Triple Null Rig

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The triple null is a versatile tool for creating clean/organized motion. It can be used for MANY things:

Triple null.jpg

Usage Examples

Creating the Null

Triple Null Hierarchy

To create the triple null, you can:

or Create the rig manually:

  • Create>Nurbs Primitives>Circle - Create a NURBS circle roughly the size of your object
    • Name this circle "Animate_Me_More_1"
  • Duplicate (Ctrl+d) Animate_Me_More_1 and name this circle "Animate_Me_1"
    • Scale this new circle roughly 1.25x in all directions
  • Duplicate (Ctrl+d) Animate_me_1 and name this circle "Constrain_Me_1"
    • Scale this circle roughly 1.25x in all directions
  • Select all three circles and Modify>Freeze Transformations and Modify>Center Pivot

Now to parent these circles together

  • Parent Animate_Me_More to Animate_Me
  • Parent Animate_Me to Constrain_Me
  • Select Constrain_Me and Group(ctrl+g)
  • Name this group "Constrain_null_group"

You're all set. If you'd like, you can assign each circle a new color.

  • Select the object you'd like to color
  • In the Attribute Editor (On the right side of the screen) navigate to the "nurbsCircleShape" tab.
  • Find the "Display" section
    • Inside find "Drawing Overrides"
      • Click "Enable Overrides"
      • Choose your color from the color selector

Repeat as desired

Usage Examples

Prop constraint animation
Let's use an example of Bob holding a baseball, and while he is talking he is throwing the ball up and catching it again in the same hand.

  • In this case, pose the baseball in Bob's hand and then use the null rig,
  • CAREFULLY Position my controls around the prop for my animation needs, BEFORE I constrain anything like this. See Image->
Prop Constraint Animation Example


Camera Animation

  • Constrain the Camera to "ANIMATE ME MORE"
    • Use the triple null controls to animate the movement of you camera
    • Use the outer Red "CONSTRAIN_ME" cntrl to TRANSLATE you camera
    • Use the Dark Pink "ANIMATE ME" cntrl to ROTATE your camera.
    • You now have the inner most control left over " ANIMATE ME MORE" incase of minor tweaks needed later :D

This will allow you to keep you curves nice and clean for easy editing!


IK constraints for contacts etc

  • Constrain the IK control of the character to the inner most light pink "ANIMATE ME MORE" control
  • Constrain the outer Red "CONSTRAIN ME" control to the table or or wherever you need it to stay put for contact
  • Then simply use the two pink controls to animate you IK acting

This is great for layering in animation while maintaining contact when necessary, and if you set it up right, you should be able to reset the inner anim controls to "0" and the IK will pop right back to the contact point! :)


Vehicle animation
Use similar steps to the above techniques to constrain the vehicle and set it up for what your scene needs.
For example: If a car comes speeding around a corner and banks on two wheels, you may want to set up the constraint so you can translate and rotate the car from the base of those wheels!


Passing a prop from one to another

  • Position the prop in Character 01s hand, match or place your triple null GROUP where you need it around the prop ( think about where you want your pivot point, what will make your life easier? )
  • Once placed properly, constrain the prop to the LIGHT PINK "Animate me more" control
  • Constrain the triple null GROUP to the first character's hand.
  • Animate any movement you require while the object is with the first character using the RED "Constrain me" control
  • When you are ready to pass the object, using the RED "Constrain me" control, animate the prop into position in the hand of the second character at the frame in which control will swap from the first to the second
  • Constrain the RED "Constrain Me" control to the second characters hand.
  • KEY the BLEND PARENT Channel on the RED "Constrain Me" to value "1"
  • Go back one frame and key the same blend to value "0" this way the control has now switched to the second character.

If those steps have been followed correctly you can now use the DARK PINK "Animate me" control to do any needed animation on the prop itself. ALSO the inner most LIGHT PINK "Animate me more" control remains free to use for additional anim or crash fixes! :D


Two handed weapon or prop
(I would do this with either both hands in IK or have the DRIVING hand in FK and the FOLLOWING hand in IK)

  • Decide which hand is DRIVING the movement, this will be the dominant hand which will control the prop or weapon. The other hand will be FOLLOWING the movement.
  • Pose weapon with both hands positioned correctly.
  • Bring in the triple null and place controls in this way;
    • a. The RED "Constrain me" control is placed in relation to the DRIVING hand (again think about the smartest way to set up for your anim depending on the needs of the shot)
    • b. Constrain the prop to the DARK PINK "Animate me" control and the RED "Constrain me" control to the DRIVING HAND.
    • c. Move the LIGHT PINK "Animate me more" control over to the FOLLOWING hand an position correctly for your needs.
    • d. Constrain the FOLLOWING hand to the LIGHT PINK "Animate me more" control.

You should now be able to animate you prop or weapon, while maintaining the ability to individually animate the weapon/prop as well as the following hand, allowing for freedom in your animation.

NOTE; If the character is switching between hands a lot, for example with fancy nun-chuck work I would use a set-up more similar to the 2nd technique, except only using one character.


Thanks to Vanessa Schwartz for submitting this tutorial