View Full Version : joshpurple, Unofficial Mini Rigging Hand Challenge.

03 March 2008, 09:48 PM
(Hope I've got this thread in the right place. My apologies if not, and please feel free to move it or delete it as needed)

Another Big Thanks to Todd for the Unofficial challenge.
Here's my start (from this post; );


Thank you for the Unofficial Mini Rigging Hand Challenge Todd, very cool of you & great model images/icons/icon13.gif !

The other entries look excellent, so I thought I'd make them all look even better and add my attempt :) (sorry about the large gif file size, -I hope this loads quick enough for everyone);

Here's the scene so far;

A very simple bone hand rig and skin work for the start, with lots of room for improvement.
No smoothing, textures, plugins, lighting, or displacement maps, -just 16 hours of painting weights on the original meshes (and shaking my fist at the computer :thumbsup: ). All crits are welcomed.


And here's the latest update, -the first tendon for the back of the hand. I used Wire Parameters to get the tendon to move in relation to the rotation of the middle finger;

No plugins, no maps, no lights, some smoothing, -but still separate mesh parts (ugly seam visible) & room for lots of improvement :) .

An animated view;

All feedback and crits are welcomed. I've spent most of my time working on skinning the high res mesh.

03 March 2008, 07:41 AM
More wiring for tendon action, one MR spot light, the SSS Fast Skin Material (w/very draft UV's), and sealed the seams.


palm front:

Wiring action:


03 March 2008, 01:40 PM
The hand is looking good so far. The main thing that pops out to me is the Tendon that runs from the wrist to the forearm pops out too far. I would pull that back a bit, when I look at my wrist making that movement, it's more of a subtle rise and you almost don't notice it unless you flex your forearm.

Is there anyway you can export your hand as an OBJ instead of a .max file? I'm having trouble importing into maya and I don't have a way to convert it.

Keep up the good work. Can't wait to join in on the next challange (ran into this on a little too late in the game).

03 March 2008, 06:04 PM
Thanks Bharris :) , I appreciate the feedback & I'm glad to get it. I've made the tendon's movement more subtle.

Is there anyway you can export your hand as an OBJ instead of a .max file?
Todd posted the hand (as an OBJ file) on this page;
and here's the direct link;


03 March 2008, 02:53 AM
This is what I have so far, I wish I could expend more time painting weights but Im working in other projects.
I will apreciate any feedback.

video file

maya file

03 March 2008, 05:19 AM
Excellent work Alexis :thumbsup: ! That looks great. A nice looking set-up, & I hope you get more time to work on it too :) .

03 March 2008, 11:06 PM
Question for animators/anyone;

Do you prefer animation controls directly on the rig, or on sliders on side panels?

I've set-up custom attributes for the hand, using sliders, but I don't know if that would be the preferred choice for doing animation? (It seems like being able to animate the hand parts directly on the rig might allow for a greater sense of 'freedom' )

Thanks in advance for any feedback on this.

03 March 2008, 12:57 AM
In my personal opinion I prefer sliders, but its a good thing to rig the two options. And its helpfull when you want to overshoot a pose.
Your hand looks great!

03 March 2008, 06:54 PM
Thanks Alexis :), I appreciate it!

Good point, have both options. That will be tough for me to do, but I think it will be possible.

Big Thanks to Dave at where I found huge help on doing the Wire Parameters with Custom Attributes (check out Page 8 ( ). And, as always, a Big Thanks to PEN, whose tutorials & resources have always been very helpful! :applause: ( ).

Attempting to have both options, I'll change the sliders to spinners. In Dave's tutorial he mentions;

I personally prefer the Spinner over the Slider, as with the spinner you can adjust the range via numbers, as well as sliding the arrow bar.

And that's makes sense to me :) .

Messing around I've added a spline 'skin stretcher' between the index finger and the thumb, to try and create the effect of the skin stretching when the hand opens;

But, I get the feeling that using the Skin's Morph Angle Deformer might work best?

03 March 2008, 10:53 PM
I prefer sliders over spinners, but I like to have the option for the spinner also so I can watch the actual value and have an easy way to zero it out.

You can get them both in one via scripting so it looks somthing like this:

I can go into more detail if you need

03 March 2008, 11:52 PM
Cool Erik! :thumbsup: That looks great, I'd certainly like to go with that. Would you mind posting the script / going into more detail? If you don't have time, no worries, I completely understand, & Thank You for pointing that out! :)

03 March 2008, 03:19 PM
Question for animators/anyone;

Do you prefer animation controls directly on the rig, or on sliders on side panels?

