Blog Post Course Announcement news update

Announcing: MRS Makers Workshop – CG Monastery

3 spots left to get the unlocked character rig mDrake
3 spots left to get the unlocked character rig mDrake

We are updating this post with a bit more about the MRS system

What is MRS?

The Morpheus Rig System (MRS) is a python based modular framework and toolset for the creation of high quality creature and character rigs for Autodesk Maya. The fully-customizable rigs can be built for anything from a Unity mobile app to a full feature rig.

MRS uses a template system under which small rig modules are snapped together and fitted to the character model. These templates are used to generate the controls, wiring and structures of our rigs. The templates can be reconfigured and reused for multiple characters with differing proportions.

Every rig created with MRS is fully integrated into the a wider toolset to provide a full rigging and animation pipeline for studios of any size.

What makes it special?

  • Easily Customizable Templates – Simple dags where possible let us easily move things around when we’re making changes to a setup
  • Proxy Rig workflow – The way we use lofts in our setup lets us generate decent looking rough characters rapidly
  • Animator Friendly Rigs – We’re animators and we make rigs we want to use
  • Rapid Iteration – Ability to quickly try new ideas once you have the fundamentals down
  • Built for keeping rigs up to date – Scarecrow setup lets us easily roll in new rig features
  • Easy to Integrate Into Any Pipeline – Clean heirarchies and a wide array of tools means our clients rarely have issue getting our assets into their pipelines
  • Game Engine Ready – We’re building to be Unity complient and doing some Unreal work as well
  • Maya nodes – Not using custom nodes means our rigs open and work without special setups

Modular Design For Easy Extensibility – We want the system to expand so we’ve designed it to be as open as possible

Guest Post : Source: Announcing: MRS Makers Workshop – CG Monastery

Register and Buy here

If you’ve seen the Griffin or other proxy rigs we’ve been showing around and wondered how you might make something like that or if you’ve tried mDrake and would like to rig your own characters with the same setup. Here’s your chance!

We’re excited to announce the MRS Makers Workshop.

We’ve gotten a fair bit of requests from many of you interested in learning MRS. It’s taken a little time to figure out the best way to do this and we think we have a pretty good plan. We’re partnering with our friends at Rigging Dojo to facilitate this session.

What are the details:

  • Purpose
    Teach students how to use MRS to begin building their own rigs for their own projects.
  • When does it start?
    We’re scheduled to begin January 6th
  • What’s the content?
    • How to use MRS and the cgmToolbox in your own project pipelines
    • We’ll rig a quadruped from scratch
    • A biped from a starting template
    • Cover some some more advanced topics
    • Includes a six month subscription here on the Monastery to keep up to date with changes to MRS and have a voice and/or hand in where it goes from here. (all other perks as well – Morpheus for Unity content, rigs, etc)
  • How much?
    Regular price is $350 for one of these sessions. We’re offering a $150 discount through sign ups on December 31st. You’ll get a code during the process. Don’t forget to put it in!
  • Duration?
    Estimated 4-6 weeks. We’re going to get through the content. If it takes a little longer, we’re not going to say it’s done because of an artificial deadline.
  • FAQ
    • I don’t have any idea what MRS (Morpheus Rigging System) is …. You can check out a few links:
    • Will you cover facial blocks? Not in this first class. Those modules are pretty rough as they’re brand new. They work but need iteration. The other blocks have months of testing in them.

If this content proves popular enough we’ll continue adding modules like:

  • Rigging a Face with MRS
  • Expanding MRS – Making new modules

-Josh Burton

Blog Post rigtip tutorial

Cult of Rig : Season 00 Day 007 Matrix math rig clean-up

Season 00 Day 007 Stream – Cleaning the Components

“Day 7, we introduce matrix multiplication and then proceed to an uninterrupted stretch of rigging proper (yay!)
Lots of nodelling.”


What is the Matrix? 6:00 (video)

Raf hits some basics of the Matrix, the Matrix is the transform in Maya and describes what was required to move the object to where it is in space.

If you want to reverse the path of the object back to 0,0,0 this is the “inverse Matrix” will give you this path.

*order maters in how they are multiplied*  Similar to Rotate order

“Build a rig that you are not affrid to change the rig”

Implement the rig:

If the rig so far has been built correctly you can simply select all the “deform” nodes and graph them and cut the connections. (rig should stop updating the mesh after)

Don’t be afraid to detach chunks of your rig and re-hook up later.

Next hunt down any nodes that are in the connections but not named correctly


  • pedals_M_cmpnt
    • input
      • localWorld_srt  updated to pedals_M_localWorld_srt
  • Control graphed and  “wheel_M_main_ctrl_wMtx_output_fNode2” gets updated to match what the in and out connections are “pedals_M_staffworldMtx_fNode”
  • Continue to clean the graph and make sure the IK FK blend works
    • Here you need to watch closely as Raf shows a fearless editing of the existing rig nodes to prep the rig.

