Miquel Campos explained the meaning of Data-Centric Rigging and explained how it can deliver scalability, maintainability, and quality control.
Miquel Campos, a Rigging Supervisor at Studio Anima and Animation Filmmaker, has recently shared a session on Data-Centric Rigging. It is an approach that lets users create and maintain a large amount of assets rigs during production, by serializing all the data that defines a rig. The system treats rigs as pieces of software that will be compiled for each asset release.
The approach lets users share, exchange, and re-use data between assets and pipelines. The developer noted that this can be useful when "re-using game assets data to/from offline render assets data or sharing data among all the characters rigs."
Unlike Asset-Centric Rigging, the traditional way of rigging, the discussed approach is meant for scalability and maintainability allowing to cut costs when dealing with a large number of assets and long-term projects.
"Historically the game industry has been trying to alleviate this situation by splitting the rig into two parts: the "control rig" and the "deformation/export rig" that include the geometries and joints," said Campos. "With Data-Centric Rigging, you still have this separation but the only purpose is to facilitate the export process to the game engine."
The developer noted that the main advantage of using the Data-Centric Rigging workflow is that it turns your rig into "a piece of software with a granular and compassable code that can be reused and shared by many assets, even if the assets are for a different platform or pipeline."
Campos states that the Data-Centric Rigging delivers scalability, maintainability, and quality control making assets future-proof which means that users can update separate parts any time without redoing an asset from scratch. To illustrate the approach, he talked about using mGear, an open-source and free rigging framework for Maya. Please note that the Data-Centric Rigging concept can be applied to any rigging system and DCC with an API that allows serialization.
You can find the sample data here. As for mGear, you can visit the official website or grab the latest release. A mGear forum can be found here. Also, you can check out Miguel's website with more details on the framework here.