Learn to Create Professional Character Rigs in Adobe After Effects
No prior rigging experience needed.
If your characters need to move, you have to build a rig.
Great Character Animation takes know-how and a lot of practice whether it’s hand drawn, stop motion, or purely digital. But if you’re working with 2D or 3D animation software great character animation also takes something else: a well-built rig. Rigging is the unsung hero of Character Animation. A bad rig makes animation difficult, inefficient, and limits your range of movement. A good rig will give you a greater range of motion, but more importantly make the animation process easier and more intuitive allowing the animator to focus on the most important thing – the character’s performance.
But Rigging is very technical, a bit of a dark-art, and can be daunting to learn for a beginner. It’s the opposite of the “feel it out” vibe of Design and Animation… it’s the Yin to their Yang. It can also be extremely rewarding when you see the benefits of being able to Create, Rig, and Animate any character you can come up with.
Inverse Kinematics? Puppet Pins and Starch?
When you enter the world of character rigging, there’s a lot of lingo to digest. You’ll have to dive into some pretty technical ideas and be able to make decisions about the type of rig you want to create and the best technique to use to create it. There’s a lot of speed bumps that can trip you up.
That’s why we created Rigging Academy. You’ll be led step-by-step through the world of rigging by Character Animator and “Lord of the Rigs” Morgan Williams. You’ll learn everything you need to know to take your character designs, prep them for rigging, and create incredibly flexible and sophisticated rigs to handle any animation scenario you can imagine.
Rigging is the Unsung Hero of Character Animation
Become a rigging MacGyver
Rigging Academy is designed to teach you how to rig just about ANYTHING. There are some core principals at the heart of Rigging that you’ll learn which can be applied to humans, animals, aliens, robots, cartoon characters… just about any type of creature you can think up. Once you know the basics, the trick is to know how to handle edge cases… and that’s where this course really shines.
We’ll teach you a whole bunch of ways to handle a wide variety of Rigging situations. You’ll learn multiple ways to rig arms, legs, faces, torsos… you’ll learn how to handle props, quadrupeds, and other advanced topics.Our goal was to make the only After Effects Rigging course you’ll ever need.
What’s in the Course?
This course is, in true School of Motion fashion, packed to the GILLS with information. We’ve organized everything neatly into chapters, and you can go through the course at your own pace as you see fit.
- 15 Hours of Video Lessons
- 9 Characters created just for Rigging Academy
- Over 32 pages of PDF reference material
- A moderated Q&A Forum for the course
- Lifetime Access
What topics do we cover?
Short answer: A lot.
Long answer: We built this course to cover just about everything you’ll need to know in order to rig any type of character you can dream up. We show you how to handle multiple styles, tricky scenarios like character with an outline, and MUCH more. Here’s a brief rundown of what you can expect to learn.
How to construct / prep artwork for rigging
How should you draw your characters? 3/4 view or side view? How do you draw shoulders correctly? Find out here.
Different Rig Options for Arms
Jointed arms or puppet-tool arms? What about the wrists? How about a “blended” joint? You will be an arms expert after this lesson.
Arms without hands are just… well… not very handy. You can create hand rigs that bend and move the fingers, or use an image swapping technique… or a hybrid! Learn how in this lesson.
Leg and Foot Rigging
Legs are the same as arms… kinda. But feet… well feet are a different beast. Learn all about properly setting up Heel / Toe roll and getting your feet and legs to play together nicely.
Core and Torso Rigging
Shoulders and Chests and Stomachs… we all got ‘em. Even your characters have them, and they need to be able to bend and move naturally. How do you do that? This lesson shows you several approaches to rigging torsos.
Facial Rigs (2D & 2.5D)
Here you’ll learn the basics of facial rigging, and later in the course there is an advanced lesson on doing the popular 2.5D facial rig. Morgan shows you how to rig up the eyes, eyebrows and mouths so your character can really emote.
Adding Auxiliary Controls
Now we’re getting fancy. Need some more knee or elbow control? Learn how to gain extra control over your rigs using techniques that you might find in a sophisticated 3D rig. Now you’re making professional-level rigs.
