Create an automatic character rig for a mesh

The Quick Rig tool is a quick way to create a character rig for a standard character mesh. There are two ways you can create a character rig with this tool, automatically, with the One-Click option, which is recommended for standard character meshes, or the Step-by-Step option, which gives you greater control over the automatic rig function. For a description of the Step-by-Step settings, see Quick Rig tool.

Creating an automatic character rig with the One-Click option

The Quick Rig tool is intended to be a fast way to add a character rig to an empty mesh. When you click the Auto-Rig!, Maya analyzes your mesh to create a character rig. This behind-the-scenes rigging process has many steps. To see what gets evaluated during the One-Click process, refer to the Creating a character rig with the Step-by-Step method section, below, or see Quick Rig Tool for a description of the settings.

To automatically create a rig for a standard character mesh

  1. Start with an empty character mesh.
  2. Select Skeleton > Quick Rig from the Rigging menu set. The Quick Rig tool opens. (You can also access Quick Rig from the HumanIK window Start pane or the Rigging shelf.)
  3. Choose the One-Click option.
  4. Select the mesh.
  5. Click Auto-Rig!. A skeleton is created, followed by a HumanIK control rig. The mesh is then skinned to the skeleton.
  6. Your mesh now is ready for animating.

Creating a character rig with the Step-by-Step method

Choose the Step-by-Step option to proceed through the same phases of the automatic rig generation in the Quick Rig steps above, but step-by-step. This method walks you through the process and lets you tweak some of the Quick Rig's default settings, which gives you greater control over the automatic rig function.

For a description of the Step-by-Step settings, see Quick Rig tool

To use the Step by Step method in the Quick Rig tool to create a rig for a character mesh

  1. Select Skeleton > Quick Rig from the Rigging menu set.
  2. Choose the Step by Step option.
  3. Expand 1) Geometry to choose the mesh(es) for rigging and click Select All Meshes to locate all meshes in the scene.
    Note: Some meshes have auxiliary meshes that accompany them, for example, eyes, hair, accessories, and so on. Use the Select All Meshes option to make sure that these are selected as well.
  4. Select Add Selected Meshes to populate the Geometry list with the selected meshes.
  5. In the 2) Guides area, choose the Embed Method that best suits your mesh.
    Note: The Imperfect Mesh Embed Method is the default as it is a general good fit for most meshes. Click the help icon or see Quick Rig tool for an explanation of each segmentation method.
  6. Choose a resolution from the Resolution list.
    Note: Higher-resolutions take more time to process.
  7. Use the Symmetry menu choose where to place the mirror plane to create on the selected mesh(es). Use the Hips option instead of Bounding Box if your character is asymmetrical because of a feature or prop. See Quick Rig tool for a description.
  8. Use the Center settings to specify which guides will generate your character.
  9. Click Create/Update to add guides to your character mesh. (Click Delete Guides if you want to start over.) If you have trouble seeing guides, change their with the Guide Color option.
  10. Expand 3) User Adjustment of Guides and reposition the joint guides to better fit your mesh. (See Quick Rig tool for a description of each guide adjustment icon.)
    Note: Guides are placeholders that show the future position of each HIK joint; they are temporary transforms, and are not part of the skeleton.
  11. When you are satisfied by the guide positions on your character, expand 4) Character Generation to generate the character skeleton and HumanIK control rig.
  12. Set the Skeleton Settings and set options for the skeleton's alignment and orientation. To control the joint hierarchy of the actual skeleton, use the Align Joint X Axis box.
  13. Click Create/Update to create a Skeleton with or without a Control Rig for your character mesh.
  14. Expand 5) Skinning to set options for how the rig is bound to the mesh.
  15. Click Create/Update to skin your character, which completes the rigging process for your character mesh.
  16. Your mesh now has a character rig and is ready for animating. See Quick Rig tool for a description of these settings.

    Tip: If you are familiar with Python, you can customize the Quick Rig tool for your needs. The source code is found in the file found in Python\Lib\site-packages\maya\app\quickRig folder of the Maya software install. This lets you see how the alignment is based on what you set in the combo box (the computeJointOrients() method). You can even add your own method.

For information on animating your control rig, see Control rigs, effectors, and pivots.