Using Maya LT's 2019 Quick Rig Feature

Jun 17, 2019 at 04:00 pm by nemirc

Maya LT

Maya LT has an interesting feature that might be useful in some scenarios, the Quick Rig tool. Quick Rig is a tool that allows you to quickly and easily create a skeleton to be used for HumanIK animation. While I wouldn't say it's the be-and-end for your humanoid rigging needs, it can be very useful if you need to get a rig done fast.

When you open the Quick Rig tool, you see a window where you can choose between two different creation methods. The first method is the One-Click method. The second one is the Step-By-Step method. The first method will take care of everything for you, using the best options. The second one lets you tweak things as you go, to get the best result.

The Step-By-Step has different steps that you must follow (as the name implies). First, you need to add your mesh (or meshes) to the window. These meshes will conform your final rigged character. Then, you have to setup the options to create the “guides.” The Embed Method is important, since it is dependent to the type of mesh you are using (for example, is it a closed mesh, or does it have holes for the eye sockets or mouth). However, you are not going to ruin your mesh or something like that by choosing one method over the other. If one method doesn't get you good results, just use a different one. In this step you can also decide how many spine bones you want, as well as neck and clavicle bones. When Maya finishes processing, you will have a few spheres inside your character model. If you need to tweak the number of guides or the result in general, change the settings and then click Create/Update.

These guides are references that Maya will be use to lay out the bones. One thing to keep in mind is that these guides are unlikely going to appear exactly where you need them, so you will have to adjust them manually. You can move the guides around without any problem so the final bones are placed in the correct positions. In the “User Adjustment of Guides” you have two buttons that let you mirror the modifications you've done to the guides. This means you only need to tweak the guides on one side, and then with the corresponding button, you can mirror those modifications to the other side so your rig stays symmetrical.

In the “Skeleton and Rig Generation” you are given the option to simply create a skeleton, or to create a HumanIK rig on top of it. If you are like me, you use HumanIK for character animation, so you should create both. However, if you set up your rigs manually, you can simply create a skeleton. One thing to note is that, even if the skeleton is created, it is not bound to the mesh. If you move the skeleton after doing this, the skin will still be left behind.

Lastly, in “Skinning” you can bind the skin to the skeleton. You can see there's a small gear icon next to the Binding Method. That lets you change the Skin Binding settings. After you click the Create/Update button in that section, your mesh will be completely setup.

There are two things you need to notice. First, just like with regular binding, you will still need to tweak the skin weights of your model, since the resulting deformations are never perfect, specially in the hip, arms and legs. And the other thing, the most important one, this tool does not create finger bones nor toes bones (even if you manually add those guides). This means that, if you really need bones, you will have to add them manually before setting up the HumanIK.

You could say the lack of finger bones is a big issue, and in part I agree. However, in some situations you may not need them (for example, if you are making a low-resolution character for a small game, where your character never moves the fingers because the hand is always in fist position). Even with this limitation, the Quick Rig tool can be a nice time saver for certain types of characters, if you are in need of a quick setup for a character.

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