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Rigging Techniques: Cartoon to Realistic

An 8-week course focused on advanced rigging techniques that can be applied to cartoony or creature rigs alike to help you take your rigging skills to the next level

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Build cartoony or realistic rigs

Aimed at students that already have a background in rigging and want to take their skills to the next level, industry veteran Nico Sanghrajka, will use his 9 years of experience in rigging for feature films and showcase advanced rigging techniques that can be applied in cartoony and creature rigs alike. This 8-week course will start with a look at what is meant by an advanced rig and what some of the key components are. Starting out by building a solid and robust base rig, you will then build additional layers to add more functionality while keeping the rig fast and responsive, while also keeping simplicity for the animator in mind. There will also be the artistic aspect of creating nice and plausible deformations and appealing shapes. The course will conclude with a look at anatomy, muscles and automated secondary motion. Last but by no means least, you will create either some poses or a short animation to test the rig and showcase your work.

Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Live in Q&A sessions
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Twice per term
Materials:   Maya (ideally 2015 but older versions will also work)
Skills level:   Advanced
Prerequisites:   Intermediate knowledge in 3D software and rigging

Rigging Techniques: Cartoon to Realistic WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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What makes an advanced rig? | Analyzing some existing rigs | Model pose and topology considerations for rigging | Naming convention | Joint placement | Joint orientation (rotation axis) | Modular rigging (break it down) | Creating the FK spine | Custom attributes | Color coding | Locking and hiding attributes
Arms and legs | IK­FK­blend | Blend­color nodes vs orient constraints | Creating hands and fingers | Foot setup with multiple pivot points | Utility/math nodes | Macro finger attributes and secondary micro controls
Connecting everything together | Point constraints and orient constraints | Creating shoulder, head, jaw, and eye controls | Rough skinning | Managing the visibility of controls
Building a more advanced spine | How many joints do I need? | IK ribbon spine | Squash and stretch spine | Volume preservation and color­-feedback | FK spine with variable controls | Reverse FK spine
Advancing the legs and arms | Squash and stretch limbs | Condition node | Split knee and split elbow | Shoulder blade setup | Building a native Maya pose reader | Auto clavicle | Optional: bendy limbs
Deformations | Looking at edgeflow and topology | Weights painting | Additive vs subtracting | Smoothing | Weighthammer | Influence objects | Optional: building a low-res cage | Corrective shapes | Pose­based deformation
Anatomy and muscles | Faking muscles and skin sliding | Dynamics in rigging | Soft bodies and dynamic curves | Delayed animation ctrls
Testing the rig | Picking three (extreme) poses | Make sure all is working and ready for anim | Creating a script to reset all the control back to default

Taking your skills to the next level.

To be determined.


April 30th!

winter TERM Registration

Oct 21, 2019 - Feb 3, 2020




April 30th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

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