influence the skin around a bone. You can use lattice flexors attached to bones for animating muscle definition.

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Understanding Character Animation Animating the character Chapter 14, “Using Flexors” describes using flexors for skin deformation in more detail. Using Maya: Animation, Basic Deformers provides further information on Maya’s free form deformation tools. Unlike flexors, these deformation tools need not work in conjunction with a skeleton. These tools include sculpt deformers, wire deformers, lattice deformers, cluster deformers, and blend shape deformers. Blend shape deformers, for example, are excellent tools for facial animation. The time you put into building a skeleton, binding the geometry, and creating flexors is time well spent. The effort you put into these steps will pay off when you animate the character. Character Animation

Animating the character
The more carefully you design and construct the character, the easier animating the character will be. You can animate the character by keyframing or by using motion capture data. For general information on keyframing animations in Maya, refer to Using Maya: Animation,Keyframe. For information on motion capture, see Using Maya, Animation,Motion Capture. In keyframing, you pose a character in key postures and set these postures as keys. Maya then interpolates the actions between the keys for you, playing the animation. For example, here is a frame from a walk cycle.

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Understanding Character Animation Workflow summary

When Maya interpolates the actions between keyframes, it uses the IK handles, the IK solvers, the lattice flexors, sculpt flexors, cluster flexors, and all the other attributes of the character that you have defined to produce the animation. Chapter 12, “Posing and Animating Skeletons” describes how to pose and animate skeletons; note that the information there also applies to skeletons with skins. Chapter 13, “Skinning Skeletons” explains how to bind geometries to skeletons for posing and animating characters. Finally, Chapter 14, “Using Flexors” describes posing and animating skin deformations with flexors.

Workflow summary
Animating an articulated, hierarchical 3D character in Maya involves using Maya’s skeletal deformation tools: skeletons and flexors. After you create a geometry for the character with Maya’s modeling tools, you can build a skeleton for the geometry and then bind the geometry to the skeleton. This binding process is called skinning. Skinning the geometry to the skeleton binds the model’s shape to the skeleton’s movement. The geometry has become the skeleton’s skin, and the skin’s shape will deform as appropriate when you pose and animate the skeleton. Skeletons can be posed and animated with Maya’s forward or inverse kinematics tools. Special inverse kinematics tools include IK handles and IK solvers.

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The next chapters cover the following topics: • • • • Chapter 11. indicating muscle. the rotation of a joint can drive the bulging of some skin. “Posing and Animating Skeletons” Chapter 13. “Skinning Skeletons” Character Animation Chapter 14. “Using Flexors” Using Maya: Animation 185 . “Building Skeletons” Chapter 12.Understanding Character Animation Workflow summary In addition to using a skeleton to create skin deformation effects. For example. you can also use special deformation tools called flexors. Flexors are skin shape deformation tools whose effects can be driven by the actions of a skeleton. Flexors provide a way for you to pose and animate skin deformation effects that complement the deformations being provided by the skeleton alone.

Understanding Character Animation Workflow summary 186 Using Maya: Animation .

11 Building Skeletons After you’ve created a geometry for your character. In general. Character Animation This chapter describes how to build skeletons. you’ll want to have the geometry in the scene as you create the skeleton so can be sure the skeleton fits the geometry. You could create a character’s skeleton before you create the geometry. but you may have to scale the geometry and adjust the skeleton before you bind them together. the next step is to build a skeleton for the geometry. Building skeletons includes the following: • • • • • • “Understanding skeletons” on page 188 “Creating a joint chain or limb” on page 192 “Resizing joint display” on page 195 “Positioning joints” on page 196 “Inserting joints” on page 197 “Removing joints” on page 198 Using Maya: Animation 187 .

see Chapter 12.” Note To use the tools for building skeletons. You can position and rescale the grid to suit your work. Each joint can have one or more bones attached to it. articulated structures for animating geometries. Also. A root joint is the highest joint in a skeleton’s hierarchy.Building Skeletons Understanding skeletons • • • • • • “Mirroring limbs or skeletons” on page 199 “Connecting skeletons” on page 202 “Disconnecting a joint to make two skeletons” on page 204 “Rerooting the skeleton” on page 205 “Setting joint creation options” on page 206 “Editing joint attributes” on page 211 Note that adding inverse kinematics (IK) handles and using IK solvers are important when animating a skeleton. use multiple camera views when building a skeleton to make sure that your skeleton fits the model appropriately in all three dimensions. 188 Using Maya: Animation . the grid can be quite useful for judging the size and shape of the skeleton. “Posing and Animating Skeletons. For example. you can specify limitations on how far a joint can rotate. When you build a skeleton. Joints Joints are the building blocks of skeletons. be sure you have Maya’s Animation menu selected. Understanding skeletons Skeletons are hierarchical. For information about IK handle and IK solvers. Skeletons provide a basis for animating hierarchical actions in much the same way that a human skeleton determines how the human body can move. Various joint attributes specify how the joint can act. The action of a bone attached to a joint is controlled by the joint’s rotation and movement. A skeleton can have only one root joint.

Building Skeletons Understanding skeletons A parent joint is any joint higher in a skeleton’s action hierarchy than any of the other joints that are influenced by that joint’s action. Joints below a given parent joint in the action hierarchy are called child joints.

Root joint (selected)

Character Animation

Parent joint of joint “A” Joint “A” Bone of joint “A” Child joint of joint “A”

Sample skeleton

Joint chains
A joint chain is any group of joints and their bones connected in a series. The joints are connected linearly; you could draw a line through a joint chain’s series of joints and their bones without having to retrace your path. A given joint chain begins at the highest joint in the joint chain’s action hierarchy. This joint is the joint chain’s parent joint.

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Building Skeletons Understanding skeletons

Joint chain Joint chain

Joint chain Joint chain

Joint chains

Limbs
A limb is any group of one or more connected joint chains. The chains may branch off from one another, forming a tree-like structure. Unlike a joint chain, a limb’s joints may not be connected linearly; you may not be able to draw a line through all of a limb’s joints and their bones without doubling back. A given limb begins at the highest joint in the limb’s action hierarchy. This joint is the limb’s parent joint. When you begin building a skeleton that will have many symmetrical limbs, start in the center of the workspace near the scene’s world origin. Starting near the center will make it easier for you to create skeletons with many symmetrical parts.

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Building Skeletons Understanding skeletons

Limb Limb

Character Animation

Limbs

IK handles and IK solvers
IK handles are special tools for posing and animating joint chains. On any given chain, the joint where the IK handle begins is called the start joint and the joint the where IK handle ends is called the end joint. Note that experienced users sometimes refer to joint chains that have IK handles as IK chains. IK solvers provide the motor intelligence of IK handles. IK handles and IK solvers are described in Chapter 12, “Posing and Animating Skeletons.” When you create joint chains and limbs for your character, think about how you are going to use IK handles to pose the joint chains. Joint chains that consist of four or fewer joints are much easier to pose with IK handles than those that have many more joints.

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posing the character with IK handles can be somewhat awkward in extreme cases. you can view an outline of a skeleton’s hierarchy. see “Setting joint creation options” on page 206. 5 192 Using Maya: Animation . see “Positioning joints” on page 196. To indicate you’ve finished creating the joint chain. Continue moving the pointer and clicking until you’re done creating the joint chain you want. You can set a joint’s attributes while you create the joint or anytime after you have created it. To create a joint chain: 1 2 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool. If you want to change the positions of the joints. 3 Move the pointer to where you want the second joint. These joint chains and limbs define a skeleton’s action hierarchy. and for selecting various parts of the skeleton. To set a joint’s attributes while you create it. which is a series of joints and their bones. To modify a joint’s attributes after you have created it. The two joints are connected with a bone that indicates the direction of the joint chain’s hierarchy: the thinner end of the bone’s triangle points to the child joint. and then click. and then click. The joint is created. Creating a joint chain or limb You begin building a skeleton by creating a joint chain. In this way you can create a complex structure of various joint chains and limbs. 4 Move the pointer to where you want the next joint. Having some of the joints rotated slightly at various appropriate angles will make the character easier to pose later on. see “Editing joint attributes” on page 211. This outline view is useful for getting a clear picture of how your skeleton is structured. You can then add to the joint chain by continuing that joint chain or by creating new joint chains starting from any of the joint chain’s joints.Building Skeletons Creating a joint chain or limb Expert users have found that if a skeleton lies entirely in one plane before you bind the geometry to the skeleton. Click in the workspace at the position of the first joint. press the Enter key or select another tool. Finally.

click on the last joint in the joint chain. click on any joint other than the last joint in an existing chain. A group of one or more connected joint chains is called a limb. When you finish creating all the joints in the joint chain. (The last joint is the lowest joint in the joint chain’s hierarchy. 3 4 Click where you want to create a new joint. Using Maya: Animation 193 .Building Skeletons Creating a joint chain or limb Character Animation Creating a joint chain To add to a joint chain: 1 2 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool. Click on a joint in the joint chain.) To create a new joint chain that branches out from an existing chain. To continue a joint chain. press the Enter key or select another tool.

Building Skeletons Creating a joint chain or limb Continuing a joint chain 1. Click to create more joints Adding to a joint chain 194 Using Maya: Animation . Click to create more joints or Creating a new joint chain from an existing joint chain 1. Click here to continue the joint chain 2. Click here to continue the joint chain 2.

Viewing a skeleton’s hierarchy To view an outline of a skeleton’s hierarchy Select Window→Outliner to view an outline of a skeleton’s hierarchy. to select parts of the skeleton. Here is a skeleton displayed at normal size: Skeleton at normal size Here is the same skeleton displayed at 25% of normal size: Using Maya: Animation 195 . Character Animation Resizing joint display You can resize the display of a skeleton’s joints.Building Skeletons Viewing a skeleton’s hierarchy You can rapidly build a skeleton for animating a character by continuing joint chains and creating new joint chains that branch out from existing joint chains. Use the Outliner to see the structure of the skeleton. and to see the names of the parts of the skeleton. Decreasing the display size can make other objects such as flexors easier to pick. Increasing the display size can make the joints and their bones easier to pick.

which is always 100% or 1. then use the right mouse button on the Pivot button to turn on Joint Pivots in the Pivot pick mask. or choose Custom to set your own percentage. Note To edit the position of a joint after the skeleton is created and accepted. you can edit the positioning of any joint without affecting the joints below it in the joint chain’s action hierarchy.Building Skeletons Positioning joints Skeleton at 25% normal size To resize joint display: 1 2 3 Select Display→Joint Size. Positioning joints While you are creating a joint chain. toggle on (the Select by Component Type icon) and (the Pivot icon). Percentages are relative to the default setting. Choose from the percentages listed to resize the joints.00. 196 Using Maya: Animation . Move the pointer to the arrow at the end of the Joint Size line.

The transform manipulator appears and you can move the joint in any direction. Press Insert to toggle back to creating more joints for the skeleton. use the left mouse button to drag from the joint you want as the new joint’s parent. 2 3 Move any joint in the skeleton by selecting and dragging it with the left mouse button. When you have finished inserting joints. you can insert more joints. you can use the middle mouse button to modify the most recent joint (the one currently selected).Building Skeletons Inserting joints To position a joint as you create it: 1 2 Hold down the left mouse button to create a joint and drag it to a new position. This will return you to the last created joint in the chain.Until you press Enter or select another tool. press Enter or select another tool. Release the mouse button when you’ve positioned the joint at the desired location. To position the most recently created joint while creating the joint chain: While in create mode. The transform manipulator appears at the end joint. To position the new joint. To insert a joint in a created skeleton: 1 2 Select Skeletons→Insert Joint Tool. 3 Using Maya: Animation 197 . Character Animation To position any joint in the hierarchy while creating a joint chain: 1 Press Insert on the keyboard. Inserting joints You can insert a joint anywhere in a skeleton’s action hierarchy below the root joint.

The bone of the joint above the removed joint is extended to the joint below the removed joint. Drag to position the new joint Inserting a joint Removing joints You can remove any joint from a skeleton except the root joint. and deleting the root joint would delete the entire skeleton. 2 Select Skeletons→Remove Joint. The joint is removed. 198 Using Maya: Animation .Building Skeletons Removing joints 1. To remove a joint: 1 Select the joint you want to remove. The root joint is the highest joint in a skeleton’s action hierarchy. Note that you can only remove one joint at a time. Click to add a joint below this one 2.

Building Skeletons Mirroring limbs or skeletons Click to delete the joint Bone is resized Character Animation Removing a joint Mirroring limbs or skeletons A group of one or more connected joint chains is called a limb. Mirroring affects all aspects of the creation of the left arm. Mirroring is extremely useful when you are creating the limbs for a character. You can also make a mirror copy of an entire skeleton. A mirror copy is a copy that is symmetrical about a selected plane. but with all the aspects of the limb mirrored accordingly. the reflection of the original in the plane is turned into a real copy of the original. You don’t have to reset the joint limits so that the left arm’s joint limits will be symmetrical to the right arm’s joint limits. The procedure is the same as for creating mirror copies of limbs. Using Maya: Animation 199 . Joint attributes and IK handles are mirrored as well as the joints and their bones. you can build a right arm and hand. The origin of the plane is at the parent joint of the limb. For example. You can duplicate or make mirror copies of limbs. Maya will do it for you. except that the skeleton will be mirrored about the scene’s world origin. including the joint limits. in effect. and then create a mirrored copy of it for the left arm and hand.

Click here to mirror this limb 2. A mirror copy of the limb is created Mirroring a limb 200 Using Maya: Animation .Building Skeletons Mirroring limbs or skeletons 1.

click the desired Mirror Across option to choose the plane in which you want the joint chain mirrored. this indicates the XY plane whose origin is at the limb’s parent joint. this indicates the XY plane whose origin is the scene’s world origin. Next. The default is XY. or select the root joint if you want to mirror an entire skeleton. If you are mirroring a skeleton. first select Skeletons→Mirror Joint-Ë to open the Mirror Joint Options window.Building Skeletons Mirroring limbs or skeletons Click the root to mirror the whole skeleton Skeleton is mirrored about the world origin Character Animation Mirroring a skeleton To mirror a limb or skeleton: 1 2 Select the parent joint of the limb you want to duplicate. or select Skeletons→Mirror Joint. To choose the plane for mirroring. the limb is mirrored across the selected plane whose origin is at the limb’s parent joint. Using Maya: Animation 201 . the skeleton is mirrored across the selected plane whose origin is the scene’s world origin. 3 Click Mirror in the Mirror Joint Options window. If you are mirroring a limb. If you are mirroring a skeleton. If you are mirroring a limb.

select Skeletons→Connect Joint. To connect skeletons by combining joints: 1 2 3 Select the root joint of the skeleton you want to be a limb of another skeleton. The skeleton that becomes a limb of the other skeleton will not have to move. First. The skeleton that becomes a limb of the other skeleton will change its position in the scene so that it is directly connected to the other skeleton’s joint. Select Skeletons→Connect Joint-Ë. you can connect two skeletons by combining the root joint of one skeleton with any joint of another skeleton except that skeleton’s root joint. turn on the Connect Joint mode. you can connect the root joint of one skeleton to any joint of another skeleton by extending a bone to the root joint from the joint of the other skeleton. (Alternatively. 202 Using Maya: Animation . On the other skeleton. The Connect Joint Options window is displayed. The skeleton that will become the limb moves so that its root is in the same place as the selected joint of the other skeleton. select any joint other than the skeleton’s root joint.) The two skeletons are connected. 5 In the Connect Joint Options window. 4 In the Connect Joint Options window. click Connect. Second.Building Skeletons Connecting skeletons Connecting skeletons You can connect two skeletons in two ways: by combining joints and by connecting joints with a bone.

On the other skeleton. The two skeletons do not move. turn on the Parent Joint mode. select Skeletons→Connect Joint. click Connect. 5 In the Connect Joint Options window. Parent Joint mode connects the skeletons by creating a new bone between the selected root joint and the joint you’re connecting it to. (Alternatively. Using Maya: Animation 203 . The Connect Joint Options window is displayed. Note that connecting skeletons using Parent Joint mode is identical to the result you get by selecting Edit→Parent.) Maya connects the skeletons with a bone. 3 Select Skeletons→Connect Joint-Ë.Building Skeletons Connecting skeletons Two joints are combined Character Animation Connecting skeletons by combining joints To connect skeletons by connecting joints with a bone: 1 2 Click the root of the skeleton you want to be a limb of another skeleton. You can connect only to a non-root joint of the parent skeleton. 4 In the Connect Joint Options window. select any joint other than the skeleton’s root joint.

that IK handle will be deleted. Note that if you disconnect a joint in a joint chain that has an IK handle. For information about IK handles. see Chapter 12. The disconnected joint will become the root joint of the new skeleton.” 204 Using Maya: Animation . “Posing and Animating Skeletons.Building Skeletons Disconnecting a joint to make two skeletons Bone created to connect the two skeletons Connecting two skeletons by connecting joints with a bone Disconnecting a joint to make two skeletons You can break up a skeleton into two skeletons by disconnecting any joint other than the root joint.

Select Skeletons→Disconnect Joint. Rerooting the skeleton You can change the hierarchical organization of a skeleton by changing which joint is the root joint. Note that any IK handles that pass through the joint selected to be the new root joint will be deleted. This joint will become the root joint of the new skeleton. This process is called rerooting. The disconnected joint is now the root joint of the new skeleton. Also. Using Maya: Animation 205 . The joint is disconnected. any animation of the skeleton’s root joint will be affected when you reroot.Building Skeletons Rerooting the skeleton Select joint you want to disconnect Character Animation Disconnecting a joint To disconnect a joint to make two skeletons: 1 2 Select the joint you want to disconnect.

2 Select Skeletons→Reroot Skeleton. Specifying these is an important part of building a skeleton. This section describes how to set joint attributes automatically by setting the Joint Tool’s Tool Settings. Setting joint attributes during joint creation includes: 206 Using Maya: Animation .Building Skeletons Setting joint creation options Current root joint Click to create new root joint Rerooting a skeleton To reroot a skeleton: 1 Click the joint where you want the new root. see “Editing joint attributes” on page 211. If you select the child of the entire joint chain. or you can edit a joint’s attributes at any time after you have created it. the hierarchy will reverse. you will have two child joints with separate hierarchies below the root joint. Setting joint creation options A joint’s various options and attributes define how a joint can be posed and animated. You can set joint creation options before you create individual joints. If you select a joint in the middle of the skeleton to become the new root. To find out how to edit joint attributes.

