5225223490_faba2ab033_o_banner© Laurent Bechir


3D computer animation


The Lowdown

  • Creating the “skeleton” for a 3D model
  • Responsible for making sure characters and objects can move realistically

Is this role right for me?

For this role, you will need to:

  • Be knowledgeable in anatomy, muscle and bone structure
  • Have solid animation experience
  • Be able to communicate with animators and artists, and create the best work as a team
  • Have an eye for detail
  • Be a creative problem solver
  • Understand the basics of animation as a whole, not just rigging
  • Comfortable in researching various anatomies, or even creating whole new systems
  • Be fluent in a 3D animation suite
  • Experienced in writing Python, and understand how workflows can be optimised with scripts or automation

What does a VFX Rigger do?

A VFX Rigger is responsible for creating the “skeleton” of a 3D model, ensuring that all the joints and muscles work correctly and accurately so the animators can start to position the models creatively.

This process is done by using a 3D Animation software like Maya or 3D Studio Max. You create the skeleton by manipulating a model and placing joints where necessary, making sure everything fits and looks natural as you do so. A rigger will have to work closely with the modeller to make sure the model’s design allows for the type of movement a rigger will seek to implement.

In smaller studios, animators will be expected to model, rig and animate the characters and objects on their own.

The job can be very trying, and it requires a very patient creative mind to make it work. The end result however, like most creative work, is very rewarding.

Will I need a qualification?

To become a Rigger, it’s wise to look to get a degree in Computer Sciences, Computer Animation or a similar subject.

If you are considering taking an animation or art and design/graphics course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a creative career:

Courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

What’s the best route in?

Due to the precise and important nature of rigging, it’s unlikely you will enter the industry at this position unless you have a lot of previous experience. A great showreel can help you get into a junior position modelling or animating, and from there you can work towards becoming a Rigger.

As with most roles in 3D Animation or VFX, creating personal projects to show you have passion add to your showreel is recommended.

Where might the role take me?

Many Riggers will end up moving upwards, after proving their invaluable knowledge about VFX and animation, towards supervisory positions. Other than that, if their skills and talents match it, they may move elsewhere in the VFX industry.

Interested? Find out more…

For more information on job roles in the creative industries, take a look at Hiive's job roles.  


  • Art of VFX hosts news and interviews from within the VFX Industry
  • Conrad Olson has a list of VFX Companies currently operated in the UK.
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