What does a rigging TD do?
Rigging technical directors create digital skeletons for 3D computer-generated (CG) models. They program these ‘rigs’ or puppets so that they move in a realistic way. This underlying skeleton is then used by animators as the basis for their movements.
Rigging TDs typically receive a 3D CG model in a static pose, drawn by a modeller. They may also receive facial shapes and expressions of the characters. They then work out how the bones move when the character runs or smiles and create a computer programme that simulates that.
Animators test rigs and then give feedback to rigging TDs, who will complete any requested fixes and the process will continue until both parties are happy with the rigged models (the 3D puppets).
Rigging TDs can be employed by VFX studios or work as freelancers.
What’s a rigging TD good at?
- Programming and coding skills: have advanced knowledge of programming in C++ and Python with a very high level of technical ability, be able to use a variety of relevant software such as Houdini, Maya and Nuke
- Working to deadlines: work within given time frames, be able to complete work under pressure, be organised
- Collaboration and communication: be able to work with other VFX artists, use each other’s resources effectively and efficiently
- Science: have a good understanding of anatomy, physics and how things move
- Problem-solving: find solutions as quickly as possible to support the needs of modellers and animators, relating to the rigging process