Animator Friendly Rigging Part 1

– The Introduction –


Part 1: Introducing the Concepts.

  • Holistic overview
  • Rigging from an animator’s perspective
  • The Bouncy Ball
  • over 100 pages of documentation.. see a preview
  • 1 hour instructional video. Watch a preview
  • Numerous mel scripts and scene files.




.. or purchase the bundle for a discount at:




32 Responses to Part 1

  1. […] Animator Friendly Rigging – Part 1 […]

  2. Martin Joakim Ulstein says:

    I purchased the full package but didn’t download it eight away.
    Now every time I click on one of the e-mailed links I get “ (Not Available)”
    I really liked these tutorials, but did I miss some kind of notice about download urls oly being active in a set period?
    Thanks, and great job on Megamind! =)

  3. jason says:

    Heya Martin!

    thanks so much for ordering! Fastspring leaves the links up for only 14 days. I’ve created new links for you and re-sent them to you so you can continue downloading! πŸ™‚


  4. Roger Eberhart says:

    Bought AFR_01 as part of the bundle. The AFR_01/prefs folder only has an osx folder inside. According to the readme, there should be a pc folder as well.



  5. jasonf says:

    Thanks Roger! since you bought the bundle you can definitely get to everything else from the later items in the series.. I’ll double-check as to why the prefs folder only had osx items in it. Did anyone else get the same thing?


  6. What level would you say you would need to be to do this?

    • jason says:

      part 1 would definitely be a beginner level.. but even for those who are quite advanced, it’s still a good place to start. πŸ™‚

  7. Joe says:

    Just a quick testimonial, I got this entire set back when Autodesk was still selling it (back in 2008), and I still think it’s the definitive work on rigging for animation. Best money I’ve spent on rigging training to date (and I’m working on my Master’s in rigging right now)

  8. sean says:

    Hi Jason,
    I am trying to install the whole mel scripts for AFR again in my new Mac. However, i just cant get it to work. When i load th shelf, it won’t show any mel scripts. Also i know you had a page about installing the mel scripts and FAQ, where can i find this page?

    thanks for the great tutorial with scripts

    • jason says:


      what exactly is going on when you try and load the scripts? if you just source one of them in maya, will it work? are just the icons not showing up?


  9. sean says:

    oh!!.. never mind..i guess i have to go to the “community” and figure them out in the forum.

  10. Hi Jason! I am having the same problem as Martin above. All my links are “not available” anymore. Sorry for the inconvenience but is there a way that you can send me new links so i can go ahead and download everything now? Thank you!

  11. dale cannon says:

    I picked these up a few years ago through autodesk. Loved it! Now is there anything new to these or updated in the past few years that I would need. I do see there are docs now.

    • jason says:

      Thanks dale!

      Nothing new since then.. but you should have had the docs the whole time. Did you not get them when you ordered them from autodesk?

      • dale cannon says:

        Ah OK I found them. I was looking in the folder called “docs”, when they were really in the “support files” folder. Haven’t really needed the docs, but nice to know I have them. Thank you again.

  12. jg says:

    Hi Jason,
    I have a question regarding building a custom rig versus using a automatic rigging “system”.
    I need to build a custom rig for my character, but I’m not interested in rigging as a career. i’m sure that time spent going through your AFR course would be helpful in my career, but I’d like to jump into animating ASAP. Producing an animation alone is complex enough without adding the extra technical level of rigging.
    So, my question is whether you think there might be an out of the box alternative that’s commercially available or free that could come close to eliminating the need to rig my character. After all, if I enter any mid – large size production, what are the chances that I’d even need to know how to rig? OK, well, I know…sounds like I’m trying to take a shortcut…that’s exactly right. character design, storyboarding, modeling…textures, UV’s…rigging, animating, rendering, FX, ….plus all those steps between..I’d be happy to eliminate a few steps.
    Some solutions (both free & commecial) i’ve heard of:
    So, I’d like to get your opinion on this. I know it’s a real trade off, to get real control over a rig, you probably need to go custom, but would you say there is anything that approaches a custom rig? Let’s keep is simple and say it’s a bugs bunny kind of biped setup.
    Thanks for any info.

    • jason says:

      Hi JG,

      I always feel like it’s better to learn more than to learn less. Thus, even if you want to animate, it can’t “hurt” to learn about rigging. However, if your goal is to be a great animator, you should be spending most of your time animating. The more animation you do, the better an animator you’re going to be.. so here’s what I’d suggest:

      1 – Try a few rigs recommended from resources..

      2 – Animate a few simple actions.. don’t worry about telling a story. Just get familiar with the rig and try things like 24 to 48 frame quick tests. For example.. lifting an arm.. doing a head turn.. do a weight shift.. etc. Think of these as “practicing your scales” as a musician would. Just get your mind in the game and get used to the rig. They should be throwaway tests.. nothing you’re going to put on your reel, but things you can do when you’ve got 10 minutes of spare time.

