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Primary leg controls
Delano Athias

Pluralsight

Delano Athias
In this lesson, we will create our primary leg controls. So continuing from the last lesson, we should have used the Object Offset Tool to constrain the right leg, just to finish up. I'd also like to point out that if you find the tool is not working, that's simply because the name of the mesh you're trying to constrain conflicts with another object. So a simple fix is to go back to your target file and to rename the mesh. It's very easy to have a name clash with as many pieces as we're working with, but thankfully Maya has some great tools to quickly go in and rename your objects. For instance, the Search and Replace Names tool, or even the Prefix Hierarchy Names tool, just to go in and make sure that you can avoid name clashes. Not only for the tools we're working with, but in general, it'll help your production go by a lot smoother. All right. Well, with that said, we're ready to build our primary leg controls. Of course, we'd use these to drive the entire leg. So let's go ahead and get started by first increasing our grid size, because we'll be snapping out a spine on our grid. And right now, it's itty bitty. It's hard to do anything with that. So we'll head over to Display, Options. We can go ahead and reset our settings. I'll set the Length and Width parameter to about 300, and the Gridlines Every parameter, we can go ahead and set that to 100 units. Choose Apply and Close. And that's a little bit better to work with. All right. So at that point, we can head over to Create our CV Curve Tool options. And we'll work with a Linear Curve Degree. We'll first reset the tool, just so your settings match mine. We'll work with, again, a linear curve, and just snap out a square shape. So I just pull down the x key, and just snap the grid. All right. So at this point, we can go ahead and rename this curve. That's CC, for control curve, _Lleg02. Let's also go ahead and move it over. So I'll just go ahead and translate it over to the left side. We'll use a script to mirror this control across, which will save us a lot of time. We'll also go ahead and rotate it in place. Now as far as the orientation, let's go ahead and talk about that. We can see that the leg is pointed at an angle. That does not mean that we should have the orientation of this control pointed in the same direction. Because if we were to animate a walk cycle, it would be a lot easier for us if the z-axis was pointed forward. All right. So for that very reason, we're going to leave the orientation of this object set to the world, so when we freeze our transformations, we'll want the z pointed forward. Again, it's a lot easier, believe it or not, to build animations that way. And the way we'll set up the rotation of the leg, things will work out the way they should. All right. So just went ahead and undid the Freeze Transformations tool. This, we can go and reshape this further. Go ahead and scale it out in the z-axis, just so it conforms to the foot. So it's easy to select this. And then, feel free to go to Component Mode and reshape this even further. You don't have to spend too much time at all on this step, but we do want to make sure that our controls are easy to read. We know exactly where they belong and what they control. So by spending a little bit of time, again, conforming your control to the section that it will eventually control. That makes things a lot clearer. All right. So I'd say that's pretty good. We want to make sure the pivot is right at the ankle, so we can avoid counter-keying when we rotate the foot control. So what we'll do is go ahead and hide our polymeshes under the Show menu. Either use the Insert key on your keyboard, or you can hold down the D key and enter Pivot Mode. And then at that point, we can hold down the V key and just snap to our ankle. All right. Great. So we can now go and bring back polys. And go ahead and freeze transformations on this. Great. So at this point, I'd like to go ahead and mirror this across. Let's go ahead and take a look at our Mirror tool. Head over to our Script Editor. And we'll load in that script. Here it is, the Mirror Objects tool. We'll go ahead and open it up. And we can go ahead and discuss the code. All right. So what we do first is go ahead and find our selection. And then next, we check our size. So we need to have our-- we have to have at least one object selected. All right. So if we don't have anything selected, we'll get a warning that says we need to select an object. If we do have something selected, the object will get duplicated, and then we group the object. We make sure the group's pivot is at the world, the origin of our scene. That's what the xform command does for us. And then, we set the scale of the object-- or the group, that is--= to negative 1. We ungroup the object. And then we go ahead and freeze the object. All right. So let's go ahead and add this to our shelf. We'll go ahead and right click on our icon. Choose Edit. We'll rename this to our Mirror Object tool. There we go. All right. And we can go ahead and use this as our tool too. Should be descriptive enough, but if you like, you can add something along the lines of "select the object" or "objects you would like to mirror." And I'm going to go to rename this to MRT. All right. So at this point, we can go ahead and save our shelf out and test the tool. So you'll see that we now have our control mirrored to the opposite side. We'll just need to go in and rename this. No problem at all. So I'll rename this to CC_Rleg01. Now at this point, we're ready to color code these. So let's head over to our Archview Editor. And we'll use the same color scheme we've been using. Blue for the left side, red for the right. Great. And now to actually have these control something, what we'll need to do is go ahead and parent our reverse lock heel joints to their respective animation controls. All righty. So let's go ahead and test this out. Now when we grab the control object, it drives the entire leg. Really neat. So this rig is really starting to come together, which is a very good thing. What we'll now do is go ahead and just spend some time making sure our scene is going to be organized. So as we explained before, we're going to be creating a type of hierarchy just to make sure everything will transform properly and will be easy to access. So that's what we'll spend time doing in the following lesson.
In this tutorial, we will learn the methods that were used to rig the transforming robot. Throughout these lessons, we will learn the tools and techniques used in the setup process of both our robot and truck. The goal is to break this complex idea down into a simple, and manageable form. We'll cover the rigging process in its entirety, and along this journey, we'll be introduced to several tools that will help make this all come together efficiently. By the end of the course, you'll have the set of skills needed to rig your own transforming robot.
Partner
Partner
Introduction and project overview
1

