From An Essential Introduction to Maya Character Rigging by Cheryl Cabrera.
Before rigging a character, a couple of things to check before proceeding with the rigging. This will save a lot of time and reduce mental stress later.
Check that you do not have double spaces and weird modelling artifacts in your model.
- Do NOT smooth the model which will slow down the rigging and skinning process.
- Make sure the model is facing front in the front view. And in the center of world space.
- Make sure all the geometry are labelled.
- Make sure the size of the character is not too small. At least 20 units tall.
- Make Sure transformation is frozen.
- DO NOT parent geometry pieces to other geometry pieces unless you have done so to create blend shapes for the face.
- Research and plot out the skeletal structure of your character. e.g how many fingers does the character have. Does the model have a neck, if so how long is it etc....
- Think about each appendage as an individual joint chain. So seperate chain for each leg, arm, finger, head, torso. You can also add chains for articles of clothing or props.
- Place the geometry on a seperate layer so that you wont select the geo by mistake.
What I tell myself everyday.
To all the people watching, I can never ever thank you enough for the kindness to me, I'll think about it for the rest of my life. All I ask is one thing, and this is.. I'm asking this particularily of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism - for the record it's my least favorite quality, it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen." - Conan 'O'Brien