Character Animation Tool Settings window To view joint creation options: Select Skeletons→Joint Tool-Ë.Building Skeletons Setting joint creation options • • • • • • • Viewing joint creation options Setting degrees of freedom Setting automatic joint orientation Setting scale compensation Setting automatic joint limits Setting automatic creation of IK handles Setting IK handle options automatically Viewing joint creation options When you create a joint. You can set the Joint Tool’s options so that certain joint options and attributes will be set automatically. The Joint Tool’s options are displayed in the Joint Tool’s Tool Settings window. you use the Joint Tool. Using Maya: Animation 207 . The Joint Tool’s Tool Settings window is displayed.

During IK. A joint’s degrees of freedom specifies which of its local axes it can rotate about during IK posing and animation. How a joint can rotate is defined in terms of this local axis. You can have the joint’s local axis oriented relative to the joint’s first child joint. or Y-axis. require that their start joints be ball joints that have no limitations on the extent they can rotate about each axis. Expert users often call a joint with three degrees of freedom a ball joint because it can rotate about all three of its axes like a ball. and the Z-axis is blue. or Z-axis during IK. The X-axis of the local axis is red. The orientation of a joint’s local axis is largely a matter of personal 208 Using Maya: Animation . a joint is rotated by an IK handle. and Z-axis during IK. A joint with only one degree of freedom can rotate only about its local X-axis. the single chain solver and the plane solver. A joint can have at most three degrees of freedom: the freedom to rotate about its X-axis. You can limit a joint so that it has only two degrees of freedom or only one degree of freedom. the Y-axis is green. Expert users often call a joint with only one degree of freedom a hinge joint. Y-axis. Note that two types of IK solvers. A human wrist would be a good example of a joint with two degrees of freedom. though the joint has limitations on the extent it can rotate about its axes. The Tool Settings window is displayed.Building Skeletons Setting joint creation options Setting degrees of freedom Each joint has a local axis whose origin is at the center of the joint. Setting automatic joint orientation Maya can set the orientation of a joint’s local axis automatically. 2 In the Tool Settings window. A joint with two degrees of freedom can only rotate about any two of its local axes during IK. To set degrees of freedom: 1 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool-Ë. or you can have the joint’s local axis oriented relative to the scene’s world axis. Y. Degrees of Freedom check boxes to select the joint’s degrees of freedom. A human knee would be a good example of a hinge joint. and how the IK handle performs depends on the type of IK solver the IK handle is using. and Z. click the X.

You can select various combinations of the X-. The elbow joint could partially swing up and down about the Z-axis. That is. pitch. the orientation of a joint’s local axis is xyz. For example. Using Maya: Animation 209 . 2 In the Tool Settings window. but it would not be able to pivot about the Y-axis. the orientation would be set to “none. Instead of orienting the joint’s local axis relative to the first child joint. In this case. and the second axis points at right angles to the first axis and third axis. and the Y-axis points at right angles to the X-axis and Z-axis. In this orientation. the X-axis points at the child joint that was created first. Note that None orients the joint to the scene’s world axis. the X-axis points towards the center of the joint’s child joint. rotation about the first axis produces roll. The third axis points sideways from the joint and its bone connecting the child joint. The Z-axis points sideways from the joint and its bone connecting the child joint. select one of the Auto Joint Orient options. in a human skeleton the elbow joint’s X-axis would be pointing towards the wrist joint. and rotation about the third axis produces pitch.Building Skeletons Setting joint creation options preference. turning the rest of the arm. With the arm lying flat. The first axis in the combination is the axis that points at the joint’s first child joint. the positive X-axis points in the same direction as the joint’s wedge-shaped bone. and roll. Some expert users like to have the local axis of joints automatically orient towards first child joints. In terms of yaw. and other expert users prefer to have the local axis initially oriented the same as the scene’s world axis.” Character Animation To set automatic joint orientation: 1 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool-Ë. The Tool Settings window is displayed. If the joint has more than one child joint. By default. All three axes are aligned according to the right hand rule. All three axes are aligned according to the right hand rule. you can set the local axis to have the same orientation as the scene’s world axis. and Z-axes to specify the orientation of a joint’s local axis. the elbow joint could twist about most of the X-axis. Y-. rotation about the second axis produces yaw.

The Tool Settings window is displayed. you can prevent that joint and everything below it in the action hierarchy from being scaled when the joint’s parent joint is scaled. when you are creating a knee joint. Setting automatic joint limits You can have Maya automatically limit the extent a joint can rotate about its axes according to the angles at which you build the skeleton’s joints. 2 In the Tool Settings window. With Auto Joint Limits on. Either you can scale the hand as well as the lower arm or you can just scale the lower arm. the smaller inner angle of a joint rounded off to 180 degrees is set as the allowable range of rotation. when you scale a joint Maya will scale everything below it in the skeleton’s action hierarchy. click the Scale Compensate check box on or off. Normally. To set automatic joint limits: 1 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool-Ë. The Tool Settings window is displayed. 210 Using Maya: Animation . However.Building Skeletons Setting joint creation options Setting scale compensation When you scale the size of a joint. you can either scale the child joints also or prevent the scaling of the child joints. For example. the wrist joint and its bones can either increase in size also or stay the same size. However. 2 In the Tool Settings window. Shearing can occur when a given joint is scaled only along one or two of its axes. if you create the joint slightly bent back. note that this limitation does not change the joint’s Degrees of Freedom setting. expert users like to have Scale Compensate on to prevent inappropriate shearing deformation effects on a character’s skin. For example. the joint will automatically not be able to swing the lower leg bone forward of the upper leg bone. if you increase the length of a lower arm bone by scaling the elbow joint. The joint will not be able to rotate in any other way except through the inner angle rounded off to 180 degrees. click the Auto Joint Limits check box on or off. by setting a joint’s Scale Compensate option on. To set scale compensation: 1 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool-Ë. Additionally. nor will it be able to wobble from side to side.

For more information on using the Attribute Editor. click the Create IK Handle check box on or off. Editing joint attributes A joint’s attributes can be set automatically when you create the joint. The joint chain’s parent joint will become the IK handle’s start joint. or you can edit a joint’s attributes at any time.” for descriptions of the IK handle options you can set when you create IK handles. To set joint attributes: 1 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool-Ë. The Tool Settings window is displayed. 2 In the Tool Settings window. This section describes how to edit joint attributes with the Attribute Editor. see “Setting joint creation options” on page 206. select IK Handle Options. please see Using Maya: Maya Basics. Character Animation Setting IK handle options automatically See Chapter 12.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Setting automatic creation of IK handles Maya can automatically create an IK handle for you when you finish creating a joint chain. To set automatic creation of IK handles: 1 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool-Ë. “Posing and Animating Skeletons. “Working with General Editors. Building Objects and Scenes. Chapter 5. Editing a joint includes: • • • Viewing editable joint attributes Renaming a joint Editing degrees of freedom Using Maya: Animation 211 . 2 In the Tool Settings window.” To find out how to set joint attributes automatically. and the last joint in the joint chain will become the IK handle’s end joint. The Tool Settings window is displayed.

use the Attribute Editor. and also the Attribute Editor. 212 Using Maya: Animation . by pressing the right mouse button while the cursor is on the joint you want to edit.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes • • • • • • Editing stiffness Editing a joint’s preferred angle Editing joint orientation Editing scale compensation Editing joint limits Dampening rotation near joint limits You can access settings for a joint’s attributes. Viewing editable joint attributes To view or edit a joint’s attributes.

Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Character Animation Attribute Editor for joints Using Maya: Animation 213 .

However. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. It’s a good idea to give joints meaningful names so they are easier to select when you are working with Maya’s editors. The new name takes effect immediately. To rename a joint: 1 2 3 Select the joint. Enter the new name in the joint: field.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes To view editable joint attributes: Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. joints are numbered consecutively as you create them. By default. 214 Using Maya: Animation . or using the Outliner. Renaming a joint Maya names joints for you when you create them. using the Hypergraph. The Attribute Editor is displayed. you can rename the joints to better reflect their purpose in your character’s skeleton.

Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Character Animation Examples of meaningful joint names in the Outliner Using Maya: Animation 215 .

require that their start joints be ball joints that have no limitations on the extent they can rotate about each axis. Y. A joint with only one degree of freedom can rotate only about its local X-axis. A human wrist would be a good example of a joint with two degrees of freedom. 216 Using Maya: Animation . Expert users often call a joint with only one degree of freedom a hinge joint. A joint with two degrees of freedom can only rotate about any two of its local axes during IK. In the Attribute Editor. A human knee would be a good example of a hinge joint. To find out how to set a joint’s degrees of freedom automatically. though the joint has limitations on the extent it can rotate about its axes. or only one degree of freedom. Note that two types of IK solvers. A joint’s degrees of freedom specifies which of its local axes it can rotate about during inverse kinematics (IK) posing and animation. Expert users often call a joint with three degrees of freedom a ball joint because it can rotate about all three of its axes like a ball. and Z Degrees of Freedom check boxes to select the joint’s degrees of freedom. and Z-axis during IK. How a joint can rotate is defined in terms of this local axis. the single chain solver and the plane solver. or Y-axis. and how the IK handle performs depends on the type of IK solver the IK handle is using. The X-axis of the local axis is red.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Editing degrees of freedom Each joint has a local axis whose origin is at the center of the joint. To edit a joint’s degrees of freedom: 1 2 3 Select the joint. see “Setting degrees of freedom” on page 208. Y-axis. You can limit a joint so that it has only two degrees of freedom. or Z-axis during IK. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. the Y-axis is green. A joint can have at most three degrees of freedom: the freedom to rotate about its X-axis. click the X. Note that you can have a joint’s degrees of freedom set automatically when you create the joint. and the Z-axis is blue. During IK. a joint is rotated by an IK handle.

Preferred angles can enable smoother motion during animation. and Z axes respectively. Depending on how you want your character to move. you can set some joints to move less freely than others. Editing stiffness This attribute influences how stiffly an IK handle can rotate a joint during inverse kinematics. Using Maya: Animation 217 .Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Editing a joint’s preferred angle This attribute influences how an IK handle will prefer to rotate a joint during inverse kinematics. If you are not familiar with inverse kinematics (IK). the single chain IK solver and the rotate plane IK solver. some rotations are more appropriate than others. IK handles. If you are not familiar with inverse kinematics (IK). Use the Preferred Angle fields to set the angle you prefer the joint to be in. Character Animation To edit a joint’s preferred angle: 1 2 3 Select the joint. for example. “Posing and Animating Skeletons. IK handles. and IK solvers.” When you use inverse kinematics to move a joint chain for animation. the first priority of all the IK solvers is to make all the IK handles reach their goals. “Posing and Animating Skeletons. see Chapter 12. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. You can identify preferred angles for your character’s actions. will then give those angles priority over other possible angles during joint rotation. see Chapter 12. The three values refer to the X. The angles you give priority to are called preferred angles. Y. when more than one IK handle passes through a joint. The angles are relative to the local coordinate system of the joint. The resistance to movement of a particular joint is called its stiffness. and IK solvers. Similarly.” The IK solver often can rotate a joint in a number of different ways in order to reach the goal. You can set joints in the mid-back of a human to move and bend less freely than those in the lower back. Often a variety of joint rotations can allow the IK handles to reach their goals. Two types of IK solvers.

the stiffness won’t modify the single chain IK solver’s solution. Y-. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. if there are no redundant degrees of freedom. You can use this for joints that move in several directions. so use stiffness only when its effect is particularly important. IK solver calculations for stiffness can require a little more time than usually required. With stiffness set to 0. In the Stiffness fields. a wrist joint moves more freely bending toward the forearm than it does from side to side. enter values from 0 to 100. The X-.0 for the X-. To edit a joint’s stiffness 1 2 3 Select the joint. the solver adjusts the internal energy strictly under the constraint that the end effectors stay fixed. Therefore. 218 Using Maya: Animation . 0 means the joint moves freely. 50 is moderately stiff. Set stiffness high in Z-axis Set stiffness low in X-axis Set stiffness to create realistic animation Expert users have found that when stiffness is specified. Y-. no stiffness is specified. You set the stiffness for each axis separately. For example. and Z-axes.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Stiffness operates relatively between joints in a joint chain controlled by IK handles. and Z-axes are in the local coordinate system. This is the recommended setting unless creating the effect of stiffness is particularly important. and 100 fuses the joint so that it’s immovable.

the positive X-axis points in the same direction as the joint’s wedge-shaped bone. You can select various combinations of the X-. That is. but it would not be able to pivot about the Y-axis.” Character Animation To edit a joint’s orientation: 1 2 3 Select the joint. and other expert users prefer to have the local axis initially oriented the same as the scene’s world axis. the orientation of a joint’s local axis is xyz. In this orientation. Y-. In this case. and the second axis points at right angles to the first axis and third axis. If the joint has more than one child joint. The elbow joint could partially swing up and down about the Z-axis. you can set the local axis to have the same orientation as the scene’s world axis. the orientation would be set to “none. All three axes are aligned according to the right hand rule. the X-axis points at the child joint that was created first. and Z-axes respectively. The orientation of a joint’s local axis is largely a matter of personal preference. With the arm lying flat. rotation about the first axis produces roll. You can have the joint’s local axis oriented relative to the joint’s first child joint. or you can have the joint’s local axis oriented relative to the scene’s world axis. and roll. The third axis points sideways from the joint and its bone connecting the child joint. turning the rest of the arm. Instead of orienting the joint’s local axis relative to the first child joint. The Z-axis points sideways from the joint and its bone connecting the child joint. By default.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Editing joint orientation You can edit the orientation of a joint’s local axis. Using Maya: Animation 219 . Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. The three values refer to the X-. pitch. and the Y-axis points at right angles to the X-axis and Z-axis. The first axis in the combination is the axis that points at the joint’s first child joint. in a human skeleton the elbow joint’s X-axis would be pointing towards the wrist joint. rotation about the second axis produces yaw. and rotation about the third axis produces pitch. Some expert users like to have the local axis of joints automatically orient towards first child joints. In terms of yaw. Enter new values in the Joint Orient fields. All three axes are aligned according to the right hand rule. the elbow joint could twist about most of the X-axis. For example. the X-axis points towards the center of the joint’s child joint. and Z-axes to specify the orientation of a joint’s local axis. Y-.

Either you can scale the hand as well as the lower arm or you can just scale the lower arm. when you scale a joint Maya will scale everything below it in the skeleton’s action hierarchy.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Editing scale compensation When you scale the size of a joint. Expert users have found that it is best to not set joint minimum and maximum limits extremely close (±5 degrees or less). Editing joint limits You can restrict a joint to a certain range of motion so that it cannot rotate beyond the angles you set as limits. Turn on Segment Scale Compensate so that this joint will compensate for scale factors applied to its parent. Shearing can occur when a given joint is scaled only along one or two of its axes. you can prevent that joint and everything below it in the action hierarchy from being scaled when the joint’s parent joint is scaled. the wrist joint and its bones can either increase in size also or stay the same size. To edit joint limits: 1 2 Select the joint. For example. by setting a joint’s Scale Compensate option on. Normally. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. if you increase the length of a lower arm bone by scaling the elbow joint. To edit a joint’s scale compensation: 1 2 3 Select the joint. If the parent is scaled. you can either scale the child joints also or prevent the scaling of the child joints. Toggle Segment Scale Compensate. These restrictive limits can sometimes cause joints to get stuck during rotation. However. this joint’s translation values will be scaled but the scale will not apply to any of this joint’s children. expert users like to have Scale Compensate on to prevent inappropriate shearing deformation effects on a character’s skin. Additionally. You set these limits in the Limit Information panel of the Attribute Editor for joints. 220 Using Maya: Animation .

For example. Y. click the boxes to the left and right of Rot Limit X. to set minimum and maximum limits for rotation in X. enter the angles between which you want to limit the joint’s motion. 4 In the Limit X. and Scale. Character Animation Using Maya: Animation 221 . Rotate.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes 3 Toggle on the boxes by the Min and Max limits of any value you want to change. and Z fields under Translate.

90 Restricting joint rotation with the Limits attributes 222 Using Maya: Animation . 45 Range of motion if the X-axis rotation limits are set to -45.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Range of motion if the Z-axis rotation limits are set to -15.

Instead of the joint abruptly stopping when it reaches its limits. • • Minimum and Maximum Rotate Damp Range set the number of degrees inside the joint limits at which resistance begins to occur. but gradually slows down as the lower arm aligns with the upper arm. Minimum and Maximum Rotate Damp Strength set the amount of resistance in the damp range. a joint with dampening will not reach its limit boundary.” Joint dampening applies resistance to a joint as it approaches its joint limits. For example. it does not affect joints that are animated by other means. Two settings in the Attribute Editor control a joint’s dampening: Damp Range and Damp Strength.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Dampening rotation near joint limits For most living creatures. Depending on the strength and range you set. The dampening factor for joints affects only the solution computed by an IK solver. Character Animation Using Maya: Animation 223 . an elbow does not snap straight. you can use damping to slow it down smoothly. unless forced. the effect is that of an “ease-in. it tends to slow down or “dampen” before reaching its limit. In animation terminology. when a joint rotates as far as it can.

Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. The Rotate Damp Range values let you set the angles inside the minimum and maximum joint limits. The Rotate Damp Strength of the resistance can range from 0. which stops the joint at the outer edge of the damp range. Use the Min and Max Rotate Damp Range and Rotate Damp Strength fields to set the joint dampening attributes. The values are relative within the IK handle’s joint chain. which takes the joint all the way to its limit with no resistance.Building Skeletons Editing joint attributes Maximum damp range Maximum damp strength affects this area Minimum damp range Maximum damp strength affects this area Minimum Zaxis joint limit (-15) Maximum Zaxis joint limit (45) Damping the limits of a right wrist joint in the Z-axis To dampen rotation near joint limits: 1 2 3 Select the joint. 224 Using Maya: Animation . to 100.

you skin the skeleton by binding the geometry to the skeleton.12 Posing and Animating Skeletons After you’ve created a skeleton for your character. Posing and animating skeletons includes the following: • • • • • • • “Understanding posing and animating skeletons” on page 226 “Creating IK handles” on page 238 “Setting IK handle creation options” on page 241 “Editing IK handle attributes” on page 246 “Editing IK solvers” on page 253 “Using IK systems” on page 254 “Posing IK chains” on page 256 Using Maya: Animation 225 . Animating the character includes animating the skeleton and animating the effects provided by the flexors. Character Animation This chapter describes posing and animating skeletons. You can then create flexors for further skin deformation effects.

then the next joint. but it can take a fair amount of time if you are animating a large. Maya interpolates the joint rotations starting with the root joint. you would rotate the joint chain’s parent joint. Also. you don’t normally think about how you are going to rotate all the joints in your arm. The following sequence of five images illustrates the steps required to extend a W-shaped joint chain with forward kinematics posing. For example. complicated skeleton. To do this. and so on down the joint chain. Forward kinematics is ideal for creating detailed arc motions because it requires the direct specification of each joint rotation. Posing and animating skeletons involves two types of kinematics: forward kinematics and inverse kinematics. Posing and animating skeletons with forward kinematics is an excellent approach for specifying detailed arc motions. When you animate a skeleton posed with forward kinematics. when you pose a joint chain you rotate each joint individually. When you think about moving your hand to some location in space. Inverse kinematics is ideal for creating goal-directed motion because it only requires the specification of a position and orientation that the joints in a joint chain will rotate to reach. starting at the root joint. if you want a joint chain to reach for a particular location in space.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons • • “Using IK spline handles” on page 259 “Animating IK chains” on page 280 Understanding posing and animating skeletons When you pose and animate a skeleton. you have to rotate each joint individually so that the joint chain can reach the location. Maya proceeds “forward” through the action hierarchy. you are specifying the skeleton’s motion. Forward kinematics In forward kinematics. what they refer to is easy to understand. and so on down through the skeleton’s action hierarchy. Although the terms sound complicated. forward kinematics is often not very intuitive for specifying goal-directed motion. 226 Using Maya: Animation . then the root’s child joints. The term for the specification of motion is kinematics.

Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Forward kinematics posing: joint chain’s root joint selected Character Animation Forward kinematics posing: root joint rotation Forward kinematics posing: subsequent joint rotation Using Maya: Animation 227 .

If you would like to use motion capture data to drive the character animation. rotate. Motion Capture. and scale transform tools in the minibar. you could move. or scale joints directly. You can do this in the same way that you move. Alternatively. rotate.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Forward kinematics posing: subsequent joint rotation Forward kinematics posing: joint chain extended Posing and animating with forward kinematics To pose a skeleton with forward kinematics. For example. This chapter focuses on posing and animating with Maya’s inverse kinematics tools. rotate. you can save keys in selected frames as described in Using Maya: Animation. 228 Using Maya: Animation . rotate. you can use the move. see Using Maya: Animation. you move. To animate a skeleton with forward kinematics. Keyframe. and scale joints by using the Channel Box. or scale other objects in Maya.

The following sequence of two images illustrates the steps required to extend a W-shaped joint chain with inverse kinematics posing. As you pose and animate the joint chain with the IK handle. Given where you want the joint chain to reach. you can move the entire chain by using the IK handle that runs through the chain. These tools are called IK handles and IK solvers. For example.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Inverse kinematics (IK) In inverse kinematics (IK). if you want a joint chain to reach a particular location in space. you can pose a joint chain based on a location in space you want the joint chain to reach. Character Animation Inverse kinematics posing: IK handle selected Using Maya: Animation 229 . An IK handle is like a wire that can run through a joint chain. providing a way for you to pose the entire joint chain in one action. unlike forward kinematics. Inverse kinematics is more intuitive for goal-directed motion than forward kinematics because you can focus on the goal you want a joint chain to reach without worrying about how each joint will have to rotate. inverse kinematics requires that you use special tools for posing and animating. However. the IK solver figures out how to rotate all the joints in the joint chain for you by means of Maya’s inverse kinematics methods. the IK handle automatically figures out how to rotate all the joints in the joint chain by using its IK solver. The IK solver is the motor intelligence behind the IK handle.

230 Using Maya: Animation . The start joint could be the skeleton’s root joint. However. IK handles and IK chains An IK handle runs through a selected joint chain like a wire. you use IK handles. providing you with a way to move the entire joint chain. The motor intelligence of an IK handle is provided by an IK solver. is called the end effector. from the start joint to the end joint. The joint the IK handle starts at is called the start joint.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Inverse kinematics posing: joint chain extended Posing and animating with inverse kinematics (IK) To pose and animate joint chains with inverse kinematics. which is located at the end joint by default. The reason the end of the IK handle is called the “end effector” is because it helps to bring about how the IK handle rotates the joints in the joint chain so that the end of the chain can reach some location in space. or any joint in the skeleton’s action hierarchy above the end joint. By telling the IK handle’s IK solver where the end of the IK handle is. The last joint in the joint chain controlled by the IK handle is called the end joint. some background on how they work can help you get the most out of posing and animating with inverse kinematics. The IK handle can pose all the joints in the chain. A joint chain that has an IK handle is called an IK chain. the end effector provides information the IK solver needs to figure out how to rotate all the joints for you. The end of the IK handle. IK chains are easy to use.

You cannot create an IK chain that includes the root joint unless that joint is the start joint. Maya offers four types of solvers: • • • • Single chain (SC) solver Rotate plane (RP) solver Spline solver Multi-chain (MC) solver Single chain (SC) solver The single chain (SC) solver is ideal for posing and animating the IK chains for a character’s limbs. you will invalidate IK chains that include the new root joint unless the joint is the start joint of an IK chain. When you interactively pose an IK chain. That information is provided by the IK handle’s goal. be sure you are happy with which joint is the skeleton’s root joint before you begin creating IK handles. The single chain solver provides a straightforward mechanism for posing and animating a chain anywhere the joint chain can reach in the scene’s world space. The IK solver looks at where the goal is. The skeleton’s root must not be between an IK chain’s start joint and end joint.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons When you are posing and animating an IK chain. An IK handle using a single chain is displayed as follows: Using Maya: Animation 231 . what you are really doing is moving the IK handle’s goal. A skeleton can have as many IK handles as you think you need for posing and animating its joint chains. and figures out how to rotate all the joints in the IK chain to get the end effector to be where the goal is. you also need to tell the IK solver the position and orientation in space where you would like the end effector to move to next. such as arms and legs. IK solvers figure out how to rotate all the joints in a joint chain controlled by an IK handle. Also. The joint chain will tend to stay within the plane that best includes all the joint chain’s joints. if you change which joint is the root joint. looks at where the end effector is. However. Character Animation IK solvers IK solvers provide the motor intelligence of IK handles.

note that the end effector is parented to the parent joint of the end joint. the end effector is located at the end joint’s local axis.The handle wire begins at the start joint’s local axis and by default ends at the end joint’s local axis. The end joint must be below the start joint in the skeleton’s action hierarchy. The start joint is the first joint in the joint chain that is influenced by the IK handle. the end effector can be offset from the end joint. Handle wire The handle wire is the line that runs through all the joints and bones in a joint chain controlled by the IK handle. However.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Handle vector Start joint End joint Goal Handle wire End effector IK handle using single chain solver Start joint The start joint is where the IK handle begins. The start joint could be the skeleton’s root joint or any other joint in the skeleton’s action hierarchy above the end joint. not to the end joint. End effector The end effector is the end of the IK handle. The end effector does not move from its location at the end joint (or at some offset from the end joint) during posing and animating. 232 Using Maya: Animation . Also. End joint The end joint is the last joint in the joint chain controlled by the IK handle. By default.

the end effector might not be able to reach the goal’s current position and orientation.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Goal The goal indicates where you want an IK handle’s end effector to be. Extremely long IK chains can become awkward to pose and animate. Expert users have found that single chain solver IK chains that consist of between two and four joints are the easiest to pose. the solver figures out how to best rotate the joints in the IK handle’s joint chain. the rotate plane solver is ideal for IK Using Maya: Animation 233 . The goal. depending on the rotational limits and fully extended length of the joint chain. Also. Handle vector The handle vector is the line drawn from the start joint to the IK handle’s end effector. Y. Note that the joint chain controlled by an IK handle using a single chain solver cannot have any other IK handles running through any of its joints. Character Animation Single chain solver behavior The single chain solver first looks at the position (the translate X. Y. Rotate plane (RP) solver Like the single chain (SC) solver. The IK handle’s single chain (SC) solver figures out how the end effector can have the same position and orientation as the goal’s position and orientation. However. and Z attributes) and orientation (the rotate X. The single chain (SC) solver figures out how to rotate the joint chain’s joints so that the end effector can reach the goal. the solver figures out how to move the position and orientation of the end effector as close to the goal’s position and orientation as possible. Because of the handle vector’s similarity to what some systems call a limb axis. the rotate plane (RP) solver is ideal for posing IK chains for a character’s limbs such as arms and legs. and Z attributes) of the goal. However. which is indicated by an axis. To do that. you can move the goal to any location in the scene’s world space. The end effector is normally located at the IK chain’s end joint. During posing. The purpose of the handle vector is to indicate at which joints the IK handle starts and ends. the rotate plane solver offers more manipulator tools for posing the chain than does the single chain solver. rests at the IK handle’s end effector. Next. some expert users refer to the handle vector as the limb axis. The IK handle’s end effector tries to keep up with the goal at all times.

The start joint is the first joint in the joint chain that is influenced by the IK handle. the shoulder.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons chains that you would like to stay in more or less the same plane. and wrist joints of an arm all stay within the same plane.The start joint could be the skeleton’s root joint. End joint The end joint is the last joint in the joint chain controlled by the IK handle. 234 Using Maya: Animation . An IK handle using a rotate plane solver is displayed as follows: Pole vector axis Plane indicator Handle vector Twist disc Goal Pole vector Handle wire End joint Rotate disc Start joint IK handle using rotate plane solver Start joint The start joint is where the IK handle begins. but that plane rotates as the shoulder joint rotates. or any other joint in the skeleton’s action hierarchy above the end joint. elbow. The handle wire begins at the start joint’s local axis and by default ends at the end joint’s local axis. Handle wire The handle wire is the line that runs through all the joints and bones in a joint chain controlled by the IK handle. For example. even though that plane can rotate.The end joint must be below the start joint in the skeleton’s action hierarchy.

Joint chain plane The joint chain plane is the plane that would best contain all the joints in the joint chain. the end effector might not be able to reach the goal’s current location. the end effector is located at the end joint’s local axis. The joint chain plane is not displayed because you can infer it from where the joint chain’s joints are located. not to the end joint. The rotate plane (RP) solver figures out how to rotate the joint chain’s joints so that the end effector can reach the goal. which is the plane defined by the handle vector and the pole vector. the joint chain plane controls how the joint chain can twist. you can move the goal to any location in the scene’s world space. which is indicated by an axis. The end effector does not move from its location at the end joint (or at some offset from the end joint) during posing and animating. depending on the rotational limits and fully extended length of the joint chain. the end effector can be offset from the end joint. The IK handle’s end effector tries to keep up with the goal at all times. During posing. rests at the IK handle’s end effector. The end effector is normally located at the IK chain’s end joint. However. the joint chain plane’s orientation is indicated by the plane indicator displayed in the rotation disc. The IK handle’s rotate plane (RP) solver figures out how the end effector can have the same position as the goal’s position. By always containing the joints in the joint chain. Rotating the joint chain plane about the handle vector has the effect of twisting the joint chain. However. note that the end effector is parented to the parent joint of the end joint. The joint chain plane can rotate about the handle vector. However. Character Animation Handle vector The handle vector is the line drawn from the start joint to the IK handle’s end effector. The goal. (The degree of twist is measured relative to the reference plane.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons End effector The end effector is the end of the IK handle. Goal The goal indicates where you want an IK handle’s end effector to be. You can use the Hypergraph to view the relationships between the end effector and the joints in the joint chain.) Using Maya: Animation 235 . Also. By default. some expert users refer to the handle vector as the limb axis. Because of the handle vector’s similarity to what some systems call a limb axis.

Pole vector Like the handle vector. Because the reference plane is defined by the handle vector and the pole vector. which is the degree of twist in the joint chain relative to the reference plane. When that happens. the pole vector starts at the start joint. During posing. Reference plane For the joint chain plane to rotate and twist the joint chain. the plane must rotate relative to some other plane so that the degree of twist can be measured. you can prevent the flipping effect by simply moving the end of the pole vector to redefine the reference plane. Twist disc The twist disc is located at the end joint. the handle vector and pole vector can appear to cross as the joint chain suddenly flips because the degree of twist suddenly changes by 180 degrees. The purpose of the pole vector is to help define the reference plane. shows the orientation of the joint chain plane. The rotation disc indicates how the joint chain plane can rotate. the pole vector can end anywhere you want it to end. which always ends at its IK handle’s end effector. which moves the handle vector through the reference plane. Unlike the handle vector. which twists the joint chain. you can sometimes move the end effector through the reference plane. Plane indicator The plane indicator indicates the orientation of the joint chain plane. called the plane indicator.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Rotation disc The rotation disc is located at the start joint. You can use the twist disc as a tool to twist the joint chain by rotating the joint chain plane. The plane that the joint chain plane rotates relative to is the reference plane. An indicator in the rotation disc. The plane indicator can be thought of as the reflection of the joint chain plane in the rotation disc. 236 Using Maya: Animation . The reference plane is defined by the handle vector and the pole vector. The difference between the two planes indicates the amount the joint chain twists.

Using Maya: Animation 237 . To do that. Expert users have found that spline solver IK chains that include ten or more joints with relatively short bones are ideal. you cannot rotate the joint chain by rotating the IK handle’s goal. snakes. the solver figures out how to best rotate the joints in the IK handle’s joint chain. Note that the joint chain controlled by an IK handle using a rotate plane solver cannot have any other IK handles running through any of its joints. This solver is useful for animating the motion of tails. the rotate plane solver figures out how to rotate the joints based on the goal’s position. please see “Using IK spline handles” on page 259. the solver figures out how to move the position of the end effector as close to the goal’s position as possible. please see “Activating the multi-chain (MC) solver” on page 243. but not on the goal’s orientation. For information on using the multi-chain (MC) solver. spines. Unlike the single chain solver. flexible joint chain that conforms to the shape of a curve. and z attributes) of the goal. However.Posing and Animating Skeletons Understanding posing and animating skeletons Rotate plane solver behavior The rotate plane solver first looks at the position (the translate x. Extremely long IK chains can become awkward to pose and animate. tentacles. In such a case. unlike the single chain solver. the rotate plane solver does not look at the orientation (the rotate x. Multi-chain (MC) solver The multi-chain (MC) solver is ideal for IK chains that can be posed and animated by more than one IK handle. Character Animation Expert users have found that rotate plane solver IK chains that consist of between two and four joints are the easiest to pose. Next. The orientation of the entire joint chain can be controlled by twisting the joint chain with the twist disc. Spline solver The IK spline solver lets you manipulate a long. and similar objects. long necks. y. For information on using IK handles with the spline solver. y. and z attributes) of the goal. each IK handle should use the multi-chain solver. That is.

the rotations of all the joints in the IK chain are calculated. Some expert users like to define hotkeys based on MEL commands for quickly creating customized joint chains and IK handles. Note that IK handles using the single chain (SC). an IK chain should not include the root joint unless the root joint is the start joint. You can create an IK handle for almost any joint chain. you can edit IK handle attributes by using the Attributes Editor. After you create the IK handles.Posing and Animating Skeletons Creating IK handles Creating IK handles IK handles are tools that help you pose and animate joint chains with inverse kinematics. During inverse kinematics posing and animating. You use the IK Handle Tool to create IK handles. To change the tool options. or spline solvers cannot overlap.” by an IK solver. A joint chain that has an IK handle is called an IK chain. or “solved. you can add IK handles to existing joint chains. In creating IK handles. See “Editing IK handle attributes” on page 246 for a description of the IK Handle Tool options. two IK handles using one of the single chain (SC). and spline solvers require that the joint chains they control be solved only by them. rotate plane (RP). Extremely long IK chains can become awkward. Expert users have found that IK chains that consist of between two and four joints are the easiest to pose and animate. For example. the joint where the IK handle starts should be closer to the skeleton’s root joint than the joint where the IK handle ends. Note that you can also use Maya Embedded Language (MEL) commands to create and edit IK handles. You can set certain IK Handle attributes during IK handle creation from the IK Handle Tool’s Tool Settings window. In any IK chain. To create an IK handle: 1 2 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool. select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë to open the IK Handle Tool Options window. allowing both to solve some of the same joints. Also. or you can create IK chains (joint chains with IK handles). 238 Using Maya: Animation . Adding an IK handle You can create an IK handle for any joint chain. rotate plane (RP).

4 Move the pointer to the position you want the second joint to be and click again.Posing and Animating Skeletons Creating IK handles 3 With the left mouse button. Click in the workspace at the position of the first joint. Toggle on the Create IK Handle option. You can set IK handle options within the IK Handle Options heading. You can edit the IK handle in the Attribute Editor to change its attributes. 5 6 Continue moving the pointer and clicking until you have created the chain of joints for the skeleton. Ending the joint chain creates the IK handle. To create an IK chain: Character Animation 1 2 Select Skeletons→Joint Tool-Ë to open the Joint Tool’s Tool Settings window. See “Positioning joints” on page 196 for tips on editing the positions of joints. You can click the joints in either order: the IK handle is created with the end effector on the child joint. Using Maya: Animation 239 . First. For information on IK Handle options. 3 Create the joint chain as you would any skeleton. When you finish creating all joints in the chain. Click the triangle on the heading line to view the options. Creating an IK chain An IK chain is a joint chain that has an IK handle. but you must set the Joint Tool’s Create IK Handle option. click the start joint and end joint for the IK handle. see “Editing IK handle attributes” on page 246. The joint is created. You can create IK chains in the same way that you create joint chains. press the Enter key. The two joints are connected with a bone that indicates the direction of the joint chain’s hierarchy: the thinner end of the bone’s triangle points to the child joint.

