Howdy. Well I'm on the road again this week. I'm currently in frigid Vancouver wondering why I didn't pack some warmer socks. I spent the day in Seattle yesterday meeting with the guys at Bungie (creators of the famed Halo franchise). It had been a couple of years since I was there so there was a lot of catching up to do. I did a marathon 6 hour demo session covering every topic under the sun from Maya to Motion Builder to Mudbox. I was a little raspy at the end of the day but it was actually a lot of fun. Bungie is definitely one of my favorite developers to work with.
My friend David Hunt is the Senior Technical Artist for character rigging and animation tools there. He has created some really amazing custom rigging tools for them. Luckily he's one of those guys that likes to give back to the community and he formalized and presented a lot of his ideas at GDC last year. Being the super cool company that it is, Bungie was nice enough to post his slides and some example movies on their -> publications page.
Or you can download the presentation directly here -> Modular Procedural Rigging.
There is no audio but the slides are still jam packed with info and insights. When I start to feel pretty confident about the depth of my Maya knowledge all I have to do is sit down with someone like David to bring myself back to reality. I am and likely always will be learning new stuff about Maya and how it is being used.
So for my tip of the week I'm going to cover a couple of tricks for tracking the location of a vertex. If this hasn't come up for you yet, I bet it will someday. It can come in handy for modeling or animation in different situations. There are a couple of simple things you can do in Maya to either constrain or group an object to a specific point on another object. Here they are...