Introduction and project overview

 
00:49
Starting on the robot's rig
2

Starting on the robot's rig

 
08:10
Rigging the robot's left leg
3

Rigging the robot's left leg

 
13:49
Completing the left leg's base rig
4

Completing the left leg's base rig

 
15:30
Creating a hip joint and mirroing the left leg
5

Creating a hip joint and mirroing the left leg

 
05:38
Starting the foot roll rig
6

Starting the foot roll rig

 
09:51
Connecting the reverse foot rig
7

Connecting the reverse foot rig

 
10:26
Extra joints for toe bend control
8

Extra joints for toe bend control

 
04:56
Connecting the leg and hip meshs
9

Connecting the leg and hip meshs

 
13:59
Primary leg controls
10

Primary leg controls

 
08:54
Organizing the rig
11

Organizing the rig

 
04:42
Starting on an animator-friendly foot roll rig
12

Starting on an animator-friendly foot roll rig

 
07:34
Wiring the foot roll's plusMinusAverage nodes
13

Wiring the foot roll's plusMinusAverage nodes

 
09:26
Finishing the foot roll rig
14

Finishing the foot roll rig

 
06:21
Toe bend controls
15

Toe bend controls

 
10:51
Knee controls
16

Knee controls

 
07:54
Cleaning up the leg rig
17

Cleaning up the leg rig

 
07:45
Rigging the wheels connected to the robot's legs
18

Rigging the wheels connected to the robot's legs

 
07:37
Finalizing the leg wheels
19

Finalizing the leg wheels

 
10:53
Creating a hip control
20

Creating a hip control

 
07:13
Rigging the wheels connected to the robot's hip
21

Rigging the wheels connected to the robot's hip

 
06:48
Constraining the wheel geometry connected to the robot's hip
22

Constraining the wheel geometry connected to the robot's hip

 
04:23
Dynamically parenting the hip wheels
23

Dynamically parenting the hip wheels

 
10:03
Chest control
24

Chest control

 
08:21
Completing the chest rig
25

Completing the chest rig

 
10:15
Setting up the wheels connected to the back
26

Setting up the wheels connected to the back

 
06:13
Custom attributes for the back wheels and connecting the back rails
27

Custom attributes for the back wheels and connecting the back rails

 
06:30
Dynamically parenting the back wheels
28

Dynamically parenting the back wheels

 
03:00
Constraining the spine geometry
29

Constraining the spine geometry

 
05:45
Creating a center-of-gravity control
30

Creating a center-of-gravity control

 
03:36
Rigging the neck's base plates
31

Rigging the neck's base plates

 
06:12
Setting up the robot's main neck plates
32

Setting up the robot's main neck plates

 
06:48
Re-orienting the neck joints
33

Re-orienting the neck joints

 
01:56
Rigging the neck with inverse kinematics
34

Rigging the neck with inverse kinematics

 
07:36
Optimizing the scene
35

Optimizing the scene

 
02:03
Rigging the robot's head
36

Rigging the robot's head

 
08:49
Custom attribute for the neck's base plates
37

Custom attribute for the neck's base plates

 
02:41
Starting on the arms
38

Starting on the arms

 
07:27
Setting up the elbows
39

Setting up the elbows

 
09:07
Adding arm controls
40

Adding arm controls

 
05:08
Constraining the arm groups and connect curves for the elbows
41

Constraining the arm groups and connect curves for the elbows

 
10:14
Dynamically parenting the arms
42

Dynamically parenting the arms

 
02:27
Rigging the fingers
43

Rigging the fingers

 
08:01
Connecting the fingers
44

Connecting the fingers

 
03:11
Creating finger controls
45

Creating finger controls

 
05:38
Wrapping up the hands
46

Wrapping up the hands

 
12:29
Starting to rig the arm pistons.
47

Starting to rig the arm pistons.

 
06:39
Finalizing the pistons
48

Finalizing the pistons

 
12:20
Finishing the robot's rig
49

Finishing the robot's rig

 
08:00
Beginning the truck's rig
50

Beginning the truck's rig

 
03:14
Rigging the truck's wheels
51

Rigging the truck's wheels

 
04:13
Automating the wheel rotation of the truck
52

Automating the wheel rotation of the truck

 
07:14
Finishing the wheel rotation expression
53

Finishing the wheel rotation expression

 
02:53
Rigging the truck's body and controlling the front tires
54

Rigging the truck's body and controlling the front tires

 
05:14
A technique for simulating tire pressure
55

A technique for simulating tire pressure

 
03:21
Wrapping up the tires
56

Wrapping up the tires

 
08:40
Finalizing the transforming robot's rig
57

Finalizing the transforming robot's rig

 
07:08