Blog Post Course Announcement rigtip

New! Video courses from Rigging Dojo

Rigging Dojo was founded to help artists overcome the obstacles of production by focusing on teaching the art and science of character rigging.

You wanted to work on your own, train sooner while being more affordable.

We listened and are creating, updating and streamlining our training to create a self paced, video mentor courses. Once a week a new lecture and assignment will open up as you work through the course work.

We will be continuing to add to to the available self paced courses so check back often or signup to our newsletter to get announcements on new releases and future discount codes.

Ready for more? Need to ask your questions to a human, with critique videos, discussions with classmates and the benefits of our live classes? Check out the Mentor Led Courses at the top of the page and gain access to the next level of training you need to advance.


Check out our first MetaData course and a pre-requsite for our Mentored CGM workshops, say hello to smarter rigs, better pipelines and happier animators.

“Intro To MetaData”
Only $49.99


We have also converted our class with Jeff over to the new video course site and at half the price with no wait, you can now learn the same techniques

Prop Rigging With Jeff Brodsky Video Course


Also we have posted our Quick Training custom class that Brad has used to help artists get up to speed on Maya when working in Max

Character TD 3ds Max to Maya Cross-training

Learn the tools and features with a side by side look at Maya and 3ds Max and quickly get up and running

$49.99 USD



Blog Post Course Announcement featured work rigtip

Mentor Spotlight : Daniel McCrummen

Dan is our main Face rigging 101 mentor and just wrapped up his current class.  We are really happy to have him as part of the Mentor team here at Rigging Dojo and this time because his latest class had some really nice comments for him, we had to share here.

” Just wanted to thank you for all your feedback and this awesome course. I had a lot of fun and learned a bunch of new stuff. I feel way more confident to approach face rigs, thank you!”

” Thank you for a great and fun class. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot.”

“I liked the course.  It was fun trying out techniques I haven’t used before.  Thank you Daniel!”

” I’ve learned a ton from this class, even just new general rigging techniques. Thank you so much for taking the time to mentor us and make us all videos every week!”

Thankful to our Face Rigging 101 students and we are glad you joined us for training.

Rigging Dojo Face Rigging 101
Model from Rigging Dojo and HippyDrome.Com

Want to join in on the fun? You can find out more about our classes and we will look forward to training with you.


Blog Post news rigtip update

2016 year of the Technical Director

“Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.”

That quote could easily be talking about jobs and TDs, as 2016 so far has started out with a long list of studios looking to hire Technical Directors for character rigging, pipeline and character FX while being unable to find anyone.

The problem is there are not enough available, qualified artists to fill these positions, still! Even with the overflowing amount of information and training available, people still fall short of the skills needed to land the jobs that are waiting for them.

This overwhelmingly comes down to having a guide, mentor, shaman, coach or guru ( call it what you want) to take your skills to the level they need to be to get hired.

You need work that stands out from the noise of job applications, you need quality levels in your work that comes from direct feedback from those in the industry doing the work and you need a focus for your time and energy so you work smart, not harder on things that won’t get you hired.

We have classes coming up in February and March for Python scripting and rig automation in Maya, Advanced VFX Face shape modeling, Learn to rig faces in a flexible way, Unique challenges with Prop Rigging -because we all get sick of biped rigs,  Motion and Performance Capture Animation with MotionBuilder (We have trained many of the biggest AAA studio teams in the industry) and for those advanced python scripters looking to push your value as an artists to the extreme, our Maya API plugin coding class is back. You can learn all about our courses and apprenticeships to see what is right for you.

We are looking to improve our payment system to offer more flexible payments for people this year and a few other small upgrades to the site and our A.I.R A La Carte videos. We more great interviews and live presentations planned and a few other special projects we will announce when they are ready.

2016 also has Rigging Dojo heading back to UT Austin and Austin Community College for guest lectures and we have some more Studio consulting and training through our partnership with Autdoesk Consulting Services.

Speaking of Autodesk, have you read over Brads review of the Autodesk 2016 Creation Suite? find out what he has to say and how it might impact your production cycle this year.

Last but not least check out a new way to learn Weta Animator and TD, Morgan Loomis. Morgan was one of the first Industry pros that approached us wanting to mentor for us and he really “got” what we were wanting to do with Rigging Dojo. While he has been busy with life and working on some amazing projects at Weta Digital we are excited to see him offering a chance to learn from him  with a very accessible and informal way.

Make 2016 a year of action, learning and career success, we want to help you succeeded and be part of that journey,
Josh, Chad and Brad and the entire team of amazing Rigging Dojo Mentors

Blog Post interview news rigtip

Meet The Rigging Team – Anomalia: Keith Lango “Poutnik”

Meet the character TDs behind Keith Lango’s “Poutnik”



Once more  Rigging Dojo partnered up with Anomalia! Together we put a small group of rigging students into a unique remote production environment. The goal for the Riggers was to create animation rigs for the “ANOMALIA 2014 Cartoon Animation Production”, led by our friend Keith Lango.

