Course info
Jul 2, 2011
1h 4m

This course takes a comprehensive look into Maya's Skeleton menu. In this collection of lessons we will learn about the tools in Maya's Skeleton menu. Software required: Maya 2012 and up.

About the author
About the author

Delano works avidly as an animation author at Pluralsight. Starting his career at animation studios like Shilo, Delano has developed a strong passion for his talents. His animation and rigging background help him teach and create some of the most-watched training on Pluralsight.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
In this lesson, we'll explore the Joint Tool. In Maya 2012, the Joint Tool has updated, so let's go ahead and take a look at those changes. Under the Animation menu, we'll go to Skeleton, Joint Tool options. Now I'll reset the settings. So at the top, we see degrees of freedom This basically controls how much rotation we'll get from each joint. So, for instance, if were to uncheck let's say the X axis, now that axis is going to be locked. And to clearly show you this, let's head over to let's say the side view and draw out a joint chain, so on each joint that was made, the X axis is locked down. Going back to our Joint Tool settings. Underneath, we can set the orientation of each joint, so this first setting is going to orient each joint to the world. So with that on, again creating another chain, you can clearly see the difference between the joint orientation on this new chain and the one we created earlier. To further explain what has happened, selecting both roots we can go to the display menu and underneath Transform Display turn on their Local Rotation Axises. Again the first chain has X pointed down the bone whereas this new chain is oriented to the world. If we were to uncheck this, and I'll also turn back on the X axis under Degrees of Freedom, we can set a specific orientation for our joints. So right now the defaults has X as a primary axis meaning X is going to point down the chain, Y is going to point up, and, of course, Z is automatically going to point out away. Now if we like, we can definitely change this but something important to keep in mind is that your primary axis and your secondary axis cannot be the same. So notice, with Y as a secondary axis, if we try to use that as a primary axis, it's not going to work. Maya's going to automatically change that. Using these settings that Maya's changed it to, again if we were to draw this out and select our root, View its local rotation axises, we could see that now, Y is the primary axis, Z is the secondary. Now let's say if we wanted to have X be our primary, Y be the secondary, as we get from the default settings, but we wanted the Y axis to flip. We most certainly can do that using the secondary axis world orientation. So let's go to the positive setting and set this to negative instead. So now as we create our chain, looking at the root, you're going to see that the Y axis has flipped. Going back to our options, we could also set our Skill Compensation on each joint. What this is going to do is remove as much skewing as possible as we scale our joints. So we'd see this as we deform a mesh. With Skill Compensation on, the joint underneath the joint being scaled will not be scaled. So for instance, taking this chain, if we were to, let's say, scale this second joint, the third joint is not going to scale at all, thus limiting our skewing. Auto Joint Limits, with this on, this is going to do exactly what is says. It's going to limit our joint but it's going to limit it based off of the angle that we have created the joint chain. So to show you this, if we were to select this second joint, you'll see that its X and Y axis have been locked and the Z axis cannot pass our root bone. Almost imagine the root bone creating an invisible line that our second bone cannot pass. That's what Auto Joint Limit does. We could also create an IK handle from this tool. So with that on, you'll see that our IK handle options have opened up. And now, if we were to draw out a chain, once we hit the Enter key, an IK handle has been made. Next, we get to our bone radius settings. I'll go ahead and uncheck Create IK Handle. So our bone radius settings, this is going to regulate the display of our joints. So how this works is that if we were to create a bone with a length of one or lower, our radius is going to be. 5. But as we increase this value, if we were to create a bone longer or to the value of 30, then our bone radius is going to be set to two. To show you this, if we were to create a joint and then create another, notice as we extend this as we increase the length of this, when we get to a value of 30 or greater, the radius of that root joint, it's not going to go past a value of two. Whereas if we were to create a smaller joint, notice as we go to a value of one or less, our short bone radius is not going to be under a value of. 5. So that's a look at the Joint Tool in Maya. It gives us a lot of control over creating joints exactly the way they need to be drawn for animation.