In this video I'll discuss how to create a rig where the animation controls appear to be the skinned mesh. It's a very novel way of animating which allows animator to work clutter-free but probably needs a picker GUI to be most effective.

I first saw this setup in action during a Pixar presentation at an NVidia Conference: vimeo.com/90687696.
I can't claim to have come up with this implementation in Maya, I learned it from Raveen Rajadorai (vimeo.com/admiralra) on CGTalk: forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=88&t=1169504

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