Thursday, 5 January 2017

Meet Norman! A Versatile and Free Animation Rig

There are many free rigs available to Maya animators hoping to practice and learn their craft. Norman, Max, Morpheus - these are all excellent rigs, easy to download, all free for non-commercial use.

But beware - all rigs are different and each one has its own quirks. All take time to get used to, and each one has its frustrations.  Norman was one of the first character rigs made available for student use, free on a non-commercial license. Norman is reliable, relatively simple to use, and highly customisable.

first, read the manual. 
Who is Norman?
Norman is a Maya rig built unofficially for the AAU (Academy of Art University) Pixar Classes. Norman was exclusive to AAU Students and intellectual property of AAU.

The Pixar Classes are now disbanded and the creators have released it to the public under a non-commercial licensing agreement.

How does Norman work?
Unusually, Norman comes with a very detailed 24 page how-to manual. You can find a free copy here. Make sure to read it! It explains how to turn on Norman's controls, and how to get the best use out of the rig.

Where are Norman's controls?
Norman comes in without any controls turned on. You have to switch them on. To turn on his feet controls, you first of all have to select the viz control by his feet. Turn the 0s to 1s in the channel box and the controls will all turn on. Once the controls are on, select the EX control and go to the IK/FK switcher in the channel box. Set this to 1. Now you have the IK controls on Norman’s feet turned on. But, again, read the manual!

Norman walk-through

Where can I see some Norman animation?
For more animation examples visit the AAU Character Animation Blog.

More information
Click here for the Norman official site, where you can download the rig and the manual.


For more on the experience of studying at Bucks New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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