ZooTools Biped Proxy Rig

Maya: Zoo Tools, Skeleton Builder

In This Class You’ll Access…
Note: This page is outdated and does not work in Zoo Tools Pro 2. Please use our new Hive Auto-Rigger .

Zoo Biped Proxy Auto Rigger
The Zoo Biped Proxy is our old auto rigger and only works with Zoo Tools Pro version 1. Please upgrade to Zoo Tools Pro version 2 and use the Hive Auto-Rigger page instead.

Previously Croc, Nat, Robo and Zanzi have all been rigged with this system.


Running Time: 1:27 hrs
Software: Maya 2017
Legacy 2016 Page

Instructor: Andrew Silke

Class Time: 1:27 hrs

1. Zoo Biped Proxy Overview (12 mins)

1.1 – Fast: Building (3:06 mins)
1.2 – Bendy Stretchy Setup (3:53 mins)
1.3 – Fast: Control Setup (2:01 mins)
1.4 – Fast: Rebuild (3:26 mins)

2. Rig Examples Skeleton Builder (10 mins)

2.1 – Zanzi Rig Demo (2:22 mins)
2.2 – Nat Rig Demo (1:55 mins)
2.3 – Croc Rig Demo (2:32 mins)
2.4 – Skeleton Builder (3:37 mins)

3. Setting Up The Rig (8:13 mins)

3.1 – Zoo Proxy Files (54 sec)
3.2 – Matching Skeleton (2:27 mins)
3.3 – Basic Skinning (1:52 mins)
3.4 – Rig Build (47 sec)
3.5 – Replace WC Controls (2:13 mins)

4. Rebuild Rig, Customise Controls (9:34 mins)

4.1 – Adjust Pivot Placement (1:44 mins)
4.2 – Rebuild Rig (1:27 mins)
4.3 – Customize Own Controls (1:58 mins)
4.4 – WC Curve Exceptions (1:36 mins)
4.5 – RGB Control Colors (2:49 mins)

5. The Trigger UI (9:08 mins)

5.1 – Trigger UI Connect (1:39 mins)
5.2 – About Trigger UI (1:41 mins)
5.3 – UI Camera (1:24 mins)
5.4 – Hide Change UI Colors (1:16 mins)
5.5 – UI Select Priority (1:14 mins)
5.6 – Publish UI (1:54 mins)

6. Customising The Trigger UI (13 mins)

6.1 – Tweak Trig Intro (1:02 mins)
6.2 – Triggers In Outliner (59 sec)
6.3 – Tweak Triggers (1:16 mins)
6.4 – Custom UI Intro (1:23 mins)
6.5 – Build Custom UI (1:15 mins)
6.6 – Custom UI Names (1:56 mins)
6.7 – Custom UI Connect (1:26 mins)
6.8 – Zoo Tools Trigger Setup (1:57 mins)
6.9 – Rgt Clk Menus (2:07 mins)

7. Parent Custom Setups To The Rig (4:01 mins)

7.1 – Customise Rig Intro (1:11 mins)
7.2 – Reparent Grps (1:45 mins)
7.3 – Attrs Note (1:05 mins)

8. Proxy Setup Notes (6:57 mins)

8.1 – Head Orient Fix (1:12 mins)
8.2 – Spine Proxy Note (1:28 mins)
8.3 – Finger Proxy Setup (1:18 mins)
8.4 – Limb Ratios (1:58 mins)
8.5 – Foot Proxy Setup (1:01 mins)

9. Changing Joint Counts (5:46 mins)

9.1 – Change Jnt Counts (2:32 mins)
9.2 – Hiding Proxies (1:48 mins)
9.3 – Jnt Count Rig Setup (1:26 mins)

10. Skin Twist Notes (2:57 mins)

10.1 – Skinning Twists (1:18 mins)
10.2 – Twist Skin Workflow (1:39 mins)

11. Outliner, Sets, Grps and Layers (5:01 mins)

11.1 – Zoo Proxy Grps Explained (3:32 mins)
11.2 – Proxy Display Layers (1:29 mins)
Subscribe now! Cancel Anytime, Keep Tools and Assets Forever!


  1. Richard
    May 24, 2017 at 6:14 am ·

    The first thing I want to do is apply the proxy rig to a biped mesh with different proportions. In video 8.1, you say you won’t go into much depth about placing pivots–and leave that for a separate page. Where should I go for tips/techniques moving proxies/pivots? Is that an expected part of the workflow? Or should I be looking at the Skeleton Builder?

  2. Andrew Silke
    May 24, 2017 at 10:52 pm ·

    Yes Richard that comment’s regarding where to place the pivots, like where is the best position for the elbow or shoulder. There’s enough for a separate class on that sort of thing. The actual tech process is very simple here for shifting pivots it’s covered in vid 1.3 check that out I’d expect it to solve the issues.

    For the same topology with different proportions I’d also just export the skin weights, (C3dC Rig Shelf > icons with the arrows, import and export skin weights). If the topology matches then the weights will be fine so long as the joint names match.

