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Primary leg controls
In this lesson, we will create our primary leg controls. So continuing from the last lesson, we should have used the Object Offset Tool to constrain the right leg, just to finish up. I'd also like to point out that if you find the tool is not working, that's simply because the name of the mesh you're trying to constrain conflicts with another object. So a simple fix is to go back to your target file and to rename the mesh. It's very easy to have a name clash with as many pieces as we're working with, but thankfully Maya has some great tools to quickly go in and rename your objects. For instance, the Search and Replace Names tool, or even the Prefix Hierarchy Names tool, just to go in and make sure that you can avoid name clashes. Not only for the tools we're working with, but in general, it'll help your production go by a lot smoother. All right. Well, with that said, we're ready to build our primary leg controls. Of course, we'd use these to drive the entire leg. So let's go ahead and get started by first increasing our grid size, because we'll be snapping out a spine on our grid. And right now, it's itty bitty. It's hard to do anything with that. So we'll head over to Display, Options. We can go ahead and reset our settings. I'll set the Length and Width parameter to about 300, and the Gridlines Every parameter, we can go ahead and set that to 100 units. Choose Apply and Close. And that's a little bit better to work with. All right. So at that point, we can head over to Create our CV Curve Tool options. And we'll work with a Linear Curve Degree. We'll first reset the tool, just so your settings match mine. We'll work with, again, a linear curve, and just snap out a square shape. So I just pull down the x key, and just snap the grid. All right. So at this point, we can go ahead and rename this curve. That's CC, for control curve, _Lleg02. Let's also go ahead and move it over. So I'll just go ahead and translate it over to the left side. We'll use a script to mirror this control across, which will save us a lot of time. We'll also go ahead and rotate it in place. Now as far as the orientation, let's go ahead and talk about that. We can see that the leg is pointed at an angle. That does not mean that we should have the orientation of this control pointed in the same direction. Because if we were to animate a walk cycle, it would be a lot easier for us if the z-axis was pointed forward. All right. So for that very reason, we're going to leave the orientation of this object set to the world, so when we freeze our transformations, we'll want the z pointed forward. Again, it's a lot easier, believe it or not, to build animations that way. And the way we'll set up the rotation of the leg, things will work out the way they should. All right. So just went ahead and undid the Freeze Transformations tool. This, we can go and reshape this further. Go ahead and scale it out in the z-axis, just so it conforms to the foot. So it's easy to select this. And then, feel free to go to Component Mode and reshape this even further. You don't have to spend too much time at all on this step, but we do want to make sure that our controls are easy to read. We know exactly where they belong and what they control. So by spending a little bit of time, again, conforming your control to the section that it will eventually control. That makes things a lot clearer. All right. So I'd say that's pretty good. We want to make sure the pivot is right at the ankle, so we can avoid counter-keying when we rotate the foot control. So what we'll do is go ahead and hide our polymeshes under the Show menu. Either use the Insert key on your keyboard, or you can hold down the D key and enter Pivot Mode. And then at that point, we can hold down the V key and just snap to our ankle. All right. Great. So we can now go and bring back polys. And go ahead and freeze transformations on this. Great. So at this point, I'd like to go ahead and mirror this across. Let's go ahead and take a look at our Mirror tool. Head over to our Script Editor. And we'll load in that script. Here it is, the Mirror Objects tool. We'll go ahead and open it up. And we can go ahead and discuss the code. All right. So what we do first is go ahead and find our selection. And then next, we check our size. So we need to have our-- we have to have at least one object selected. All right. So if we don't have anything selected, we'll get a warning that says we need to select an object. If we do have something selected, the object will get duplicated, and then we group the object. We make sure the group's pivot is at the world, the origin of our scene. That's what the xform command does for us. And then, we set the scale of the object-- or the group, that is--= to negative 1. We ungroup the object. And then we go ahead and freeze the object. All right. So let's go ahead and add this to our shelf. We'll go ahead and right click on our icon. Choose Edit. We'll rename this to our Mirror Object tool. There we go. All right. And we can go ahead and use this as our tool too. Should be descriptive enough, but if you like, you can add something along the lines of "select the object" or "objects you would like to mirror." And I'm going to go to rename this to MRT. All right. So at this point, we can go ahead and save our shelf out and test the tool. So you'll see that we now have our control mirrored to the opposite side. We'll just need to go in and rename this. No problem at all. So I'll rename this to CC_Rleg01. Now at this point, we're ready to color code these. So let's head over to our Archview Editor. And we'll use the same color scheme we've been using. Blue for the left side, red for the right. Great. And now to actually have these control something, what we'll need to do is go ahead and parent our reverse lock heel joints to their respective animation controls. All righty. So let's go ahead and test this out. Now when we grab the control object, it drives the entire leg. Really neat. So this rig is really starting to come together, which is a very good thing. What we'll now do is go ahead and just spend some time making sure our scene is going to be organized. So as we explained before, we're going to be creating a type of hierarchy just to make sure everything will transform properly and will be easy to access. So that's what we'll spend time doing in the following lesson.
In this tutorial, we will learn the methods that were used to rig the transforming robot. Throughout these lessons, we will learn the tools and techniques used in the setup process of both our robot and truck. The goal is to break this complex idea down into a simple, and manageable form. We'll cover the rigging process in its entirety, and along this journey, we'll be introduced to several tools that will help make this all come together efficiently. By the end of the course, you'll have the set of skills needed to rig your own transforming robot.