I definitely prefer direct bone manipulation, although I will also augment that with slider/spinner control for getting bones into good presets. However, the more removed the controls are from the rig, the clunkier it feels (usually). The one exception to that would probably be if you've got a really tightly organized control area that you can quickly adjust all your settings with minimal mouse movement. But I've yet to work with a rig like that.

The hand rigs I've been working with recently have been inspired by Paul Neale's rigging DVDs and use two-way wiring. (This is all in Max.) That way I can rotate the bones directly and have them update the sliders on my control panel, or I can animate the sliders as needed. It's not a perfect solution, but it was my first stab at a production-ready custom rig and has served me fairly well.

03 March 2008, 05:37 PM
Thanks Josh (Bethesda Softworks, Cool! :thumbsup: ), I appreciate the info & your preference!

I've got the slider control working with the direct manipulation;

But, I still need to update them for the two-way wiring. I've put splines in for the tendons (which need limits still), -wired to the bone (for reaction to the sliders) & wired to the control (spline/dummy object) for the direct manipulation of the bone.

I'll definitely be buying Paul Neale's rigging DVDs! :)

03 March 2008, 10:08 PM
I'm still alive, and I'm pretty sure I've figured out how to create a giant mess, -with just one hand no less :beer: . Here's the latest;

My Big Thanks to Todd for extending the challenge until Monday :beer: .

And a Big Thank You to Erik! :thumbsup: For being such a NICE and cool person, and helping me out with some scripting, & a solution to the spinner / slider issue. Even with his finals, he took time out to help me & I can't say enough GOOD things about him! (Hope your finals are going well Erik! :) ).

I've come to respect and appreciate Paul Neale even more, his work and generosity in setting up web pages/tutorials/scripting/etc. has been immensely helpful (and highly recommended by everyone who's mentioned him to me). Inspired, I have purchased his "Intermediate Rigging 2 & 3" DVD's (they arrived yesterday), and I strongly recommend them to all! :thumbsup: (I'll get the rest soon. I also picked-up Bobo's "MaxScript Fundamentals 2, -MaxScript for the Masses." <--Brilliant! :thumbsup: ). Thanks again to All!

03 March 2008, 04:08 PM
After going over Paul Neale's, "Intermediate Rigging 2," DVD & focusing on the Hand Rig, I've learned that I had missed on adding a number of important items to my hand rig and that it was a mess in more ways than one :arteest:. So I started over with my hand rig, drank lots of coffee, and attempted to create a better hand rig;

I did not just copy / paste Paul Neale's (brilliant work), since that would (I think) defeat the purpose of learning & it would be cheating. I added slider / spinner controls for all of the finger bones, added some (most likely unneeded) nice looking gradient colors to the bones, and typed out the MaxScript -to be sure and create lots of little mistakes for the compiling fun of frustration at 3:00 a.m. in the morning :banghead: (I did get it working *dancing here* :) , and it wasn't that tough). I still need to wire all of it, add in the extra tendon rig parts, and Skin it.

I hope to make all of the tendons work automatically, to allow the animator to animate the hand without having to deal with that. I was able to make the 'auto tendon' action happen with my last hand rig, so I think that I will be able to make that happen again >gulp< .

There is more learning I need to do with how this could be done using the latest methods for 3ds Max 2008. I'm not sure, but I think that involves using the ExposeTm on the bones and using the values exposed with that (which I think will allow for faster reacting controls?).

I am using & learning TONS from Paul Neale's work, and using his 'PEN_Attribute_Holder 2,' -this has saved me many, many, many hours of trying to figure out all of this on my own (don't know if my melon could figure it out on my own :) ) / doing it from scratch, -so I do give a lot more credit to you guys who have done it from scratch / figured it out on your own :bowdown:.

Again, Thank You Todd for extending the deadline & setting this challenge up :beer: !

03 March 2008, 07:47 AM
Finished the wiring, although I did notice something -Max crashing a lot :D . Maybe it's that I should be using ExposeTM's for the wiring? I've been using two-way connections for the wiring, so direct manipulation of the bones is possible. But for the first time I've been seeing some odd actions/reactions in max (bones not resetting normally, needing to disconnect wiring & reconnect wiring for cupping action to work normally, sometimes the MaxScript "degToRad" will disappear from the dia. box, -little things that do fix-up). The one item that remains 'stuck' is the slider action, which seems to be connected to the two-way wiring. The spinners will work, and finger rotation works, but the slider stays in the middle (at the zero value of the slider). I've been using Maneswar's tip (from the AREA), "Something I have always done with Max, and I have never ever experienced file corruption or failed files not loading, is to save a file, then do a Max Reset. Give it a second or two to clear memory, then close Max." That does seems to help. Anyway, onto some Skinning! :)

03 March 2008, 01:15 PM
Last day for the challenge, and I will have my final rig posted up today :) .

Here's what the animator would see;

In addition to the direct manipulation / animation of the bones (two-way wiring set-up), here are the controls;

I managed to fix the little 'odd' items occurring, and the sliders now are working as expected :D ! Everything seems to be working well with the rig and controls.