    There’s a page for Rapid Rig Modular where I cover something similar, so you could check it too, this will work for Zoo Proxy Biped, but that skeleton download won’t work. Just use your own…

  3. Richard Williams
    May 28, 2017 at 6:47 am ·

    LOL. Using my rig while following video 1.1, Maya crashes when I skin the rig with Shift-Y Skin Selected. I’m assuming it’s because I’m not skinning to a single mesh like you are, but to multiple geos in the rig simultaneously. Here’s the workflow:

    1. Import John_6_geo_v002 Symmetry.ma into proxyZoo_proxiesOnly_2017.ma
    2. Delete namespaces
    3. Parent geos into geo_grp
    4. Translate proxies in Y and X to fit mesh
    5. RM Proxy/Match/Build Skeleton
    6. RM Proxy/Select Skin Joints
    7. Select multiple geos
    8. Shift-Y Skin Selected
    9. Crash
    Is skinning to multiple geos the problem? If so, What’s the way to handle this?

  4. Andrew Silke
    May 28, 2017 at 1:28 pm ·

    Hi Richard skinning to multiple geo shouldn’t be a problem. It could be a problem with that hotkey. If it consistently crashes just skin the slow way with…

    rigging (menu) > skin > bind skin (options) > edit > reset settings > bind to > selected joints

    I’ll do some tests and see if I can reproduce that crash. You can also try skinning one mesh at a time.

  5. Andrew Silke
    May 29, 2017 at 1:27 pm ·

    Note: With some further testing it seems Richard’s meshes may have issues. Maya’s meshes can corrupt easily. See this page for cleaning meshes and keeping them bug free…

  6. Richard Williams
    May 31, 2017 at 2:11 am ·

    Yep. Found non-manifold geometry.

    • Richard Williams
      June 1, 2017 at 5:42 am ·

      Wow. What used to take me weeks to build takes an hour. Amazing!

  7. Vegai Bai
    July 11, 2017 at 11:45 am ·


    This course helps me a lot! Just have one confusion about exporting FBX, should I export all things with control curves or do Edit-Bake Animation and only export the mesh and skeleton? Thanks!

    By the way I sometimes got crash when I do Ctrl+z XD

    • Andrew Silke
      July 11, 2017 at 1:25 pm ·

      Hi Vegai, great to hear. I’ve only tested exporting fbx on Robo which has no custom controls but it seemed to work fine. I’d like to make an exporter but for now you have to do it manually.

      The important part is to be able to bake the animation onto the skin joints and remove the rig. To do this

      1. Select all the joints,
      Select the root joint then run the code in a python window…

      import maya.cmds as cmds
      from zoo.libs.maya.cmds.objUtils import joints
      cmds.select(joints.getJointsSelected(children=True), replace=True)

      That will select all joints in the skin joint hierarchy, it should include custom joints but I have not tested custom controls.

      2. Bake the animation
      With the joints selected, go to the animation shelf, then set your timeline and click the “Bake Animation” icon.
      You can potentially unparent the root joint too and it’s hierarchy.

      3. Delete the rig and save a new file
      Now that the anim is baked on that skeleton you should be able to delete the rig. This makes it a bit cleaner for the export.
      Select the “World” control and delete it and check the animation is still ok. Also a good idea to look in the hierarchy under “root” and remove anything that isn’t a joint or a grp.

      4. Export to fbx.
      Use your usual methods of exporting to fbx. Ie save the mesh and skeleton animation etc as you usually would. I have not done much of this, it’s been on my to do list. But I have tested it once and I imported Robo’s run cycle into Unity without problems.

      Give that a go.

      Re: The undo queue. It should be pretty stable, but yes undoing big actions like building toggling the rig can definitely have some issues. Maya’s undo queue is a bit of a nightmare and has this issue for almost all riggers. Animation should generally be ok, I haven’t had many issues there.

      • Vegai Bai
        July 12, 2017 at 8:29 am ·

        Thanks for the detailed explanation, it works! Though the select joints scripts was error because of “No module named libs.maya.cmds.objUtils”. I manually selected some joints instead for testing, and the animation works. Should I delete the IKHandles in the hierarchy?

        I also used the drag and drop eye control and jaw rig, the eyes work good but the jaw acts wired if deleted, and seems will be affected by eyes blinking…..?

        Looks much cleaner 😀 It will key every frame though. Is there method that only key the frames that have keys? Or it should be all keyed?

        Sorry I’m like a question baby, kind of fresh and want to going deeper in rigging and animation. Thanks 😀

        • Andrew Silke
          July 18, 2017 at 10:49 pm ·

          Great. Yes the script requires that you have the latest C3dC prefs installed, at least the latest Zoo Tools actually. I was pretty sure that code is in the latest but if not it will work in the next release.

          Yes, the drag and drop rig might not be games compatible as easily as the zoo rig. Hence it’s currently unsupported. But technically it is just joints so you could find a way to delete the rig, you may need to keep the transforms above in the hierarchy.

          For example, on your new rigs you could always duplicate your jaw and eye joints and group them in a reparent grp under the head joint. Then constrain the duplicated joints to the drag and drop joints directly. Then skin to your duplicated joints. Then your rig will be easy to bake and export as you can delete the drag and drop rigs after baking.

          Keying all frames is best. I believe Maya has some simplify anim curve tools in the graph editor. But a game engine will usually want the keys linear or baked (plotted) in my experience. Not sure how it works in the newer versions of engines.

          We will definitely replace the facial stuff at some stage and have it support games, it’s easy but it’s just not on the schedule right now until we get the new rigging system going.

