Thursday, 21 April 2016

Learning Animation? Meet Monty!

Meet Monty
One of the rigs that we recommend for student use in the early stages of learning animation is the Monty Rig, created back in 2007 by the very talented Raveen Rajadorai, and free for download at

Monty is described by his creator as "a simple ball with legs. You can control his eyebrows, eyes and do squash and stretch on him".  We would also add that he's very cute, easy to learn, you can easily change his colour and he looks very nice wearing a hat.

Like most rigs, Monty has his quirks, and it is always important to get to know a rig before you start animating. So, how can our student animators get the most out of the Monty rig?

How do you turn on Monty's brow controls? I can't see them!
Monty's brow controllers are nurbs surfaces. If you tick Nurbs Surfaces under the Show tab in your Viewport, the brow controls will pop up as five small spheres running across his forehead.  You can individually select and rotate them to get various brow expressions. You can make Monty look happy, sad, surprised, worried or angry.

Smooth Monty
To get the best quality playback for Monty, it helps to set him to Smooth Mode before you begin animating.  Click on his head controller to find the smooth slider and set it to 1.

Where can I download Monty?
You can find him here:

I am animating a walk cycle and his knees keep popping - what's going wrong?
When using Monty to create a walk cycle, avoid having Monty take really big steps. Small steps are easier to control. Big steps will cause IK problems with Monty’s knees, because the his legs will stretch out too much and the knees will "pop".

Video Demonstration
To see a quick 90 second demonstration of Monty (recommended) watch this video below

Most of all, have fun with Monty. He's an entertaining, flexible rig, and you can do tons of cool stuff with him. Check out this funny "take" below by Pernille Kjaer, showing how well suited Monty is to borad, cartoony animation.

Below are some Monty walks by Neil Whitman, showing a range of personality and character walks, and telling a short entertaining story.

Finally, remember that Monty does look very nice in a hat, and - of course - make sure you only use him for your demo reels: he's not for commercial use.


The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our new BA/MA starting in September 2016, follow this link

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