Our special 8-week course was called  “Anomalia: Cartoon Rigging for production”.

“It was one of my first contacts of that magnitude with scripted rigs and I have learned incredibly much from Jeff (in terms of concepts and organizing these tasks) as well as from my fellow students in the course.
The tools we created and the skills I have learned during the course I have used in every single project I did since then. ”

Rigging for this short film had a very interesting mandate from Keith – fast, simple, intuitive rigs. Anyone that has tried to simplify something that has grown overly complex will realize this isn’t easy to do. The team took on the challenge and succeed.  Jeff Brodsky led the class and acted as Mentor and Lead for the team. He did a fantastic job balancing teaching with the production goals of getting the rigs ready for the animation students in Keith’s class.


Here are some notes and guidelines from Keith on how he wanted the rigs.

  • Keep it simple and intuitive for the animator. we don’t need a million controls and options when unnecessary.
  • Get some core features (limbs, spine hands and feet) in there but don’t worry about bells and whistles for this first round.
  • We need bendy / spline arms on these guys
  • Keep the silhouette on these guys smooth (hips knees elbows etc..) like Gumby 🙂
  • Put some decent deformations in there but don’t spend too much time on deformations during this initial prototype round

Fast iteration of the rigs was key. The course was focused on how to meet production deadlines with a small budget and timeline. Artistic choices and animation needs drove the requirements for the rigging. This meant that the students had to exercise restraint on making complex setups and they had to make sure they had a solid foundation and a fast rig first. The other unique challenge was that there were lots of similar characters but they were all diffrent enough to require a new rig.

Jeff had the students each explore ideas for how to rig the characters, reviewing and helping narrow down the best methods to use. The students worked up ideas, submitted tests and through feedback from Jeff and Keith got the rig features locked in and then went to work scripting and automating the build of it so they could finish up all the characters efficiently.

Deformations were a challenge because of the simplified polygon meshes that had to stay hard-edged. Also, the meshes would not be smoothed because of the cartoon line effect for the final render. After a bit of exploring how the deformations showed up in the cartoon rendered look they got the skinning working well. In production the final output has to be taken into account and it is easy to forget that when working on a character for a demo reel with out a real production requirement.

Another character challenge that the team had to rig by hand was this giant crab creature. The scripted system built for the other characters couldn’t be used on a creature and it was decided it wasn’t worth spending the production time on trying to make a “do everything” auto rig. Reality of budget production is it has to get done on time with out extra money or time to spend on making a perfect system. Learning and knowing how to rig without the automated system is still an important task that is missing from many students we meet.

Here are our excellent students that took on the challenge of learning and rigging for the short film.

Duncan Rudd :

My name is Duncan Rudd. I’ve been working as a 3d Generalist since 2003 but, in recent years, I’ve leaned more heavily towards character animation and, in particular, the technical challenges of character rigging and scripting. I’m currently living in Manchester, England and working as a freelance animator / rigger.
The Anomalia course with Jeff was great. I really enjoyed being part of a team and helping to figure out solutions to the unique challenges that Keith’s film demanded. I’ve since used an adapted version of the mini rigging api that we developed to build other characters as well – hopefully I’ll be able to use it again for the short film I’m currently working on in my free time.
If anyone want to see examples of my work, there are a few videos here:


Richard Maegaki:

Hello! Richard here. Born in ’86, always loved video games when growing up and found the tools to bring life to my passion in CG animation. Not quite an artist and not quite a programmer, turns out what I had most fun in doing was rigging and character setup, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 8 years. And even though I am a slow learner, yes, the passion is still there! 🙂

Rigging Dojo’s course was a real humbling experience. With Jeff’s help and with all I learned from my colleagues, I then understood that all these years of experience I had were just the beginning of my rigging journey.

Rigging samples:


Julian Oberbeck:

Hey everyone, my Name is Julian Oberbeck and I am a 3d technical (character) artist. I have been involved with animation, games / vfx, since about 2010 when I started first studying animation & game design. I did not start off with the intention of going into rigging and rather stumbled into it a bit when I had the feeling that I can improve my animation skills by understanding the rigs I was working with. During that time I realized how much I enjoy working on characters and single assets rather than shots. I think of rigging as a connection point between a lot of other steps and that the kind of low level knowledge about how 3d works which you can gain from rigging is applicable to any step of 3d content creation. 
Since back then I have worked on quite a few projects, lots of student shortfilms, games and tv series and a feature film.

The course with Jeff was amazing. 
I already knew Jeff from a video he posted on his vimeo account about his approach to variable fk rigs which I thought was pretty neat and tried to write an auto-rigger for. That was my first a bit bigger python project back then so when I found out about the class I more or less spontaneously decided to join immediately.
During the class we spent some time in the beginning prototyping different rigs / rig features and then creating a system for deploying it with all the characters from the movie. It was one of my first contacts of that magnitude with scripted rigs and I have learned incredibly much from Jeff (in terms of concepts and organizing these tasks) as well as from my fellow students in the course.
The tools we created and the skills I have learned during the course I have used in every single project I did since then.

