Simple Biped Skeleton With Controls

Rigging Maya


This page walks through building a simple Maya rig using big buck bunny from the Blender Foundation as our model. We’ll be manually building each part so we know exactly how it works and is based on the manual rigging course.


Curve Control Setup (15 mins)

This section we’ll setup the curve controls for the rig. We follow the arm but the same would be for other parts too.

Video 1.1: Big Buck Building Arm Controls (6:42 mins)

Video Notes

Creating Curve Controls on Big Buck Bunny’s Arms
This is the contraint method of setting up curve controls on a skinned fk big buck bunny skeleton.

Video 1.2: Big Buck Building Leg Controls (8:36 mins)

Video Notes

Building An IK rigHelper setup on Big Buck
So since we have controls to think about building the ik leg setup in a rigHelper group gets a little tricky. These videos take us through the process.

Building Controls – Dual Leg Skeleton Setup
The important difference for the curve controls is that we’re making them for Ik. So we need the following controls

1. foot control
2. ball control
3. hip control
4. leg pole vector
5. optional toe controls (if you have toe joints)


IK FK Switching (19 mins)

This section we’ll prepare and setup the ik/fk switching.

Video 2.1: Building the IK for a Dual Skeleton (7:57 mins)

Video Notes

The Dual Leg Setup Building the 2nd Skeleton

Video 2.2: Linking Controls to Dual Leg Skeleton (11:50 mins)

Video Notes

CLinking The Dual Leg Setup To The Curve Controls


Hip And Move All Setup (12 mins)

This section we’ll show how to setups the hips and move all control, this is a very simple setup for the hips and an fk spine.

Video 3.1: Big Buck-FK Hips Setup (7:43 mins)

Video Notes

Creating the Hip Controls

Video 3.2: Big Buck-Move All Control (5:11 mins)

Video Notes

Creating A Move All Control


Head Aim Setup (12 mins)

Now we’ll setup the head with an aim.

Video 4.1: Big Buck-Aiming The Head-Maya (12:46 mins)

Video Notes

Orienting The Head With An Aim Constraint


Setting Rotation Orders (4 mins)

Many riggers forget about rotation orders, but these are very important for animation. If we’re thoughful about out rotation orders it can help the animators down the line.

Video 5.1: Big Buck Checking Rotation Orders (4:37 mins)

Video Notes

Check Rotation Orders on World Controls
By default all objects in Maya are set to XYZ gimbal rotation order, but many controllers are better setup in other orders such as ZXY. In particular pay attention to the feet and hips.


Colouring Controls (4 mins)

Here’s the manual way to colour controls.

Video 6.1: Big Buck Colouring Controls (4:55 mins)

Video Notes

Colouring Curves
– Colouring Curve Controls
1. Attribute Editor
2. Attribute Spread sheet


Disabling Inherits Transform (3 mins)

Little trick for parenting things like the geo inside the rig and not having double transformations if we move the root group.

Video 7.1: Big Buck Inherit Transform Toggle (3:03 mins)

Video Notes

The Inherits Transform Checkbox for Double Transforms


Setting Up Selection Sets (3 mins)

Setting the selection sets to make it easier to key the rig for animators.

Video 8.1: Big Buck Creating Selection Sets (3:46 mins)

Video Notes

Adding Selection Sets
Selection sets make is easier for the animator to easily select multiple objects easily in groups. Sets are usually

1. For fingers
2. for all body controls
3. later we’ll put all facial
4. Later we’ll put all controls

Riggers might also want to create a set for all of our bind joints, the ones we use to skin.

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