However. Displaying IK handle’s twist disc and pole vector’s axis An IK handle using the default rotate plane (RP) solver has two manipulators that are not displayed by default when you create an IK handle. In Display.Posing and Animating Skeletons Creating IK handles Displaying IK handle’s end effector A marker that identifies an IK handle’s end effector is not displayed by default when you create an IK handle. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. click Display Local Axis to display the axis of the IK handle’s goal. Open Display if not opened. and from the pull-down menu. Displaying IK handle’s goal and goal’s axis Markers that identify an IK handle’s goal and the local axis of the goal are not displayed by default when you create an IK handle. To display end effector: 1 2 3 Choose Window→Hypergraph to open the Hypergraph. In the Hypergraph. However. continue to press the right mouse button. select Show. With the end effector selected. if you would like to see the end effector. you can tell Maya to display it. select the IK handle’s end effector. To display twist disc and pole vector’s axis: 1 2 Select the IK handle. An axis-shaped icon indicates the end effector. Click the Show Manipulator Tool icon. 240 Using Maya: Animation . you can tell Maya to display them after you create the IK handle. These manipulators are the twist disc and the pole vector’s axis. In Display. To display goal and goal’s axis: 1 2 3 4 5 Select the IK handle. click Display Handle on to display the IK handle’s goal.

When you create an IK handle. Setting automatic IK handle attributes includes: • • • • • • • • • “Viewing IK handle creation options” on page 241 “Setting the current solver” on page 242 “Setting autopriority” on page 243 “Setting solver enable” on page 244 “Setting snap enable” on page 244 “Setting sticky” on page 244 “Setting priority” on page 245 “Setting weight” on page 245 “Setting position vs. the pole vector’s axis is displayed. orientation (PO) weight” on page 246 Character Animation Viewing IK handle creation options The IK handle creation options can be set from the IK Handle Tool’s Tool Settings window. You can set the IK Handle Tool’s settings so that certain IK handle attributes will be set automatically. If the IK handle uses the single chain (SC) solver. or you can edit the IK handle’s attributes at any time. Using Maya: Animation 241 . you use the IK Handle Tool. see “Editing IK handle attributes” on page 246. Also. This section describes how to set IK handle creation options. no additional manipulators are displayed.Posing and Animating Skeletons Setting IK handle creation options If the IK handle uses the default rotate plane (RP) solver. the twist disc is displayed at the IK chain’s end joint. To edit attributes after you create an IK handle chain. Setting IK handle creation options You can have the various options and attributes of IK handles set automatically when you create the IK handle.

242 Using Maya: Animation . Setting the current solver You can have either the single chain solver or the rotate plane solver set as the current solver automatically provided when you create an IK handle.Posing and Animating Skeletons Setting IK handle creation options The IK Handle Tool’s Tool Settings window To view automatically set IK handle attributes: Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë. The IK Handle Tool’s Tool Settings window is displayed. To set the current solver: 1 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë.

Now you can choose the multi-chain (MC) solver in the IK Handle Tool’s Tool Settings window. The rotate plane (RP) solver (called the ikRPsolver) is the default solver. you can choose the multi-chain solver from the IK Handle Tool’s Tool Settings window. If off. IK chains whose start joint is the skeleton’s root joint have a priority of 1. The other solver you can select here is the single chain solver (called the ikSCsolver). Using Maya: Animation 243 . To set autopriority: 1 2 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë. Once you enter the command. the lower its priority. Depending on the plug-ins you are using. select either ikRPsolver or ikSCsolver. Activating the multi-chain (MC) solver The multi-chain (MC) solver is only available through the use of a Maya Embedded Language (MEL) command. all IK handles are given a priority of 1. Click Autopriority on or off. The further an IK chain’s start joint is from the root joint. In the Command Shell. other solvers may be available. IK chains whose start joints are child joints of the root joint have a priority of 2. To use the spline solver. Character Animation To activate the multi-chain solver: 1 2 Choose Window→General Editors→Command Shell. enter the following command at the mel: prompt: createNode ikMCsolver... you must work directly with the IK Spline Handle Tool (Skeletons→IK Spline Handle Tool). Setting autopriority You can control the order in which IK chains are solved by having Maya automatically set their priority based on where the start joints are in the skeleton’s action hierarchy. You can select the multi-chain (MC) solver if it has already been activated.Posing and Animating Skeletons Setting IK handle creation options 2 From the Current Solver pop-up menu. and so on down the skeleton’s action hierarchy. When Maya automatically sets priority.

the end joint of the IK chain with a sticky IK handle will stick to its location while the IK solver provides the appropriate joint rotations. Click Snap Enable off or on (the default is on). rather than have it snap back to the end effector. At times some expert users like to see where the goal is after it has exceeded the reach of the IK chain so they can make adjustments more easily to the overall position of the entire skeleton.Posing and Animating Skeletons Setting IK handle creation options Setting solver enable After you create an IK handle for a joint chain. you can immediately begin posing the new IK chain with inverse kinematics. To set solver enable: 1 2 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë. If you prefer. To set snap enable: 1 2 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë. When you move the start joint of the IK chain. and the goal. the goal will snap back to the IK handle’s end effector by default. Whether the goal snaps back or remains in its last location is largely a matter of personal preference. For example. if you are animating a human character that is reaching up or out while standing in place. To set sticky: 1 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë. you can have the goal remain wherever you have moved it last. Maya will show you this by continuing to draw a line between the end effector. Setting sticky You can have an IK handle’s goal stick to any location in the scene. which is located at the IK chain’s end joint by default. Click Solver Enable off or on (the default is on). However. When you release the mouse button. if you would like to pose with forward kinematics. you can temporarily turn off the IK handle’s IK solver. an IK handle’s goal can exceed the reach of the IK chain. 244 Using Maya: Animation . Setting snap enable During posing. you can animate the natural articulation of the legs much more easily by making the IK handles that end at the character’s feet sticky. or even the entire skeleton.

The assigned weight. serve to prioritize the solutions of IK chains whose IK handles have the same priority settings. Setting priority You can control the order in which a skeleton’s various IK handles calculate joint chain action during animation. IK handles with a priority of 2 will be solved second. neither of the two IK chains might be able to reach their goals because they are pulling the limb in different directions. When the end effectors of two or more IK handles with the same priority cannot reach their goals simultaneously. Each IK handle can be assigned a priority. Maya can set these priorities for you based on where an IK handle’s start joint is in a skeleton’s action hierarchy. on a given limb with two IK chains that have the same priority. combined with the current distance between an IK handle’s end effector and its goal. or you can give all IK handles a priority of 1. a skeleton with many IK chains can perform a wide variety of motions. To set weight: 1 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë. Because of the specific ways the motions of IK chains can affect the overall position and orientation of the character’s skeleton. You can alleviate this situation by assigning the IK handles of those IK chains a weight. not all the end effectors may be able to reach their goals simulaneously. Highest priority is 1. Setting weight During animation.Posing and Animating Skeletons Setting IK handle creation options 2 Click Sticky on or off. some of the interpolated IK chain motions might not provide the effects you wish. Having varied priorities for IK handles can improve overall inverse kinematics performance. IK handles with a priority of 1 will be solved first. Slide Priority value to desired setting. Character Animation To set priority: 1 2 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë. Consequently. Using Maya: Animation 245 . For example. the IK handles whose end effectors are furthest from their goals and whose weights are greatest will be solved first. and so on.

You can control the extent to which the end effector can reach the goal’s position versus the goal’s orientation by setting the position vs. Slide POWeight value to desired setting.5. the end effector will seek to reach only the goal’s orientation. This section describes how to use the Attribute Editor to edit an IK handle’s attributes. orientation (PO) weight: 1 2 Select Skeletons→IK Handle Tool-Ë. The value of the PO weight ranges between 0 and 1. With a PO weight of 1. Note that IK handles using the rotate plane (RP) solver do not consider the orientation of the goals. only the position. Editing IK handle attributes includes: • • • • • • • • “Viewing editable IK handle attributes” on page 247 “Renaming an IK handle” on page 249 “Editing transform attributes” on page 249 “Editing skeleton info” on page 250 “Editing IK handle attributes” on page 250 “Editing IK solver attributes and choosing an IK solver” on page 251 “Editing pivots” on page 251 “Editing limit information” on page 252 246 Using Maya: Animation . Editing IK handle attributes You can edit the attributes of an IK handle at any time by using the Attribute Editor. With a PO weight of 0. the end effector will seek to reach only the goal’s position. Finally. To set position vs.7. With a PO weight of 0. but not both. With IK chains being solved by the RP solver.Posing and Animating Skeletons Editing IK handle attributes 2 Slide Weight value to desired setting (must be 0 or greater). you control IK chain orientation by means of the twist disc. an IK handle’s end effector might be able to reach the goal’s position or the goal’s orientation. the end effector will try to reach the goal’s position and orientation as equally as possible. the end effector will seek to reach the goal’s position more than the orientation. orientation (PO) weight During animation. Setting position vs. orientation (PO) weight. with a PO weight of 0.

Viewing editable IK handle attributes To view or edit an IK handle’s attributes. and also the Attribute Editor.Posing and Animating Skeletons Editing IK handle attributes • • “Editing display” on page 252 “Editing node behavior” on page 253 Note that you can access settings for an IK handle’s attributes. Character Animation Using Maya: Animation 247 . by pressing the right mouse button while the cursor is on the IK handle you want to edit. use the Attribute Editor.

Posing and Animating Skeletons Editing IK handle attributes Attribute Editor for IK handles 248 Using Maya: Animation .

You can rename the IK handles to better reflect their purpose in posing and animating your character. IK handles are numbered consecutively as you create them. By default. It’s a good idea to give IK handles meaningful names so that they are easier to select when you are working with Maya’s editors. Renaming an IK handle Maya names IK handles for you when you create them. For example. The Attribute Editor is displayed. Editing transform attributes An IK handle’s transform attributes include the following: • • • • Translate. using the Hypergraph. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor.Posing and Animating Skeletons Editing IK handle attributes To view editable joint attributes: Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. or using the Outliner. For example.” the second “ikHandle2. scale. Open Transform Attributes if not opened. The new name takes effect immediately. rotate. Enter the new name in the ikHandle: field.” and so on.” Character Animation To rename an IK handle: 1 2 3 Select the IK handle. Using Maya: Animation 249 . and shear transformations Rotate order Rotate axis Inherits transform option To edit transform attributes: 1 2 3 Select the IK handle. the first handle would be called “ikHandle1. you could name an IK handle that goes from a right shoulder joint to a right wrist joint “RShtoWrist.

You can edit either of these by clicking on the right arrow buttons next to their names. weight. 0. you can make changes to the translate. and position vs.0. 250 Using Maya: Animation .0. orientation (PO) weight. Editing IK handle attributes An IK handle’s handle attributes include the following: • • • • • Snap enable Stickiness Priority Weight Position vs. You can set the rotate order. rotate. and shear transformations. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. scale. which is by default set to 0. In IK Handle Attributes. you can toggle whether or not the IK handle inherits transformations. Editing skeleton info An IK handle’s skeleton info include the following: • • Start joint End effector To edit skeleton info: 1 2 3 4 Select the IK handle.0. In Skeleton Info. You can change the location of the rotate axis. 0. note that the names of the IK handle’s start joint and end effector are displayed. which is by default set to xyz. priority. Open IK Handle Attributes if not opened. stickiness. orientation (PO) weight To edit IK handle attributes: 1 2 3 4 Select the IK handle. you can edit snap enable. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. Open Skeleton Info if not opened. Finally.Posing and Animating Skeletons Editing IK handle attributes 4 In Transform Attributes.

To use the spline solver. you can choose the IK solver. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. weight. you must work directly with the IK Spline Handle Tool (Skeletons→IK Spline Handle Tool). Character Animation Editing pivots An IK handle’s pivots attributes include the following: • • • • Display rotate pivot toggle Display scale pivot toggle Local space rotate pivot and scale pivot World space rotate pivot and scale pivot To edit pivots attributes: 1 2 3 Select the IK handle. 4 In IK solver. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. only two IK solvers are offered here: the single chain solver (ikSCsolver) and the rotate plane solver (ikRPsolver). snap enable. rotate plane solver. choose the IK solver you want to assign to the IK handle. and position vs. priority. By default. stickiness. In IK Solver Attributes. or the multichain solver if activated) Pole vector’s end location Twist To edit solver attributes and choose IK solver: 1 2 3 Select the IK handle. Open Pivots if not opened. Using Maya: Animation 251 . orientation (PO) weight.Posing and Animating Skeletons Editing IK handle attributes Editing IK solver attributes and choosing an IK solver An IK handle’s solver attributes include the following: • • • • Solver enable IK solver selection (single chain solver. Open IK Solver Attributes if not opened. which is the default IK solver.

Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. current. you can edit the display rotate pivot toggle and the display scale pivot toggle. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. 252 Using Maya: Animation . Editing display An IK handle’s display attributes include the following: • • • • • • Display handle Display local axis Select handle Show manipulator default Visibility Template To edit display attributes: 1 2 3 Select the IK handle. or Scale. In Translate. Open Limit Information if not opened. you can edit the coordinates for the local space pivot’s rotate and scale transformations and the world space pivot’s rotate and scale transformations.Posing and Animating Skeletons Editing IK handle attributes 4 In Pivots. and maximum transformation limits. Rotate. Open Display if not opened. edit the minimum. Editing limit information An IK handle’s limit information attributes include the following: • • • Translation transformation limits Rotation transformation limits Scale transformation limits To edit limit information attributes: 1 2 3 4 Select the IK handle. Below it you can open Translate. and Scale. Also. Rotate.

or Blocking. In Node Behavior. or Scale. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. Edit the coordinates of the Select Handle location. Editing node behavior Maya’s system thinks of all its entities. Select Show Manip Default as None. HasNoEffect. Using Maya: Animation 253 . By default. as nodes. Select Node State as Normal. including IK handles.Posing and Animating Skeletons Editing IK solvers 4 In Display.” Editing IK solver settings includes: • • Editing IK solver attributes: maximum iterations and tolerance Editing node behavior Editing IK solver attributes An IK solver’s attributes include the following: • • Maximum iterations Tolerance To edit solver attributes: 1 2 Select the IK solver. Translate. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. Open Node Behavior if not opened. Maya names the single chain solver the “ikSCsolver” and the rotate plane solver the “ikRPsolver. Check Visibility on or off. and check Template on or off. check Caching on or off. Rotate. Editing IK solvers You can edit the settings of the IK solvers from the Attribute Editor. An IK handle’s node behavior attributes include the following: • • Caching Node state Character Animation To edit node behavior attributes: 1 2 3 4 Select the IK handle. toggle the Display Handle and Display Local Axis settings.

Editing node behavior Maya’s system thinks of all its entities. edit the Max Iterations setting and the Tolerance setting. check Caching on or off. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. An IK solver’s node behavior attributes include the following: • • Caching Node state To edit node behavior attributes: 1 2 3 4 Select the IK solver. clicking auto update off (not checked). Using IK systems An IK system can organize and manage a collection of IK solvers. Open Node Behavior if not opened. The Attribute Editor will now show information about an IK system whose default name is “ikSystem. Choose Object→ikSystem.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK systems 3 4 Open IK Solver Attributes if not opened.” You can change the name by typing in a new name in the ikSystem: field. In IK Solver Attributes. In Node Behavior. Select Node State as Normal. or Blocking. 254 Using Maya: Animation . as nodes. including IK solvers. HasNoEffect. Choose List→Kinematics→IK Systems. Creating an IK system To create an IK system: 1 2 3 4 Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. Choose List→Auto Update.

Open ikSystem if not opened. Maya creates folders for the selected solvers in the Attribute Editor. the rotate plane solver (default name ikRPsolver). In the ikSystem: field. Renaming an IK system You can rename an IK system. Using Maya: Animation 255 . Editing global snap and global solve You can edit the global snap and global solve settings. and the spline solver (default name: ikSplineSolver). To edit global snap and solve settings: 1 Access the IK system with the Attribute Editor.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK systems Accessing an IK system To access an IK system: 1 2 3 Select an IK handle. Viewing an IK system’s IK solvers You can view and select the IK solvers Maya provides from the IK system. three IK solvers are listed: the single chain (SC) solver (default name: ikSCsolver). Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor. You can select and edit the solvers by double-clicking on the names in the list. The available IK are listed. In the Attribute Editor. Character Animation To rename an IK system: 1 2 Access the IK system with the Attribute Editor. To view available IK solvers: 1 2 Access the IK system with the Attribute Editor. click on Set Focus. replace the current name with the name you would like to use. The Attribute Editor will now display information about the IK system. When you double-click. By default.

Select Node State as Normal. including IK systems. Editing node behavior Maya’s system thinks of all its entities. HasNoEffect. In Node Behavior. 3 Click the Global Snap and Global Solve settings on or off.Posing and Animating Skeletons Posing IK chains 2 Open ikSystem if not opened. check Caching on or off. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor.The IK system’s node behavior attributes include the following: • • Caching Node State To edit node behavior attributes: 1 2 3 4 Select the IK solver. as nodes. 256 Using Maya: Animation . Posing IK chains Posing IK chains includes the following: • • • • • Posing with single chain (SC) solver IK handles Positioning with rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles Twisting with rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles Eliminating flip in rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles Sticky posing Posing with single chain (SC) solver IK handles To pose single chain (SC) solver IK handles: 1 Select the IK handle. Note the Global Snap and Global Solve check boxes below the listing of available IK solvers. or Blocking. Open Node Behavior if not opened.

2 3 Select the Show Manipulator Tool. You can select the IK handle directly or from the Hypergraph. In the Hypergraph. 2 3 4 Select the Move Tool or the Rotate Tool. move the mouse to twist the joint chain. Click on the twist disc (located at the end joint of the joint chain). The joint chain will move as you move the mouse. Using Maya: Animation 257 . In the Hypergraph. Press the right mouse button and pose the IK handle. In the Hypergraph. You can select the IK handle directly or from the Hypergraph. note that next to each end effector there is an icon you can click on to select the IK handle that the end effector belongs to. 2 3 Select the Move Tool. Press the right mouse button and position the IK handle. Positioning with rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles To position rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles: 1 Select the IK handle. Character Animation Twisting with rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles To twist a joint chain with a rotate plane (RP) solver IK handle: 1 Select the IK handle.Posing and Animating Skeletons Posing IK chains You can select the IK handle directly or from the Hypergraph. With the right mouse button pressed. next to each end effector is an icon you can click on to select the IK handle that the end effector belongs to. next to each end effector is an icon you can click on to select the IK handle that the end effector belongs to. The joint chain will move or rotate as you move the mouse. Eliminating flip in rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles To eliminate flip: 1 Select the IK handle if not already selected.

