procedural rigging

Intro to procedural rigging
Over the years I used scripting to faciliate all kinds of Maya tasks. Sometimes just small snippets, sometimes bigger setups. And I grabbed my infos wherever I could get some. From books, tutorials, colleagues. What meant, in the older MEL days I just had the maya handbooks… But also nowadays I find it hard to get project related literature.
So I began to write my own „book“ about scripting with python to support rigging in Maya. It started small, but after a few months I ended up with a 175 pages pdf.

It discusses general rigging themes but is at the same time an introduction to python, hinged to an ambitious rigging project. I not only show finished scripts but develop and explain the code in detail to get a better understanding.
Imho it is a good start for everyone who wants to get into scripting and be able to adress problems with the aide of python.

The project
Rigging of an earthworm. The following features are requested:
• contract and expand body parts.
• extendable head which can pull inside out.
• flexible shape when swallowing things.
• rotatable and sinkable teeth.
• easy access to controls.
• body controller attached to a nurbs curve.

The UI
To make our life easier we build an UI with crucial controls for repetetive rigging tasks.
In combination with the randomizer script a generation of fluid dynamic movements can easily be animated.

Next video gives a summary of the books‘  topics:

Walk through the controls of the earthworm rig as well as an example how to animate a crawl:

Using controls to pose the earthworm rig: