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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. Maya
Cgi

Modelling & Rigging a Cartoon Parrot in Maya: Part 9

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Difficulty:AdvancedLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

1. Creating Arm's Joints Structure

Step 1

Open the parrot file in Maya which was saved in the previous part of the tutorial. 

Open Maya
Open Maya

Step 2

In the panel menu bar, click on Shading menu and check on Wireframe on shaded, X-Ray and Z-Raw Joints options one by one.

Shading Menu
Shading Menu

Step 3

Change the working mode of Maya in Animation. Click on Skeleton menu and select Joint Tool.

Animation
Animation

Step 4

With the help of joint tool, create 14 joints starting from the right arm to hand as shown in the following image.

Create 14 joints
Create 14 joints

Step 5

With the parrot mesh selected, go to Show > Polygons and check off the option box to hide the parrot’s mesh.

Show  Polygons
Show > Polygons

Step 6

With the fur selected, go to Display > Hide > Hide Selection to hide the fur also. 

Display  Hide  Hide Selection
Display > Hide > Hide Selection

Step 7

Go to Create > CV Curve Tool and click on its option box.

Create  CV Curve Tool
Create > CV Curve Tool 

Step 8

In the CV Curve Tool settings option, turn on Curve Degree 1 Linear radio button.

Curve Degree 1 Linear
Curve Degree 1 Linear

Step 9

With the CV Curve Tool selected, press and hold V key to point snap and then first click on arm start joint and then click on elbow joint to draw a straight line as shown in the following image.

CV Curve Tool
CV Curve Tool 

Step 10

In the same way, create curve lines at every joint as shown in the image below.

Create curve lines
Create curve lines

Step 11

Press and hold C key for curve snap. Select every joint one by one in sequential order. Keep D key pressed so that it does not affect the child bone. 

Curve snap
Curve snap

Step 12

In this way, all joints have been aligned according to the curve line.

Curve line
Curve line

Step 13

Go to Window > Outliner. In the Outliner window, delete the curves as these are not required anymore.

Window  Outliner
Window > Outliner

Step 14

Unhide the parrot’s mesh. Place the joints inside the right arm of the parrot mesh.

Unhide the parrots mesh
Unhide the parrot’s mesh

Step 15

For hierarchy selection of the joints, first select the arm’s root joint. In the MEL script text box, write select-hi command and press Enter key to select the hierarchy of joints.

MEL script
MEL script

Step 16

With the hierarchy of joints selected, go to Display > Transform Display > Local Rotation Axes to display the local axis of the joints as shown in the following image.    

Display  Transform Display  Local Rotation Axes
Display > Transform Display > Local Rotation Axes

Step 17

You will notice that all joints’ local axes have same orientation except the end joint. So, you have to orient only end joint for orientation. Therefore, with the end joint selected, go to Skeleton > Orient Joint and click on its option box.

Skeleton  Orient Joint
Skeleton > Orient Joint 

Step 18

In the Orient Joint Options window, turn on None radio button and then click on Orient button. 

Orient Joint Options
Orient Joint Options

Step 19

Now you can see all joints orient in the same local axis. 

All joints orient
All joints orient

Step 20

It’s time to turn off the display of local rotation axes. So, with the hierarchy of joints selected, go to Display > Transform Display > Local Rotation Axes to turn off display of local axes.   

Display  Transform Display  Local Rotation Axes
Display > Transform Display > Local Rotation Axes

2. Inserting Root Joints

Step 1

Go to Skeleton > Insert Joint Tool.

Skeleton  Insert Joint Tool
Skeleton > Insert Joint Tool

Step 2

With Insert Joint Tool selected, first click on elbow start joint. With the elbow joint selected, scale down the joint to keep the different ratios of the joints for easy selection.  

Insert Joint Tool
Insert Joint Tool

Step 3

With the new created joint selected, increase the radius value as 0.6 in the channel editor box. 

Increase the radius value
Increase the radius value

Following the same way, insert all section joints roots as shown in the image below.

Insert all section joints roots
Insert all section joints roots

3. Renaming Joints

Step 1

I have renamed all created joints as R_bn_Shoulder_Root01, R_bn_Shoulder_a01, R_bn_Shoulder_b01, R_bn_Shoulder_c01, R_bn_Shoulder_d01, R_bn_Elbow_Root01, R_bn_Elbow_a01, R_bn_Elbow_b01, R_bn_Elbow_c01, R_bn_Elbow_d01, R_bn_Wrist_Root01, R_bn_Wrist_a01, R_bn_Wrist_b01, R_bn_Wrist_c01, R_bn_Wrist_d01, and R_be_Wrist_a01.

Renaming Joints
Renaming Joints

Step 2

With R_bn_Shoulder_Root01 selected, press Ctrl-G key for making a group of the selected root joint. Rename it as R_Joints_grp01.

