ExoTools, LLC

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Maya Rigging A One-Way Street...Not Anymore

For years traditional single-direction constraining paradigms have been used to create rigs for animators. These single-direction constraint systems force a Character Technical Director to deliver a rig into the pipeline with that single direction state built in. This paradigm has proven to be quite limiting in the scope of the complex animations and characters required in film and games today. As Animators ask for more features to pose and interface with their characters the Character Technical Director community has had to maintain increasingly complicated rigs built on the foundation of these single-direction constraint systems. This is where the ExoSwitch Constraint system shows its versatility.

The ExoSwitch Constraint system is by nature a multi-directional constraining paradigm built to give the user the ability to determine "direction" on the fly. And to remove the problem of delivering a character into the pipeline in a pre-determined state, the constraint fully supports animating which transforms at any given time represent the drivers of the system.

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Dynamic Posing
At the heart of the ExoSwitch Constraint system is the ability to pose rigs intuitively. Our custom node acts as a dynamic switchboard operator to manage live relationships between nodes in the system as the user chooses which node(s) act as the driver and which ones are driven.
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Animatable
Besides being an intuitive posing system the second design principle implemented in the ExoSwitch Constraint is animation. Animators have the ability to keyframe changing the driver(s) of the system. All of the "under the hood" aspects of switching drivers is handled, well...under the hood.
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Split Transformation Drivers
The ExoSwitch Constraint has independent drivers for translation and rotation. The same node can act as both influences or different members of the same system can independently contribute to the overall affect. The switch between each driver type is fully animatable as well.
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Live Offsets
A core feature and design of the ExoSwitch Constraint is live offsets. Many systems that switch a rig between modes or drivers have an inherit offset given the nature of single-direction constraining. In the ExoSwitch Constraint the offset data is continually evaluated when switching driver nodes so that there is no drifting or popping when re-configuring the system.
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Interactive Driver Switching
For interactive posing you can put an ExoSwitch Constraint system into a mode where the current driver is the current selection. As the selection changes...so does the driver. This mode allows the animator to pose a rig without having to find the constraint and manually change the driver.
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Masking & Mask Configurations
Mask configurations allow you to setup complex motion relationships between constraint members. An unlimited number of mask configurations can be created on one constraint system giving you the ability to "rig" the constraint itself.

Learn more...
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Native Constraint
The ExoSwitch Constraint has been constructed to be a native constraint within Maya.
This helps integrate the system and provides intuitive interfacing and workflow.
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Native Command
We provide a native MEL command along with the constraint node.
The command has flags to help execute creation, editing and querying actions on ExoSwitch Constraint systems. Check out the Command Page

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Open Hierarchy Workflow

Work in parallel or tree based hierarchies. Split drivers can come from different hierarchies. Add constraint members on the fly from different rigs. We tried to design the constraint with these features so you don't have to change your workflow or pipeline.

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Creating A Constraint

Create constraint systems faster with the provided GUI. Or use the custom Constraint->ExoSwitch menu on selected items and constraint them like any other constraint in Maya. Or use the built-in exoSwitchConstraint command.

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Status Updates

To help streamline the ExoSwitch Constraint user workflow we have created a number of features to help deliver status updates on the system. Change the drivers from the channelBox or AE or from the command. Either way the updates are reflected via attributes on the constraint.


SUPPORTED MAYA VERSIONS & OPERATING SYSTEMS
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2012
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2013
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Windows 32 & 64 Bit
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RHEL
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10.6+