Blog Post news update

Introducing Maya 2020 Rigging Features

New rigging features to note, we are putting notes that might get overlooked here from the 2020 Maya Docs so people can focus on just the rigging updates.

Cached Playback whitepaper: For riggers, TDs, and plug-in authors who want to understand the Cached Playback architecture so they can benefit from recent performance enhancements in Maya, we’ve provided more comprehensive explanations of Cached Playback in the Maya Cached Playback whitepaper.

Maya Help: Matrix operators

New rivet tool follicle replacements
Maya Help: Create a Rivet (The Rivet command lets you attach locators directly to a deforming mesh. )

Changes to Maya’s transformation model

A new matrix input, parentOffsetMatrix, has been added to all Transform-derived nodes to simplify the Dependency Graph (DG) and directed acyclic graph (DAG) graphs.

Why we care…watch this video and then keep going.

The addition of this attribute also enables advanced new Matrix-driven workflows:

  • keeps translation, rotation, and scale channels on driven transforms unpopulated and available for animation
  • reduces the number of DG and DAG nodes and connections riggers need to create
  • lets you define the position of a node when its transform attributes are zeroed out
  • reduces computational overhead and simplifies editing in the node editor

Currently in Maya, most constraint computation is matrix math, the result of which is decomposed to scale, rotation, and translation values that are then used to drive other transforms. This leads to extra complexity in the graph and excessive computation.

The offsetParentMatrix is inserted in the transform model after the parent matrix and acts as an offset to its own parent matrix. This new attribute lets you skip the expensive decomposition/composition step. It has the added benefit of leaving the driven transform’s scale, rotation, and translation channels available for animation. This process reduces the number of DAG and DG nodes riggers need to create in rigs.

This is great but how do you split out this information when needed? Enter the Pick Matrix Node to change what the offsetParentMatrix looks at, Scale, Rotate, Translate to make a more powerful “parent” constraint.

And here is a bit deeper look at the Matrix information and how to explore and use it.
Matrix Widget

And just for fun…they have added a MotionBuilder-style X-ray toggle to cycle through rig display, rig accordingly.

Press Alt + A to cycle through different X-ray modes

Cycle rig display mode is a shortcut that lets you press Alt + A to cycle between joints, controls, and character using the Cycle rig display mode hotkey. (You can also access these modes through the Shading Panel menu.)

rigtip update

Why do I need a Mentor?

Rig in to Spring, flowering tree here in Austin Texas with joints drawn over it in MAya

Are you better off without a mentor or coach?

Do you know who Toni Nadal is? He is the Uncle and Coach of Rafael Nadal, the famed tennis player. Rafael has won over 50 tournaments and an Olympic gold medal. He has made 60 million dollars in professional tennis.

Ronda Rousey, arguably the best fighter in the world—male or female. She didn’t get to this place alone and still before every fight, goes in to fight camp to improve and to work on weak areas and prepare.

What do you do?

Why do these world class professional athletes still need a coach?

We all need coaching to succeed. Success is relative for everyone, but hard work and proper coaching are the keys to achieve it.

The 10,000 hour rule popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” is only half the story in my opinion. What if you practice the wrong things for 10,000 hours? You’ll be good at doing the wrong things. This is why coaching is so important. The coach doesn’t take on some of those hours and labor for you, he or she points you to the best way to spend those 10,000 hours. The coach tells you what roadblocks you’ll encounter at what time. With the best ways to avoid or mitigate them as well.

Toni actually chose to practice on lousy courts with bad balls, just to teach young Rafael that winning or losing isn’t about good balls or courts or strings or lights. It’s about attitude, discipline, and perhaps most importantly, perspective … The latter is such a significant component precisely because perspective may be the hardest of all things to maintain once you hit a certain level in tennis.

We are all students and teachers

One of our ideas on perspective is that we are all students and teachers. At a Siggraph in the late 90’s Brad and I watched a presentation on the rigging for the film “Chicken Little”. The broken hierarchy approach they utilized blew us away. The rigs and animation seemed dynamic and fun. Recently, some of those folks have contacted us at Rigging Dojo to chat and discuss the future of rigging and educating TD’s. Full Circle.

We’ve learned a lot from our students in our Apprenticeships as well. Sometimes it’s a new technique, but it’s usually about how each individual approaches a problem.

We specialize in mentoring and coaching, we’ve been doing it for a long time at the top studios in the world. But we’re still learning from our students too. That is such an amazing gift.


The Nine Old Men at Disney knew the power of mentoring and they became guides, mentors and inspiration the next generation of artists.  Guess what, even these masters had continued education and coaching from Walt Stanchfield to become better artists. There are coaches for all topics in life, we all need help on our paths.

We started Rigging Dojo to help mentor, support and coach character TD’s and Technical Artists. If you want to explore learning with us, here’s how we can help you spend the next 9,900 hours working on the right things.

Ready to up your game, improve your work to get a raise, get a new job or work faster and smarter?

Apply now

Blog Post

Open Source – Dem Bones

Want to learn how to compile these plugins for Maya? Grab our free guide

Source: Open Source – Dem Bones

Introducing Dem Bones: an Open Source Library for Skinning Decomposition, great news!! #rigtip #skinning #deformation #opensource

Great news for those who never could get the built in Autodesk version to work correctly or with enough flexibility and the updates and improvements sound great from the original creator.

A great use of the Dem Bones system with a small update from Chad to work better with existing skinned models. Check it out!

Blog Post

Compiling C++ Plugins for Maya


Get a taste for the basics of plugin compiling from Raf and The Cult Of Rig then check out our courses both the Maya C++ API 101 mentor led course and our more advanced 201 on demand plugin coding course.



You can also check out our free API compiling guide book to pair with the Cult of Rig video.

Blog Post rigtip tutorial

Maya #rigtip – Jaw Translation on Vimeo

Nice rig tip on using the remap value node to improve the feel and look of the jaw in motion, from our alumnus Greg Hendrix. #rigtip #faceRigging #Maya #Autodesk

Greg Hendrix