258 Using Maya: Animation . your character might be interacting with a solid object such as a floor or a step on a stairway. 2 3 Select the Show Manipulator Tool. In the Hypergraph. A sticky IK handle is indicated by a dark red sphere on the IK handle’s goal. the IK handle sticks as if stuck by a piece of gum. Sticky posing When you position a joint chain with IK handles. The IK handle tends to stay stuck. For example. Open IK Handle Attributes if not opened. 4 Drag the pole vector so that it will not cross the handle vector. The joint chain’s twist is defined in terms of the difference in degrees between the reference plane and the joint chain plane.Posing and Animating Skeletons Posing IK chains You can select the IK handle directly or from the Hypergraph. but can sometimes separate. set stickiness to sticky. This “sticking” feature of IK handles is useful for positioning characters engaging in movement where some part of the skeleton is stationary during part of the motion. you might want to stick one or more IK handles to a location in space while you move other IK handles. They are not active when you play an animation. That object is the plane indicator. The IK handle’s goal and end effector tend to stay together. When you make an IK handle sticky. The plane indicator indicates the orientation of the joint chain plane. This is because when you change the pole vector. The joint chain might twist while you drag the pole vector. Note that sticky IK handles are only for interactive placement of a skeleton in a keyframe. but can be pulled away depending on how you are moving the skeleton. Preventing the handle vector from crossing the pole vector will eliminate flipping. In IK Handle Attributes. Select the pole vector. next to each end effector is an icon you can click on to select the IK handle that the end effector belongs to. Note that the triangular object in the rotation disc is not the pole vector. To do sticky posing: 1 2 3 4 Select the IK handle if not already selected. you change the orientation of the reference plane. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to open the Attribute Editor.

To animate the joint chain. You don’t manipulate the translation of the handle. The IK handle’s goal is now set to the goal’s current position and orientation for as long as the IK handle is sticky.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles The dark red sphere at the IK handle’s goal indicates that the IK handle is now sticky. and flippers. snakes. After you add the handle. back. Using IK spline handles You can add an IK spline handle to a joint chain to animate the motion of tails. spines. You can also roll or twist the joint chain with convenient manipulators. tentacles. 5 Pose the skeleton as desired. Character Animation The seven IK spline handles on this creature control its neck. Using Maya: Animation 259 . you manipulate a curve that’s part of the handle. Maya’s IK spline solver rotates the joints when you manipulate a curve that’s part of the handle. tail. bullwhips. Plesiosaur by Matt Dougan Creating IK spline handles You add an IK spline handle to a joint chain. The sticky IK handle tries to keep its joint chain always reaching for where you’ve stuck the IK handle’s goal. necks. and similar objects.

3 Select Skeletons→IK Spline Handle Tool-Ë. you spend less time selecting and dragging CVs. the joint chain mimics the shape of the curve. Instead. create many joints close to each other (with short bones). The option settings are saved for future use. 2 3 4 Select Skeletons→IK Spline Handle Tool. and you’re more likely to have a smooth curve. your control of the curve’s shape and skeleton’s movement will be less precise. To ensure the joint chain moves smoothly when you animate the curve. By default. The IK spline handle appears on the joint chain with an automatically created curve. With fewer CVs. The joints in the chain rotate to adapt to the shape of the curve. To create an IK spline handle with your own curve and options: 1 Use modeling tools to create the curve. Turn off Auto Create Curve. Set options as described in “Setting options before creating the IK spline handle” on page 265. Select the end joint for the IK handle. Select the start joint for the IK handle. 260 Using Maya: Animation . The Tool Settings window appears. create many joints close to each other (with short bones). In either case.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles The joint chain can be an independent hierarchy or part of a larger hierarchy. Create a simple curve with no sharp bends to ensure the joint chain moves smoothly when you animate the curve. Add CVs only as needed to improve control. a curve is created for you when you create an IK spline handle. you can create your own curve before you create the handle. Start with a curve having as few CVs as necessary. 2 Create a joint chain. 4 Select the start joint for the IK handle. but you’ll be able to manipulate the curve and its joint chain easier. If you create a curve with fewer CVs. To create an IK spline handle with a default curve and options: 1 Create a joint chain. To ensure the joint chain moves smoothly when you animate the curve.

Using Maya: Animation 261 . Turn on (Select by component type) and use the Move tool on the CVs. and scale the curve To see the effects of animating the joint chain more clearly. bind skin to the joint chain. Select the curve. See Using Maya: Basics for details. The joints in the chain rotate to adapt to the shape of the curve. 2 Move the CVs.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles 5 6 Select the end joint for the IK handle. If the curve is shorter than the joint chain. Character Animation To manipulate the CVs of the curve: 1 Select the curve. 3 Select Keys→Set Key to set keys at the desired frames. rotate. turn on Display→NURBS Components→CVs and Hulls. you set keys for the appropriate attributes after you do any of these actions: • • • • manipulate the CVs of the curve twist and roll the joint chain slide the joint chain along the curve translate. Animating the joint chain To animate the joint chain. The IK spline handle appears on the joint chain. To select a curve without selecting joints or other objects in the workspace. turn on (Select by object type) and limit the selection specifiers to NURBS Curves. or From the Modeling menu. the extra length of the joint chain points out from the end of the curve in a straight line. It’s helpful to display CVs and hulls as you work with CVs. With the curve selected in Select by object type mode. select Curves→Curve Editing Tool. You can also select the curve conveniently in the Outliner or Hypergraph.

Twist manipulator Start joint End joint Roll manipulator 3 4 To roll the entire joint chain. If you use the Curve Editing Tool. and click the Save button. set keys only for the CVs you animate. select the CVs. 262 Using Maya: Animation .Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles Tip To improve speed as you play and scrub your animation. select Keys→Set Key-Ì. click and rotate the circular manipulator at the end joint. 2 Select Modify→Transformation Tools→Show Manipulator Tool. then choose Keys→Set Key. The default selection priority ensures you’ll select the handle rather than the end joint. To twist the joint chain. click and rotate the circular manipulator at the start joint. Thereafter when you choose Set Key. Circular manipulators appear at the start joint and end joint. To twist and roll the joint chain: 1 Select the IK spline handle. Maya sets keys only for the necessary CVs. To select the handle in the workspace. For instance. turn on All Manipulator Handles. drag a selection box around the end joint.

5 Set keys for the handle’s Roll and Twist attributes. turn on (Select by object type) then drag a selection box around the end joint of the handle. In the Attribute Editor. Turn on Root on Curve. To select the IK handle. expand the IK Solver Attributes section to see these attributes. 2 3 4 Choose Window→Attribute Editor to display the Attribute Editor. This constrains the start joint of the IK spline handle to a position on the curve. Character Animation Using Maya: Animation 263 . The default selection priority ensures you’ll select the handle rather than the end joint. Rotate. If the IK handle’s Solver Enable is on. 5 Choose Modify→Transformation Tools→Show Manipulator Tool. the solver doesn’t use the IK handle’s Translate.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles You can also adjust twist and roll by selecting the IK handle and entering values for Roll and Twist in the Channel Box or Attribute Editor. To slide the joint chain along the curve: 1 Select the IK handle. Expand the IK Solver Attributes section. and Scale values as it rotates joints. The offset manipulator appears at the start joint. It also provides an offset manipulator to slide the start joint along the curve.

Offset manipulator at the end of the curve You cannot drag the manipulator past either end of the curve. If you drag the start joint to the end of the curve. You can also enter values for Offset in the Attribute Editor to move the start joint’s offset manipulator along the curve. 264 Using Maya: Animation . Try various values over 0 to get the desired position.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles Offset manipulator at the start joint 6 Drag the manipulator to slide the joint chain along the curve. the child joints move off the end of the curve in a straight line.

Rotate. Use the Move. If you created the handle with Root on Curve off. and Scale attributes. and Scale tools to translate. Use Offset only for small movements or when the start joint doesn’t rotate much. You can also use a motion path to prevent joint flipping. To translate. Using Maya: Animation 265 . and scale the curve: Character Animation 1 2 Select the curve. the start joint might flip unexpectedly. See “Preventing unwanted start joint flipping” on page 272. Note If you use Offset (or the offset manipulator) to animate a joint chain sliding on a curve. rotate. For details on options you can set after creation. Rotate. translating. Setting options before creating the IK spline handle This topic describes how to set IK spline handle tool options available before you create the handle. 3 Set keys for the appropriate Translate. 7 Set keys for the Offset at the desired frames. See “Tips for working with IK spline handles” on page 274 for additional information on how to use several of these options.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles The Offset attribute is ignored if you turn Root on Curve off. and scaling the curve doesn’t translate the start joint. or scale the curve. rotate. rotating. To set IK Spline Handle Tool options: Select Skeletons→IK Spline Handle Tool-Ë Set the following options in the Tool Settings window. see “Setting attributes after creating the IK spline handle” on page 271.

You can drag an offset manipulator to slide the start joint (and its children) along the curve. The start joint is no longer constrained to the curve.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles Root on Curve If you turn this option on. and no offset manipulator exists at the start joint. If you turn this option off. the start joint of the IK spline handle is constrained to a position on the curve. you can move the start joint away from the curve. 266 Using Maya: Animation . Maya ignores the Offset attribute.

Using Maya: Animation 267 . the joints jump from closest point to closest point as you move the straightened joint chain towards parts of the curve.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles You can move the start joint and its children off the curve by turning off Root on Curve. If the curve is wavy. the bones point straight at the closest point on the curve. This is correct operation. The following figure shows a joint chain in four positions as it points towards the closest part of the curve. Character Animation Note If Root on Curve is off. If Root on Curve is off and you move the start joint far enough away from the curve so that none of the joints can reach the curve. not a mixture of both. Set keys with Root on Curve off or on. the solver ignores any motion you previously keyed with Offset.

a dependency graph loop occurs. turn this option on so the joint chain moves with the transformations of its parent joint. You can set Auto Create Root Axis in the Tool Options window only as you create the IK spline handle. You can turn this option on only when Root on Curve is off. which results in the display of a warning message and incorrect handle operation. You can avoid unexpected start joint flipping by moving and rotating this transform node rather than the start joint. Otherwise. If you create a handle that starts at a joint in the chain lower than the root joint of your skeleton. you must turn off Auto Parent Curve if you want to use the curve as a motion path. Auto Parent Curve If the start joint has a parent. select Window→Attribute Editor. See “Preventing unwanted start joint flipping” on page 272 for details. If you turn on Auto Create Root Axis. The curve and joints therefore move with the transformations of the parent. Auto Create Root Axis This option creates a parent transform node above the start joint in the scene hierarchy. To display the Attribute Editor. this option makes the curve a child of that parent.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles You can also turn Root on Curve on or off after you create the IK spline handle by selecting the IK spline handle and displaying the Attribute Editor. 268 Using Maya: Animation . You can set this option in the Tool Options window only as you create the IK spline handle.

If you turn on Auto Create Curve and Auto Simplify Curve. You can set Auto Create Curve in the Tool Options window only as you create the IK spline handle. creating the handle automatically creates a simplified curve that has a shape similar to the joint chain. For this reason. you must supply a curve for the joint chain. but you’ll be able to manipulate the curve and its joint chain easier. The higher the Number of Spans. If you want to move the joint chain to the curve to use the curve as a fixed path. Otherwise. If you turn on Auto Create Curve and turn off Auto Simplify Curve. you spend less time selecting and dragging CVs. With fewer CVs. consider turning on Auto Simplify Curve. turn this option on. This often creates so many CVs that the curve is unwieldy to manipulate. If you create a curve with fewer CVs. the curve passes through all the joints. Auto Simplify Curve This option sets the automatically created curve to the specified Number of Spans. Using Maya: Animation 269 . turn this option off. your control of the curve’s shape and skeleton’s movement will be less precise. If the joint chain is part of an existing skeleton. The curve has a curve degree of 3 (cubic). You can set this option in the Tool Options window only as you create the IK spline handle. you’ll typically turn this option off. the closer the curve matches the joint chain. Auto Create Curve Character Animation This option creates a curve used by the IK spline handle. The curve has a curve degree of 3 (cubic). The joints in the chain rotate to adapt to the shape of the curve.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles Snap Curve To Root This option affects the handle only if you create your own curve for the handle. If you’re using a curve as a path for sliding the joint chain. you’ll typically turn this option on. and you’re more likely to have a smooth curve. the start of the curve snaps to the position of the start joint. If this option is on when you create the handle. The number of spans corresponds to the number of CVs in the curve. If you turn off Auto Create Curve.

Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles This option works only if Auto Create Curve is on. Ease Out twists more at the start than the end. You can set Auto Simplify Curve in the Tool Options window only as you create the IK spline handle. the start joint twists slightly with the other joints. Number of Spans This option specifies the number of CVs in the curve as follows: Number of Spans CVs 1 2 3 4 4 5 6 7 This option is available only if Auto Create Curve is on. Use the roll manipulator at the start joint to turn the start joint. You can also set this option after you create the IK spline handle by selecting the IK spline handle and displaying the Attribute Editor. the start joint doesn’t twist. With this option off. Twist Type This option specifies how the twist occurs in the joint chain: • • • Linear twists all parts evenly. select Window→Attribute Editor. You can set the Number of Spans in the Tool Options window only as you create the IK spline handle. Root Twist Mode This option turns on Power Animator IK spline twisting. 270 Using Maya: Animation . Ease In twists more at the end than the start. To display the Attribute Editor. As you turn the twist manipulator at the end joint.

Offset Roll Twist Twist Type Root on Curve Root Twist Mode See the following note. Using Maya: Animation 271 . Be aware that the IK spline solver doesn’t operate if there are joint limits on any of the joints controlled by an IK spline handle. The following attributes are displayed: Solver Enable Character Animation Turning this off disables the IK spline solver. avoid moving individual joints or you might encounter unexpected joint rotations. you can specify settings for several attributes. See the following note.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles • Ease In Out twists more at the middle than at either end. To set attributes after creating the IK spline handle: 1 2 3 Select the IK handle. Setting attributes after creating the IK spline handle After you create an IK spline handle. See “Animating the joint chain” on page 261. turn this option off before returning the joint chain to the bind pose. Choose Window→Attribute Editor to display the Attribute Editor. See the following note. Expand the IK Solver Attributes section. While this option is on. See the following note. See “Animating the joint chain” on page 261. You can also set Twist Type after you create the IK spline handle by selecting the IK spline handle and displaying the Attribute Editor. select Window→Attribute Editor. If you’ve bound skin to the joint chain. You also cannot move or rotate the IK handle. To display the Attribute Editor.

RotateY. The zero-rotation value is where the joint’s RotateX. it’s likely to do so only in a small range of rotation. Offset affects the joint chain only if you turn on Root on Curve. If flipping occurs. Root on Curve. Joint is at its zerorotation value. see “Setting options before creating the IK spline handle” on page 265. When you create each joint after the start joint. 272 Using Maya: Animation . Flipping is most pronounced near 180 degrees. and Root Twist Mode are available when you select Skeletons→IK Spline Handle Tool-Ë. The flipping is a normal outcome of IK spline solver calculations. Unwanted start joint rotation might occur in the half-spherical region. In the Attribute Editor. it might flip unexpectedly as you rotate the curve or CVs. You can prevent start joint flipping in most cases by positioning joints appropriately when you create the joint chain. and RotateZ attributes are 0 (relative to its parent joint’s coordinate system).Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles Note Twist Type. Preventing unwanted start joint flipping The start joint might flip undesirably when you move or rotate a curve or its CVs in some directions or slide the joint chain along its curve. For details on these attributes. position it roughly in its rest position—the average position of its entire range of motion. If the orientation of a joint is more than 90 spatial degrees from its zerorotation value. Flipping is pronounced in the conical region.

9 Turn on Follow. 11 Click the Attach button. and Snap Curve to Root. try parenting the start joint to another joint or to a transform node. To select the parent transform node. when you slide a snake along a motion path. Character Animation Using Maya: Animation 273 . See “Auto Create Root Axis” on page 268 and “Auto Parent Curve” on page 268. This creates the IK spline handle with a parent transform node above the start joint. for instance. For the Start Time and End Time. and then the curve you’ve created. Turn off Root on Curve. you might also need to turn on Normal for the Up Direction to avoid unwanted flipping. 6 Select Paths→Attach to Path-Ë. drag a selection box around the start joint. Select the start joint. Turn on Auto Create Root Axis. 10 Leave other options at the default settings. do these steps.Posing and Animating Skeletons Using IK spline handles If you’ve positioned joints appropriately and joint flipping is still a problem. Auto Parent Curve. Auto Create Curve. The parent transform node and its child joint chain will move from the start of the curve to the end of the curve in the specified frame range. If the curve has a 3D looping shape. In a subsequent step you’ll put the node on a motion path that prevents the start joint flipping. then the end joint. To prevent flipping when a joint chain slides down its curve: 1 2 3 4 Select Skeletons→IK Spline Handle Tool-Ë to display the Tool Settings window. then Shift-click the curve. enter the frame range for the joint chain’s motion. Unexpected start joint flipping might also occur when you animate a joint chain along its curve. 7 8 Turn on Start/End. To prevent flipping in such cases. 5 Select the parent transform node. The Attach to Path Options window appears.

you can connect turbulence to the curve to create random. for instance. When you add an IK spline handle to the skeleton of most creatures— including fish and snakes moving along a motion path—parent each IK spline start joint to a transform node or parent joint that’s not controlled by an IK spline handle. create many joints close to each other (with short bones). The start joint can serve as the character’s root joint. Use a small number of CVs. you don’t need to parent the start joint to a transform node or joint. Tips for working with IK spline handles This section provides tips for working with IK spline handles on most characters. the parent transform node and joint chain move along the curve path. See “Preventing unwanted start joint flipping” on page 272 for details. Working with soft body curves If you change an IK spline curve to a soft body. Create a simple curve with no sharp bends to help make the joint chain move smoothly when you animate the curve. erratic motion. Note that you can still roll and twist the joint chain with the IK handle’s roll and twist manipulators for additional control. The movement will likely be free of unexpected flipping. If you’re working on a character with a root joint that rotates little. See Using Maya: Dynamics for details. However. • For a character such as a fish or snake moving along a motion path.Posing and Animating Skeletons Tips for working with IK spline handles When you play the animation. if you create a handle that starts at a skeleton’s root. This makes the joint chain move with the transformations of the parent while avoiding unexpected joint flipping. • • • To ensure the joint chain moves smoothly when you animate the curve. This prevents unexpected joint flipping as you animate the automatically created parent transform node along a motion path. Also turn off Auto Parent Curve. a swaying tree. flipping is unavoidable in some complex paths. 274 Using Maya: Animation . turn on Auto Create Root Axis when you create the IK spline handle. Subsequent topics offer suggestions specific to the type of character and motion you’re creating. you can add dynamic forces to change the curve’s motion. For example.

use the MEL cycleCheck -all command described in the online MEL documentation. Move the second CV minimally. preferably only along an imaginary line extending straight out from the end of the spine. Maya doesn’t let you overlap the same joint with two IK spline handles. Character Animation • • • Using Maya: Animation 275 .Posing and Animating Skeletons Tips for working with IK spline handles If you create a handle that starts at a joint other than the skeleton’s root. Do not parent the curve to a transform node that would use that same curve as a motion path. In other words. To detect such loops. To prevent unexpected results. This technique ensures that the skin flows naturally where the spine meets the tail or neck. This creates a dependency graph loop that causes the start joint to chase the curve as the curve moves. Manipulate the other CVs freely. turn on Auto Parent Curve and turn off Auto Create Root Axis so the handle’s curve and start joint move with the transformations of the parent joint. don’t turn on Auto Create Root Axis and Auto Parent Curve if you plan to put the transform node on that curve. This creates a dependency graph loop. • When you manipulate a tail or neck parented to a spine. Do not parent the curve to the start joint. avoid moving the first CV of the curve for the tail or neck.

and bends. IK spline handle IK spline handle Start joint Root joint Zoomed view of image on left 276 Using Maya: Animation . For example. you can position the handle’s start joint one joint hierarchically below (and positionally above) the skeleton’s root joint. This causes the IK spline joint chain to move with the root’s movement without unexpected joint flipping. turns.Posing and Animating Skeletons Tips for working with IK spline handles Working with human skeletons Because a human spine often twists. an IK spline handle is ideal for controlling it.