          • Vegai Bai
            July 20, 2017 at 9:40 am ·

            Thanks! I’m trying to put the animated character into Unreal Engine. Since it’s only for a cinematic now so not much other concerns. And I’m so looking forward to the new rigging system that support games 😀

  8. Toby Leung
    August 29, 2017 at 12:33 pm ·

    Hi Andrew, I’ve found another issue with the latest version of the Biped Rig v04_02. Whenever I ‘toggle rig’ for the first time to create a rig, the IK boxed-controllers for both hands and feet are missing. This issue happens quite randomly. Sometimes only the IK boxes of the feet are missing, sometimes its just the hands, and occasionally both appear and work fine. I’m pretty sure the procedures that I take are the same each time (open proxy file > Match Build Skeleton > Toggle Rig). I tried keep going with the steps by toggling on and replacing the WC Controls, but without the boxes in the first place I wouldn’t be able to have the IK function of the rig. Could this be another bug issue? cheers

    • Andrew Silke
      August 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm ·

      Yes this has an easy fix. I snuck in the FK only arms and legs in the last prefs thinking it wouldn’t be on by default. But something in Zoo is causing them to come on… as you say randomly. And we haven’t figured what it is yet but there’s a simple way to fix it 100% of the time.

      The fix is…
      1. Open Skeleton Builder UI. Zoo Tools Pro > Rigging Skeleton Builder ( hotkey is ‘ )
      2. In the UI click the last Tab > Create Rig
      3. For all legs and arms make sure the drop down is IkFk for all limbs
      4. Close the window, do not build rig!
      5. Right click on the Proxy Ctlr and Toggle the rig on. The arms will be in ikFk.

      Bendy Stretch arms will be here next week sometime, you’ll also need to switch them on through the UI and I’ll create a video explaining that. So the rig now supports pure FK, IK/FK and in the next release IK/FK Bendy/Stretchy.

      FK is great for skinning and range of motion tests, also for motion captured bg characters. I’ll explain more later. But just use IKFK always for now.

      • Toby Leung
        August 30, 2017 at 5:31 pm ·

        yes that works 100%~ thanks again Andrew

  9. Toby Leung
    August 30, 2017 at 5:32 pm ·

    looking forward to the new rig

  10. benchan96
    September 11, 2017 at 7:51 am ·

    Hi Andrew

    When I right click the PROXY curve control I only get the following options

    Curve Point
    Object Mode
    Edit Point
    Control Vertex

    I am in the Maya 2017 and using the proxyZoo_proxiesOnly_2017 file

    No match build skeleton option !


    • Andrew Silke
      September 11, 2017 at 10:34 am ·

      Yes Benchan, this is a temporary issue in 2017 Update 3 and 4. Looks like we’ve fixed it in the new C3dC Prefs which will be out either today or tomorrow. The temp fix with your version is to restart Zoo Tools, needs to happen once per Maya session. The icons are on the Zoo Proxy shelf, the last two icons, click `ShtDwn`, then `Start`.

      • benchan96
        September 11, 2017 at 8:16 pm ·

        Thanks so much ! !

  11. washunaback
    September 11, 2017 at 3:32 pm ·

    When I click on Proxy > Match WC Control curves, the “foot” curve is gone from the grond.

    • Andrew Silke
      September 11, 2017 at 3:40 pm ·

      Yes, the foot pivot matches to the ankle joint, not the ground. So it must be manually adjusted to match the ground plane for now.

  12. washunaback
    September 12, 2017 at 4:05 am ·

    Wow this system you’ve made is fantastic, lad.

    It’s like Advanced Skeleton 5 but much better and fancier.

    Also, I was thinking of using a custom tool called NGSkintools for maya. It allows you to paint skin weights in layers, relax between all the areas, put layers above other skin weights so to have more influence, etc.

    Do you recommend it?

    • Andrew Silke
      September 12, 2017 at 10:06 am ·

      Cheers! Yes NG SKin Tools is good, I’ve been planning to do a page of training for it. Generally though with a combination of Skin Wrangler (which is now working again) and braverabbit’s SmoothSkin plugin then there’s less need for NG Skin. But it is good. I’d like NG SKin to have a better way of numerically affecting vertices. It locks the skin cluster so that other third party tools can’t be used at the same time. That disadvantage takes away some of the advantages of NGs lovely layers feature. But there are work-arounds. Anyways yes indeed it’s a fab tool.
      Btw this zoo proxy page will be updated today. We have the new bendy parts and they are in the latest preferences v1.2.8 it’s important to watch the new videos to see how that works. I’ll post more on the private Facebook group. Also, the right click menu issue has been solved, Skin Wrangler has been fixed too.

  13. arnaldo.acosta.z
    September 30, 2017 at 11:45 am ·

    Hi Andrew
    I’m having the same issue benchan96 was having where I’m not being able to right click on “PROXY” and therefore not getting the same options you get when you do it (match build skeleton is the one I need right now). I’m also using Maya 2017 and I know you said we need to restart ZooTools but I kind of got lost in the explanation. You mentioned the last two icons on the ZooTools Shelf but my last two icons are “Select all hierachical order for mirror tool” and “Setup Mirror Config mode”. I need to shutdown and restart the tool basically but I don’t really know how to do that. Could you please help me out?

    Also I’m not using C3dC Prefs cause I couldn’t get them going

    Thanks a million in advance

    • Andrew Silke
      September 30, 2017 at 11:52 am ·

      Hi Arnaldo, yes make sure you have Maya 2017 Update 4 installed. The restart should be unnecessary now.

      Autodesk changed the code for this on their backend in Maya 2017 update 3. Latest Zoo v 1.2.10 is all good to go but the earlier versions of 2017 it will not work at all now. We are always trying to stay aligned with the new updates.

