View Full Version : [MAX] need help with rigging

09 September 2003, 05:21 PM
Ok, I started following the 3dsmax rigging tutorial (that comes with the package) but at the end of the "rigging the leg"-tutorial I ran into some porblems. It's the part where you should add a "swivel" (sp?) to make the knee always point it a certain direction (so it bends right). But look at this picture. The left shows how it's meant to be, and the right what happens when I check the marked box. I have no idea why this happens, cause I'm sure i followed every step carefully. Could it be caused by rotating the bones (always used local mode for that)?

Is the method (of getting the bones to rotate in the correct directions) described in this tutorial really effective? To me it seems quite clumsy, is there any better way of doing this maybe?

Anyway another question. The character that is used in the tutorial has his feet lined up with the x-axis of the grid (in side view that is, in perspective view the same is called y-axis, don't know why), but my character's feet is pointing outwards. So those helpers are set to rotate on the x-axis which might not work that good with my character, or what do you think? Any suggestion how to fix this? Also the helpers and IK solvers aren't pointing in the same direction as the feet either (as they are lined up to the grid), though I guess it wouldn't be enough to just rotate them. Suggestions very much appreciated :)

09 September 2003, 10:58 PM
Try getting in to the habit of always creating bones in the same viewport. That way they will all have the same orientation. I use the Right viewport.

If you want the helper to have the same orientation as the bones, use the Align tool. It's up on the main toolbar. Select the helper, then click on the Align tool, the select the bone you want to align it to. Check off each of the axis boxes for the local orientation. Then the helper will be aligned to the bone.

I don't know why the foot rotates when you apply the swivel angle control. Make sure the foot bones aren't part of the chain of leg bones. Try unlinking the root foot bone from the leg bone, applying the swivle angle control to the leg, and the relinking the foot bone to the leg.

09 September 2003, 10:09 PM
Yeah, FatAssassin is right about the alignment. That may seem like a chore but it will help a lot.

However, it looks to me like the rig is doing what it is supposed to: trying to get the knee as close to the target (L-knee_CTRL) as possible. And that's the whole point, isn't there?


09 September 2003, 04:56 PM
Thanks for the help guys, I have another question about rigging that's also connected to aligning though. I've been working quite hard on this rig following the 3dsmax help file tutorial rigging (as above) but still haven't been able to get anywhere without getting different kinds of problems :(

I restarted the rig as I was told to align the helpers and IK solvers. This is what happens when I wire the foot controller to the heel rotate helper (with aligned helpers and IK):

I did the same thing but without aligning the IK solvers and helpers, which worked without these problems. So that's where the problem is. The next picture shows how the helpers are aligned in front view:

I realize that this probably is the cause of the problem. The helpers, I've heard, should only be aligned so that they rotate in top view. Though, even if I only align to one axis it rotates slightly in all directions. A member on helped me a lot but still I couldn't get anywhere, he even rigged one of the legs for me to show how to do it. His helpers were only aligned so they were rotated in top view, problem is that I can't get mine to do that. Answers and suggestions are really appreciated! :)

10 October 2003, 07:44 PM
No idea what the problem could be? *bump*

10 October 2003, 02:01 PM
I looked at it some more and found out why the foot rotate when I wire it, it was because before I aligned the IK solvers they rotated on the x-axis but after the aligning on the z-axis which caused this problem. The problem now is that I still can't align the IK solvers without getting them rotate on all axis (like in the second picture of my last post). I tried to use the axis restrictions but it didn't help at all I think. Any ideas how I could aling so that the object only rotate on just one axis?

10 October 2003, 04:00 PM
Oh you can't get away that easily... :)

I'm gonna do you a favour this weekend and write you a tut on how I did it - pics and all. I'll build it from scratch again just to make sure I've done it right and I'll document anything that goes wrong to so you shouldn't get stuck.


10 October 2003, 06:43 PM
Oh, you're on this board too :) Sent you a PM about the same thing on threedy but thought I'd better post it here aswell as you said you were busy. I guess that this part of the rigging should be pretty easy but I never get it right as you've noticed, so a tutorial would be of great help!