The handles give precise control of the spine. Handle Handle Character Animation Handle Pelvic region Here’s a close-up of the pelvic region of the preceding skeleton: Handle Handle Close-up of previous image’s pelvic region Note that you can use two rather than three handles for skeletons: one for the tail and one for the neck and back combined. and neck twist and turn independently. This skeleton has three IK spline handles: on the tail. multiple IK spline handles are ideal for controlling them. back.Posing and Animating Skeletons Tips for working with IK spline handles Working with animal skeletons Because an animal’s tail. back. Using Maya: Animation 277 . and neck.

Also turn off Auto Parent Curve. back. Working with sinuous motion on skeletons IK spline handles are useful for animating land or sea creatures that move in sinuous or undulating patterns. To animate a creature that glides smoothly along a path without abrupt direction changes at the head or tail. snakes. and seals. using only one handle for the tail. for example. and neck won’t give you adequate control. fish. Turn on Auto Create Root Axis to prevent unexpected joint flipping as you transform the automatically created parent transform node. This ensures the curve and joints move with the transformation of the root.Posing and Animating Skeletons Tips for working with IK spline handles The start joint of the tail’s handle and the start joint of the back’s handle are near the position of the skeleton’s root. turn on Auto Parent Curve when you create the handles. The skeleton’s root location is crucial for achieving the desired motion. put the root of the skeleton at the character’s tail end. This causes the IK spline joint chains to move with the root’s movement without unexpected joint flipping. An example skeleton follows: Handle Handle Handle Handle Handle The skeleton’s root is at its tail. If you use this approach. but one joint below the root in the skeleton’s hierarchy. For most creatures. 278 Using Maya: Animation .

for instance. near the pelvic region: Handle Handle Handle Character Animation Handle Handle Handle Handle The root is in the pelvic region. a parent transform node appears hierarchically above the start joint of the handle on the spine. If the creature’s head or tail moves abruptly.Posing and Animating Skeletons Tips for working with IK spline handles Though not visible in the preceding figure. Handle Handle Handle Handle Close-up of previous image’s pelvic region Using Maya: Animation 279 . put the skeleton’s root between the spine’s midpoint and tail.

use the Graph Editor. and use the Playblast window. if only the transformation attribute for translation along the X-axis of an IK handle’s goal has changed. This causes the IK spline joint chains to move with the root’s movement without unexpected joint flipping. They only key transformation attributes that they want to be sure will be interpolated between frames. please see Using Maya: Animation.) 280 Using Maya: Animation . Part 1: Keyframe. transformation attributes are identified as channels. if you select the Translate X channel and then press the right mouse button. most expert users find that setting a minimum number of keys assures the best use of system resources. edit key options. None of the IK spline handles pass through the root. Use the Channel Box In addition to the selections from the Keys pull-down menu. Please note the following keyframing tips for character animation: • • Set a minimum number of keys Use the Channel Box Set a minimum number of keys You can set a key for every transformation attribute in a scene. For example. Animating IK chains You can animate IK chains by keyframing or by using motion capture data. However.Posing and Animating Skeletons Animating IK chains Each handle’s start joint in the figure is separated from the root by one joint. expert users will save a key for only that transformation attribute. many expert users often use the Channel Box to set keys for particular transformation attributes. Keyframing For information on keyframing. which describes the tasks and tools for keyframing. you can choose Key Selected to save a key for that channel only. use the Dope Sheet. (Note that in the Channel Box. For example. not the entire IK handle. including how to set keys. in character animation.

You can have motion capture data drive the IK handle’s goals.Posing and Animating Skeletons Animating IK chains Motion capture For information on motion capture. Part 4: Constraints and Motion Capture. thereby posing the IK chains. please see Using Maya. Animation. Character Animation Using Maya: Animation 281 .

Posing and Animating Skeletons Animating IK chains 282 Using Maya: Animation .

the geometry becomes the skeleton’s skin. the skeleton’s skin provides the shape of the character’s surface. Character Animation This chapter explains skinning. A geometry can be either a non-uniform rational B-spline (NURBS) geometry whose points are control vertices (CVs).13 Skinning Skeletons Skinning skeletons is the process of binding a geometry to a skeleton so that the skeleton’s actions can deform the geometry. because during skinning the geometry’s points (CVs or vertices) are identified as skin points and organized into skin point sets that are bound to the skeleton’s joints. Once bound. or a polygonal geometry whose points are vertices. In effect. Skinning skeletons includes the following: • • • • • “Understanding skinning” on page 284 “Binding by closest point” on page 285 “Binding by partition set” on page 287 “Binding multiple objects as skin” on page 288 “Returning to bind pose” on page 289 Using Maya: Animation 283 . The skin moves as the skeleton’s joints move.

If you are not familiar with the Set Editor. and Expressions. This skin provides the surface of your character. In Maya. the geometry’s points (CVs or vertices) are automatically organized into skin point sets based on the proximity of each point to a joint. pose the skeleton so that it fits the geometry properly. bind the geometry to the skeleton. For each joint with a bone. Sets. with each skin point being a member of only one skin point set.Skinning Skeletons Understanding skinning • • • • “Displaying skin point set colors” on page 290 “Editing skin point sets” on page 290 “Detaching and reattaching skin” on page 290 “Animating with skin and skeleton groups” on page 292 Note that skinning skeletons often requires use of the Set Editor. In Maya. Maya partitions them into skin point sets. there are two ways to skin a skeleton: • • Closest point skinning Partition set skinning Closest point skinning In binding by closest point. In organizing the geometry’s points for binding. a skin point cannot be bound to more than one joint. a skin point set is created that includes the points that are closest to the given joint. In binding by closest point. and skinning is the process of binding a geometry to a skeleton. After you’ve built a skeleton and exercised how that skeleton can be posed and animated. you are ready to give the skeleton some skin. Maya creates the skin point sets for you. You can edit the sets after they are created to fine-tune the binding of individual skin points. First. Because skin point sets can have no members in common. The points are then identified as skin points. 284 Using Maya: Animation . Understanding skinning Skin is a geometry that has been bound to a skeleton. please refer to Using Maya: Hypergraph. Next. a collection of sets that can have no members in common is called a partition. making the model the skeleton’s skin.

You can also have the skin point set’s joint be displayed in the skin point set’s color. Skin detachment and reattachment You can detach and reattach the skeleton’s skin at any time. A geometry that has the same number of sets as the skeleton has joints can be bound to the skeleton by partition set. a geometry’s already existing partition sets are bound to the skeleton’s joints as skin point sets. Binding by closest point In binding by closest point. you can partition a geometry’s points (CVs or vertices) into sets. In binding by partition set. The points in a given skin point are displayed in the set’s color. do some more modeling on the skin. During modeling. or detach and then bind a different geometry for the skin. you can bind by closest partition. Each partition set is bound to the nearest joint as a skin point set. change the skeleton’s bind pose. Skin point set colors Character Animation Whether you bind by closest point or by partition set. Using Maya: Animation 285 . whe posed and animated the skin will deform based on the skeleton’s action.Skinning Skeletons Binding by closest point Partition set skinning If the geometry has its points (CVs or vertices) organized into a partition whose sets you want to bind to joints. Maya assigns each skin point set a color. which is the pose the skeleton was in when you bound the geometry to it. Bind pose After you’ve given the skeleton some skin. and distributes the points closest to each joint into that joint’s jointCluster set. The only pose in which the skin is not deformed relative to the original geometry is the bind pose. Binding by closest point is the most common way to skin a skeleton. Expert users detach and reattach when they want to add or remove a skeleton’s joints. Maya automatically creates jointClusters for each joint.

it is best to bind simplistic substitute skins to the upper part of the skeletal hierarchy to ensure that Maya saves bind pose information for the entire skeleton. The easiest way to ensure that you can return to the bind pose is to always bind from the top of the hierarchy downwards. In Bind Method. Click Coloring on to color the joints according to the colors assigned to the skin point sets. explicitly select each joint that you want to bind to. click Bind. For example. If you are binding to the complete skeleton. Late. Select all the geometries that you want to bind to the skeleton by clicking on one and then Shift-clicking the others to select them. but not joints without skin. Maya saves bind pose information for joints at which you bind the skin. 3 4 5 6 In Bind to. To bind by closest point: 1 Select the geometry and skeleton. Maya puts the geometry’s points (CVs or vertices) into skin point sets. If you are binding to selected joints only.Skinning Skeletons Binding by closest point If you plan to bind additional skins to the skeleton at a later time. In cases where you wish to concentrate on the lower part of the skinning first. Maya will understand that you want to bind the geometry to the entire skeleton hierarchy that corresponds to the joint you have whose joint you have selected. and each set is controlled by the jointCluster of the closest joint. click Closest Point. The Bind Skin Options window is displayed. 2 Select Skinning→Bind Skin-Ë. if a joint is named elbow. choose Complete Skeleton or Selected Joints. Note that you can attach more than one geometry at a time. select any joint. Binding to the skeleton from the bottom of the skeleton’s action hierarchy can make it difficult to return the skeleton to its bind pose. you can delete the substitute skins when you are ready to bind the actual skin. 286 Using Maya: Animation . you will want to be able to return easily to the pose at which the first skins were bound (the bind pose). The jointCluster name will correspond to the name of its joint. The geometry binds to the skeleton. At the bottom of the Bind Skin Options window. the corresponding jointCluster will be named elbowCluster1.

After you’ve modified the geometry. click Bind. or modify the cluster percentages directly using the Set Editor. indicating the attributes are locked. Sets. If you decide you want to modify the geometry that you’ve bound to the skeleton as its skin. the manipulator appears gray. Maya binds a geometry’s existing partition sets to a skeleton. Note how the skin point sets move with the joints to which they are bound. If you try to manipulate the transformation attributes. You can apply lattice or jointCluster flexors to smooth the transition about the joints. Character Animation Binding by partition set In binding by partition set. You might want to edit skin point set membership.0. Sets. Click Coloring on to color the joints according to the colors assigned to the skin point sets. Default Maya partitions such as the renderPartition and layerPartition are not valid for binding since they contain sets of objects. For information on creating partitions in Maya. and Expressions. you must first unbind the skin from the skeleton. see Using Maya: Hypergraph. you can then rebind it to the skeleton. all cluster percentages will be set to 1. To edit set membership. In Bind Method. giving the skin a rigid look around the joints. 7 Exercise the skeleton to see how the skin point sets have been created. Note that because the skin is bound to the skeleton. 6 At the bottom of the Bind Skin Options window. Select Skinning→Bind Skin-Ë The Bind Skin Options window is displayed.Skinning Skeletons Binding by partition set When you first bind the skin. To bind by partition set: 1 2 Select the geometry and the skeleton or the specific joints to you wish to bind. click Partition Set. and Expressions. 3 4 5 In Bind to. choose Complete Skeleton or Selected Joints. the skin’s transformation attributes are locked. select the name of the partition you wish to bind. Using Maya: Animation 287 . see Using Maya: Hypergraph. Only partitions composed of point sets are valid for binding by partition. In the Partition window. not points. The number of sets should equal the number of joints with bones.

the skin’s transformation attributes are locked. or using set editing tools. see Using Maya: Hypergraph.Skinning Skeletons Binding multiple objects as skin Maya binds the selected partition’s sets to the skeleton. After you’ve modified the geometry. the manipulator appears gray. Note how the skin point sets move with the joints to which they are bound. the new skins will immediately be deformed by the skeleton as soon as they are added to the jointCluster’s set. 288 Using Maya: Animation . the skeleton must be in the same position that was in when you bound the original skin. You can attach new objects as skin at any time. Sets. move the skeleton to the bind pose before adding the points into the jointCluster’s set. and Expressions. If you decide you want to modify the model that you’ve bound to the skeleton as its skin. To edit set membership. If you try to manipulate the transformation attributes. Binding additional objects using set membership: A second way to attach new skins is with the Set Editor by adding points to existing jointClusters. with each set bound to the nearest joint. The following section contains more details on returning the skeleton to the bind pose. Binding additional objects with the Bind Skin menu: When you add new objects as skin. follow the bind by closest point instructions to bind additional skins to the skeleton. note that if the skeleton is not at the bind pose. You might want to edit skin point set membership. This position is called the bind pose. If this deformation is not desired. If you choose to attach new skins with set editing tools. Once the the skeleton is at the bind pose. indicating the attributes are locked. Note that because the skin is bound to the skeleton. you can then rebind it to the skeleton. you must first unbind the skin from the skeleton. 7 Exercise the skeleton to see how the skin point sets have been created. Binding multiple objects as skin Maya allows you to bind many objects as skin. There are two ways to attach additional objects to a skeleton which already has a bound skin: using the bind skin menu.

going to the bind pose may cause your skeleton or skin to become distorted. and consider resetting the skeleton’s bind pose to a new position. Yo will want to return the skeleton to the bind pose before binding new skin geometries. It is best to always bind skin from the top-down so that there are no joints above the bound skin that do not have skin attached. undo. a quick way to allow the skeleton to reach the bind pose. you will receive an error message saying: Error: Could not reach bindPose due to constraints. Choose Skinning→Go to Bind Pose. When you pose a character. when the skeleton is in the bind pose. It may not be possible for Maya to move the skeleton to the bind pose. when the geometry was bound to the skeleton. When this happens. keyframed IK Handles. the skin is in the same shape that it was in when it was a geometry. You can do so as follows: Using Maya: Animation 289 . If either the skeleton or the skins are distorted. You will also want to return the skeleton to the bind pose before adding lattice flexors. The skeleton assumes the pose it had during skinning. it is best to have all of the skeleton and skins displayed when you go to the bind pose. or keyframed handles. Constraints. If possible.Skinning Skeletons Returning to bind pose Returning to bind pose The pose a skeleton is in during skinning is called the bind pose. If the skeleton is unable to move to the bind pose. the skeleton’s action causes skin deformations. IK Handles using the spline solver. locked attributes and expressions can all create situations where a skeleton is unable to go to the bind pose. For this reason . The only pose that does not cause skin deformations is the bind pose. is to disable the source of the conflict: 3 Choose Modify→Disable Nodes→All. Otherwise. expressions. when the geometry was bound to the skeleton. Maya only stores the bind pose for joints which have skin attached. To reset a skeleton’s bind pose: You might want to reset a skeleton’s bind pose. To return a skeleton to its bind pose: Character Animation 1 2 Select any joint on the skeleton. the skeleton assumes the pose it had during skinning.

If the skin is from a NURBS geometry. choose Display→ NURBS Components →CVs. position the skin based on the new bind pose. Sets. If the skin is a lattice geometry. the points are displayed in the assigned color. you might want to modify the skeleton. choose Display→Object Components→Lattice Points. you can reattach the skin to the skeleton. Editing skin point sets You can edit skin point sets by using the Set Editor. choose Display→Polygon Components→Vertices. To display the skin point set colors: 1 2 Select the skin. When the points (CVs or vertices) in a skin point set are displayed. The new bind pose will be set at the current postion of the skeleton. The skin on the skeleton will move its undeformed position. If the undeformed position is not appropriate for the new bind pose. If the skin is from a polygonal geometry. please refer to Using Maya: Hypergraph. To do so. Displaying skin point set colors Maya assigns each skin point set a color. For information about the Set Editor. and Expressions.Detach 290 Using Maya: Animation . Detaching and reattaching skin Occasionally. you first need to detach the skin from the skeleton. When you finish editing the skeleton or modeling the skin. 3 Choose Skinning→Preserve Skin Groups→Reattach Skeleton.Skinning Skeletons Displaying skin point set colors 1 2 Select any joint on the skeleton. Choose Skinning→Preserve Skin Groups→Detach Skeleton. reset the bind pose. You can detach the skin in two modes: • • Detach Preserve Skin Groups . or do some further modeling on the skin.

