How To Rig a Tank in Maya

There can be a lot to rigging vehicles for animation. More so for a vehicle such as a tank. There are wheels, treads, a turret, a cannon, and lots of other little bits to consider in such a rig. How can that all be put together in a professional rig? Simon Mills’ multipart tutorial will show you how.

Simon is a Senior 3D Technical Artist and Animator who knows a thing or two about rigging tanks. One of his efforts to rig a tank boasts fully automated treads that move accurately based on direction and distance, a non flip target style turret control with an automatic turret recoil system and a fully functioning machine gun that even ejects shell casings. That tank can be had for a price, on TurboSquid.

This four-part series is geared to teach you how to rig a tank in Maya to a professional level. You can download the model used in the tutorials, so that you can follow along.

Part one looks at creating a clean joint based tread system where each tread piece moves in sync with one another along a given curve path. Part 2 dives into vector math techniques to setup the wheels so that they move correctly in any direction and distance. Part 3 shows a unique hull suspension control that allows for a realistic weight shifting effect. Finally part 4 looks into rigging the turret.