RIGGER: THE MOTION CONTROLLER
IF YOU ARE A SAILING ENTHUSIAST, THE TERM RIGGER IS NOT UNKNOWN TO YOU, SINCE IT DESCRIBES THE PERSON WHO SPECIALIZES IN THE RIGGING OF SAILING BOATS.
Closer to the artistic field, rigging is also the act of lifting and hanging sets, lights and sound equipment high up on stage... In other words, you don't have to be afraid of heights! As far as we are concerned, the rigger adopts a more seated position, which does not mean comfortable, since in 3D animation, he / she plays an essential role. So what does rigging consist in?
TECHNIQUE AND REALISM
It is a very technical step in the 3D animation process, intended for people who are not afraid of technique, geometrical constraints (complex connections in particular), and even scripting (in Python, Maxscript or other languages), a little bit like the video game programmer .
This speciality can be studied in parallel with 3D modeling and animation.
Technically, the rigger's task consists in using software such as 3DS Max, Maya, Softimage, Cinema 4D, Blender, to set up "control points" on the dynamic areas of the model provided by the 3D Modeler.
This technician thus provides the game characters (humans, animals, monsters) with a "digital skeleton" that will allow them to move realistically, providing a whole set of control elements for the animator. The latter will therefore be able to take control of his / her character, a skeleton he / she will animate like a puppet, in the best possible way.
In addition to the technical side, this position requires a great sense of observation. The setup or rigging is therefore a step in the creation of 3D models which consists in :
- integrating to the character / object modeling all the elements that will make them easy to animate, according to the specifications;
- creating an ergonomic interface for the following users (animators, layout-men, special effects designers, rendering designers);
- adapting the "setuped" objects to the production pipeline (or production "workflow").
This step is inherent to all fields using real-time or calculated 3D animation: animated films, games, virtual reality, simulation, advertising films, etc. It is particularly relevant to the audiovisual and gaming industries.
Most of the existing rigs concern 3D character bodies.
But, it is also very important to know how to rig a face, a car, even a camera. Face rigs are also often associated with morph expressions.
QUALITIES: RIGOR AND ORGANIZATION
True technical conductor, the Rigger must be rigorous and organized.
He / she is a key element of the production, swinging between pure technical skills, understanding of motion science and its constraints very close to programming. The studios are in demand for rigging specialists, who allow the animators to bring creations to life in the best possible way.
MULTIPLE PROFESSIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
The rigger performs his talents in the creative departments of companies producing or publishing video games, animated films, commercials, CD-ROM, etc.
Very often, the major studios hire technical artists dedicated to character rigging, which is often a long and very delicate step to implement...
Besides, you should also know that riggers have the future ahead of them! According to all specialists, rigging is currently only in its prehistoric period...