"Puppet Master" is a procedural rigging solution for Maya. This means most aspects of creating a typical character setup such as skeleton and animation control creation etc. have been automated or require only minimal user interaction. Aside from that Puppet Master provides means to integrate the character into the production pipeline and efficiently handle model changes/revisions (see "Features" below).

"Puppet Master" is the result of a 6-month thesis in media computer science filed at the Furtwangen University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with the Institute for Animation, Visual Effects and digital Postproduction at Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany.

Key Features:
  • Rigs are optimized for speed and ease of use (no expressions, heavy use of utility nodes instead, color-coded controls, display layers etc.)
  • Artist friendly four step workflow to setup characters
  • State-of-the-art interface with contextual help windows and pop-up help for all interface parts
  • Skeletons are created according to a "Template Skeleton" that can be saved and reloaded
  • Designed to support different rigging styles for all rig parts
  • High-quality deformation:
    • Joint split options for arms and legs and radius/ulna creation for arms
    • User definable number of fingers and joints in the spine
  • Pipeline Integration:
    • Referenced deformation skeleton option allows to separate animation from deformation on your characters.
    • Changes to the models deformation, texture etc. automatically propagate to (animated) shots.
    • Animation and model related tasks such as deformation can be worked on at the same time.
    • Start out Animation early on, when a rough character version is available.
Tested on:
Maya 4.5 / 5.0 / 5.01 running Win2K and WinXP, should run on other platforms. Tell me if you have any problems running Puppet Master on other platforms.


Version History / Release Notes
  • 1.1: 03.03.2004
    • Ported Puppet Master to 5.01. Several MEL string variable and constraint issues have been resolved and Puppet Master now runs on all Maya version starting from 4.5 up to 5.01.
    • Fixed a dependency issue in the Template Skeleton manipulator constraints, that would sometimes cause trouble when undoing manip adjustments
    • Faster Temlate Skeleton creation, specifically faster constraining mechanism for the joint-adjuster constraints
    • Improved inverse foot setup roll (rolling backwards works better than previously, SDK curves have correct interpolation)
    • Added error-checking for "Skin list items" button. If none of the list items in the two lists is selected Puppet Master issues a warning, to clear up the workflow to the user.
    • Fixed left-behind CVs when scaling joint adjuster spheres (template skeleton module)
    • Improved/fixed Puppet Master shelf. All shelf items such as loading and saving master or reference files now use Puppet Masters optionVars to load and save files. The optionVars are always updated with the current values from the UI, so loading/saving of different deformation skeletons should be much more convenient.
    • Added shelf icon for test model import
    • Added template skeleton adjuster file that people can load to see how a working adjuster configuration (especially fingers) looks like for a functioning rig
    • Added optionVars for all settings on "Define options" and "Rig Final Skeleton" page. Puppet Master now remembers all your settings, which makes re-doing rigs much faster.
  • 1.0: Initial Release
Name: Puppet Master 1.1 for Maya 4.5 / 5.0 / 5.01
Description: Procedural rigging application ("Autorigger")
Tested on: Maya 4.5 / 5.0 / 5.01 running Win2K and WinXP
Script Version: 1.1 ( last update: 03.03.2004 )
Download Here