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Why is rigging so hard in Maya?

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Nimzo node
I've been in the process for making a game character to prototype a game with for a few weeks. 

This is by far the most frustrating step in any part of making a game it seems. Everything is so unstable. I use an expression to drive forearm rotation, I have to remove it because it causes twitching and insane rotations. I have IK for my tongue and it breaks, I have to remove it. 

Now I am making simplistic animations using basic IK arm, spine, and legs. The hands start rotating for no reason as they get translated. Is this my fault? Where do you learn how to do this properly? Is there a definitive source I can consult when making a run-in-the-mill biped rig? Why is this so hard?


  • Nimzo
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    Nimzo node
    I've dealt with literally 3 things breaking in one day. The parent constraint broke where I parent the hips to control curves. Is there any way to reduce the amount of things breaking?
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi insane polycounter
    If I recall what happened with what I was doing with my Hammerhead character, I've had to cobble information from three to four separate tutorials on Maya rigging to finally end up with something that was solid and stable.

    It's hard because of, as you have said, the relationships of these different processes and the layers of relationships you're adding on to these joints.

    I could only encourage you to make sure you're slowly zeroing everything out, being aware of the origin and axis of rotations that joints are at, etc.

    What tutorials are you trying to use?

    You try using Nodes instead of expressions to dive some of these relationships like for the IK/FK switch?
  • brucemoose
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    brucemoose polycounter lvl 2
    Organisation helped me a lot I would have layers for the legs only etc then I would just focus on getting the Ik /FK done and everything else would be templated etc and I would ignore it.

    Just focus on one thing at a time and always double check your joints local orientation because I swear they have a life of there own.
  • neilberard
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    neilberard polycounter lvl 13
    I honestly can't think of a program where building a rig is easy. (depends on complexity) There are quite a few auto rigging tools out there, is there a reason you need to build a rig from scratch? Maya has Human IK and quick rig already built in.  
  • oglu
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    oglu ngon master
    Go with mGear or red9. Both are great rigging solutions for maya.
    I would do it only by hand if im forced to script my own autorigger.
  • kanga
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    kanga polycounter
    There are loads more free rigs available for Maya then any other 3d app methinks.  I did it once. I would download a couple and take them for a test run before skinning. Just animate the skeleton and see if it does what you want before you commit.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor insane polycounter
    HumanIK does not suffice?

    Shouldn't have any weird behavior with basic animations and humanIK. It is easy to do weird stuff though when new to it. I am *somewhat* decent at it now, after having rigged like 30+ characters.... Gonna be extra stressful to learn if you on a strict deadline.

    I used the only two rigging tuts on pluralsight. From there just trial and error. Maybe they are worthwhile for you, but if you already know how to write expressions probably below your level.
  • Sage
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    Sage polycounter lvl 15
    I stack uvs all the time and paint in Substance Painter. I like to lay out my uvs and offset the repeated elements by 1 everything seems to work fine

  • Mark Dygert
    That frustration is common early on. Espcially when you're learning and experimenting. Once you settle on a series of methods you will find it's a lot more stable.

    Sometimes when you remove something, parent/unparent, put it in a group or take it out, it's transforms get all screwed up and you might not notice it because it doesn't move or look broken, but those dirty transforms set the stage for a whole ton of issues later on. More than likely all of the fiddling you've done has caused most of the issues. That's kind of normal at this stage...

    Isolate the systems with organization and groups. If you screw something up, its sometimes better to throw it out and do it from scratch again rather than try and fix whatever is broken. So for example, because you monkey'ed with the twist set up your hands are freaking out. It's probably better to throw out your current arm set up and start from scratch making sure to do everything by the numbers, cross all of your t's and dot all of your i's. You have to be hyper vigilant when rigging, otherwise it will turn on you.  

    HumanIK, Advanced Skeleton and The Setup Machine. Why spend days or weeks banging your head on the keyboard especially if speed a reliability are key factors to you.

    Advance Skeleton is rock solid and builds a rig the same way most people custom rig. I use it for 90% of my rigging needs. It's good to study its structure and organization, there is a lot to learn from it even if you don't plan on using it.

    If you're going to custom rig, it is a noble goal, frustrating and full of pitfalls but a valuable skill to have but you really need to know that you're stacking a lot of delicate pieces on top of each other and ripping out parts and replacing them can cause a lot of issues. Sometimes you only get one shot at hooking something up correctly and if it doesn't work, you have to back it all out and take another run at it.

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