      How to Install Updates Maya Vid 1.2

      I may have left the icons out in the Standalone version of Zoo I’ll check that next update, thanks. It’s no longer important in the last release.

      But as per your email, let’s try to get the C3dC Prefs working for you. There should be no issues, I still haven’t had anyone not get that install working. Should be bulletproof. Let’s work it through via email as per your last message.

  14. washunaback
    October 28, 2017 at 1:11 pm ·

    Whenever I right-click on PROXY > Toggle Rig

    The skeleton joints, somehow, change with the rig creation.

    Is this supposed to happen? I’m using the latest version of ZooTools biped proxy rig.

  15. washunaback
    October 28, 2017 at 1:19 pm ·

    I found the issue : I didn’t rotate the proxies when building the skeleton.

    Didn’t know I was supposed to.

  16. washunaback
    October 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm ·

    No, I’m pretty sure that’s not supposed to be happening. The feet, for example, keep getting straight no matter what.

    This is particularly an issue when I skin the character. Please, fix this.

  17. washunaback
    October 28, 2017 at 2:20 pm ·

    Oh here’s the exact reason why the issue is happening :

    if you Options > Update Skeleton, whenever you toggle rig, it messes up the skeleton. It’s a huge issue when you skin the character as well.

    That means your bind pose is messed up forever if you do it.

    • Andrew Silke
      October 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm ·

      Yes Washunaback, you are correct and this has been the way Hamish (the original Zoo Tools creator) designed Skeleton Builder from the start. His idea was that the skinning should all be done on the skeleton and not on the built rig. If you want to reskin you should always toggle off the rig, fix the skinning then toggle the rig back on again.

      His reasoning was that it’s often impossible to keep the bind pose exact after rigging for example spline ik and other methods of rigging will always move the skeleton away from the bind pose. Hamish was also using this way of rigging to work around matching issues that had to do with world matrix matching. So yes the straightening of the feet is intended.

      Dave, our new lead developer points out those issues could have been corrected if he didn’t use freeze transforms which wasn’t widely known when Hamish was writing these tools. Skeleton Builder was written over 5 years ago.

      Dave managed to fix the arms so they stay in place on bind, but we had trouble with the legs, and many other areas of the system. So we have decided to start a new rigging system which is now well underway.

      The short-term solution is to always do the skinning on the skeleton and not on the rigged character.

      Skeleton Builder rigs will be upgradable once our new system comes online.

  18. washunaback
    October 30, 2017 at 11:53 am ·

    Dude, ZooTools Biped Rig doesn’t works with NG Skin Tools anymore, at least on version 1.7.3

    I tested on the same C3DC custom setup, but without using any of the rig system and it worked nicely.

    Two problems are :

    A – You can’t mirror the influences. If you try, nothing happens

    B – Sometimes, the NG skin tools bugs out and then the NG window isn’t displaying anything clickable, just a mess.

    Is there a way to fix this? Or to install a previous version, at least. Because I was using a previous one and it worked nicely.

    • Andrew Silke
      October 30, 2017 at 12:12 pm ·

      Hi Frederico, this sounds strange as there should be nothing we are doing that would conflict with NG Skin. NG simply takes over Maya’s skin cluster and we don’t touch the skin clusters in any way that differs from vanilla Maya.

      I will have to load it up and have a look. I don’t use a lot of NG though I like the plugin. Give me some time on this. If you need an old version of Zoo Tools let me know by emailing me at info@create3dcharacters.com and I can give you the old Zoo Tools links.

      Another thing to try if it’s a conflict is to disable Zoo Tools completely. You can just take a line out of the maya/2017/scripts/userSetup.py
      Close Maya, open that file in a text editor and comment it out by adding a # at the beginning of the line `import create3dcharacters` so

      # import create3dcharacters

      Then start Maya and see if you have the same problems with NG.

  19. washunaback
    October 30, 2017 at 12:26 pm ·

    Could you email the older version of C3DC prefs to this e-mail ?


    I loaded a file in which I used an older version to 1.2.11, but now using the current version and it failed just as well.

    In fact, even the NG Skin Tools is buggy and won’t start. Thank you.

    P.S : I think the issue might be in the custom prefs you made.

  20. washunaback
    October 31, 2017 at 5:06 am ·

    Ok, false alarm. Somehow, my mesh was bugged from a previous version of Zbrush, which was Zbrush 4r7.

    I’m sorry for wasting your time, lad. My humble and sincere apologies.

    How I fixed it was : just made another project on Zbrush 4r8 and then exported it back to Maya. Sorry, dude.

  21. washunaback
    October 31, 2017 at 7:12 am ·

    No, actually there is a bug with your C3dc prefs and NG Skin tools.

    I just fixed the mesh I was using in Zbrush, imported it back and then tried to paint it with NG skin tools. Not only can’t I mirror it’s skins, if I try to mirror the skins through vanilla maya, it crashes the software with a Fatal Error.

    This did not happen before version 1.2.11 of C3dc prefs and, since you didn’t change the biped zoo proxy scene file, I highly suspect it’s a problem with the newest version of C3dc prefs. Please, take a look at it.

    Also, can you make the older version available for me, please? I lost it.

    • Andrew Silke
      October 31, 2017 at 11:37 am ·

      Hi Frederico, I ‘ve sent you the older versions of the C3dC prefs let me know if that solves your issues. We have no support for NGSkin Tools as it’s not our product. For NG help go to, http://www.ngskintools.com/

      I’m happy to look into any issues where our tools are conflicting with NG. But I can’t think of anything we’ve changed that would be affecting the way NG Skin Tools works. I will look into it anyways when I get the chance to check it’s working on our end.

