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Chapter 3. Character Skeleton Setup > Creating Basic Animation Controls

Creating Basic Animation Controls

This section shows you how to create basic skeleton controls for your character. You learn to draw skeletons with precisely placed pivot points, so that the joints rotate accurately. Polygon reference bones are used as guides for drawing Maya skeletons, and are later parented to the skeletons to use as animation reference. Drawing, manipulating, and editing skeletons is covered in detail. Then, a rigging method that involves adding curve-based control icons is shown to make it easier to manipulate the skeletons. Finally, all skeletons and control icons are parented into a hierarchy used as a functional character control rig.

Understanding Skeletal Anatomy

Creating believable character motion requires that you create controls based on how real bodies work. Therefore, you need to place carefully the joints in your models so that the skin bends like it has a real skeleton inside of it. Your skeleton creates a 3D structure for your body, and enables you to move around. Without a skeleton, your body would be just a flat lump of muscle and skin. You wouldn’t even be able to stand up! Skeletal joints are therefore very important for defining how your character moves.


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