Maya 8.0 Tutorial
How to Add a Rigid Bind Skeleton in Maya
Rigid Bind is a variation on the topic Adding Bones. With Rigid Bind the object moves less organic and more mechanical in nature.
Add a polygon plane to the workspace (Create > Polygon Primitives > Plane). In the options set the Height and Width to 6 units and Divisions to 3 in both directions.
With the object selected, switch to the Component Mode and click the Faces icon.
Select face one, then shift select face three, face seven and face nine and press the Delete key. Return to the Object Mode.
Turn on the Snap to Grids feature. Select the Joint Tool (Skeleton > Joint Tool) from the Animation menu set.
In the top view, start in the middle and click three times in one direction. Press the Up Arrow twice and click two times in the next direction.
Repeat the Up Arrow and clicking until you have added eight bones to the model. Press the Enter key.
With the skeleton selected, shift select the object and choose Skin > Bind Skin > Rigid Bind.
Open the Outliner (Window > Outliner). Select joint2, then select the Move tool (w key).
Notice the three axis of the Move tool. Click the Tool Options icon. In the Move tool options click Object Space. In this example, we will be rotating the sides of the box. In other words, we will be rotating each joint around its blue (z axis).
In the Outliner, click joint4, joint6 and joint8 one at a time. In each case, the joint will be rotated around the blue (z) axis.
With the timeline at frame one, select joint2, then shift select joint4, joint6 and joint8 in the Outliner. Press the s key to set a keyframe for each of the joints.
With all four joints still selected, move the timeline to frame 24 and open the Channel Box. Change the RotateZ value to 90 + Enter + Esc, then press the s key to set the keys.
Reset the timeline to frame one and play the animation. If the animation plays to fast, verify that Maya > Preferences >Timeline has the playback speed set at Real Time.
Rigid Bind Applications
Rigid bind also works great for mechanical arms, cranes and robots.
In our example we used a single object. You can also bind a skeleton to multiple objects by selecting the skeleton, then shift selecting the objects. Once you choose Skin > Bind Skin > Rigid Bind, the skeleton is connected to all the objects.
Resizing the Bones
If you notice that the bones are either too big or tiny, you can adjust the Joint Size in Maya Preferences, Kinematics section, Joint Size slider.
You can also get there by choosing Display > Animation > Joint Size.