  22. washunaback
    November 3, 2017 at 3:47 pm ·

    Oh hey there, Andrew. So, here’s what I did :

    – C3dc does have some issues with certain scripts, so before anything I always hit the create curve script before anything else. This “starts” the scripts and makes everything functional.

    – I downloaded the most recent version of the biped zoo proxy file, that scene in Maya ASCII format.

    For some reason, it worked then.

    Maybe it was a conflict with the previous version of biped zoo proxy scene and the newest C3dc prefs.

    But now everything is fine and dandy! Thanks for the help.

    • Andrew Silke
      November 3, 2017 at 5:06 pm ·

      ok fab that you sorted it, thanks for the feedback.

  23. Utah G
    November 27, 2017 at 8:53 am ·

    Hey Andrew I started working on the texturing of my model and out of nowhere the rig stopped working with my model. I can move the rig but the mesh doesn’t move with it anymore. prior to this my character was weight painted and ready to animate. Is there anything I can do to assign the mesh back to the rig? or am I forced to start all over?

    • Andrew Silke
      November 27, 2017 at 10:57 am ·

      Hi Darren, yes when that happens it usually has to do with a user error somewhere, you’ve probably just hit a hotkey or something that removed the skinning in some way.

      Do you have an older version of the file with the skin weights working? If so you can copy the skin weights and save them to a file, then import them into your latest scene. I like braverabbits save smoothSkinClusterWeight. There’s a button for it in the C3dC Rig shelf, but you need to install the plugin so follow his instructions on how to install.

  24. Aurthur M
    January 27, 2018 at 12:49 pm ·

    Hi Andrew,

    Just wondering is it possible to have the biped proxy file imported to my scene rather than my scene imported to the biped proxy file?
    The reason is I have a lot dependencies (Xgen among others) in my current scene and moving them to another requires a lot of re-connection.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    • Andrew Silke
      January 27, 2018 at 8:47 pm ·

      Yes Aurthur, importing is ok, just remember to remove the imported namespaces.

      Shift 6 on the c3dc prefs or windows > General Editors > Namespace editor.

      The scripts just work on names so the objects can’t have namespaces or be doubled up with other objects. This won’t be a problem in the future.

  25. duo5913
    February 6, 2018 at 1:01 am ·

    Hello Andrew.

    I have some problem at custom joints. I followed the tutorial ‘7. PARENT CUSTOM SETUPS TO THE RIG’. But my extra joint disappear when toggle rig. But it exist at the outliner. I don’t know why works this way.
    My character is have quite many custom joints. And there things are important for character.
    If you know the solution, I hope you tell me. If you want scene file, I can send as e-mail.

    I really thanks for your works. I think very lucky that I found this site. I learned many things here.

    I’m Korean. So my English can be awkward.

    • Andrew Silke
      February 6, 2018 at 3:15 pm ·

      Hi Do-Yun Kim. Yeah it should work fine as per that video section. So long as you create the reparentGroups, parent your extra stuff into those groups. Be careful that the objects don’t have keys or offsets when you parent them to the reparent group. The reparent group must match the joint perfectly too.

      The “toggle rig on (or off)” will…
      1. Unparents all grps in the scene with the suffx _zooParentToRig, they will be in the scene root (world)
      2. The Rig then builds
      3. Finally the reparent controls are parented to the prefix of the name. So “head_zooParentToRig should” get parented to the “head” object, in this case it’s a joint.

      Make sure you don’t have multiple objects named “head” for example, or any other joint, that may break it.

      Let me know how it goes. The rig should be compatible in Maya 2017 and 2018. 2016 it may have issues let me know if you are in 2016.

      • duo5913
        February 6, 2018 at 8:36 pm ·

        Thanks! It is working good!

        Fortunately, the problem dose not fatal bug. I don’t know why, but the spine joints are automatically hide when “toggle rig”. Maybe that was mistake.
        The Maya version that I’m using is Maya 2018. I’m worried that the version problem.
        But I’m really thanks for your reply. The advice will be helpful when check the rigging bugs.

        Thanks for your help!

        • Andrew Silke
          February 6, 2018 at 8:42 pm ·

          No worries Do-Yun Kim, if you like send me the rig at info@create3dcharacters.com. It should be fine in 2018, I have students building rigs without issues. Even so send me the rig and I can check, it shouldn’t be hiding the spine joints, so I can give it a look.

        • Andrew Silke
          February 8, 2018 at 2:53 am ·

          Yes we found the issue, Do-Yun Kim had built the spine in ik spine mode in the skeleton builder window, we only support fk spines at this stage. Easy to miss. The new autorigger will support ik spines.

  26. e_rohn
    February 13, 2018 at 2:51 am ·

    Hey Andrew!
    Happy to find your new site. I’ve been following your training videos since the Guerilla CG days (a decade ago!?!) and still refer my students to your Euler/Gimbal/Rotation Order videos. I’ve also been a fan of Hamish and the ZooTools for at least as long.