      3 – Do slightly longer tests.. 48-80 frames. These can be multiple actions strung together, but again don’t worry about trying to tell a story. Just work on the timing and physicality.

      4 – Do a few “emotion” poses.. hit some extremes.. “sad”, “mad”, “excited”, “confused”.

      5 – Re-create the poses pushing to make them stronger, this time focusing on a unique character trait – is the character old? Young? a wizard? a hobbit?

      6 – Pick your two favorite poses, and animate a transition between them. Don’t make it longer than 80 frames. focus on authentic transitions, making it feel natural.

      7 – Pick the same poses and do it again focusing on a particular character – make sure to really accentuate the difference between this test and the previous one.

      8 – pick another two poses and do it again with another character trait. Make it a woman.. a child.. a polar bear.. whatever, just make it unique.

      9 – Now go for a longer test.. 120 frames maybe of two emotions bridged by an action.. maybe a thirsty character who grabs a cup of water and ends up perked up and quenched. Remember to focus on who the character is.. how old are they? how long since they’ve had a drink?

      10 – Do it again with a different character. Maybe start in the same spot.. thirsty, and end in a different spot? It could be that the drink is something that tastes awful.. or something that tastes amazing and he needs to drink more.. etc.

      Keep working in this way, doing small tests that grow upon each other, and then periodically go back and re-visit early tests. Think of them all as throw away, because you’re going to keep learning and getting better all the time. Don’t try and go too far too fast! approach it as if you were a musician trying to get into the local orchestra. You wouldn’t simply pick up a violin and throw the bow on it and try and apply for a job.. you’d practice and practice and practice. And only after perfecting your technique would you go and audition.

      hope that’s useful!

      • derek says:

        very cool practice workflow. Jason is there a book or docu,entation that u recommend that goes into this practice method in detail or perhaps one that talks about emotion poses and how to animate between them? something on gesturs s and acting in animation?

        • Jason says:

          Nothing I can think of off hand.. It’s just some advice I’ve put together to demonstrate the need to work up to more advanced animation techniques, instead of the common mistake of trying to go for a very long complicated acting shot to put on your reel right off the bat.

          Maybe I can put together something when I have some spare time after Peabody and Sherman is done! πŸ™‚

  13. cormeg says:

    Hi jason,i have just a little question about a tool to copy paste SDK from one selected l_objet_ctrl to another r_objet_ctrl
    After done some set driven keys on the l_object_ctrl,i just want to paste the set driven key to the r_objet_ctrl,there is a tool in your mel script collection to do this tasks,if not can you oriented me in the right direction to found the graal thanks for all

  14. Andrej Jagar says:

    Hello Jason!
    Your work is really inspiring. I was always afraid of rigging (I’m an animator), but your tutorials seem like a perfect start for me.
    I’m currently working on my short, and would love to rig it using your tutorials. Basically, it’s a simplified fox with a tail. Animation mentor uses something like that, only mine has a face and ears.

    I don’t have much time, as I’m working on a feature movie, but would love to start, so my question to you is which from your tutorials do you recommend to me? I need Squash and Stretch, Facial rig, and the tail.

    I hope you will find time to answer me, as I’m quite eager to start.

    P.S. Here is the link for the screenshot of the character

    Thank you!

  15. madoodia says:

    hi jason…
    I love your tutorials…
    you are a great man..
    i want add you to my linkedin profile…but i need your email…
    please give me it…

    tnx again for AFR..

  16. kamal bhatia says:

    hi, i am an aspiring 3d animator i would just like to know for my showreel do i need all the elements of maya like great models, texture an all to showcase or i just can get some models and use the to showcase how i animate with. thnx

  17. Jengy says:

    Just gave you my last dime…I hope these are worth it!!! πŸ™‚ They look great!

  18. Bought the entire bundle! Animation Mentor brought me here. Watched a few preview videos on YouTube and I was hooked! I can’t wait to get into these! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  19. Hein says:

    Hi Jason. I recently came across your “planning for rigging” on Nimble collective and I see you featured a rig built in Blender. I was wondering if you have, or are planning to perhaps put out a training series on AFR in Blender. I’ve moved away from Maya about two years ago and got stuck into Blender this year. That or can you perhaps recommend a good rigging training series in Blender one can dive into?

    Many thanks in advance.

  20. aprianto says:

    Hi Jason,
    What if I had rigged those with separated mesh (cut out by planes), then I want to transfer the rigging system to a complete mesh?

    Thank you.

  21. aprianto says:

    Hi Jason,
    What if I had rigged those with separated mesh (cut out by planes), then I want to transfer the rigging system to a complete mesh. How do I do that?

    Thank you.

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