Rigging Academy 2.0

Become a Character Rigging Master

Rigging is the Unsung Hero of Character Animation. In this self-paced course, you'll learn to master character rigging in After Effects using DUIK Bassel. By the end of the course, you'll be able to rig almost ANYTHING in After Effects.

Class Start Date:

Session Duration:

2 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

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2 Weeks

of video lessons,

podcasts, guides, community
and critique from pros!


Rigging for Rookies: You’ll start by getting the lay of the land and installing DUIK Bassel, a free and powerful rigging tool. Then learn some basics, make sure your tools are set up properly, and dive into your first lesson. Why do we even need rigs in the first place? You’ll know soon enough.

Character Construction: Before you can rig anything, your character’s artwork has to be properly set. Learn how to prepare character artwork for rigging in both Photoshop and Illustrator. We’ll show you how to make your joints look smooth with “circular overlaps,” such as elbows, knees, and shoulders.

Arms to Hold You: You’ll learn more about arms than you ever thought possible. In this section we go into jointed arms, puppet tool arms, and even combination arms and blended joints. Learn the different approaches you can take to rigging arms and when you would want to use each one based on your character performance needs and the style of artwork. You’ll be “armed” with an arsenal of arm options at your disposal soon enough.

Good Crafting: What good are arms without hands? As with any rigging task, there are options here. You’ll learn how to build mechanical hands (hands that actually animate) as well as how to make replacement hands which are easier to implement. This is one of the most “handy” lessons for the course.

A Firm Footing: Time to rig the legs. Legs are like arms with feet on the end, and feet can be tricky. Find out how to make everything work correctly and add some controls for things like heel and toe rolls. Learn how to successfully rig legs with the touch of a button in DUIK Bassel. Break a leg.

Core Training: Rigs often neglect the stomach, chest, and shoulders of a character. Learn a bit of basic anatomy and set up controls that will give your character a much greater range of movement and emotion. You’ll rig up two kinds of torsos: jointed, and a “unipod” for more stylized characters. We’ll also cover Auto Rig in DUIK Bassel. Let’s work on that core!

The eyes are the window to the soul, especially in character animation. Learn how to build a face rig that will give you the control you need to emote with your character. You’ll work on various techniques for rigging Eyes, Mouths, and Eyebrows. We’ll also cover a short lesson on using Joysticks and Sliders vs DUIK Bassel.

Limbs Unlimited: Now we start getting fancy. Find out how to add and work with props, how to deal with level-swapping, and how to utilize a handy feature called rotation morphing. We’ll cover more advanced techniques to unlock a new level of control on your character, as well as a crash course in RubberHose. We’ll go out on a limb and say you don’t want to miss this week.

Running on All Fours: You’ve mastered the art of the biped, now let's take a look at rigging our four-legged friends. You’ll learn about some very important differences in rigging creatures that get around on four legs instead of two, and be able to rig up a tail by the end of this lesson.

Full Speed Ahead: Once you’re done rigging your characters it’s time to get them ready for animation. We'll go over some very important house cleaning steps so you can tidy up those project files to make things as easy as possible for the animators on the job.

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Better than in-person training

School of Motion courses are unlike anything you've ever experienced. Along with world-class training, you'll also get 1-on-1 feedback from an industry pro, a 24/7 network of likeminded artists, and more support than you'll know what to do with.

Over 17,000 artists have taken School of Motion courses, find out what all the hype is about.

What makes us different?

Cohort-Based Learning

Join artists from around the world on our custom learning platform. Never learn alone, as you’ll have immediate access to a forum of fellow students to share work, ask questions, and improve together. 

Exercises and project files for every lesson

Each course comes packed with free project files, assets, and additional material to keep you learning and growing long after the course ends. Our exercises are designed from real world briefs, so you’re learning the skills you need to excel on your next project or venture.

Technical and creative support along the way

You’ll be assigned a Teaching Assistant with years of experience in your chosen course. They’ll provide technical and creative feedback to guide you through new skills, improve your techniques, and provide encouragement along your journey. 

Verified credential upon course completion

Completing a course isn’t just about bragging rights. Once you’ve completed at least 70% of your work in a given course, you’ll earn a verified credential that can show current and future employers exactly what you’ve accomplished.

Permanent access to course materials

We all need a refresher now and again, which is why you’ll keep access to your course—and all the assets and project files—for the rest of your life. Come back to listen to exclusive interviews, review old lessons, and try out new techniques using your old assets.

A world-wide alumni community

You’ll gain instant access to our alumni platform, The Square. Here you can network with professional artists at every stage of their career. You’ll get access to new job opportunities and exclusive alumni events, such as meetups, virtual hangouts and reel reviews. 

Meet your instructor

Morgan Williams

Animator & Educator

Morgan has been a professional animator and animation director for over 20 years. He has created work for numerous clients including Sony Pictures, the BBC, Comedy Central, and WGBH Boston and have been the recipient of several awards including a local ADDY®, a Telly, and a Best in Show award at Minnesota Siggraph. His short film work has been screened at festivals around the world including the Philadelphia International Film Festival and the Annecy International Animation Festival. Morgan is a Certified Duik Instructor and a full time faculty member at Ringling College of Art and Design teaching and developing curriculum in the Department of Motion Design.

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Our no-risk money back policy

We want to make sure you have a positive learning experience with us, so for any session based course you're enrolled in, you can request a refund up until the end of Week 3 of the course

Class Start Date:

Session Duration:

2 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

Register Now

Join over 17,000 alumni around the globe

Frequently Asked Questions

Am I ready to take Rigging Academy?
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Who's Rigging Academy for?

Rigging Academy is an intermediate class, and we have a few suggestions that would make your time learning a lot easier. Let's dig in to what those are:

Character Animation Bootcamp Students

We highly suggest that you learn how to animate characters before attempting to rig them. In Character Animation Bootcamp you will be given pre-built characters to learn how to animate with. This may seem like a backwards approach, but understanding how to use your rig and what's possible will help you know what to build.

Experience with Character Animation

If you've been animating characters, or have finished up Character Animation Bootcamp, this course is a great way to achieve the next level of character animations. Simply knowing what a character should (and can) do will inform what you need to build. If you've been animating walk cycles for bipeds, but you want to learn how to build out quadrupeds, this course can help you achieve that dream.

Common Pain Points

Do you not know where to start rigging?

Are hands hard to rig?

Are you lost when it comes to rigging something with four legs?

Do you know what a rig is?

Do you know how to build you own rig?

Are character animation YouTube tutorials really not cutting it?

Is DUIK confusing to use?Are the multiple rigging tools confusing?

If you checked yes to any of the questions above, Rigging Academy might be the course you've been looking for!

Rigging Academy Summary

Rigging Academy is for people who want to learn how to make their character artwork animation-ready. You probably have some knowledge of character animation already, and maybe you been using RubberHose or puppet pins to make characters move. Now you're ready to learn how to create flexible, in-depth rigs using Duik Bassel to make those character animation options even more robust.

What can I expect in Rigging Academy?
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In this course we break down what a rig is, why you will need one and what makes a good rig. Rigging Academy will equip you with everything you need to know about characters made in both Photoshop and Illustrator, and what to watch out for when you're getting ready to rig.

As you know, when it comes to building a rig there are many options to choose from! Whether it's choosing between a jointed rig, a puppet pin style rig, and much more. We'll see how each option can be rigged and which character designs are better suited for each option.

Understanding these options can open up a lot of animation possibilities and add even more flexibility to your rigs.

What to Expect in Rigging Academy

Rigging up characters may seem like a magical lost art only known by a few, but let's dig a little deeper and help you know the level of difficulty you can expect. Not 'that' Hard.

Since you'll be following along and creating rigs, this is going to feel like follow the leader. If you do everything exactly the way Morgan teaches you'll be able to have a functional rig. The harder part is being able to understand why you need create a rig a certain way, and when to apply specific principles.

There's Tech-y Stuff in it

There is a certain level of tech knowledge needed to work in After Effects. Rigging your own characters takes it to a whole new level. Along side using expressions and coding certain actions, there are several layers that are referencing one another on an impressively large scale. Keeping up with all of these layers and the amount of controllers will become a whole new skill.

Concepts can be a little tricky the first go around

This is uncharted territory for most motion designers. You may have even dabbled with rigging, but your foundation is poor and now you need to rebuild that foundation. Rigging isn't the easiest process to tackle, and there are so many moving pieces that it can easily become overwhelming. You may even find yourself becoming lost in the massive amount of layers.

Eventually you'll have enough practice under your belt, and the process of rigging will become easier and easier. You'll stop forgetting important pieces that aren't so obvious to begin with.

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How much time do I need to commit?
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Rigging Academy is an instant access course and can be tough to determine how many hours you will spend taking this course. If you spent about 15 hours a week working through the material, you could expect to complete all the lessons and practice in about 6-9 weeks. This will vary from person to person, depending on how easily you grasp specific concepts. Altogether you will likely spend around 135 hours working on Rigging Academy lessons and projects.

What will I be capable of after Rigging Academy?
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After completing Rigging Academy you'll be able to tackle a large variety of tasks. Here's a breakdown of ways you can apply those skills.

You Can Rig Almost Anything

Rigging Academy covers several parts of the body. You will be able to rig hands, legs, mid-sections of the body, faces, and arms. Maybe you'll be able to build out that creepy baby doll with spider legs from Toy Story? Neat!

You Can Rig Characters in Any Art Style

The rigging insight you'll gain can be transferred through out into many different art styles. When you start to understand the mechanics of a rig, and why it needs to be put together in a certain fashion, you'll begin to dissect how it can be applied in many different art styles.

Bipeds and Quadrupeds

Quadrupeds can be a real challenge, they're fundamentally different than bipeds. In Rigging Academy you'll grow accustomed to animating different body types across the animal kingdom.

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You will not recognize your work when class is over.

Our courses have been meticulously designed to simulate real-world situations so that you're learning best-practices from day one. You'll be challenged, supported, and celebrated by your fellow artists as you level-up in real-time.

Are you ready to take the next step in your career?

Class Start Date:

Session Duration:

2 Weeks

3 Payments of

100% Free! Start learning immediately.

Register Now