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Creating a Magnum Mecha Character in Maya: Part 9

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In this part of the tutorial, I’ll show you how to create control curves and IK controls, and how to link controls to the IKs.

1. Creating Control Curves

Step 1

Open Maya. Open the file that was saved in the last part of the tutorial.

Open Maya
Open Maya

Step 2

Create a polygon cube on the perspective
grid as shown in the following image.

Create a polygon cube
Create a polygon cube

Step 3

Go to Create > Curve Tools CV Curve Tool and click on the option
box.

Create  Curve Tools  CV Curve Tool
Create > Curve Tools > CV Curve Tool

Step 4

In the Tool Settings window, turn on the Curve
Degree 1 linear
radio button and then close it.

Tool Settings window
Tool Settings window

Step 5

With the V key pressed, click on each corner of the cube to create a curve-like polygon cube.

Click on each corner of the cube
Click on each corner of the cube

Step 6

In this way, you have created a cube-shaped curve according to the polygon cube’s shape, as shown in the following image.

Cube shaped curve
Cube-shaped curve

Step 7

Delete the polygon cube because we need only the curve shape for
creating the control curve.

Delete the polygon cube
Delete the polygon cube

Step 8

Create a duplicate curve and snap it to the ankle joint by pressing the V key. Keep the V key pressed and then, with the curve shape selected, click and drag with the middle mouse button onto the ankle joint. Also edit the shape of the foot control curve, as shown in the following image.

Create a duplicate curve
Create a duplicate curve

Step 9

Mirror the duplicate curve for the right side foot control and place it around the right ankle
joint. Rename the left foot control as Left_Foot_Control and the right foot control as Right_Foot_Control.

Mirror the duplicate curve
Mirror the duplicate curve

2. Creating Knee Control Curves

Step 1

Jump to the front view and create a circle curve
on the grid as shown in the following image.

Jump in the front view
Jump to the front view

Step 2

Go to Show > Polygons and turn off its option box to hide all meshes except the joints and controls. 

Go to Show  Polygons
Go to Show > Polygons

Step 3

Edit the shape of the circle curve as shown in the following image. Also, make a duplicate copy of it for the opposite side. This is the same procedure as you did for the foot controls in the previous steps.

Edit the shape of the circle curve
Edit the shape of the circle curve

Step 4

Rename the controls as Left_Knee_Control
and Right_Knee_Control respectively.

Rename the controls
Rename the controls

3. Creating Hip and Torso Control Curves

Step 1

Make another duplicate copy of the box curve and snap it to the root joint as shown in the following image.

Make another duplicate copy of the box curve
Make another duplicate copy of the box curve

Step 2

Following the previous steps, jump to the control vertex selection mode and edit the shape of the curve, as shown in the following image. 

Vertex selection mode
Vertex selection mode 

Step 3

Go to Show > Polygon and turn on its option button to show all meshes once again. Rename the control as Hip_Control

Go to Show  Polygon
Go to Show > Polygon

Step 4

Create another circle curve and snap it to the Abs_Jnt joint. Rename it as Abs_Control.

Create another circle curve
Create another circle curve

Step 5

Create another cube curve and snap it to the Chest_Jnt as shown in the following image.

Create another cube curve
Create another cube curve

Step 6

Edit the shape of the chest control curve as shown in the following image and rename it as Chest_Control.

Edit the shape of the chest control curve
Edit the shape of the chest control curve

Step 7

Create two circle curves in the side view port as shown in the following image.

Create two circle curves
Create two circle curves

Step 8

Snap these curves to the Left_Arm_Jnt and Right_Arm_Jnt joints respectively.

Snap these curves
Snap these curves

Step 9

Create two more duplicate circle curves and then snap these to the left and right elbow joints respectively.

Create two more duplicate circle curves
Create two more duplicate circle curves

Step 10

Following the previous steps, snap the cube curve to the wrist joint for creating the hand control, as shown in the following image.

Snap the cube curve
Snap the cube curve

Step 11

Jump to the vertex selection mode and edit the shape of the hand control as shown in the following image.

Jump in the vertex selection mode
Jump to the vertex selection mode

Step 12

Create a circle curve and snap it to the wrist joint to make the wrist twist control.

Create a circle curve
Create a circle curve 

Step 13

Follow the same process for the hand on the opposite side. 

Follow the same process for the opposite sides hand
Follow the same process for the hand on the opposite side

Step 14

Rename all curves as Left_Arm_Control, Left_Elbow_Control, Left_Hand_Control
and Left_Wrist_Control respectively. Following the same process, rename all the right side’s controls also.

Rename all curves
Rename all curves

4. Creating the Neck and Head Control Curves

Step 1

Create a circle curve and snap it to the Head_Jnt. Rename this control as Neck_Control.

Create a circle curve
Create a circle curve

Step 2

Create another cube curve for head control. Snap it to the Head2_Jnt and then rename it as Head_Control.

Create another cube curve
Create another cube curve

5. Cleaning the History and Freezing the Control
Curves

Step 1

With all the controls selected, go to Edit > Delete
by Type >
 History to delete the history. Alternatively, you can press Alt-Shift-D.