10 October 2003, 04:09 PM
Hey count0... I didn't forget! :)
Firstly mods you might want to move this to the MAX specific forum?

I've made a huge mistake in the positioning of the Toe bone it's way off - you'll need to position it where the toes meet the foot!
All alignments are done using Pivot point for both objects!
Just follow the Tut even if something looks odd to you it'll turn out right in the end... I promise! :)

Stage 1 - Load object?

STAGE1 pic (

Stage 2 - Draw bones in Right Viewport.
- Adjust bones positioning by rotating and moving as in tut.
- Rename Bones... this is vital to a decent rig cos later on you're gonna have loads of helpers/bones etc.

Stage2 pic (

STAGE2a pic (

Stage 3 - Change ref coordinate sys to World and select Use transform coordinate centre (same as tut) then mirror bones and make them look special with colour gradients?

Stage 4 - Create IK Chains and helpers and name appropriately

STAGE4 pic (

Stage 5 - Align the IK chains to the direction of the feet rather than facing forward. To do this select the IK goal then align button and then select the bone before (i.e. Toe Tip IKGoal - Toe Bone, Ball IKGoal - Foot Bone etc.) now select ONLY align orientation to Z axis.

STAGE5 pic (

STAGE5a pic (

Stage 6- Align the helpers to IK chains (using X,Y & z positions and ONLY Z axis orientation) and name appropriately.

STAGE6 pic (

Stage 7 - Create Spline shape and colour blue! :o/
- Convert to editable spline and in sub-object mode adjust shape to fit foot.

STAGE7 pic (

Stage 8 - Align Ankle helper to other helpers (use Y position ONLY!)!!!
- SAVE!!! Even if you've saved before now from here on you don't build any more bones or helpers for a whie so having this as a backup is gonna be sodding useful!

Stage 9 - Link the helpers and IK chains as follows...

toeIKGOAL to toeRotateLHelp.
ankleLIKGOAL to heelLiftLHELP.
ballIKGOAL to heelLiftLHELP.
toeRotateLHELP and heelLiftLHELP to toeLiftLHELP.
toeLiftLHELP to heelRotateLHELP.
heelRotateLHELP to footLCTRL.

STAGE9 pic (

Stage 10 - Add attribute holder modifier to spline shape and add FootRoll and ToeRot attributes as the tut asks.

Stage 11 - SET THE PLAYBACK LENGTH TO -1000 to 10000!!!
- Now we're ready to wire parameters... or are we. Try wiring the Foot spline shape to the Heel rotate Helper Y axis (because we've messed with the orientation of the IKchains and Helpers the wiring axis is going to be different from the tuts) the foot jumps up? WTF!!! Because the heel helper is already rotated the entire foot jumps up? We don't want this do we? But we can't just rotate the Helper back cos it's all linked into the foot system now? So here's a little idea... rotate just the pivot! Change coordinate system to view and select the heel helper and open the Transform Type in window (R-click the rotate button) look at the Y value? For our wire to work we need it set to 0 so select the Hierarchy tab and click the 'affect pivot only' button then in the transform type in change the Y field to 0.

STAGE11 pic (

STAGE11 error ( )

Stage 12 - Try wiring to the Y axis again! Ta Da it worked but isn't perfect. Now put the following in the expression box:

if (FootRoll <0) then degToRad (0.6*FootRoll);
else 0.0


STAGE12a pic (

Stage 13 - Now wire the foot Ctrl into HeelLift Z axis with the following expression:

if (FootRoll >50) then degToRad(50.0);
else if (FootRoll >0) then degToRad(FootRoll);
else 0.0

STAGE13 pic (

Stage 14 - Now wire into the toeLift helper Z axis with:

if (FootRoll > 50) then degToRad (1.5*(FootRoll-50));
else 0

STAGE14 pic (

Stage 15 - Just wire the Toe Rotate helper on the Z axis and you're done...

STAGE15 pic (

Phew what a long post. :)


10 October 2003, 04:18 PM
Umm... forgot to mention.
Before linking and wiring you must make sure the first IK goal parent space is set to Start Joint whilst the second and third IK goals are set to IK GOAL as we discussed before! Other wise your knee ctrl will affect the entire leg as before.

