Advanced Doc For Experienced Maya users.

Working with HumanIK in Maya and came across a problem with adding bones and controls to the character rig. Also ran into issues with making animation clips in the trax editor once the new bones were added the the HumanIK character set.

The main problem was that my new bones and controls added by hand to the HumanIK would become corrupt. I spent a week trying various ways to set this up an not have issues. I couldn’t find this specific problem on the internet so I wanted to offer my solution.

(used Maya 2013)

Build the HumanIk skeleton
Move/reposition all the joins as needed and add remove any feature joints such as fingers, toe and extra arm twists.
One you are certain this it what you want you can lock the skeleton.
Create the HumainIK control rigs
I noticed some slight unstable issues when I rescaled the controls or set the controls to be in different shapes. So at this point I left this alone.
Select the HumanIK Ctrl_Reference node in the outliner and create a character set.
You are doing this to store all animation data that the Ctrl_Refernce uses to animate the skeleton. This new character set is what is loaded/saved in the Trax Editor.

At this point the setup you have for the HumanIK should be final. Run test with it, bind it to a skin and test that. Do everything you can think of to make sure the rig design meets all your requirements. The reason for this is that at this point is it easy to go back and alter/tweak the skeleton without corrupting any new bone you may add later.

Once the rig is judged complete hand created bones can be added.
I found that creating the bones where I needed them and then attaching them using Skeleton/Connect Joint (parent joint) worked best at preventing them from being corrupt when animating later on.
But before I connected then bones I made all the controls I would need as well.
This is where things were tricky. I had a misconception that since my controls were like the HumanIK that they could be placed into the Ctrl_Reference node. This was not correct as all and caused me lots of problems trying to figure out why my controls were acting so bizarre.
After I made all the new bones and controls, I set up the child parent constraints for the bones and controls as needed. Next I clicked and dragged in the outliner the controls to be under the original HumanIK skeleton name_Reference as needed (ponytail, under head joint, hand prop under hand joint.
After that I selected the new hand prop joint and then the RightHand joint and used Skeleton/Connect Joint.

Now we have the joints connected to the HumanIK but we don’t have them connected to the character set. Well, we don’t want that. I tried many,many ways to do this but connecting the new controls with the original HumanIK controls always caused corruption when animating from a file referencing this rig.

Create a new character set for the new controls that has no connection to the HumanIK controls at all.

Next I’d save obviously and open the skin file, reference the rig, bind the skin. I save this file and lock it since I really shouldn’t be adding any changes to it except for tweaks the the weights. I do however work in the file to make new animation clips and export them to be loaded and edited later as needed.

I know I left out the detail on each step, if I have time, I’ll add them, but I know there is already plenty of info available on each part of the process, just not info on the work flow. Good Luck. :)

Posted in Art.