Build a new attribute holder

  • Create new curve shape
    • pedals_M_settings_ctrl and parent it under the pedals_M_cmpnt-controls
    • It needs to move along with the rig
      • pedals_M_world3staff_offset_srt-> pedals_M_staffworldMTX_fNode-> pedals_M_settings_ctrl
  • Add custom attribute FKIK_switch  and pedals_gravityAligned

We had this working before but it gets disconnected and cleaned up

  • We were using the animBlendNode_AdditiveRotation weight to rotate the node to flip the value and also do the blend.
  • Make sure animBlendNode_AdditiveRotation.output -> pedals_M_pole_srt.rotation (this still works from our process before)
  • Few more cleanup passes on some of the  other unnamed nodes multMatrix1, decomposeMatrix2, vectorProduct3,angleBetween node, from pedals_M_world3staff_offset_srt.   pedals_M_localizedPEdal2staff_fNode, pedals_M_localizedPEdal2staff_mtx2srt, pedals_M_ikPedals_projectedAxis_fNode, pdeals_M_ikPedals_projectedAngle_fNode

“Don’t just copy what I do, become familiar build dexterity with the Node editor”


The next process is hooking up the logic for the connections, FKIK_switch out to Weight B on but the value needs to be flipped- Using Reverse node to flip the 0 to 1 should give us the weight swap.


FKIk_swtich to animBlendNode_AdditiveRotation.Weight A to finish the rig.

Next get multDoubleLinear node take FKIK switch attribute to its input 1 and set input 2 to -1 to flip the incoming value and hook it up to the animBlendNode_AdditiveRotation.Weight A .

Rename your nodes and clean up the graph on what you just created and hooked up.

Staves rigging:

  • wheel_M_main_ctrl_wMtx_output_fNode1.Translate -> staves_srt.Translate
  • animBlendNode_AdditiveRotation.rotate-> staves_srt.rotation
  • update name animBlendNode_AdditiveRotation  to pedals_M_FKIK_rotBlend_fNode

Continue clean up and end: (1:15:00)

Here Raf walks the graph and updates the names of the nodes to help make sure they make sense to the rig and do what they are doing, there are many changes here so take the time to watch this part of the video or clean up the rig names on your own.



Get involved:
Follow Raf on twitter for announcements and news
Follow the Streams live on Twitch
Subscribe and watch past broadcasts
Cult of Rig -YouTube
And keep up to date with news on the website

Blog Post rigtip video

Custom studio training: Volition “Agents of Mayhem”

Max to MotionBuilder

We are very excited to see the great work from Volition on “Agents of Mayhem”coming out of GDC.  Rigging Dojo was hired to provide custom training for the animators on MotionBuilder as part of our custom studio training support service, allowing them to transition to the software and work efficiently.



The team was able to work through around 100 animations per character across 12 playable characters, 10 enemy troopers, 7 unique npc, bosses and male female pedestrians, all in MotionBuilder with 8 animators who on past projects were previously working in Max/Biped.

We also got to help place one of our awesome alumnus Evan Cox in a TD job at the studio. For “Agents of Mayhem” Evan did a cool face rig and has been part of the MotionBuilder support TDs, building on our training and allowing the animators to create the huge amount of detailed and diverse animation they had for the game.

Profile Image

Check out the slides from from the 2017 GDC vault that Mike Jungbluth gave on the animation process. Great tips on MotionCapture as a base for stylistic animation and how to push the poses for best end results and adjusting timing to make the base mocap have more impact and work best for their style of game play.

Session NameAnimating an Agent of Mayhem
Speaker(s)Michael Jungbluth
Company Name(s)Volition
Track / FormatDesign
OverviewTo tackle the unique challenge of animating 12 playable characters in an open world game, the animation team on \’Agents of Mayhem\’ had to embrace thinking in systems not individual assets. This approach lead to universal character charts, full body procedural transitions, a reactive mood facial system, embracing outsourcing and how best to leverage style. This talk will go in depth on every aspect of the animation process, from art, tech and design, to show our approach on how to create and animate an appealing character in a more holistic manner.


Evan did a great talk for us you can get here that covers some of his earlier tool work, training with us at Rigging Dojo and getting his first job in the industry and (keeping it 🙂

3December A.I.R : Evan Cox (Volition) Getting your foot in the industry door

from Rigging Dojo Episode 7 of 21

Alumni Evan Cox, now a Tech artist at Volition game studio. He will cover topics like Education and getting a first industry job, and some of his tools: Splashboard & Auto Face Rig The Generators.
Presenter Evan Cox
Bio Associate Technical Animator with Deep Silver Volition. 2013 graduate from Michigan State University with a BA in Game Design and Development. Rigging Dojo alumni.
Topic(s) Getting your foot in the industry door
Description Evan explains his process for learning his craft then applying it to get a job in the game industry
Brief Outline 8:25 – Why Is This Relevant?
10:35 – Educational Aspect
30:31 – Scripting Projects
Automated Facial Rigging System
Google Image Search
49:19 – Look to Those Above You
54:39 – Transitioning to a Work Environment
1:02:10 – Glad I Did – Wish I Had
1:10:18 – Q&A


Further learning:

Need to learn MotionBuilder or is your studio growing and needing to have full custom support for your TDs or production?

Check out our MotionBuilder Rigging to Re-targeting workshop.

Buy the class @



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.