This is a selection of rigs for an animation student, they are set up to be as easy to use as possible. You can download them from Highend3D.
The idea for these rigs came up as a result of chance meeting with an old friend. I studied animation with Chris many years back, and to my surprise and delight he turned up at Krome as a new employee a few weeks back. His carear has taken him in a different direction, and these days he is charged with making our custom software easier to use and more productive. Its a field I find quite interesting, understanding the psycology behind someone using and learning a software tool overlaps quite a bit with my interest in education and teaching.
I also had some conversations with the teachers from my old job a week or two ago and was surprised to find that the number of students interested in 3D animtion has dropped away since I left. The course is targeted at young artists who have to submit a portfolio of drawings, it seems they are not finding 3D to be a very imidiate or intuative way of expressing themselves. I don't accept this, its different for sure, but while more technical in some ways it is also very empowing in others. The challenge is to find ways that a student can be productive, express themselves and learn about animation (as aposed to software) while using the 3D tools.
So I've been inspired to produce this set of rigs for students, if you can make key frames, move scale and rotate things in Maya then you are good to go. Just click things and manipulate them to see what happens, it should all be pretty obvious, there are no instructions. I hope you enjoy using them.
I excanged emails with some of the Friends of the ARC about this topic too, about ways to achive results without necisarily having to learn all of the animation tools in Maya from the outset. One particular tool that many artists new to 3D find baffling is the Graph Editor. Alonso sugested this plug in for Maya called TweenMachine, it allows you to control the spacing of your inbetweens in a way that is much easier to understand than the maths heavy Graph Editor. I think its a great alternative for those organic thinkers out there who are less inclined to use complicated graphs. A great find Alonso, thanks ;)
I also have another rig thats been up on Highend for some time now called Easy Man, he has just recently passes 20000 downloads.