    However, when I saw the intro video saying that there would be no shortcuts, hacks, tricks or presets; I was surprised to see nearly every video rely so heavily on your custom prefs, hotkeys, marking menus and Zoo Tools. I see that you guys have taken over work on ZooTools (which gives me hope for its future), but I still wish there was more explanation of what these tools were doing or how to get to these commands through Maya (or what these scripts replace from Maya). I already have a workflow I like with hotkeys and marking menus and want to adopt yours where needed, but not necessarily entirely become entrenched in one person’s set of scripts.
    I’ve also been using Maya for a while and I was looking for more of a refresher (what’s changed in the last decade?) than a complete how-to course on using your scripts.

    I understand that nobody should be setting up entire rigs the “long way,” but other than the videos on Joint Orients and Control Curves, I haven’t seen a lot of explanation of how to do things IN MAYA, before jumping in with your scripts. Am I missing something? Are there going to be more script agnostic/Maya-centric lessons in the Pro bundles coming out soon?

    I’m still a happy subscriber and glad to see quality content on the web, even if behind a paywall. The quality of training has gone down the tubes lately with all the sub-par YouTube channels out there and I’ll happily pay for the good stuff!

    • e_rohn
      February 13, 2018 at 5:39 am ·

      I’ve gone back to the first videos in the series and even though I already knew 99.99% of it (Maya basics), you do go over a bit more of your marking menus and their native Maya commands, which is great! Including the text below the videos with each command, the Maya menu, default hotkey and C3D alternative definitely helps, but I do wish that was included within the rigging videos more often. Maybe it’s a time constraint to keep the videos shorter or unnecessary for students working through the whole course? I’m jumping in mid-stream and just watching topics that interest me and some of the proprietary tools are a hindrance.
      When it comes to the intermediate/advanced rigging, I’m a bit more rusty, so I’d like to refresh/relearn the native Maya way and understand what your Zoo Tools are actually doing, so I could troubleshoot the issues and/or know how/where they are saving time. Maybe it’s just me?

      • Andrew Silke
        February 13, 2018 at 11:28 am ·

        Hi John, no you’re right. Thanks for your response, very good points.

        Yes the current rigging pages are focused towards autorigging, not manual rigging. I’d love to do a manual rigging at some stage, but it’s a pretty huge undertaking so yeah it’s mostly time-related on my side. So it’s still a “to do” like so much of the site. For example, I teach a huge amount of texturing and lighting of which none exists on the site yet either.

        I’ve had a few people speak to me about using autoriggers as “blackboxes”. And in many ways there’s truth to that statement. But my usual response to that is that everything in computers is at some stage a black box until you can code in binary! 🙂 It just depends where you draw the line. For a generalist full pipe course, I’m drawing a line at auto rigging for now. Would love to do a manual rigging course though later!

        Yes as for the hotkeys I made a big decision to rely entirely on my hotkeys. I was unsure of this but I’ve committed. The notes are an attempt to solve some of the problems you mention. I believe that the hotkeys are a much better and faster way of working, and I want to teach the best way.

        Usually, when I explain a tool for the first time I’ll try my best to show the menu and where it lives. But yeah after that the videos after will be all hotkeys, it has the advantage that I can demo much more quickly.

        My comments on the hacks are more related to “not bash a sculpt out type of hack with terrible topology” which is what I more mean with that statement. The goal of this Generalist Intermediate is how to get students through the whole pipeline as quickly as possible to industry standards, and auto rigging and hotkey workflows is a big part of that. So I don’t consider tools shortcuts, in the sense that you’re skipping steps, I consider them more a need to know workflows. However, for sure you could look at that from many ways and I’ll acknowledge it’s my opinion.

        This course is also set up in a way that you could substitute this page for Advanced Skeleton, MGear or Rapid Rig Modular. Since we don’t support non-bipeds. I’ve used and taught those in the past, though not MGear. I was left committed to Zoo Tools when Hamish left the industry unexpectedly, and it’s now been taken over by Dave Sparrow, who is doing amazing work on our new autorigger and backend. Which is a big step up on every level. But it has taken some time. We are testing the first rigs from that new system now, and most of the hard work has been completed on the backend. It’s been over 2 years already for us! I am looking forward to Zoo 2 but it’s a lot of work!

        As for covering Zoo Tools yes this has been a sticking point for us and that’s due to an entire rewrite of the code. Zoo Tools Pro 2 being a big step up, we’ll no longer be supporting Hamish’s tools, however, we are rewriting all of our favorite ones. So I am holding off a lot of in-depth training for Zoo Tools Pro 2 until then. And the general workflow will remain the same, only with many more features. I think it will only be good news for subscribers.

        Cheers glad to see you here, and I appreciate the feedback too! The site should evolve a lot over the next couple of years. Hopefully, I can create some proper manual rigging tute too at some stage. I’d love to! But it will most likely be some time.

  27. Aurthur M
    March 27, 2018 at 12:29 pm ·

    Hi Andrew.

    I made a rig with IK and FK spine. After building it defaults to IK. I want to change it to FK but I can’t see the controls for the IK and FK Switching. Can you help me out on this?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Andrew Silke
      March 27, 2018 at 1:36 pm ·

      Hi Arthur, I believe the IK spline is broken and we’re currently not supporting it, so just use FK only. Our new upcoming autorigger will have a new spine with fk/ik fixed, I have even coded it but it’s not compatible with Skeleton Builder. This has been particularly frustrating for me but Dave our new lead dev made the call and we’re moving to the new system now.

      A tip with the fk spine is to space switch one of the middle spine segments to world that can help a lot and it’s how I animated Nat, Croc etc.

