I had to recently rig a couple of my characters. Here are some useful remarks on the Rigging subject.First I will mention several of the helpful tutorials from various publishers. If you are new to Maya Rigging, I can recommend:
1. Linda.com - Character Rigging
link - Maya 8.5 Character Rigging
This is a great tutorial, very easy to follow from start to finish, especially for newbies.
2. Digital Tutors - they have various DVD (and they always update them for the new up-to-date software). I find DT great for newbies, they have lots of projects from start to finish, but overall if you are more advanced - the final overview of their stuff would be more desired.
a) Character Setup
b) Character Rigging
c) Character Binding and Skinning
Some links - Character Rigging for Production in Maya 2011 , Introduction to Character Rigging in Maya
Digital Tutors Search engine is quite good, since they always updated, its great to find a tutorial by choosing the software, subject and type. Tons of tutorials will show up :)
3. Gnomon - The skinned Character Rig
link: The Skinned Character Rig, The Puppet Rig
1. when you have a skeleton for your character and want to move a joint (without moving the hierarchy) simply PRESS the INSERT button on your keyboard and move the joint.
2. JOINT Orient. Sometimes when placed - joints are not rotated the way we want. To adjust the joint orientation, select the joint and >> PRESS F8 (to get into Component mode), then on the top shelf a question MARK will show up - Press it.
This enters the mode where you can twist/rotate the joint itself. When done, press again F8 to get out of component mode.
3. Set values to ZERO.
When placing the joints, its important to work in Orthographic Views, so the joints can be placed on a GRID.
Before you add controls, binding or anything.. its good to have your Joints reset - Freeze Transformation. NOTE that TRANSLATE values for joint won't freeze.
To change the SIZE of joints go DISPLAY >> ANIMATION>> JOINT SIZE
or when a joint is selected go to - channel box ->> radius (change the value).