Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Meet the Dino Rig!

Here at Escape Studios our student animators are testing out this excellent dinosaur rig by Harry Gladwin-Geoghegan. It's a great free rig for Maya animators, and you can download it here.

The Dino rig is excellent for doing creature locomotion, and just about the only thing it won't do is close-ups, as the facial controls are quite limited.

But, to get some great dino action on your animation demo reel, this could well be the best rig to choose.
Who made this rig?

The model of an albertosaurus was created by Timur Mehmet. Rigging and skinning was by Harry Gladwin-Geoghegan.

Where can you find it?
You can find the free dino rig here at Creative Crash. Note that it gets five stars on 22 ratings - an excellent rating.

Does it scale?
Yes. Select Rig Global Scale on the main world control and you can scale the rig.

Can you adjust the resolution of the rig?
Yes, go to the Rig Resolution slider in the Channel Box on the world control, and you can change the rig from low poly to high poly. Work in low poly to get real time playback in your viewport.

Does it have facial controls?
Yes, but they are rather limited. You can do nostril flares and eye blinks, and there are controls for the jaw and the tongue. But you can't really get expressions out of him.

How do you animate the tail?
You can animate the tail using the FK controls. There is also a switcher at the base of the tail that allows you to switch to an automated tail setup, but we haven't managed to make this work successfully.

How do you animate the claws?
The claws have a limited functionality which is located on a "Claw Curl" slider in the channel box on the Wrist Joint.

How do the feet work?
The foot controls contain various foot roll sliders. And, when translated upwards in the Y axis, the "toe flop" is automatically applied to the feet.

How did dinosaurs walk?
We don't really know, of course. But we can take a look at their closest living relatives - birds - to get an idea. For example, check out this video of an ostrich below.

Why learn to animate dinosaurs?
Because they've been a staple of Hollywood blockbusters for years, and also for TV documentaries. After all, it was Walking With Dinosaurs that made London's Framestore an international powerhouse in creature animation.  The savvy creature animator needs a couple of good dino shots on their demo reel.

License Terms
Harry says "feel free to animate with this rig as long as you give credit. Also if you like the animation you've created, send a link to it at"

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

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