  28. harald.pizzinini
    November 22, 2018 at 1:25 am ·

    Hi Andrew, there’s a way to edit the bendy controls size? I can’t find the bendy ctrl WC curves as for the other controls, they seem to appear only after cliking on replace but at that point I can’t edit them…

    Thank you in advance

    • Andrew Silke
      November 25, 2018 at 9:22 pm ·

      Hi Harald, yes you can edit the size of the bendy controls (or any control) with

      1. Select the controls you wish to scale.
      2. Use the shelf icon…
      C3dC_Rig (shelf) > CCtrl > Curve Shape Modification > Scale Larger + or Smaller –

      Or you can scale the CVs too directly.

      If you wish to replace the controls with a different shaped control…

      1. Create a new curve control and match/move it to the current control (shift v (marking menu) > Match – Pos Rot
      2. Select the new control and then shift select the old control and use…
      C3dC_Rig (shelf) > CCtrl > Curve Shape Modification > Replace Curve

      You can also batch update control shapes with wildcard naming, as per video 3.5. You just need to create your curves and give them the names of the bendy-controls with the suffix “_ctrlReplace”. Then save those with the original biped proxy file.

      So the name of the controls to replace would be

      arm_3_bendyControl_L_ctrlReplace etc

      Then follow vid 3.5

  29. harald.pizzinini
    November 26, 2018 at 8:04 pm ·

    Thank you Andrew, works perfectly =B^)

  30. harald.pizzinini
    November 27, 2018 at 3:52 am ·

    Hi Andrew, sorry to bother you again but I’m stuck with a big problem: I have a scene with only a biped character and its biped rig made with zoo tool pro. Basically I have noticed that whenever I try to launch a render of the scene, Maya crashes without leaving any kind of log.

    I checked shaders, lights and geometries for hours without results; in the end I tried toggling the rig off and I found out that only in that case the render works. If I toggle the rig back on, the file restarts crashing as soon as I try to launch a render.
    The same problem happens with the same file on different computers…

    Can you suggest me something that could have gone wrong during the rigging setup / Have you ever met before this kind of problem?

    Don’t know if possible for you but, if helpful, I could send you the file to check it personally
    Thank you in advance


    • harald.pizzinini
      November 27, 2018 at 4:33 am ·

      Update: I found out that the crash is specifically caused by the Ctrls group (the curve named “World” that contains all the rig controls); if I hide it in the scene from the outliner or with a layer, the render works properly. If I turn it back on, the render freeze and Maya crashes as described previously.

      Any hint about the reason of this problem? I know I could work with my rig and hide the ctrls everytime I need to check the render but it sounds a bit annoying…

      Thank you again in advance

      • Andrew Silke
        November 27, 2018 at 11:51 am ·

        Hi Harald, this is indeed a frustrating and known issue with Arnold. It is an Autodesk bug and not on our side. However, as you say hiding the curves causes it to be much more stable so that is a workaround fix. We have this down as a known issue see…

        I cannot say that it is 100% stable but it will be much better, as Arnold will still crash sometimes, but it crashes less. I recently oversaw a short film rendered in Arnold with Zoo and they did not need to Alembic Cache out their models which is the other option.

        Alembic Cache’s will give you the most stability due to this error since the rigs are eliminated entirely. But that workflow can be super annoying. I am halfway through one click alembic exports that rebuild shaders, but it’s going to be a while.

        As for the bug I’ve reported it twice more than a year ago and Solid Angle/Autodesk have confirmed it and not fixed the issue.

        You can see the video I made for them here describing it in more detail that I sent to Autodesk. I isolated it down to the type of set we are using.

        Then later after I recorded this video we found it was due to the attribute type the set was using, it was the nested array attribute (unsure of the Maya name off the top of my head) and we could reproduce on a simple scripted scene without Zoo Tools Pro or our rigs installed. So it is on Solid Angle/Autodesk.

        Autodesk bug report video (later found out it was related to a certain attribute type).

        Even so, hiding the skeleton and controls as you have found should help out a lot while rendering.

        We are releasing an Alpha of our new rigger in January, so stay tuned, we have completely rebuilt our rigging tools to move away from Hamishes system which relied on these attributes. All of our tools time is now being spent on the new system and it’s getting much closer.

        • harald.pizzinini
          November 28, 2018 at 2:28 am ·

          Oh ok, sorry for the question, I should have checked before the known issue page
          Thank you again


  31. Benjamin
    February 21, 2019 at 1:41 pm ·

    Running through this for the first time Maya 2018.5, getting an error on Toggling the Rig. I do appear to get a functional rig, despite the error, but I didn’t see mention of the problem above. Is this a known issue?


    // Error: zoo : Failed to execute MenuCommand(u’scaleRigAll_proxy’, ‘_menu_triggers[6]’, Trigger(u’scaleRigAll_proxy’))
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    File “C:/Users/nimajneb/Documents/maya/2018/scripts/create3dcharacters/zooToolsPro\zoo\libs\maya\triggered.py”, line 152, in execute
    exec resolvedCmd in localsDict
    File “”, line 9, in
    File “C:/Users/nimajneb/Documents/maya/2018/scripts/create3dcharacters/silkyScripts\silky\zoo\zooProxies\toggleRig.py”, line 296, in toggleRigFunction
    File “C:/Users/nimajneb/Documents/maya/2018/scripts/create3dcharacters/silkyScripts\silky\zoo\zooProxies\toggleRig.py”, line 270, in buildRig
    proxySetups() # add fk proxy attribute fix (this adds the toe rot to the fk control
    File “C:/Users/nimajneb/Documents/maya/2018/scripts/create3dcharacters/silkyScripts\silky\zoo\zooProxies\toggleRig.py”, line 206, in proxySetups
    attributes.addProxyAttribute(“fk_wristControl_L”, “armControl_L”, “ikBlend”, keyable=True)
    File “C:/Users/nimajneb/Documents/maya/2018/scripts/create3dcharacters/zooToolsPro\zoo\libs\maya\cmds\objUtils\attributes.py”, line 270, in addProxyAttribute
    attrType = cmds.attributeQuery(existingAttr, node=existingObj, attributeType=True)
    TypeError: No object matches name: armControl_L //

