Create the framework that makes animated characters move fluidly.
What does a Character Rigger do?
A Character Rigger helps design video games by building the “skeletons” of on-screen characters. While an Osteologist would tell you that bones are made of calcium, phosphorus, and sodium, a Character Rigger would tell you that they’re made of algorithms, vertices, polygons, and mesh data. That’s because as a Character Rigger, you’re a 3D Animator dealing with digital bones—which basically are animated stick figures.
Think of a video character like this: Before it has hair, skin, muscles, and clothing, it starts as a skeleton: a series of lines and shapes connected to joints, or axes, around which they can rotate and pivot. Under the direction of a Game Director, you spend your days using software to create those lines and joints in the form of computer-generated 3D wire frames, which serve as blueprints for the Video Game Animator when he or she eventually animates the movements of characters.
Your job doesn’t stop at skeletons, however, as it’s also your responsibility to do “skinning,” the process of overlaying shapes on top of the bones, which move with them in order to create the character’s outward physical appearance.
Because realistic movements are an integral part of an immersive video game experience, you’ve got one of the most important jobs in the gaming industry: An expert in virtual anatomy, you’re the one who makes it possible for characters to realistically run, walk, talk, jump, and fight!