Props, Level-Swapping and More
Does your character have a sword? A briefcase? How do you deal with props? And what about when an arm moves from in front of a character to the back? How do you level-swap? You’ll learn tons of tricks in these lessons.
Advanced Rigging & Finishing Up
You’ll learn about Quadruped rigging, 2.5D facial rigs, other rigging tools besides DUIK, and how to clean up your rigs before you send them off for Animation. If you’ve made it this far, you are rigging ninja.
We make sure you’re learning
There is a ton of learning packed into this course, and we want to make sure you’re learning… not just casually watching. We’ve created some challenges for you to take on after each main lesson. You’ll be able to test out your new knowledge to see if you can solve a rigging challenge, and the watch a Solution video to see if you got it right.
Sure, you can skip the exercises, but one of our core philosophies here at School of Motion is that we want our training to be EFFECTIVE, and frankly it won’t be if you don’t use the knowledge after learning it. So we suggest you do the exercises. We also have another way of helping you understand the material better…
Ask Questions in the Q&A Forum
Rigging Academy includes a forum, moderated by your instructor Morgan, for you to ask questions related to the course. Having trouble grasping something from the lesson? Post it on the forum and you’ll get clarification.
This information is dense, so use this forum to make sure you’re really “getting” the concepts. You can read through questions and answers that have been submitted already, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for you can post your own question.
When you complete the course, join our amazing Alumni group! We’ve got a large (and growing) group of amazing Alumni who have completed School of Motion training. These Motion Designers are the type of artists who work hard and invest in their skills… the type of artist you really want to be hanging around.
This group has become a vibrant community of Designers, Animators, and Creatives from all over the world who share tips, works-in-progress, and even post gigs right on our Alumni page.
What are people saying about Rigging Academy?
I have yet to find something similar that can come close to touching the comprehensive knowledge here. If you find character animation a portion of the motion graphics world you’d like to conquer I’d suggest this class as a necessity.
Rigging Academy is the course I’ve waited years for. No other course as thorough exists. Everything I wanted to know is all here and it’s amazing! Morgan does a superb job in breaking down every element, every expression, and every meaning behind what he does and how he does it. The secrets of incredible character rigs are a mystery no more. I highly, highly recommend this course. It has absolutely changed my approach to character design & rigging for the better.
Morgan always shows many ways to achieve a result and this is really valued. I’m totally thankfull for that. Moreover, the characters and rigs in the course are beautiful and pleasant to work with. I would definitely recommand this bootcamp for people who are (as I was) scared to dig by themselves into this deep subject! This course is not easy but you’ll definitely learn more than you can ever imagine. Morgan performed this feat to make rigging attractive and understandable.
Flora’s Portfolio (https://vimeo.com/florab)
Access Rigging Academy instantly for $297.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ll need After Effects and Photoshop to follow along in this course. Any version CS6 and up should work, though we do recommend staying up to date with the latest versions. Other than that, all you need is DUIK which is a free script that allows for lots of rigging operations.
We LOVE RubberHose. It’s an amazing tool for quick rigging, but if you need a lot of control or have Character Art that isn’t composed of flat shapes, you probably won’t be able to rig with it. We do cover it’s usage (and even recommend it with a coupon code!) but most of the course uses DUIK for rigging.
This course is self-paced. Once you purchase the course, you gain access to our Student Portal and can make your way through Rigging Academy as quickly or slowly as you like. You have lifetime access, so take your time and make sure you’re “getting” the material.
Nope. DUIK creates all the expressions you need, and Morgan will teach you a very few Expression tricks to help with rigging. You don’t need to have any experience with Expressions to take this course.
While we can’t offer support for your own characters, the forum is available for questions about rigs you’ll see in the course. Once you’ve completed Rigging Academy you will definitely be equipped to prep and rig your own character designs.
Gain a valuable new skill FAST with Rigging Academy.
If you do Character Animation in After Effects and can’t rig your own characters, you are limiting yourself creatively. You’re dependent on somebody else to give you the tools to animate with. Once you can prep, design, and create the perfect rig for your character you’ll unlock your full creative potential.
And if you’ve taken Character Animation Bootcamp, Rigging Academy will give you the final piece of the puzzle that will give you total control over your Character-driven pieces. You might just get mad with power.