Maya 2012 Tutorial
How to Add Bones to Maya Objects
Once you have created your modeling masterpiece, you need to bring it to life. A series of bones are added and connected to the object. The skeleton is animated and the object mesh follows.
Add a polygon cube to the workspace (Create > Polygon Primitives > Cube). In the options set the Height to 12 units and Height Divisions to 36.
Select the Joint Tool (Skeleton > Joint Tool) from the Animation menu set. In the front view start by clicking at the bottom of the cube. Click four more times to add a total of four bones.
Verify that the skeleton runs through the middle of the object by checking the top and side views. Open the Outliner (Window > Outliner) and select the entire joint hierarchy (by clicking the name), then shift select the cube object.
To connect the two, choose Skin > Bind Skin > Smooth Bind from the Animation menu set.
Return to the Outliner and select one of the middle joints and choose the Rotate Tool (e key).
Rotate the joint and notice that the geometry follows. Try selecting and rotating the other joints.