Cult of Rig : Season 00 Day004 – Nodelling the Components

Season 00 Day 004 – Nodelling the Components

Day 4, nodelling some components together and finally some amount of actual rigging

Continuing to build on the previous video with some updates to the core control shapes with better direction and selection and moved the model and nodes up from the world (this was done off screen due to crash recovery)

Myth: Having more than one shape node under a transform is a problem

Busted: You can have as many shapes as needed, the problem is that some scripts and tools assume there is only one shape node and or the shape node is the name of the transform+Shape. Write better tools.


Rigging up pedals:

  • Try to keep pivots clean, either world 000 or local in the position you need (put there by the buffer)
  • Rotate order for the pedal – make sure the driving axis is not influenced by the other two axis (like X in rotate order XYZ)
  • Build rig function in the graph and don’t relay on the hiearchy of nodes to make the rig work, use good graph connections so if there are changes in the hiearchy the rig function won’t break. (see rotate order comment previously ) need rotate order help check our infographic
  • Locking attributes are an interface issue not a “rig” issue, the rig shouldn’t break the actual functionality.

Make the pedals stay flat (oriented to the world) is the rigging goal (AKA anti-counter animation rig). Concept is rotation Data of the wheel control can be reversed and drive the pedal in order to have the rig do the counter animation.

Rigging Dojo Note:Raf starts talking about custom nodes vs. Maya default nodes and how connections like we are about to do cause Maya to create unitConversion nodes to deal with Angles and Radian conversions between connections. Rigging Dojo Alumnus Ryan Porter has release an open source set of angle nodes to help keep the graph clean
You can use the animBlendNodeAdditiveRotation node to do this without extra nodes or unit conversions to reverse the rotation if you need or want to to stay in vanilla Maya.


  • rotationX -> input A and B of the animBlendNodeAdditiveRotation node then set the Weight B to -1 you now have zeroed out the rotation from the input.

Video 30:00

  • Notes on Left and Rig components (example is the left and right pedals) It all can still be thought of as a middle component
    • We asked about a shot need like a gag that animators need to counter rotate the arms like they broke.
      GREAT TIP!!! as long as it is for  a single shot fine to do a single one off

      “Don’t complicate anything you design you can preemptively address any case you can think of…. address the minimal requirements. as well you can and quickly as you can and let them find out what they like about the main use cases”

Rig the other side:

  • Duplicate the pedals_M_pedalLeft_ctrl_srtBuffer and name it Right
  • Move the buffer to translate the rig over to the right pedal location
  • At this point Raf hit a point where there were some bad issues with the rig because of so many connections going to one node that was effecting many areas…time to break up the connections
  • Under pedals_M_cmpnt  break up the deform output system
    • deform (create new nodes)
      • pedals_M_pole_srt
      • pedals_M_pedalLeft_srt
      • pedals_M_pedalRight_srt
    • These new deform nodes replace the quick connections done before so re-connect the incoming connections from the controls to the deform nodes and then back out to the mesh
      the pedals_M_pedalLEft_ctrl_srtBuffer ->addDoubleLinear to the new deform-pedal_m_pedalLeft_srt– and back to pedal_L_footRest_mesh
    • Continue for the pole and the Right pedal



Wheel hook up 58:00

Time to drive the wheel mesh with the control rig so follow the process for component hookups outlined so far and check out the video

  • need to create an pedals_M_cmpnt- output
    • create (staves_srt)
  • hook up the connections to drive the wheel and we need world transform as this is the master control or close to master:
    pedals_M_staff_ctrl-decomposeMatrix- staves_srt-(wheel_input)localWorld_srt-wheel_M_main_ctrl_srtBuffer

When you do “god” nodes or master nodes always add offsets to these controls as a safety backup. The offsets allow you to expose it to animators without creating a problem with trying to deal with Maya pivots.


  • output
    • master_srt
  • control
    • godNode_M_master_ctrl_srtBuffer
      • godnode_M_master_Ctrl
        • godNode_M-masterOffset_ctrl


… This section gets a bit complex and hard to follow here in text, make sure you watch the video and build the nodes as you follow along


quality comes from Iterations, build a rig that you are not afraid to edit…building a robust and clean rig allows this.

Q: can you add an attribute to turn off the autocounter rotation on the pedals.

A: Adding an attribute to allow the effect to be turned off can create a bit of a cycle loop on the graph but it isn’t too bad, won’t cause a problem. Using a custom attribute “blend” to the pedals_m_sttaff_ctrl and feed it in to the multDoubleLinear value to change the multiplier.



NOTE: Thank you to the other TDs reading over our documents and catching problems, spelling or things we missed, it makes it better and we appreciate it.



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