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Automating Animation & Game-Ready Rigs

Modular Rigging Techniques using Python with Nick Miller


Sharpen your scripting skills as we delve into modular rigging with Python in this 3-hour workshop created for riggers and aspiring coders. The objective is to create a one-click solution for rigging bipeds, with the potential for customization to suit other types of characters, pipelines, and project requirements.

Nick Miller, Creature Supervisor at DNEG, introduces a comprehensive library of code and explores the moderate-to-complex components of Python, Object Oriented Programming, and rigging. Building your own modular rigging system gives you several advantages; not only does it save you significant time, but it also enhances your problem-solving skills and prepares you to contribute to a company's rigging toolset.

Watch as Nick leverages Maya's standardized human IK skeleton as a template by using it as a foundation to build rigs. This technique helps you to incorporate motion-capture data to drive your rigs. To showcase the system, Nick utilizes a downloadable character from Mixamo and then applies his tools to generate a fully functional rig before applying motion capture as keyframes onto the rig's controls. Additionally, Nick instructs how to organize rigs in a game-engine-friendly manner, allowing for easy export of the skeleton and character mesh.

Upon completing this workshop, subscribers will have learned essential rigging techniques, including building a modular rigging system with Python, the basics of Maya's human IK skeleton, how to apply motion-capture data, and how to export rigs for game engines.

Project files provided with this workshop give students a reference or guideline to follow. The downloadable project files include Nick’s asset build folders for three characters, including models, guides, textures, scripts, weights, and controls, as well as his modular rigging package (nmrig and grig).

Duration: 3h 09m

Format: HD 1920x1080

Nick Miller

Creature Supervisor at DNEG

Nick Miller is a Creature Supervisor currently working at DNEG. His career originally began in New York; he worked many contract and freelance gigs before accepting a full-time position at Framestore. It was there that he sharpened his Python skills and eventually became the main contributor to the commercial department's rigging package. 

In early 2017, he moved to the Vancouver area, where he worked for Method Studios, Digital Domain, and most recently, Double Negative. Throughout his professional career, he has worked on various projects, including commercials, television, games, and film. 

Both in and outside of work, he enjoys mentoring anybody who will listen to him talk about rigging or Python.

  • It has been an absolute pleasure working with Nick! I appreciate his style, diligence, and attention to detail, and he is extremely adept at interdepartmental communication . . . so good, you don't even notice it because everything just works.

    - Elizabeth Bernard
    Animation Supervisor at Digital Domain

  • Nick is an amazing rigger. He did a fantastic job leading shows at Method!

    - Edy Susanto Lim
    Former Rigging/CFX HOD at Method Studios / Senior TD at NVIDIA

  • Nick has a wide range of useful rigging and Python tricks and can always provide creative solutions from different angles. From my experience, Nick is an excellent instructor who can explain rigging in fun and easy ways!

    - Minji Sohn
    Rigging Technical Director at Framestore