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This video shows a visualization of Joy’s rig. Joy’s eyes aren’t spheres – they’re large volumes that fill much of her head. Her irises move around on those surfaces.

Digital rigs make movement possible

What is a rig?

Digital rigs are the virtual bones, joints, and muscles that allow models to move. It’s kind of like the strings on a marionette. A good rig has just the right amount of flexibility. Without the right controls, the animators can’t create the poses they need. Too much flexibility makes posing the model too time consuming.

What does a rigger do?

Riggers start with a virtual 3D model for a character. They study how a character needs to move based on the story. For example, Randall in Monsters, Inc. moves like a chameleon, but he also walks on two legs. Riggers break down those motions into individual elements and create the hundreds of control points that animators will use to create poses.

Riggers start with a wireframe model (on the left) and add the virtual bones (on the right) so Sulley can be posed.

Riggers start with a wireframe model (on the left) and add the virtual bones (on the right) so Sulley can be posed.

Videos and Activities

Pixar’s Rigging Challenge

Deforming surfaces to create believable motion

Pixar’s Rigging Challenge

Jason Bickerstaff

Character Rigger

Jason Bickerstaff

Arm Rigging Workstation

Select an rig to define arm motion

Select one of three Pixar characters and choose among four arm rigs to determine which will produce the desired motions.

Resources

Pixar in a Box

Follow the link for a lesson on Rigging.

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