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Despite being good at it, the inscalability of the manual rigging didn’t make sense to me.

Story Time

It’s 10 years ago, in 2013, I was an undergrad in NTU ADM’s Digital Animation. I loved watching and making 3D animated short films, but rigging characters was a process that was particularly stressful, and to most of my peers, outright painful. Despite being good at it, the inscalability of the manual rigging didn’t make sense to me.

The idea of automation was appealing, so I built my own auto-rig tool in Maya. And it was production-ready, had bendy/stretchy and spline controls for limbs, IK/FK switching, very modular, and very transferable. I used it for all my 3D animated short films including my award-winning graduation film: You Ci Ke

Even so, when I discovered Advanced Skeleton, a Maya animation rigging toolset, when looking for a professional rigging solution for Masonry Studios, I threw my own embarrassing auto-rig away because it’s basically what I was trying to build, just about a million times better.

Manually rigged an entire character by yourself? Impressive! But please don’t do that at work.

Observations

Rigging Futuristic HUD

In recent years, given my position to mentor students and their animated films, I’ve observed that some students take a lot of pride in laborious manual tasks, like rigging. And truly, it’s objectively impressive and commendable. Yet, it’s undeniably taking time and energy away from other more creative processes, such as making great acting, cinematography, lighting etc.

It’s great for learning, for school, for personal satisfaction, but it’s hella inefficient at work.

In case it isn’t obvious, it makes entire sense if you are aiming to become a professional rigger. But otherwise, consider spending your time in the areas you are actually interested in! Your time is finite, spend it wisely.

Choosing your Tool

Here’s what a great Auto-Rigging tool gives you

  • The ability to create a rig with a few clicks.
  • The ability to add/remove extra limbs/props/functionality at any time
  • Professional rigging functions bendy/stretchy/spline limbs FKIK switching etc.

And most importantly, it eliminates human errors.

The Irresistible Offer: Free

Rigging Male Character Face

Before you ask, we use Advanced Skeleton as Masonry Studios. It’s one of our best investments (Not a sponsored post, Just a happy customer here). And saving the best for the last, for independent filmmakers and students working from home…

…AdvancedSkeleton is FREE! Visit animationstudios.com.au for more information.

Ronald Fong

Author Ronald Fong

A CGI animation director and educator who blends storytelling prowess with visual finesse, shaping his expertise in the creative realm. From technically-driven 3D animator to founder of Masonry Studios, he navigates challenges, shares insights, and empowers the next generation of creatives through tutorials, talks, and business wisdom.

More posts by Ronald Fong

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