The animators are so intricate in each step of 3D character design. Each animator is an expert in his or her own field of design. This expertise includes but is not limited to modeling, texturing, and rigging.
Each part of 3D animation is important because it makes the picture believable. Rigging is very important because it is the part of 3D animation that incorporates real life movements and actions. Another way to look at rigging is skeletal animation. It is the process of building the joints and skeleton of the character.Checkout animating cartoon characters in maya for more info.
Rigging is done though 3D computer programs. A computer program is used because of the intricacy of the step, because it is the skeletal system and every bone put into the 3D character used for a specific movement and animating the character.
The Morpher modifier and Skin modifier tools make the beginning steps a breeze. Morpher is used for facial animation and makes the tiny facial features easy to alter. The most difficult part of animating your character is creating morph targets. To create a morph target you must first make a copy of the character you want to morph. It is very important to do so because you don’t want to tamper with the original, incase of mistakes. When the copy is made, you can freely move vertices to create different expressions. Give the morph target the appropriate name so there is no confusion when you create other looks and apply it to the character.
To animate the rest of the characters body, you need to add bones for animation of the whole body. The Morpher modifier is only for facial expressions. The next step is to create the skeleton. The basic and easiest way to begin is to look at the character in front view. Add four bones in the body of the character from top to bottom, to give you a starting point in the rigging process. Then you proceed to add the skeletal system for the spine, head, arms, legs, etc.
After the skeleton is complete you proceed to inverse kinematics. In order to complete inverse kinematics efficiently you want to hide the character in order to see all the bones. This step is used when you alter the legs of a character. Inverse kinematics leads into character skinning is where you see how the model responds to the movement of the bones. This is where the skin modifier is used to smooth out the skin while there is movement.
What you have here only scratches the surface of what 3D rigging is capable of. Each step in 3D animation is crucial to the overall design. If you follow theses steps, do additional research and practice your skills, one day you could work as an animator for a large production company.