As we know a rigger is not just a scripting and plug-in expert but is also someone who has very solid skills in anatomy and body proportion. Today I would like to talk about: How a geometric skeleton can help your Maya joint placement layout.
Should I model a geometric biped/quadruped skeleton before starting my maya joint placement?
For my personal experience as Creature TD specialised in muscle deformations I would rather say YES.
Of course if you work in a studio you will never start from scratch because they will definitely have their own library with a geometric skeleton that you can adapt based on the proportion of your character.
If you are a student and you are doing your academic project I’m sure you will be able to find some free online models as well to use as a starting point!
Bones-Skin proximity factor:
During the process of adapting your Geo Skeleton into your Creature’s proportion is essential to keep in mind the Bones-Skin Proximity factor, here some useful references!
As you can see from the reference above we have quite a huge number of important landmarks to keep in mind for a correct skeleton Layout! I definitely suggest to start from the Upper Torso, spending some times to properly layout the following key landmarks:
Scapula (Acromion area)
Why adding a Geo skeleton into your Anim Rig can help an animator?
What I do all the time is to add a simple Geo Skeleton into every AnimRig, that will help the animator to get a better feeling of the pose during the blocking phase or to judge In a better way an extreme pose and potentially debug wrong poses.
Once you get your Geo skeleton properly fitted into your creature it will be super straightforward to start your Maya skeleton Layout that will take less time and your rig will be correct and more efficient!
Thanks again for your time and ROCK ON!