    • Andrew Silke
      February 22, 2019 at 11:15 am ·

      Hi Benjamin, that looks like a real legitimate error and is most likely to do with missing steps in video 1.2. You need the Ik/fk switched on for arms and legs in the Skeleton Builder window. You need to check that window and it’s setting each time the rig is built.

      • Benjamin
        February 22, 2019 at 3:45 pm ·

        Aye, I’d already checked that (Skel Builder’s settings). As I said, I am getting what appears to be a working rig. I went through most of the rig controls, checked their functionality. They seem to be doing what you’d expect. The error still presents regardless of the settings in Skelton Builder though. I’ll do some more testing, and see if I can provide more info. I’ll also go over video 1.2, and make sure I’m not missing something critical.


        • Andrew Silke
          February 22, 2019 at 10:01 pm ·

          Yeah send me the rig, I’d be happy to look into it. I’ll mail you.

          • Benjamin
            February 23, 2019 at 1:35 am ·


            I think I’ve resolved it. I went back to test with a clean slate. Renamed the maya preferences folder, installed your tools fresh (version 1.4.2, was at 1.4.1). I then went in, followed the workflow described in 1.1 and 1.2 and got a rig sans errors. I did have a fair amount of other scripts installed, including Animbot. I’m suspecting a conflict somewhere. With just your tools on the install though, it appears to work fine. If you want me to do some more troubleshooting to see if I can find the offending third party, I did keep the backup 2018 prefs folder. Thanks for getting back to me so promptly.


        • Andrew Silke
          February 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm ·

          Yeah thanks for letting me know. Technically we shouldn’t clash with Anim Bot, more the other way around. We are doing API overrides which mess with Anim Bot, but Alans not doing them so it shouldn’t affect us. But let me know anyway if you can reproduce.

  32. mans.larsson
    April 3, 2019 at 1:37 am ·

    Hi Andrew!
    Quick question, when I click Toggle/Match/Replace WC Control Curves my leg Control and leg pole Control disappears, am I missing something? 🙂

  33. mans.larsson
    April 8, 2019 at 7:25 pm ·

    Sorry, I wasn’t paying enough attention.. All I had to do was to open Skeleton Builder and switch to IkFkLeg.
    Thanks for an awesome Rig!

  34. cruker
    April 30, 2019 at 8:10 am ·

    Hi Andrew,
    I noticed that in the biped proxy rig when it creates the default rig controllers, any scale for those controllers is disabled. If I create custom controllers with the ctrl curve creator and if my bones scale is not locked or hidden it creates the scale connections for the controllers and this seems to work fine. Also it seems like the proxy rig by default creates the bones with the segment scale compensate disabled and it keeps this setting grayed out. Is there a way to enable scale for the rig controllers so that they control the scale of the bones?
    sometimes it can be useful to use scale to exaggerate poses or to create smear poses
    thank you

    • Andrew Silke
      April 30, 2019 at 11:50 am ·

      Yeah Raphael, good question. Some controls on the zoo biped aren’t supposed to be scaled, if they do then it’ll break the rig, however, some of the controls such as the neck and head you can easily show the scale; and I often do.

      The scale attributes have just been locked and hidden. You can unlock them using Maya’s Channel Control window like you would on any Maya rig.

      I have not watched this video but it should show that here…

      Feel free to unlock the scale on any control, just be aware that on some controls it may break the rig.

  35. Kyle Anderson
    January 16, 2021 at 8:39 am ·

    Hi Andrew,
    I just ran into this and was wondering if Skeleton Builder was available for Zoo Tools Pro 2?

    Great tools BTW!

    • Chris Kamau
      March 24, 2022 at 10:58 pm ·

      It didn’t work for me . I had to download zoo tools 1, now it is working but they did say that the zoo tolls pro 2 auto_rigger is still in development so with time am sure.

      • Chris Kamau
        March 24, 2022 at 10:59 pm ·


      • Andrew Silke
        March 25, 2022 at 10:52 am ·

        Yes this page is now outdated, Hive our new rigging system is now available in Zoo Tools 2.

        Please now use this page instead.

        New training for Hive is coming soon, there’s been a bit of an overlap as we get Hive up and running!

  36. Lauro Gutierrez
    June 9, 2022 at 12:19 am ·

    Greetings, can i use the tool inside Maya 2020? or 2019? I cant download any previus version from the Autodesk page anymore…

  37. Lauro Gutierrez
    June 9, 2022 at 1:35 am ·

    Hi Andrew

    When I right click the PROXY curve control I only get the following options

    Curve Point
    Object Mode
    Edit Point
    Control Vertex

    I am in the Maya 2017 and using the proxyZoo_proxiesOnly_2017 file

    No match build skeleton option !

    Also im on Maya 2019, cant download any older version from autodesk… is there a fix? if no then how can i get it to work?


Leave a reply