Choose Skinning→Detach Skin. you must detach the skin in preserve skin groups mode. The Bake History option will unbind the skin without moving it to its undeformed position. The skin’s transformation attributes (translate. choose Delete History. 3 From History. Important: In order to reattach the skin while preserving skin groups. At the bottom of the Detach Skin Options window. and delete unused jointClusters. and scale) will be unlocked. The Detach Skin Options window is displayed. If you detach the skin using the standard detach option. Unless you use the Bake History option.Detach include the following: • • • You do not want to lose the current skin groups and percentage values. Using Maya: Animation 291 . The Delete History option will unbind the skin.rotate. You want to reset the skin groups and percentage values to their default. 4 5 Click the Coloring check-box to set whether to remove joint colors. the skin will move to its uneformed location. you must reattach the skin by reperforming the bind skin operation. Character Animation Detaching skin without preserving skin groups and percentages To detach skin without perserving skin groups and percentages: 1 2 Select the skin(s) you want to unbind. and move it to its undeformed position. You want to reset the bind pose on the skeleton. and delete any unused jointClusters. or Bake History. choose Detach to detach the skin. Unused jointCluster’s in the skin’s history will be deleted unless you use the Keep History option. move it to its undeformed position. You want to modify the skeletal hierarchy. You plan to change the topology of the skin geometry before reattaching. Keep History. The Keep History option will unbind the skin. but will not delete unused jointClusters.Skinning Skeletons Detaching and reattaching skin Typical reasons for using Detach include the following: • • • You no longer want the geometry to act as a skin. Typical reasons for using Preserve Skin Groups .

292 Using Maya: Animation . The skin affected by the detached joints will move to its undeformed position. and Expressions.Detach options. create a group for your character that includes the character’s skeleton and skin. Its transformation attributes (translate. If you detach the skin using the Detach Skin method. For more information on using the Hypergraph. particularly when you have many characters in an animation. Sets. To reattach the skin with its old percentages and groups. Having a group that includes everything that your character consists of can greatly ease the management of the character within an animation. please see Using Maya: Hypergraph.Skinning Skeletons Animating with skin and skeleton groups Detaching skin while preserving skin groups and percentages To detach skin while preserving skin groups and percentages: 1 2 Select a joint in the skeleton or explicitly select the joints which you wish to detach. You can easily view everything a character’s group can include from the Hypergraph. Animating with skin and skeleton groups After skinning. use the Preserve Skin Groups . rotate. Reattaching skin while preserving skin groups and percentages You can only reattach the skin using this method if you detach the skin using the Preserve Skin Groups . Choose Skinning→Preserve Skin Groups→Reattach Skeleton or Skinning→Preserve Skin Groups→Reattach Selected Joints based on how much of the skeleton you wish to reattach. To reattach skin while preserving skin groups and percentages: 1 2 Select the skeleton or explicitly select the joints which you wish to reattach. your skin groups and percentages were deleted so you should the basic Bind Skin operation to reattach the skin.Reattach technique. and scale) will be unlocked so that you can reposition it. Choose Skinning→Preserve Skin Groups→Detach Skeleton or Skinning→Preserve Skin Groups→Detach Selected Joints based on how much of the skeleton you wish to detach.

Skinning Skeletons Animating with skin and skeleton groups

To group skin and skeleton:
1 2 Select a skeleton and its skin. Choose Edit→Group. A group for the character is created. Note that this group node should only be used for organizational purposes. It should not be used to translate, rotate, or scale the character. Moving the group node causes the skin to get doubly transformed since it is transformed once by the skeleton and a second time by the group node.

Character Animation

Using Maya: Animation

293

Skinning Skeletons Animating with skin and skeleton groups

294

Using Maya: Animation

14

Using Flexors
Maya offers a wide variety of deformer tools for creating deformations. Flexors are high-level deformer tools for deforming a skeleton’s skin; their effects can be linked to the actions of the skeleton.

Character Animation

For more information about Maya’s basic deformer tools, please see Using Maya: Animation, Basic Deformers. This chapter describes flexors. Using flexors includes the following: • • • • • • • “Understanding flexors” on page 296 “Creating lattice flexors” on page 301 “Positioning lattice flexors after creation” on page 302 “Editing joint lattice flexor attributes” on page 302 “Editing bone lattice flexor attributes” on page 313 “Creating sculpt flexors” on page 324 “Editing sculpt flexor attributes” on page 325 Using Maya: Animation

295

You could use a joint lattice flexor to ease and smooth the skin around a joint as it bends.Using Flexors Understanding flexors • • • • “Joint-driven sculpting” on page 325 “Creating cluster flexors” on page 326 “Editing cluster flexor attributes” on page 328 “Editing with cluster flexor manipulators” on page 328 Understanding flexors Flexors are high-level deformers that deform skin based on how a skeleton moves. or you could use a bone lattice flexor to show bulging muscles around the bones of joints. There are three types of flexors: • • • Lattice flexors (joint lattice flexors and bone lattice flexors) Sculpt flexors (joint sculpt flexors and bone sculpt flexors) Cluster flexors (joint cluster flexors only) Lattice flexors Lattice flexors are tools for deforming the skin around joints and the bones of joints. 296 Using Maya: Animation . They can smooth or wrinkle skin around joints and provide muscle definition around bones.

Using Flexors Understanding flexors Character Animation Skin bending around joint without lattice flexor (note creases) Using Maya: Animation 297 .

298 Using Maya: Animation .Using Flexors Understanding flexors Skin bending around joint with lattice flexor (note smoothed crease) Sculpt flexors Sculpt flexors provide a way to create various types of bulges and dips in a character’s skin.

You can create sculpt flexors at joints (joint sculpt flexors) or at the bones of joints (bone sculpt flexors). Using Maya: Animation 299 . or elbow cap action. Cluster flexors Cluster flexors can provide realistic smoothing effects by allowing you to control the points in a skin point set around a joint with varying percentages of influence.Using Flexors Understanding flexors Character Animation Sculpt flexors are ideal for deformations such as muscle bulges. knee cap action.

A skin point set is created to correspond to each joint and bone combination. A joint cluster deformer is what glues a skin point set to a joint-and-bone combination so that the skin moves with the skeleton. please refer to Using Maya: Animation. 300 Using Maya: Animation . Basic Deformers. you need some background on the role of the basic cluster deformers in the skinning process. Cluster deformers that enable skinning are called joint cluster deformers. (For more information on basic cluster deformers. A joint cluster deformer is like a basic cluster deformer except that it acts specifically on a skin point set.Using Flexors Understanding flexors To understand cluster flexors. the cluster deformer. Cluster flexors can be created only at joints (joint cluster flexors only) because they control joint cluster deformers. Also automatically created for each skin point set is one of Maya’s basic deformers. When you skin a skeleton. the skin points are organized into a partition of sets called skin point sets.) Cluster flexors are high-level tools that provide you with a way to manipulate joint cluster deformers.

use the Lattice Options box. You can enter new numbers for the divisions or use the sliders. . or click At All Joint(s) to create flexors at all the skeleton’s joints. and 2 U divisions. use the Bones box. the faster the performance. The flexor’s effect on the skin around the joint or bone can be driven by the action of a joint. The Create Flexor window is displayed. select any joint on the skeleton. In the Joints box. the smaller the number of divisions. 2 Select the joint or joints on which you want to create a joint flexor. To create one or more joint lattice flexors. In the Bones box.. choose lattice. 3 6 7 Using Maya: Animation 301 . click At Selected Joint(s) to create flexors only at the selected joints. Choose Skinning→Create Flexor. but it’s not recommended—you might get unexpected results.. To specify the divisions of the lattice. see “Editing joint lattice flexor attributes” on page 302. To create one or more bone lattice flexors. select the parent joint of the bone. or click At All Bone(s) to create flexors for all the bones. It’s possible to create a flexor on a skeleton that’s not in the bind pose. 4 5 From the Flexor Type: pull-down menu. the lattice’s reset (base) position corresponds to the bind pose. 5 T divisions. click At Selected Bone(s) to create flexors only at the bones of the selected parent joints. To edit a joint lattice flexor. see “Editing bone lattice flexor attributes” on page 313. use the Joints box. To create flexors on all joints or bones. When you create a lattice flexor. The greater the number of divisions.Using Flexors Creating lattice flexors Creating lattice flexors Lattice flexors create a lattice deformer around a joint (joint lattice flexor) or bone (bone lattice flexor). the smoother the deformation effect. To edit a bone lattice flexor. Character Animation To create a lattice flexor at a joint or bone: 1 Put the skeleton in bind pose by clicking any joint or bone and choosing Skinning→Go to Bind Pose. The default is 2 S divisions. To create a bone flexor.

To edit bone lattice flexors. To edit joint lattice flexors.Using Flexors Positioning lattice flexors after creation 8 9 Click Position the flexor if you want to adjust the location of the lattice flexor before closing the Create Flexor window. you’ll see the lattice that deforms the skin underneath it (the default name is deformed followed by a number). see “Editing joint lattice flexor attributes” on page 302. The manipulator of the selected tool appears on the lattice. Positioning lattice flexors after creation To position a lattice flexor after creation: 1 2 Put the skeleton in bind pose by selecting it and choosing Skinning→Go to Bind Pose. Editing joint lattice flexor attributes The attributes of joint lattice flexors control how the flexors deform the skin around joints. Click Position the Flexor. or scale the flexor without worrying about deforming the skin. If you open this lattice (the default name is lattice followed by a number). Then choose one of the transform tools (move. click OK. Editing joint lattice flexor attributes includes: • • • “Viewing joint lattice flexor attributes” on page 303 “Renaming joint lattice flexors” on page 303 “Editing rounding” on page 305 302 Using Maya: Animation . rotate. Once you have created the lattice flexors. 4 Move the lattice with the manipulator. see “Editing bone lattice flexor attributes” on page 313. Select the lattice group from the Outliner. The lattice group is the highest-level lattice in the Outliner. 3 Select a transform tool. If you would like to move. you edit them to control how they deform the skin. Use the Attribute Editor to edit joint lattice flexor attributes. rotate. or scale) and change the flexor’s position. you can do so now. 10 To create the lattice flexor(s).

the flexor points on the inside of the bend move inward or outward to change the shape of the bulge. Character Animation Flexors don’t deform skin in the bind pose. • • A positive creasing value causes the skin to bulge outward. The Attribute Editor is displayed.. . A negative creasing value causes the skin to tuck inward. Editing creasing The creasing attribute affects the bulging of a joint’s point groups on the inside of a bend. To see the effects of flexors. In the Attribute Editor. Choose Window→Attribute Editor. Renaming joint lattice flexors By default.. To rename a joint lattice flexor: 1 2 View the joint lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. When you enter a creasing value. enter a new name.Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes • • • • • “Editing creasing” on page 303 “Editing length in” on page 306 “Editing length out” on page 308 “Editing width left” on page 310 “Editing width right” on page 311 Viewing joint lattice flexor attributes To view joint lattice flexor attributes: 1 Make sure the skeleton is not in the bind pose. you must view the skeleton in another pose. In the flexorShape: field. joint lattice flexors are given the name “jointFlexor” with a number added at the end. Using Maya: Animation 303 . You can change the default name. you can modify the attributes of lattice flexors on joints to create specific effects. Using names that describe the purpose of the lattice flexor can be helpful when you have a complex character with many flexors. 2 3 Select a joint lattice flexor.

Positive creasing effect with joint lattice flexor Negative creasing effect with joint lattice flexor To edit creasing: 1 View the joint lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor.Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes The following figures illustrate positive and negative creasing. 304 Using Maya: Animation .

Editing rounding Rounding affects the bulging of a joint’s point groups on the outside of a bend.Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes 2 In Creasing. the flexor points on the outside of the bend move outward or inward to change the shape of the bulge. A negative rounding value causes the skin to bulge inward. When you enter a rounding value. enter a new value or use the slider. • • A positive rounding value causes the skin to bulge outward. The following figures illustrate positive and negative rounding: Character Animation Positive rounding effect with joint lattice flexor Using Maya: Animation 305 . Note that you can also edit the creasing attribute from the Channel Box.

Note that you can also edit the rounding attribute from the Channel Box. enter a new value or use the slider. 306 Using Maya: Animation . Editing length in The Length In attribute affects the locations of flexor points along the joint’s point group around the upper bone. • • A positive Length In value causes the lattices to move away from the joint. making the bend effect more local to the joint. In Rounding. the flexor planes along the upper bone move away from or towards the joint. and a negative rounding value causes the skin to bulge inward. spreading the bend effect up the upper bone.Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes Negative rounding effect with joint lattice flexor To edit rounding: 1 2 View the joint lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. A positive rounding value causes the skin to bulge outward. When you enter a Length In value. A negative Length In value causes the lattices to move towards the joint.

and width effects. Character Animation Positive length in effect with joint lattice flexor Negative length in effect with joint lattice flexor Using Maya: Animation 307 . crease. The following figures illustrate positive and negative length in effects. you modify the regions affected by the round.Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes When you change the Length In value.

spreading the bend effect down the lower bone. you modify the regions affected by the round. and width effects. Note that you can also edit the length in attribute from the Channel Box. The following figures illustrate postive and negative length out effects. making the bend effect more local to the joint.Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes To edit length in: 1 2 View the joint lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. the lattices along the lower bone move away from or towards the joint. A positive value causes the deformation to spread farther up the bone towards the joint’s parent joint. A negative value causes the deformation to concentrate towards the joint. In Length In. 308 Using Maya: Animation . • • A positive Length Out value causes the flexor lattices to move away from the joint. crease. enter a new value or use the slider. When you change the Length Out value. A negative Length Out value causes the flexor lattices to move towards the joint. Editing length out The Length Out attribute affects the locations of flexor points along the joint’s point group around the lower bone. When you enter a Length Out value.

Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes Character Animation Positive length out effect with joint lattice flexor Negative length out effect with joint lattice flexor Using Maya: Animation 309 .

Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes To edit length out: 1 2 View the joint lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. A negative value causes the deformation to concentrate towards the joint. Editing width left The Width Left attribute affects the bulging of a joint’s point groups on the left side of a bend. A negative Width Left value causes the skin to bulge inward. Note that you can also edit the length out attribute from the Channel Box. When you enter a Width Left value. Positive width left effect with joint lattice flexor 310 Using Maya: Animation . • • A positive Width Left value causes the skin to bulge outward. enter a new value or use the slider. The following figures illustrate positive and negative width left effects. In Length Out. A positive value causes the deformation to spread farther down the joint’s bone. the flexor points on the left side of the bend move outward or inward to change the shape of the bulge.

Editing width right Width Right affects the bulging of a joint’s point groups on the right side of a bend. When you enter a Width Right value.Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes Character Animation Negative width left effect with joint lattice flexor To edit width left: 1 2 View the joint lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. A negative Width Right value causes the skin to bulge inward. In Width Left. enter a new value or use the slider. Note that you can also edit the width left attribute from the Channel Box. • • A positive Width Right value causes the skin to bulge outward. and a negative value causes the skin to bulge inward. A positive value causes the skin to bulge outward. The following figures illustrate positive and negative width right effects. Using Maya: Animation 311 . the flexor points on the right side of the bend move inward or outward to change the shape of the bulge.

Using Flexors Editing joint lattice flexor attributes Positive width right effect with joint lattice flexor Negative width right effect with joint lattice flexor To edit width right: 1 View the joint lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. 312 Using Maya: Animation .

Flexors don’t deform skin in the bind pose. 2 3 Select a bone lattice flexor. . Editing bone lattice flexor attributes To edit bone lattice flexor attributes.. To see the effects of flexors. A positive value causes the skin to bulge outward. use the Attributes Editor..Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes 2 In Width Right. and a negative value causes the skin to bulge inward. The Attribute Editor is displayed. you can modify attributes of lattice flexors on bones to create specific effects. Choose Windows→Attribute Editor. In the Attribute Editor. enter a new value or use the slider. Using Maya: Animation 313 . Editing bone lattice flexor attributes includes: • • • • • • • • “Viewing bone lattice flexor attributes” on page 313 “Renaming bone lattice flexors” on page 314 “Editing length in” on page 314 “Editing length out” on page 316 “Editing width left” on page 318 “Editing width right” on page 311 “Editing bicep” on page 321 “Editing tricep” on page 322 Character Animation Viewing bone lattice flexor attributes To view bone lattice flexor attributes: 1 Make sure the skeleton is not in the bind pose. Note that you can also edit the width right attribute from the Channel Box. you must view the skeleton in another pose.

When you enter a Length In value. In the flexorShape: field. the flexor planes move away from or towards the center of the bone. you can lengthen or shorten the bulging created by the other deformation parameters. positive length in effect. You can change the default name. spreading the bend effect to a greater area of the bone. The following figures illustrate no effect.Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Renaming bone lattice flexors By default. Using names that describe the purpose of the lattice flexor can be helpful when you have a complex character with many flexors. bone lattice flexors are given the name “boneFlexor” with a number added at the end. 314 Using Maya: Animation . By changing the Length In value. A negative Length In value causes the lattices to move towards the center. To rename a bone lattice flexor: 1 2 View the bone lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. • • A positive Length In value causes the lattices to move away from the center. making the bend effect more localized. and negative length in effect. Editing length in The Length In attribute affects the locations of flexor points along the bone’s point group. enter a new name.

Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Character Animation No length in effect with bone lattice flexor Positive length in effect with bone lattice flexor Using Maya: Animation 315 .

When you enter a Length Out value. A negative value causes the deformation to concentrate towards the center of the bone. Editing length out The Length Out attribute affects the locations of flexor points along the bone’s point group. In Length In. By changing the Length Out value. A negative Length Out value causes the lattices to move towards the center. making the bend effect more localized. enter a new value or use the slider.Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Negative length in effect with bone lattice flexor To edit length in: 1 2 View the bone lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. Note that you can also edit the length in attribute from the Channel Box. A positive value causes the deformation to spread away from the center of the bone. spreading the bend effect to a greater area of the bone. • • A positive Length Out value causes the lattices to move away from the center. the flexor planes move away from or towards the center of the bone. you can lengthen or shorten the bulging created by other deformation parameters. 316 Using Maya: Animation .

Character Animation Positive length out effect with bone lattice flexor Negative length out effect with bone lattice flexor Using Maya: Animation 317 .Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes The following figures illustrate positive and negative length out effects.

the flexor points on the left side of the bend move outward or inward to change the shape of the bulge. Note that you can also edit the length out attribute from the Channel Box.Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes To edit length out: 1 2 View the bone lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. Positive width left effect with bone lattice flexor 318 Using Maya: Animation . • • A positive Width Left value causes the skin to bulge outward. When you enter a Width Left value. A negative Width Left value causes the skin to bulge inward. Editing width left Width Left affects the bulging of a bone’s point group on the left side of a bend. In Length Out. enter a new value or use the slider. A positive value causes the deformation to spread away from the center of the bone. A negative value causes the deformation to concentrate towards the center of the bone. The following illustrate positive and negative width left effects.

