Beginner’s Guide to Animation Rigging (With Job Search Tips)

Animation rigging is a vital step in the animation production process, enabling characters to move and interact with their environment in a realistic and life-like manner. Used by animators, game developers, and visual effects artists, animation rigging is a complex process that requires a deep understanding of 3D modeling and animation. This blog post will explore the fundamentals of animation rigging, what it entails, and why it is important for producing high-quality animation. We will discuss topics such as how to set up and apply skeletons for rigging, what types of rigs are available, and common best practices for animation rigging. We will also touch on the advantages of using automated rigging systems, and how they can help streamline the rigging process. Finally, we will look at how rigging has evolved over the years, and the future of animation rigging. By the end of this blog post, you should have a solid understanding of the fundamentals of animation rigging, and the various techniques and tools used in the rigging process.

Welcome to rigging | Rigging | Computer animation | Khan Academy

How does animation rigging work?

Animation rigging begins after character modelers create a 3D model. After that, rigging artists add points to the animation model’s head, neck, arms, and legs. A character animator can move a point in the hand, and points in the wrist and arm will move realistically to match. Simulated skin and muscle systems will also stretch and contract in response. The following projects can benefit from using animation rigging in addition to animating body movements:

What is animation rigging?

By adding a network of rigging points to 3D models, animation rigging is a technical process that modifies 3D models to make them easier for animators to use. These points are programmed by riggers so that when animators move their cursors over them, a series of predetermined reactions take place. Rigging artists, despite being a small part of the development process, contribute to the realistic appearance of animated scenes and the effectiveness of animators’ work. This technique is frequently used by animation studios in media like movies, video games, and advertisements.

How to get a job in animation rigging

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in animation rigging, you can do the following:

1. Get the right education

The majority of riggers have a bachelor’s degree in animation or a closely related field. You might decide to pursue a degree in graphic design, computer science, game design, visual effects, or the visual arts, depending on the kinds of projects you want to work on. Most animation studios seek rigging artists with proficiency in the following fields, whether you acquire the knowledge through self-education or formal education:

2. Build your portfolio and show reel

Employers can view your portfolio to demonstrate your best work, creativity, and technical expertise. Even though in this position you only produce character rigs, it’s still crucial to include a show reel as part of your portfolio. You can offer a separate document called a shot breakdown that details how you contributed to the scene in addition to your show reel, which showcases the scenes that animators created using your rigs. Think about doing some of the following to make your portfolio stand out to hiring managers:

3. Get relevant work experience

The majority of animation studios prefer artists with at least one year of paid industry experience. You might begin by working as a technical animator because development teams frequently value rigging artists who are aware of the needs of animators. Additionally, after gaining sufficient experience, you can start out as a character model rigging assistant. Think about looking for internships or working on freelance assignments to add to your resume’s experience, grow your professional network, and improve your chances of getting a job reference.

4. Prepare for your job search

Once you’ve demonstrated your suitability for the position, you can create your resume, compose a compelling cover letter, and get ready for your technical interview. You can take the following steps to improve each step of your job search process:

Animation rigging skills

The following are some abilities that rigging artists frequently possess in the business:

Computer expertise

Rigging artistry is a difficult technical process that requires you to foresee the kinds of scenes in which your character model will move. Consider learning about the following topics if you want to get ready for the position’s requirement for highly developed analytical thinking and computer science knowledge:


It takes extensive anatomical knowledge to comprehend how certain body parts affect the motion of other body parts, such as how rotating a wrist moves the muscles in the forearm. Character rigs that permit a realistic range of motion while still providing opportunities for the characters to move in inventive, aesthetically pleasing ways are popular among animators. Consider studying some of the following topics to get ready for this aspect of the role:


While your hard skills can aid in the completion of intricate technical tasks, your soft skills can facilitate easier idea-sharing among team members and create a more enjoyable work environment. You can learn about some of the following topics to make sure that you establish trust with members of various animation departments and communicate your ideas clearly:


What is the difference between animation and rigging?

A character (or other articulated object) is represented in two parts using the rigging technique known as skeletal animation: the mesh, which is the surface representation used to draw the character, and the bones, which together make up the character.

How do you rig in an animation?

Rigging, in contrast to animation, is a very technical task within the pipeline that frequently requires the creation of custom controls, muscle systems, and other things to give animators the tools they need to move the characters. Since riggers are necessary for animators to be able to bring objects to life,

Do animators do rigging?

After testing the rigs, the animators provide feedback to the riggers, who then implement any suggested fixes or enhancements. The process will continue up until the riggers and animators are satisfied with the 3D puppet models.

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