Hope this helps you out!

Oh and I've noticed you're capable of inserting images into your vbulletin posts. Can you do me a favour and explain how you do this. When I post images noone can see them? I'm trying to link jpgs off a geocities account by clicking the IMG button and then adding the address but it never works?


10 October 2003, 10:51 PM
Wow! Thanks Jack! Finally I'll be able to get this right. Thanks for always being so helpful (this is more that just plain helpful though ) to a complete stranger :) I think I'll wait a little before I do the rigging though, as I'm working on a simple character (the ogre had more polygons than needed, my computer slows down so much it's not fun to work). Anyway, thank you for this tutorial aswell as your other help.

See you :thumbsup:

(PS. the image thing. Geocities doesn't allow direct linking I think.)

10 October 2003, 12:29 AM
No worries Count0. I hope it's answers a few of your questions... real shame I couldn't open your MAX files but we got there in the end? :applause:

Geocities don't allow direct linking huh... who do you recommend for web space then?


EDIT: Forgot to say you're still welcome to PM me if you need help with this or any another part of that tut.

10 October 2003, 10:29 AM
count0, you can get to the images by going to his main directory and clicking on them from there.

hey jbw, i am working on expanding my skills to rigging and i've worked through a very similar tutorial (the only difference seems to be the model they use).

anyways in the tutorial it gets to the same point you just got to, and then it says to set up the other leg.

i'm using a similar setup with helper objects and expressions and i was wondering if that kind of stuff is usually built twice on symmetrical models. it's no huge deal to do it again for the other arm and leg, but it just seems like there would be another way to duplicate it all.

i would just take the whole leg with helpers and all and mirror it, but i keep hearing conflicting things about whether or not you can really mirror bones in max5 without negative scaling. i don't know if the helpers would get messed up as well. i've tried it just to see what happens and there don't seem to be immediate problems with just mirroring everything, but i'm afraid there might be problems down the line that aren't visible yet.

done some searches on this topic and haven't been able to turn up anything yet, so any advice is appreciated.



10 October 2003, 10:39 AM
Hey, jum'bok. The tutorial used is the one that comes with max, jwb just gave me a further explaination on this part. I'm not totaly sure but it seems like you must redo the rigging for each arm etc. I asked the same thing before and it seemed like no one really knew if it's possible.

Btw, jwb, check out this thread for web hosting solutions:

10 October 2003, 11:09 AM
Hey jum'bok - I wouldn't recommend you mirror an entire leg system, just the bones! I've tried before and although it does work on the surface more often than not I've ended up with weird stuff happening later on or probs with skinning. MAX has got better though - I recall building skeletons is MAX 3...

Count0 - thanks mate! :)


10 October 2003, 02:38 PM
ok cool. i just wanted to make sure there wasn't a better way to do it that the tutorial didn't mention.

thanks =)

10 October 2003, 03:57 AM
Gladfully, i saw someone posting the Elliott Smith pic.

I wish to see someone doin a Tribute videos or anything else wif any piece of his Music. I dun haf a chance to collect any copies of his music videos. Even a Fan work of music videos. I will plan to do one wif Flash. Since i only knw 2D nor 3D. damnit. But not in this moment. He is dead anyway. I dun like to rush my plan just cuz of this Elliott's phenemenon.

Rest in Peace, Elliott. Thx for being wif us all these while. U r a Hero for the generation but a loser for a moment. We couldn't just
tellin u how much we miss u & ur contribution in music industry.
FOr thos whose only starting to listen his music after this tragedy.
Pls reckon U r too late! No matter how long u listen to Elliott music today or forever. U still wont feel the pain & depress like all of us whom stay wif him until the last breath Elliott had inhale.
Elliott bring us the Brilliant day from today to the eternal tommorow.

To Elliott,

Hope u will be happy at somewhere else.
"Everything from u means everything to us!"

p/s: lst time, I used to remember is Elliot -
Pls correct the pic spelling - ELLIOTT.
Do it b4 Elliott approach u & reminds u of him.haha

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