Rigging Dojo Apprenticeship Experience

After being on the waiting list for a few months, I finally had a chance to experience the Rigging Dojo Apprenticeship last Fall.

With my background in the game industry, the mentor that I was matched up was Todd Widup, and simply put, he is awesome! All of our sessions were done over Skype and overall went very smooth. After brief introductions, we jumped right into it. Todd started by asked questions to get a feel on the topics that peaked my curiosity.

With the rigging project I was currently engaged in at Cogswell, I primarily voiced my interest in revisiting subjects in which I’ve felt somewhat stagnant in: notably facial rigging and spine rigging. During our sessions, Todd covered some effective rigging approaches he used in his career. To help create more talking points and to enrich the learning experience, Todd also whipped together sample Maya files throughout the week, and would talk me through every node used in each setup.

The timing couldn’t be better for the apprenticeship, many if the biped approaches I was able to test out on my own Caroline rig for Cogswell. With Todds wisdom, I was able to make unique use of Maya’s bezier spline curves to create bendy arms and bypass the use of clusters using more efficient pointOnCurve nodes. A lot of these techniques showed me so much more I could learn about bipeds, and I continued to research and rethink every step of the rig to move beyond my comfort zone of tried and true auto-rig scripts I developed though the years. Caroline turned out really well as it progressed from being a quick freelance gig, to a passion project. Even after approval, it was really hard for me to stop working on her!

Up to this point in my career I’ve always been the only Rigger on a team, if not, the most senior. It was a really refreshing experience to pick the brain of a more seasoned professional, and trade some stories. All the while, learning more about rigging!

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