A character rigger designs the skeletal framework of a person, creature or moving object. He or she constructs a computer generated 3D wire frame of a character then positions joints and points of movement, like axis around which a limb can rotate and pivot. These points are manipulated to make the character jump, stretch, smile, or produce any other combination of natural movements—like a marionette. This is done using rigging tools such as Maya or Motionbuilder and MEL scripting to simplify repetitive tasks and create fluid pipelines.
The character rigger builds virtual character skeletons and control rigs, sets deformable weighting, applies skins, creates facial shapes, all which are later used by the animator to bring the character to life. The rigger will also write MEL or Python scripts to streamline art production pipelines and develop new pipeline solutions to adapt to the changing needs of the animation team and keep up with workflow.
Skills & Education
A four-year college degree. A major in game design and development, computer science, animation or art is a good pathway to this position. It is crucial that you have a strong understanding of anatomy and a great eye for expressive motion. You will be expected to have a strong skill set in the use of rigging tools and pipeline development. Knowledge of scripting languages (MEL, Python, C++), as well as knowledge of emerging technology and evolving techniques in rigging and animation are major pluses.