Edit  Delete by Type  History
Edit > Delete by Type > History

Step 2

With all the controls selected, go to Modify > Freeze
Transformations
 to fix the initial positions of the control curves.

Modify  Freeze Transformations command
Modify > Freeze Transformations command

Step 3

With all the control curves selected, create a layer and put all the controls into it. Rename the layer as AllControlCurves.

Create a layer
Create a layer

6. Applying IK Handles on the Joints

Step 1

Hide all the controls by hitting the visibility button on the layer, as shown in the following image.

Hide all controls
Hide all controls

Step 2

Go to Skeleton > Create IK Handle and click on its option box to open the settings window.

Skeleton  Create IK Handle
Skeleton > Create IK Handle

Step 3

In the Tool
Settings
window, choose Rotate-Plane
Solver
as the current solver. Close the tool settings window.

Tool Settings window
Tool Settings window

Step 4

Clicking on Left_Thigh_Jnt followed by Left_Heel_Jnt lets you see the IK handle being applied, as shown in the following image.

IK handle
IK handle

Step 5

Follow the same procedure to create the IK for the opposite side’s leg. Rename the IKs as Left_Leg_IK_Handle and Right_Leg_IK_Handle respectively.

IK handle
IK handle

Step 6

In the same way, create the IKs for both hands. Rename the IKs as Left_Hand_IK_Handle
and Right_Hand_IK_Handle, as shown in the following image.

Create the IKs for both hands
Create the IKs for both hands

7. Creating Elbow IK Controls

Step 1

Make two duplicate copies of the knee control curves and then move and place these to the back side of the elbows, as shown in the following image.

Make two duplicate copies
Make two duplicate copies

Step 2

Rename these controls as Left_Elbow_IK_Control
and Right_Elbow_IK_Control respectively.

Rename these controls
Rename these controls

8. Linking Foot Controls

Step 1

Jump to the Rigging mode. Select Left_Foot_Control followed by Left_Leg_IK_Handle and then go to Constrain > Point and click on its option box.

Jump in the Rigging mode
Jump to the Rigging mode

Step 2

In the Point Constraint Options window, turn on the Maintain offset check box and
then click on the Add button to apply the point constraint.

In the Point Constraint Options window
In the Point Constraint Options window

Step 3

For testing purposes, move the Left_Foot_Control. You
can see the IK also moves according to the foot control, as shown in the following image.

Left_Foot_Control
Left_Foot_Control

Step 4

Select Left_Foot_Control followed by Left_Heel_Jnt and then go to Constrain > Orient and click on its option box to open the settings window.

Constrain  Orient
Constrain > Orient

Step 5

In the
Orient Constraint Options window, turn on the Maintain offset check box and then click on the Add button to apply the orient constraint.

Orient Constraint Options
Orient Constraint Options

Step 6

Rotate the Left_Foot_Control. You can see the IK and Left_Heel_Jnt also rotate according to the rotation of the foot control, as shown in the following image.

Rotate the Left_Foot_Control
Rotate the Left_Foot_Control

9. Linking the Left Knee Controls

Step 1

Select Left_Knee_Control followed by Left_Leg_IK_Handle and then
go to Constrain > Pole Vector
command to apply.

Constrain  Pole Vector command
Constrain > Pole Vector command

Step 2

After
applying the pole vector constraint, you can see the link as a green wire, as shown in the following image.

Pole vector constraint
Pole vector constraint

Step 3

Following the same procedure, create the link for the left side foot and knee
controls also.

Create the link for the left side foot
Create the link for the left side foot

10. Linking the Hip, Torso and Chest Controls

Step 1

Select Hip_Control followed by Root_Jnt, and then go to Constrain > Parent and click on the option box.

Constrain  Parent
Constrain > Parent

Step 2

In the Parent Constraint Options window,
turn on the Maintain offset check box, and then click on the Add button to
apply Parent Constraint.

Parent Constraint Options window
Parent Constraint Options window

Step 3

For checking purposes, rotate the Hip_Control and you can see the upper spine joints orient according to the hip control, as shown in the following image.

Rotate the Hip_Control
Rotate the Hip_Control

Step 4

Select Hip_Control followed by Abs_Control and then press the P key to parent them.

Select Hip_Control followed by Abs_Control
Select Hip_Control followed by Abs_Control

Step 5

Select Chest_Control followed by Abs_Control and then press the P key to parent them.

Select Chest_Control followed by Abs_Control
Select Chest_Control followed by Abs_Control

Step 6

For checking purposes, move and rotate Hip_Control. You can see the upper Abs_Control
and Chest_Controls also orient according to the hip control, as shown in the following image.

Move and rotate Hip_Control
Move and rotate Hip_Control

Step 7

Select Chest_Control followed by Chest_Jnt and then go to Constrain > Orient constraint.

Select Chest_Control followed by Chest_Jnt

Step 8

For checking purposes, move and rotate Chest_Control. You can see the upper neck and head joints also orient according to the chest control, as shown in the following image.

Move and rotateChest_Control
Move and rotate Chest_Control

Step 9

In this way, you are done with the upper controls and linking.

Final look
Final look

Conclusion

In the next part of the tutorial, I’ll show you how to create various controls for the hand and fingers.