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IchI
11-27-2008, 02:25 PM
Basiclly over the past few months I have been getting into custom rigging within 3dsmax 2009. I have used and created a similar rig to the one made in the CGAcademy tutorials but at the same time developed it in a single heirachy to work in games and such.

I'm still very new to rigging and have been plagued with problems. I have managed to solve alot of them but I still have those questions in the back of my head nagging me. I'm hoping by asking people I can put my head at rest and make my life a lot easier.

1. Editing a completed rig...
I have finished making a human rig with controllers, wiring, reactions etc... but how does someone go about editing that rig to fit another character? I already attempted this and failed terribly which led me to believe generally you have to start again to some degree. Is this true or have I just missed a silly little button? A prime example of this is putting edit bones mode on and trying to edit a bone within an IK, it has a fit and breaks.

2. Poses...
I came from using biped and it was so handy using poses, although I understand I generally will not get the same degree of copy and pasting on a custom rig I wanted to ask if there was anyway to set more than one single skin pose? At the moment the only way I know how to store a pose is by selecting all my controllers (shapes) and going into 'animation/set skin pose' then simple messing around and going back to 'animation/assume skin pose' while having everything I have previously selected.

3. Games vs CG?
Since I'm very games orientated in my methods and limitations of working I tried to direct my CG rigging training into a games setting. The problem is I don't have much games rigging experiance also. My first thought was that I could simply have a single heirachy games rig which is then controlled in parts by having a CG rig ontop of it, allowing me to have inverse foot rigs on a games rig etc... The problem is.... do I need to do this? Going into a games rigging situation in a company... what would be expected in methods and principles?

IkerCLoN
11-27-2008, 03:20 PM
1. Editing a completed rig...
I have finished making a human rig with controllers, wiring, reactions etc... but how does someone go about editing that rig to fit another character? I already attempted this and failed terribly which led me to believe generally you have to start again to some degree. Is this true or have I just missed a silly little button? A prime example of this is putting edit bones mode on and trying to edit a bone within an IK, it has a fit and breaks.

I guess you have to find a solution to edit the proportions on the character BEFORE it's built. In the system I've developed, that is achieved by placing several points (merged from a file) in the joints of the character. Those points are used for creating the bones. Then, IK systems, blends, twists, etc., are created on top of this. So you are not missing anything. It's just easier to tweak proportions first and then put the nice and fancy things on top of that ;)

2. Poses...
I came from using biped and it was so handy using poses, although I understand I generally will not get the same degree of copy and pasting on a custom rig I wanted to ask if there was anyway to set more than one single skin pose? At the moment the only way I know how to store a pose is by selecting all my controllers (shapes) and going into 'animation/set skin pose' then simple messing around and going back to 'animation/assume skin pose' while having everything I have previously selected.

I think there are several free scripts that allow you to store and recover a pose... but again, if you want functionality, you should script your own tool for that. Creating a tool that stores the pos/rotation/CA's for an object, writing it down in a file (or in a internal variable) and then loading it when needed could be a way to go.

Can't help you with 3 since I do not work in games ;)

IchI
11-27-2008, 06:15 PM
Thank you very much, as stupid as it sounds thats all I needed to hear :D I just couldn't find anywhere that explained the basic theory behind a custom rig, especially when you used to something like biped. Just clears up a few things so I know what to do in antisipation for other rigs and even working with existing ones.

stewartjones
11-27-2008, 09:54 PM
Just my 2 cents!

1. Editing a completed rig...
Do it before you get to final rig. I usually make a script that creates the base hierarchy of joints and such. Then another script for adding in all of the animation controls, and one to bake the animation and strip them out. That way you can get it directly from your package into the game engine.

2. Poses...
Script it. Easiest and best way.

3. Games vs CG?
Yep that's fine what you said. You need a base joint hierarchy that can be exported to engine. From there if you're just dealing with animation inside your package do whatever it takes to get those joints rotating for your animators! The only thing i've found that you have to watch out for is general limitations of your engine. A maximum number of joints, a max number of morph targets, and even a max number of joint influences per vert are some of the limitations I've come across in the past.

PEN
11-29-2008, 07:20 PM
If you want to be character rigging you need to learn to script in what ever package you are using. You are in Max so Max script is the number one tool that you will need to know to be able to get really good at it.

Reusing rigs can be done in a few different ways. Script a solution for each part of the rig, so an arm, leg and spine system and link them together once they are done. Another is to use list controller or point helpers in the hierarchy that are set the specific points in the rig so that when you move them it will pull parts of the rig into place with them, you almost always have to manually align other parts of the rig to them as well. I do this all the time, there are tricks to it like turning off IK solvers and then having to make sure you reset the preferred angles on them before turning them on again. Scripted solutions can often be faster to use but you need to write them in the first place.

As for game rigs they are not limited very much at all with what you can do. You can't get into fancy stretchy bones and other deformation systems that engines done support but the control system for the animator can be just about anything that you can come up with. Any decent exporter should have ways of cleaning out the unneeded nodes from a rig on export.

Pose capture can be done using the Save/Load Animation tool as it can write out just a single frame if you want. Also, as many of us do you can write your own pose capture system using Max script. I write all my data to xml formated files using dotNet just like the Save/Load Animation tool does but it is my own format.

Here is about 1/4of a tool that I have developed as a character system so you can get the idea of what is possible with Max script and some time of course.

http://www.paulneale.com/temp/PEN_characterControlSystem.jpg

wamo
12-02-2008, 03:51 PM
Congrates Paul, it's the Hell itself....:cool:
and i think everybody here is intersted to hear more about it...

ramiro3d
12-19-2008, 03:37 PM
Woooowww, awesome UI, i wonder how you do to get that UI like Motion Builder for selecting Controllers, could you post an script example of this?, i understand if you can't. Thanks you Paul.

PEN
12-23-2008, 01:29 PM
The selection map isn't all that hard really as you can use standard max imgTag UI items and get the location the map it clicked and associate that with an object. The way that I have gone about it is far more in depth as I have all the associations stored in an XML file that determines the number of maps and how they will work. I'm also using dotNet pictureBox, listView and dotNet XML parsers to create this tool. If you are new at Max script this would not be the sort of thing that you would want to try and dive it to to start with.

ramiro3d
12-24-2008, 03:19 PM
Thanks Paul, yes i use maxScript in all rigs i do, it really helps. I want to lern how to combine MaxScript with dot net in order to control all the visual stuff. Will you recommend me some tutorials about that?. IŽll appreciate it very much. Thanks again.

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