If you've been looking around the site and your curiosity has been piqued but you just want to make sure you know what it is you are getting into, this is a basic rundown of how things work around here and what you need to do to start animating our characters. The Coles/Cliff notes version is:
Step 1: Join the club
Step 2: Get access with a monthly subscription
Step 3: Download and install the CGB Rig Plugin
Step 4: Get RenderMan
Step 5: Download and Install the CGB Content Browser
Step 6: Connect with us
Step 1: Join the Club!
First thing's first. Do you have an account to the site? That's a relatively easy first step. There's so many sites you probably already have an account to, it seems like a waste of time to mention this. In fact, you can probably use the same username you use at sites like CGSociety or 11 Second Club or some site like that, we don't mind. Whatever you decide to use, the sign up form will probably look pretty familiar:
Step 2: Get Access with a Monthly Subscription!
A subscription to our Rig Library costs $20/month and includes access to ALL of our characters and assets. You can purchase a license as a single, one-month purchase or as a recurring monthly subscription that can be cancelled at any time. Now, the question you're probably wanting to ask is:
"Why can't I buy a single rig instead of having to get a monthly subscription to rent it?"
...and that's a really good question. The answer is, because we decided to try to create the type of website that would benefit the most people while keeping the costs manageable. Let us explain.
If you have a character that you've already animated in a shot on your reel, would you want to animate another one with the same character or would you try to find a new character? What about if you wanted to do a shot with 2 or 3 different characters, what would you do? When buying a rig, you're paying a larger cost up front even though you may only want it for one shot. What happens if you change your mind part-way through and decide the character you have doesn't fit the scene and you need a different one? A multiple character shot could cost several hundred dollars if you had to buy each character separately.
These are the situations we are trying to avoid. For $20/month you can animate a new character every month or animate 10 characters in a single month for the same cost and never have to let your budget influence your creativity. From our perspective, it seems like a great way to encourage a lot more diversity within a demo reel.
If you're ready to give it a try, head on over to our Store and get yourself set up with a subscription. Still not convinced? Reach out and let us know what your concerns are. We are pretty good listeners.
Step 3: Download and install the CGB Rig Plugin!
Why do you need a rig plugin? 2 reasons.
1) It's what allows you to open the CGB Rigs.
2) It contains lots of fun stuff like a Pose Space Deformer, a wrap deformer and other plugins we use to help increase the quality of our characters.
It's pretty easy to install too.
Download the appropriate plugin for your operating system from our Free page and simply run the installer. Then launch Maya and you should see the License Manager pop up where you can login using your website credentials. Once logged in, the License Manager will display the expiration date of your current subscription. If it is valid and active, you can begin bringing rigs into the scene.
Step 4: Join the 'Cool Kids' Club and Get RenderMan!
Why did we choose RenderMan for our characters? Partially because it's awesome and partially because it's free for non-commercial use (good for you, not us).
To get your free non-commercial copy, head on over to the RenderMan site.
Step 5: Downloading and Install the CGB Content Browser
Ok, so this step isn't really a necessity, but totally worth the extra effort. The Content Browser manages all of your rigs and assets and keeps you up to date with the latest additions and updates to the library. Here's a really quick rundown:
Quickly download and update rigs
The Content Browser lets you see what characters are available in the rig library, what characters you have already downloaded and which ones on your computer are out of date. It's a pretty slick way to stay connected with new additions and ensure you are using the latest versions without having to visit the site all of the time.
The Content Browser also acts as a gateway to Maya. The Maya icon in the top right corner can be used to launch Maya and under the 'Settings' menu you can change which version of Maya you want it to be compatible with if you have multiple versions on your computer.
Reference, update and offload rigs
The Content Browser acts as a reference editor as well. You can load rigs directly into your Maya scene without having to navigate to different folders on your computer. It also notifies you if the character in your current scene is out of date and gives you the ability to download the latest directly from the website and update it in your scene without ever having to launch an internet browser.
For a more in-depth look at all of the features and menus of the content browser, this page is the place to go. If you're tired of reading and a looking for are monotone explanation in video format.....you're welcome.
Step 6: Connect with Us!
There's one thing we'd really like to ask, for all of those that stuck around to read this far. If you've animated a shot with any of our characters, let us know! We actually aren't creating these characters purely for the joy of the hard work that goes into them. We do it because we get inspired by the creativity we see in the work of others. So give us a chance to congratulate you and spread your work to others! Email us at:
Tech issues? We try our best to address any issues as quick as we can. Whether it be website related, rig related or Content Browser related, email us and let us know.