The problem (as far as I can tell / learned ) was connected to
Diskeeper 2008, which was being affected by the uninstalled Norton Ghost 14.
I moved my old SATA hard drive to a new SATA hard drive (1 terabyte in size :) , Western Digital & it's been working great). I first tried to use Norton Ghost 14 to do this (weeks ago...). Norton (for me) ended-up being a complete waste of time and money, -it didn't work & it caused problems right down to the BIOS (wee, fun, fun...). Instead the software tools that came with the Western Digital hard drive worked great for moving my C drive to the new terabyte drive. After having many, many problems with uninstalling Norton Ghost, it was(still is) causing issues on my system. With Diskeeper, it was causing an unknown interruption of it's defragmention process, which (I think / guess) was causing Max to 'hang on' to a bad/corrupted 'MaxBack.bak' file. When Max would do an AutoBackup, the saved file would then have the 'odd' items appear in it. After getting rid of the Norton parts that remained after uninstalling it, I could then delete the bad .bak file -without getting the error window of 'can not delete file / in use by another program' (which was Diskeeper, trying to auto-defrag it in the background, where Norton was blocking Diskeeper. <-- or, at least this is my best guess on it, since I really don't know). Anyway, getting rid of the Norton bits seemed to allow for finally fixing the 'odd' items in Max *lots of happy-happy-joy-joy singing here :) .* (and Norton is still visible in the: control panel > Add or Remove Programs list, -and will not disappear from that list. I'm guessing there must be more Norton parts left-over in the Registry Editor that I still need to delete).

More soon :) .

03 March 2008, 03:00 AM
Here is a fast-forward version of just the rig action (I'm a beginner at doing the screen capture presentation, and trying to compress it to a reasonable size... :blush: :argh: ); (
(right click and save target as, since it's still ~ 14 MB in file size)

Next I'll post-up the Skinned screen capture action, -at regular view port speed (hopefully, along with an improved web-viewable presentation :) ). I've added some 'tendon tweak controls,' to allow the animator to adjust the tendon-action as needed.

03 March 2008, 01:00 PM
I've totally blown meeting the dead-line, so my boss is beating me with a stick :) .

Here's the final;

(hope that opens and plays quickly. I captured at 12 fps to try and save file size).
The Max file is at that link. No doubt, the Skin work could use lots of improvement.

Thanks again to Todd for the challenge! :thumbsup:

03 March 2008, 05:13 AM
Hi Josh,

Really nice work! It came together great. Quick question, was just wondering how you do the two-way wiring? I use a rather complicated scripted method I came up with, but am sure there's a much better way to do it. :)


03 March 2008, 05:20 AM
nice job josh, I am glad it came out so well. :D

03 March 2008, 02:35 PM
Thank You Jeremy :) ! That is actually very impressive (and cool) that you came up with a scripted method for doing the two-way wiring. Forgive me if any of this info is stuff you already know, -since I'm guessing you are way ahead of me :D .

I used the Wire Parameters dia. box, with the two-way arrow button selection;
main menu bar > Animation > Wire Parameters (or right click on object > Wire Parameters)

Along with Erik's (awesome :) help), I followed Paule Neale's tutorial(s) on the "Intermediate Rigging 2" DVD -from CG Academny (great tuts!).

I have heard that this can lead to some issues (using the two-way), and the more current method would be to use the ExposeTm (Create > Helpers) with Wiring / Wire Parameters. Like Bobo describes here; (Bobo's post is about the 4th one down on that thread).

Hope that helps!


Thank You Erik! I appreciate the kind words and your awesome help! :D (with more time, -I would do a lot more skinning work on it). Hope your finals went well.

04 April 2008, 07:16 PM
Hey Josh,

haha I'm so stupid, of all the time I've spent wiring stuff up I've never noticed that button! :scream: This is why it helps to ask! :)

Thanks mate, you've given me something new to play with! Again, nice work on the rig! :thumbsup:


04 April 2008, 09:17 PM
:D No worries, and I'm glad I could help!

04 April 2008, 12:49 PM
Well I don't know how I missed this thread, thanks for all the kind words Josh. You did a great job on that and it looks to be working well.

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