Renaming Joints
Renaming Joints

Step 3

After making joints group in the channel editor, select all transform properties. With Right Click on the selected transform properties, select Lock and Hide Selected command in the popup menu.

Lock and Hide Selected
Lock and Hide Selected

Step 4

Using Lock and Hide Selected command, you can see only Visibility is apperaing in the channel editor.

Lock and Hide Selected
Lock and Hide Selected

4. Creating Feather Joints

Step 1

Go to Skeleton > Joint Tool.

Skeleton  Joint Tool
Skeleton > Joint Tool

Step 2

With the help of Joint Tool, draw 12 joints according to the feathers’ size. 

Joint Tool
Joint Tool

Step 3

With all root joints selected, place them inside the feathers mesh.

Place the joints inside the mesh
Place the joints inside the mesh

5. Creating Feather Joints

Step 1

First select feather root joint and then select R_bn_Shoulder_a01 and press P key. Hence, R_bn_Shoulder_a01 joint becomes the parent.

Feather root joint
Feather root joint

Step 2

Following the same way, I have connected all new feathers joints with the arm joints.

Connect all feathers joints
Connect all feathers joints

Step 3

I have renamed all feathers joints as R_bn_feather_one_a01, R_be_feather_one_a01, R_bn_feather_one_b01, R_be_feather_one_b01, R_bn_feather_one_c01, R_be_feather_one_c01, R_bn_feather_one_d01, R_be_feather_one_d01, R_bn_feather_Two_a01, R_be_feather_Two_a01, R_bn_feather_Two_b01, R_be_feather_Two_b01, R_bn_feather_Two_c01, R_be_feather_Two_c01, R_bn_feather_Three_a01, R_be_feather_Three_a01, R_bn_feather_Three_b01, R_be_feather_Three_b01, R_bn_feather_Three_c01, and R_be_feather_Three_c01 respectively.

Rename all joints
Rename all joints

6. Mirroring Joints

Step 1

After completing the right side’s feathers joints, it’s time to mirroring for the left side feathers joints. With the right side’s joint root selected, go to Skeleton > Mirror Joint and click on its option box.

Skeleton  Mirror Joint
Skeleton > Mirror Joint 

Step 2

In the Mirror Joint Options window, turn on Mirror across radio button of YZ axis. In the Search for text box, write R_ and in Replace with text field, write L_. Click on Mirror button to apply Mirror command.

Mirror Joint Options
Mirror Joint Options

Step 3

You can see, all left side’s joints names start with prefix L_ in the Outliner window.

Outliner window
Outliner window

7. Creating Body Joints

Step 1

With the parrot body selected, go to Skeleton > Joint Tool.

Skeleton  Joint Tool
Skeleton > Joint Tool

Step 2

With Joint Tool selected, start drawing the joint from the parrot’s leg’s center area and finish up to the head with 7 Joints as shown in the following image.

Joint Tool
Joint Tool 

Step 3

Hide the parrot’s mesh. Rename all joints as bn_Hip_Root01, bn_Abs01, bn_Chest01, bn_Neck_a01, bn_Head01, bn_Neck_b01, and bn_head_tip01

Rename all joints
Rename all joints

8. Creating Beak Joints

Step 1

Go to Skeleton > Joint Tool. Draw two separate bones for upper beak and lower beak.

Skeleton  Joint Tool
Skeleton > Joint Tool

Step 2

Rename these bones as bn_upper_beak_01, be_upper_beak_01 and bn_Lower_beak_01, be_Lower_beak_01.

Rename all beak joints
Rename all beak joints

Step 3

First select bn_upper_beak_01 and bn_Lower_beak_01 followed by bn_Neck_c01 respectively. Press P key to make the neck bone as the parent of the beaks bones.

Parent joints
Parent joints

9. Creating Tail Joints

Step 1

With the help of Joint Tool, create three joints around the tail area as shown in the following image.

Tail joint
Tail joint 

Step 2

Rename these joints as bn_Tail_a01, bn_Tail_b01, bn_Tail_c01 and be_Tail_01.

Rename tail joints
Rename tail joints

10. Creating Global Root Joint

Step 1

To control all joints together, I need to make a global root joint. Hence, I have created one joint and kept it between the tail and the body joints. I have renamed it as bn_Root.

Global joint
Global joint

Step 2

First select bn_Hip_Root01 and bn_Tail_a01 and then select bn_Root. Press P key to make it as the parent joint.

Parent joint
Parent joint

10. Creating Tail Feathers Joints

Step 1

Jump in the top viewport. Press 4 on the keyboard to display the mesh in the wireframe mode. 

Wireframe mode
Wireframe mode

Step 2

With the Joint Tool selected, create joints for the left side’s three feathers as shown in the following image.

Create joints
Create joints

Step 3

With all three tail joints selected, move and place them inside the tail meshes. 