A negative Width Right value causes the skin to bulge inward. Using Maya: Animation 319 . the flexor points on the right side of the bend move inward or outward to change the shape of the bulge. enter a new value or use the slider. In Width Left. Editing width right Width Right affects the bulging of a bone’s point group on the right side of a bend. A positive value causes the skin to bulge outward. and a negative value causes the skin to bulge inward. • • A positive Width Right value causes the skin to bulge outward. The following figures illustrate positive and negative width right effects.Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Character Animation Negative width left effect with bone lattice flexor To edit width left: 1 2 View the bone lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. When you enter a Width Right value. Note that you can also edit the width left attribute from the Channel Box.

In Width Right. Note that you can also edit the width right attribute from the Channel Box.Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Positive width right effect with bone lattice flexor Negative width right effect with bone lattice flexor To edit width right: 1 2 View the bone lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor. enter a new value or use the slider. and a negative value causes the skin to bulge inward. A positive value causes the skin to bulge outward. 320 Using Maya: Animation .

When you enter a Bicep value. Character Animation Positive bicep effect with bone lattice flexor Using Maya: Animation 321 . • • A positive Bicep value causes the skin to bulge outward. the flexor points on the inside of the bend move outward or inward to change the shape of the bulge. The following illustrate positive and negative bicep effects. A negative Bicep value causes the skin to bulge inward.Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Editing bicep Bicep affects the bulging of a bone’s point group on the inside of a bend.

In the Attribute Editor. and a negative value causes the skin to bulge inward. Note that you can also edit the bicep attribute from the Channel Box. 322 Using Maya: Animation . A positive value causes the skin to bulge outward. enter a new value or use the slider. The following illustrate positive and negative tricep effects. choose Extra Attributes. In Bicep. When you enter a Tricep value. A negative Tricep value causes the skin to bulge inward. Editing tricep The Tricep attribute affects the bulging of a bone’s point group on the outside of a bend. the flexor points on the outside of the bend move outward or inward to change the shape of the bulge. • • A positive Tricep value causes the skin to bulge outward.Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Negative bicep effect with bone lattice flexor To edit bicep: 1 2 3 View the bone lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor.

choose Extra Attributes. Using Maya: Animation 323 . In the Attribute Editor.Using Flexors Editing bone lattice flexor attributes Character Animation Positive tricep effect with bone lattice flexor Negative tricep effect with bone lattice flexor To edit tricep: 1 2 View the bone lattice flexor’s attributes in the Attribute Editor.

You can use sculpt flexors to make skin slide more realistically over a joint. 2 Select the joint or joints on which you want to create the flexor. Creating sculpt flexors You can create sculpt flexors at joints (joint sculpt flexors) or at the bones of joints (bone sculpt flexors). select any joint of the skeleton.Using Flexors Creating sculpt flexors 3 In Tricep. select the bone’s parent joint. enter a new value or use the slider. To create a sculpt flexor: 1 Put the skeleton in bind pose by selecting any joint and choosing Skinning→Go to Bind Pose. Note that you can also edit the tricep attribute from the Channel Box. A positive value causes the skin to bulge outward. but it’s not recommended—you might get unexpected results. If you want to create a bone sculpt flexor. It’s possible to create a sculpt flexor on a skeleton that’s not in the bind pose. To create flexors on all joints or bones. 324 Using Maya: Animation . and a negative value causes the skin to bulge inward. or use them on bones to create bulges or dips as the joint moves.

Character Animation Once you have created the sculpt flexors. and at selected bones or all bones. Using Maya: Animation 325 . (For more information on Set Driven Key.. The sculpt flexor’s attributes are displayed. you manipulate them to deform the skin when the joints move.. 7 Click OK to create the flexors on the joints and bones you indicated. Open the Attribute Editor by selecting Window→Attributes. These attributes are described in Using Maya: Animation.) To set joint-driven sculpting: 1 2 3 Put the skeleton in bind pose by selecting any joint and choosing Skinning→ Go to Bind Pose. Joint-driven sculpting To have a joint’s attributes drive the sculpt deformation. 4 5 From the Flexor Type: pull-down menu. please refer to Using Maya: Animation. See “Joint-driven sculpting” on page 325. 3 Change the attributes as desired. 6 Editing sculpt flexor attributes To edit sculpt flexors: 1 2 Select the flexor you want to modify. Select the sculpt flexor. The Create Flexor window is displayed. choose sculpt.Using Flexors Editing sculpt flexor attributes 3 Select Skinning→Create Flexor. Mode. Dropoff Type. Set the Max Displacement. Basic Deformers. and Inside Mode options as you would for a basic sculpt object. Click the boxes under Joints and Bones to indicate where you want to position the flexor or flexors: at selected joints or all joints. Dropoff Distance. . These options are described in Using Maya: Animation. Keyframe. Basic Deformers. use the Set Driven Key tool. Select Keyframe→Set Driven Key.

select the attribute you want to animate. Driver attributes include the following: autoGuide The guide axis (or axes) correspond to the axes the joint is permitted to rotate in (based on the Joint Limits setting in the Attribute Editor). move the joint chain. A default driver and driver attribute are loaded for you. The guide axes are the joint’s X-. The guide axis is the joint’s Y-axis. and continue setting keys by clicking Key. Auto Guide is the default and works well in most cases. 6 Select the handle of the joint chain. and Z-axes.Using Flexors Creating cluster flexors The Set Driven Key window is displayed. Set the key by clicking Key. Creating cluster flexors Cluster flexors allow you to control how smoothly skin moves around joints during posing and animating. The key for the bind position of the character is created. Y-. The guide axis is the joint’s Z-axis. The driver is the joint whose motion controls the animation of the sculpt deformation. rotateX rotateY rotateZ maxXYZ 4 5 In the browser. The Attribute is the transform of driver joint that the sculpt deformation is specifically keyed to. 326 Using Maya: Animation . The guide axis is the joint’s X-axis.

The drop-off values are percentage values that indicate the range and magnitude of the deformation effects. These cluster deformers that bind skin point sets to joints are called joint clusters. The Create Flexor window is displayed. By controlling the range and magnitude of drop-off.Using Flexors Creating cluster flexors Character Animation During skinning. Using Maya: Animation 327 . .. you can use the cluster flexor’s manipulators to edit the deformation effects. 4 From the Flexor Type: pull-down menu. you can control the smoothness of skin around a joint. cluster deformers are automatically created to bind skin point sets to joints.. choose jointCluster. Joint clusters indicate their deformation effects on skin point sets by their drop-off values. Select the joint (or joints) on which you want to create the flexor. To create a cluster flexor: 1 2 3 Put the skeleton in bind pose by selecting any joint and choosing Skinning→Go to Bind Pose. Rather than having to specify actual values for the percentages. Choose Skinning→Create Flexor. Cluster flexors provide a way for you to manipulate the drop-off directly.

Using Flexors Editing cluster flexor attributes 5 Click the boxes under Joints to indicate where you want to position the flexor or flexors: at selected joints or at all joints. 328 Using Maya: Animation . the cluster flexor’s shape. 7 Open the Hypergraph by choosing Window→Hypergraph. Basic Deformers. . note that a “J” is displayed near the cluster flexor’s joint. you will probably want to adjust the cluster to position it and change the percentages for the best effect on the skin bending around the joint.. Editing cluster flexor attributes To edit cluster flexors: 1 2 Select the cluster flexor you want to edit. The Hypergraph will indicate the cluster flexor(s) as a “jointFlexor” with a number appended. 6 Click Create. A cluster flexor’s manipulators include of pair of rings. In the Attribute Editor. Except for simple cases. Editing with cluster flexor manipulators You can use the cluster flexor’s manipulators to edit the deformation effects of joint clusters.. Note that the attributes of cluster deformers are described in Using Maya: Animation.” the cluster flexor’s shape attributes folder is identified as “jointFlexor_Shape. .” 3 Edit the attributes as desired. When you select the cluster flexor. you can edit the attributes of the cluster flexor. The cluster flexor’s attributes folder is identified as “jointFlexorn. Cluster flexors are created at the selected joints.” and the joint cluster deformer (the cluster deformer that binds skin point sets to joints) attributes folder is identified as “JointnClustern... The number indicates the order in which the flexors have been created. Open the Attribute Editor by selecting Window→Attribute Editor. and the joint cluster deformer (the cluster deformer that binds skin point sets to joints).

Using Flexors Editing with cluster flexor manipulators Character Animation Cluster flexor manipulator rings Each ring includes two manipulators: a diamond manipulator and a radial manipulator. Using Maya: Animation 329 .

The diamond manipulator controls the range of dropoff of the joint clusters acting on the skin point sets bound to the current joint and the current joint’s parent joint. 330 Using Maya: Animation . the diamond manipulator controls the range of smoothing.Using Flexors Editing with cluster flexor manipulators Diamond manipulator Diamond manipulator (selected) Located at the center of the ring.

The range of smoothing changes as you drag the manipulator. Use the left mouse button to click and drag the diamond manipulator towards or away from the joint. A cross-shaped mark is displayed at the center of the joint. To edit with the cluster flexor manipulators: 1 If you have just created the cluster flexor. from Display.Using Flexors Editing with cluster flexor manipulators Radial manipulator Character Animation Radial manipulator (selected) Located on the ring. you need to choose to have the cluster flexor manipulators displayed. By having the joint in some other pose. select one of the diamond manipulators. the radial manipulator controls the magnitude of smoothing. To edit the range of smoothing. you can see the effects of your editing. select the cluster flexor (identified as “jointFlexorn”). The cluster flexor manipulators are displayed. Select the joint with the Show Manipulator Tool. Using Maya: Animation 2 4 5 331 . click on Display Handle. near the “J” that identifies the cluster flexor. The radial manipulator controls the magnitude of drop-off of the joint clusters acting on the skin point sets bound to the current joint and the current joint’s parent joint. Flexors do not provide deformation effects when the skeleton is in the bind pose. 3 Be sure the joint is not in the bind pose. In the Hypergraph. Open the Attribute Editor.

The magnitude of smoothing changes as you drag the manipulator. The Upper Value of the current joint’s joint cluster and Lower Value of the parent joint’s joint cluster are controlled by radial manipulators. Note that you can also edit the drop-off values of joint clusters from the Attribute Editor. The Upper Bound of the current joint’s joint cluster and Lower Bound of the parent joint’s joint cluster are controlled by the diamond manipulators. the values. select one of the radial manipulators. Editing which skin points are in which skin point sets can also help to control smoothing effects. Use the left mouse button to click and drag the radial manipulator towards or away from the joint. which are expressed as percentages. For total smoothing. should be equal 100.Using Flexors Editing with cluster flexor manipulators 6 7 To edit the magnitude of smoothing. 332 Using Maya: Animation .

Index A animating characters 11. 27 IK chains 124 keyframing 124 motion capture 125 necks. spines 103 with skin and skeleton groups 136 attributes editing joints 55 setting IK spline handle 115 Auto Create Curve 113 Auto Create Root Axis 112. 122 flexors 25. 60 Bicep deformation 165 bind pose 133 reseting 133 returing to 133 binding by closest point 130 binding by partition set 131 binding multiple objects 132 bone lattice flexors 145 bones 14 bone lattice flexors 145 compensating scale 54. 60 dependency graph loops IK spline 112. 78 F fish animating with IK spline 118. tails. 143 creating 171 editing attributes 172 editing with manipulators 175 manipulators 172 Connect Joint 46 control vertices (CVs) 22 creating cluster flexors 171 IK chains 83 IK handles 82 IK spline handle 103 joint chains 36 joints 36 lattice flexors 145 parent transform with IK spline 112 sculpt flexors 168 Curve Editing Tool 105 curves auto-creating with IK spline handle 113 auto-simplifying with IK spline handle 113 IK spline handle 103 transforming IK handle 109 D dampening joints 67 Degrees of Freedom 52. 140 cluster flexors 25. 64 Index G geometry 12 skin 22 skinning 127 Using Maya: Modeling 333 . 74. 142 flipping eliminating in rotate plane (RP) solver IK handles 101 preventing IK spline start joint 116 flipping in motion path preventing IK spline start joint 117 forward kinematics 20. 76. 33 closest point binding by 130 cluster flexors 25. 143 lattice flexors 25. 140 sculpt flexors 25. 70 B ball joints 52. 122 Auto Joint Limits 54 Auto Joint Orient 53 Auto Parent Curve 122 Auto Simplify Curve 113 Autopriority 87 C characters animating 27 deforming 25 flexors 25 geometry 12 modeling 12 skeletons 14 skinning 22. 79 displaying 84 end joints 35. 119 diamond manipulator 173 Disconnect Joint 49 E end effectors 76. 127 child joints 16.

33 positioning 40 Preferred Angle 61 removing 42 renaming 58 resizing display 40 root joints 18. 78 human spines IK spline handle 120 I IK chains 35 animating 124 Autopriority 87 creating 83 posing 100 IK handles 14. 74 Autopriority 87 creating 82 editing attributes 94 editing display 96 editing limits 96 end joints 74 Priority 89 setting creation options 85 setting PO weight 90 setting weight 89 Snap Enable 88 Solver Enable 88 start joints 74 Sticky 89 IK solvers 21. and neck 121 tips for using 118 tool options 109 twisting 106 IK systems 98 accessing 99 creating 98 renaming 99 viewing available IK solvers 99 Insert Joint Tool 41 inverse kinematics 20. 60 disconnecting 49 editing attributes 55 editing joint limits 64 end joints 35. 75 editing attributes 97 IK spline solvers 81 multi-chain (MC) solvers 81 rotate plane (RP) solvers 77 single chain (SC) solvers 75 IK spline handle 103 animating sinuous motion 122 auto-creating curve 113 auto-parenting curve 112 creating 103 curve 103 human spines 120 manipulating curve CVs 105. back. 33 joint lattice flexors 145 Joint Orient 63 limbs 34 local axis orientation 63 parent joints 16. 32 Auto Joint Limits 54 Auto Joint Orient 53 ball joints 52 child joints 16. 20. 33 compensating scale 54. 70 J joint chain planes 79 joint chains 17. 35. 32 Rotate Damp Range 68 Rotate Damp Strength 68 Scale Compensate 54 Segment Scale Compensate 64 setting creation options 50 start joint 35 start joints 74 Stiffness 62 334 Using Maya: Modeling . 119 motion path 117 offset 108 parenting to transform or joint 118 rolling 106 selecting 107 setting keys 106 sliding joint chain 107 snapping curve to start joint 113 soft body on curve 118 tail. 79 handle wires 76. 33 adding to 37 creating 36 inserting joints 41 limbs 17 joint cluster points 23 joint clusters 23 joint lattice flexors 145 joint limits 64 Joint Orient 63 Joint Tool 36 joints 14. 74 inserting 41 joint chains 17.Index goal displaying 84 goal’s axis displaying 84 goals 77. 79 H handle vectors 77. 35. 64 dampening 67 Degrees of Freedom 52.

142 creating 168 editing attributes 169 joint-driven sculpting 169 seals animating with IK spline 122 Segment Scale Compensate 64 selecting IK spline handle 107 Index R radial manipulator 173 Using Maya: Modeling 335 . 140 bone lattice flexors 145 creating 145 editing bone lattice flexor attributes 157 editing joint lattice flexor attributes 146 joint lattice flexors 145 positioning 146 Length in deformation 150. 33 partition set binding by 131 partitions 22 pelvic region positioning skeleton root in 123 plane indicators 80 PO weight 90 points 22 skin point sets 22 skin points 22 pole vector’s axis displaying 84 pole vectors 80 posing IK chains 100 sticky posing 102 Power Animator IK spline twisting in Maya 114 Preferred Angle 61 Priority 89 M Mirror 45 Mirror Across 45 Mirror Joint 45 mirroring 43 modeling 12 motion capture 125 motion paths IK spline handle 117 moving start joint off IK spline curve 111 multi-chain (MC) solvers 81 activating 87 reference planes 80 Remove Joint 42 Reroot Skeleton 50 rerooting skeletons 50 rolling IK spline handle 106 root joints 18.Index K keyframing 124 minimum keys 124 using Channel Box 124 kinematics 70 N Number of Spans 113. 160 limbs 17. 32 Root on Curve 107 Root Twist Mode 114 Rotate Damp Range 68 Rotate Damp Strength 68 rotate plane (RP) solvers 77 behavior 81 end effectors 79 end joints 78 goals 79 handle vectors 79 handle wires 78 joint chain planes 79 plane indicators 80 pole vectors 80 reference planes 80 rotation discs 80 start joints 78 twist discs 80 rotation discs 80 Rounding deformation 149 S Scale Compensate 54 sculpt flexors 25. 114 O offset IK spline handle 108 overlapping IK spline handle joints 119 L lattice flexors 25. 34 mirroring 45 limits joint limits 64 P parent joints 16. 158 Length out deformation 152.

32 animating 14 building 14. 76. 78 stickiness 102 Sticky 89 sticky posing 102 Stiffness 62 V vertices 22 W Width left deformation 154.Index setting keys IK spline handle 106 single chain (SC) solvers 75 behavior 77 end effectors 76 end joints 76 goals 77 handle vectors 77 handle wires 76 start joints 76 sinuous motion IK spline handle 122 skeletons 14. 127 viewing hierarchy outline 39 skin binding 127 skin point sets 22 skin point sets 22 displaying colors 134 editing 134 skin points 22 skinning 22. 122 Snap Curve To Root 113 Snap Enable 88 Solver Enable 88 IK spline handle 115 spline solvers 81 start joint flipping in motion path 117 preventing IK spline 116 start joints 35. 162 Width right deformation 155. 163 Z zero rotation IK spline joint orientation 116 T tips building skeletons with grid 32 IK chain length 35 IK chains with rotate plane (RP) solvers 81 IK chains with single chain (SC) solvers 77 IK spline handle creation 118 skeletons with many limbs 34 using mirroring to create limbs 43 tool options IK spline handle 109 transforming IK spline handle curve 109 Tricep deformation 166 twist discs 80 displaying 84 Twist Type 115 twisting IK spline handle 106 336 Using Maya: Modeling . 74. 31 combining 46 construction strategies 50 disconnecting 49 flexors 25 mirroring 45 posing 14 rerooting 50 skinning 22. 127 binding by closest point 130 binding by partition set 131 binding multiple objects 132 detaching skin 134 reattaching skin 134 sliding joint chain along curve 107 snakes animating with IK spline 118.

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