Lately I have been interesting a lot in rigging for games and realtime applications. A few weeks ago I finished a project for the oculus rift in which I did not only rigging but a lot of other tasks as well developing my skills again more towards a generalist direction.
Currently I am worked on my diploma in technical direction at the Filmacademy Baden-Württemberg (where I pretty surely would not be without the knowledge from the Rigging Dojo course).

Here is my current but already a bit outdated showreel:


Karumbaiah K G:

Hey guys! My name is Karumbaiah KG. Started my career in 2010 after my bachelor’s degree in Animation. Started at a small company in South India by doing Rigging and Animation and moved on to dynamic rig creation and simulation of clothes, hair, feathers, fur and other props for feature films, ride films and TV series as I like both the artistic and technical sides of animation. I am working towards being a Creature TD in the future.

The Anomalia course, helped me immensely. My classmates were on an entirely different level when we reached the scripting stage. To be honest, it was a bit overwhelming at the time as I was a was a complete beginner at scripting. It really made me work harder. I have learned a whole lot of new things about workflow techniques and most importantly, collaborating as a team with my super talented coursemates from all over the world.

I am currently working for a company in Tokyo as a Character FX artist(known as Karum-san here :D) mainly creating dynamic rigs and simulations for semi-realistic and cartoony characters as the projects require. Also play a small part in UI tool creations. It’s a great experience so far and I doubt I would have had the confidence to take bigger risks, if not for my participation in this course and of course help from Rigging Dojo mentors!



About Anomalia:

The Anomalia training program is the non-profit organization that is put together for European students every year. It is part of a summer marathon of animation courses hosting expert instructors from top studios such as Pixar, Valve and Aardman Animations. They have specific courses (rigging, animation, story telling, etc), where students go to a small town in the Czech Republic for 2 weeks and learn face to face.

Our rigging dojo “Advanced Cartoon Rigging” course was focused on giving the students a good representation of rigging for a production and teaching the fundamentals of cartoon rigging, all while producing production-ready rigs that were used at Anomalia on their short film.


p.s. This wouldn’t have happened without the Man! Keith Lango- go follow him on Twitter.


Course Announcement news update

Ramahan Faulk New Mentor, New Course at Rigging Dojo

We are excited and happy to welcome and old friend, Ramahan Faulk, recently of Digital Domain, to Rigging Dojo as our new modeling Mentor!

Ramahan will be teaching a course on professionally built topology for performance based deformations. A must-take course for modelers who need to build for animation as well as character TDs needing to improve their eye for topology and controlling the shapes their rig makes.

Apply Now -start date Nov 17th 2014!


Ramahan Faulk

As a leading character performance focused artist and technician, Ramahan Faulk has worked on many high-end film projects as well as major video game franchises and commercials. Prior to his career in the entertainment business Ramahan was on active duty with the United States Navy as Jet Engine Mechanic where he explored all things technical and exploited his enjoyment for aviation for 9 years. After serving in the Desert Storm War, Ramahan decided to make his passion for character art a lucrative career. “There is nothing more special than doing what you love to do” During his Visual FX career Ramahan quickly developed his skill set and has worked on projects such as James Cameron’s Avatar, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Eragon, Maleficent, The Adventures of Tintin, The Fantastic Flying Books of M r. Morris Lessmore (that won an Academy A ward for Best Short Film (Animated) and m any others. Ramahan has also been intricately involved in real-ti me game productions during his career with a focus being on developing award winning and compelling facial performances that can be adapted to game development and various real-ti me areas of the pre-production process. Ramahan has always enjoyed following technology and finding creative ways of harnessing its power for that perfect shot or immersive real-time experience.

Special Course: About the course

Production Modeling and Sculpting FACS Facial blendshapes for VFX

This course is essential in understanding the need of professionally built topology for performance based deformations.

FACS Paul Faces

Week 1 – Topology

A basic mesh to communicate theories on topology is provided.
Instruction will be given on proven techniques and the thought process behind them . This weeks lessons will aid in resolving topology issues in production and building solutions that are bullet proof.

Week 2- Blendshapes

Reading motion and blendshape development
We will be teaching the process of reading reference correctly and how to properly great motion in blendshapes using a basic scalable workflow.*

Week 3- Face details

We will be discussing the face structures and deforming forms of the face while you author convincing shapes using the techniques covered in week 1-2

Week 4 – Practice and review

We will doing a recap on all techniques and spending more time on practices from week 3..
At the completion of week 4 the artist will have been exposed to the building blocks required to successfully develop his or her skill set in the area of facial blendshape and create topology for professional productions.

*Model will be provided, Maya and Mudbox will be the base teaching applications.

Apply Now -start date Nov 17th 2014!