Place the joints inside the tail mesh
Place the joints inside the tail mesh

Step 4

Put the tail bones according to the tail feathers.

Place the joints inside the tail mesh
Place the joints inside the tail mesh

Step 5

Rename the first tail bones as bn_Tail_Feather_Middle_a01, bn_Tail_Feather_Middle_b01 and be_Tail_Feather_Middle_01.

Rename tail joints
Rename tail joints

Step 6

Rename the middle tail bones as R_bn_Tail_Feather_one_a01, R_bn_Tail_Feather_one_b01 and R_be_Tail_Feather_one_01.

Rename the middle tail bones
Rename the middle tail bones

Step 7

Rename the last tail bones as R_bn_Tail_Feather_Two_a01, R_bn_Tail_Feather_Two_b01 and R_be_Tail_Feather_Two_01.

Rename the last tail bones
Rename the last tail bones

Step 8

For parenting the joints, first select R_bn_Tail_Feather_Two_a01, R_bn_Tail_Feather_one_a01 and bn_Tail_Feather_Middle_a01 and then select be_Tail_01. Press P key.

Parenting joints
Parenting joints

11. Mirroring Joints

Step 1

For mirroring the joints, first select R_bn_Tail_Feather_Two_a01. Go to Skeleton > Mirror Joint and click on its option box.

Skeleton  Mirror Joint
Skeleton > Mirror Joint 

Step 2

In the Mirror Joint Options window, turn on Mirror across YZ radio button. In the Search for text field, write R_, and in the Replace with text field, write  L_.  Click on Mirror button to apply mirror command.

Mirror Joint Options
Mirror Joint Options

11. Parenting Arm's Joints

Step 1

For parenting the arms joints, first select L_bn_Shoulder_Root01 and R_bn_Shoulder_Root01 joints and then select bn_Chest01 joint. Press P key.

Parenting Arms Joints
Parenting Arm's Joints

12. Creating Crown Feathers Joints

Step 1

Create three joints inside the crown feather.  Rename the joints as bn_Head_feather_middle_a01, bn_Head_feather_middle_b01, bn_Head_feather_middle_c01 and be_Head_feather_middle_01.

Create three joints inside the top feather
Create three joints inside the top feather

Step 2

Following the same way, create the second joints chain and rename as R_bn_Head_feather_a01, R_bn_Head_feather_b01, R_bn_Head_feather_c01 and R_be_Head_feather_01.

Rename the joints
Rename the joints

Step 3

Mirror the joints for the left side and parent them with the head tip joint. 

Mirroring the joints
Mirroring the joints

13. Creating Leg Joints

Step 1

With the Joint Tool selected, jump in the left viewport.

Jump in the left viewport
Jump in the left viewport

Step 2

Create three joints as per the leg shape as shown in the following image.

Create three joints
Create three joint

Step 3

Check in the front viewport also and put the joints inside the right side leg mesh properly.

Place the joints inside the leg mesh
Place the joints inside the leg mesh

Step 4

Rename the joints as R_bn_Thigh_01, R_bn_Knee_01, R_bn_Ankle_01 and R_bn_Foot_01.

Rename the joints
Rename the joints

14. Creating Claws Joints

Step 1

With the help of Joint Tool, create two joints inside the claw.

Create claw joints
Create claw joints

Step 2

Being in the perspective viewport, place the joints inside the middle claw mesh.

Place the claw joints inside the mesh
Place the claw joints inside the mesh

Step 3

Press Ctrl-D key to duplicate the claw joints for other claws. Place them all inside the rest claws respectively and properly. You may have to rotate the joints to fit properly.  

Duplicate the claw joints
Duplicate the claw joints

Step 4

After creating the claws joints, rename these as R_bn_finger_middle_a01, R_bn_finger_middle_b01, R_be_finger_middle_a01; R_bn_finger_Left_a01, R_bn_finger_Left_b01, R_be_finger_Left_a01; R_bn_finger_Right_a01, R_bn_finger_Right_b01, R_be_finger_Right_a01 and R_bn_finger_Back_a01, R_be_finger_Back_a01 respectively.

Rename the claw joints
Rename the claw joints

Step 5

Parent all claws joints with the leg joint.

Parent all claws joints
Parent all claws joints

Step 6

Now, mirror the right side’s joints for the left leg mesh. Rename the joints accordingly.

Mirroring the claw joints
Mirroring the claw joints

Step 7

Finally, with R_bn_Thigh_01 and L_bn_Thigh_01 joints selected, select bn_Root joint and press P key.

parent the claw joints
parent the claw joints

Step 8

Hence the complete rigging of the parrot mesh is done. 

Rigging is done
Rigging is done
Final structure
Final structure

Conclusion

In the next part of the tutorial, I will show you how to do skinning of the parrot’s mesh with the joints.

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