View Full Version : SkeletonBuilder for MAX

09 September 2003, 06:50 PM
Hi all, i just finished the first version of my Skeletonbuilder for 3DSMax5 and want to know what you guys think of it. I know there are already alot of scripts around which help in creating skeletons, but i found most of them too unflexible. I'm doing a little different approach for this one. the script lets you create each body part (spine, arms, hands, legs, feet, head) individually by creating helper dummys which you can modify in any way (move, rotate, scale, etc) without worrying about orientation and scaling of bones. The dummys have some constraints applied, so that i.e. all changes made to the left side are reflected to the right side. When you are happy with the positioning of the helpers, you can create the bones for that bodypart with just one click. You can also save the current helper setup as a preset which could be applied anytime (the preset files are not included in this release, so you have to create your own, but you need a c:\temp directory)
this is just an early release, so there might be some bugs in there (please report if you find one) and some functions will not work, also i consider changing the ui, it's a bit confusing sometimes. The bonecreation is pretty simple at the moment, so you might get some unwanted results because the size of the bones is fixed. also there is no coloring for the bones yet (pheww... still a lot to do ;))
This script will only create a simple skeleton for you, there is no rigging and you have to link the bodyparts together by yourself (just another thing to do ;)) and the naming of the bones can not be changed at the moment. It is supposed to be the first of a total of 3 scripts, one for creating the skeleton, one for rigging and one for animating.

to install, just run the mzp file within max and add "SkeletonSetup" to your toolbar (it's a macroscript and placed in the category "piranha-bytes")

ok, now have fun with it !!

SkeletonSetup.mzp (


ps: sometimes a .zip extension is added when downloading a mzp file, so just delete the .zip :)

10 October 2003, 12:08 PM
Well I've been meaning to try it for days now but just don't seem to get the time.

I'll let you know what I think when (if ever) I can test it but in the meantime keep on working at it and post any updates you might have made.


10 October 2003, 01:43 PM
i played a bit with your script. i like the way the mirrored dummys
move the same time you move it oposite.

preset are a very good thing !

bugs repport: not exactly a bug, if u create foot before leg, leg are not well positioned
problems if u delete manually those helpers made up.

how do u create those blue link between dummys ?

10 October 2003, 12:11 AM
hi, thanks for the replys, i have been quite busy the last days so i couldn't post anything. i rewrote most of the scipt, it is "nearly" done now and makes the creaton of skeletons a real fun ;) there is also an early version of the "Rigomat", this script will apply custom rigs to the skeleton but it is still very early and will not produce useable results, but the limit-spheres are really cool :)
i also renamed the scripts to "myCharacter_Skeletomat.mcr", and they are now placed in the category "myCharacter"

have fun with it!

myCharacter (

gumtoo: the blue lines were really tricky.. and in the end, they are created with lookAt Constraints.. might sound a little strange, but i found it the only way to do it ;)



10 October 2003, 04:49 PM
- mzp drag'n drop installtion doesn't work
- you need to do clean up stuff in callback handlers like "reset", "load" etc. Because when i reset the scene and try to setup a new thing, the scripts operates on deleted objects (still stored in your vars), which causes an exception.

i wanted to check your setup, looks like there s no default IK setup in there?

I am not sure how u do mirroring, but rigHelp (another script for such things), did in the first version a scale -1 directly on the nodes - which isn't good when one wants to export it to game engines. Better is to use temp. parent object and scale the parent. Look at charRigger from comet.

Btw. did you check out all the other scripts that are building skeletons and rigs? rigHelp, charRigger and some other by a german guy.

10 October 2003, 01:03 AM
hey Cthulhu, some news about your script ?
i really like the way this tool goes, seems promising...

10 October 2003, 01:35 AM
thanx for sharing your script :) any personal website to check for news about this script and other stuff of yours :D ?

11 November 2003, 05:10 PM
ok, i got a new version ready, its another complete rewrite, changed the interface and internal structures and nearly everything else ;) it is not limited to spine/legs/arms/head bones anymore, you can create any bodypart you like, even hair is pretty simple to create. the bonecreation is still under heavy development, they are not aligned correctly at the moment.

some known issues:
- don't delete any helper objects by hand, or reset the scene while the script is running, there are still no callbacks which will handle this.
- some parentings get lost if you create a bodypart from a preset
- script slows down if you have a lot of chains created, its a bug in 3dsmax5 which is fixed in 6
- final bonecreation does not work correctly
- don't use duplicate names for bodyparts, it will confuse the script ;)
- first start might take a while till the bitmaps are loaded (fixed in max6)
- there might still be a lot other bugs, but sometimes its hard to find them, so if you encounter one, please report...

here is the script:
myCharacter (

and a screenshot of the new interface:

have fun!

11 November 2003, 12:16 PM
WOWWWW! look cool! :)

Does work with max 6 too?

A question:

What do u think about an NLA tool for mixing the characters clips that come with the standard character tool of max?

Is too much difficult?

Or someting like.. : with ur script u can create the rig, assign a character , create clips and mix the created clips..( the clips and the character tool, standard of max..)

That can be very usefull , i like the character tool of max..but without a clip mixer..u need to do all by hand..

Bye :)

11 November 2003, 11:54 AM
i only tested it with the max6 trial version and it works fine, even a lot faster than with max5.
yes, a motion mixer is already on the todo list, but there are still a lot things to do before that. as i mentioned, this is going to be a complete animation suite, which will consist of the skeleton builder, a "rigging machine" ;) and a tool for layered animation, pose library, motionmixer and all that stuff, i also think about a walk/run-cycle generator, for n-legged characters.. and it will of course be compatible with the character tool in max.
i will post another update this week, but again i have to change some internal structures, this will take me some time..

11 November 2003, 12:10 PM
HEHE ... Ops!?

11 November 2003, 12:17 PM
oh, well, yes, this is exactly what i have had in mind ;) going to have a closer look at this one..

11 November 2003, 04:56 PM
another update is ready, fixed the parenting bugs, load/save skeleton now works and there is a little preset editor when you load bodyparts. duplicate bodypartnames shouldn't be a problem anymore because the script will detect them and prompt for a new name (same with duplicate chainnames).

download (

have fun!

ivo D
11 November 2003, 05:45 PM
keep us posted

really nice work , just what lots of us need ;)

11 November 2003, 07:21 PM
Any news ??

I curious :)

11 November 2003, 02:30 PM
a new version is ready now, the bonecreation works way better (but may look a bit irritating at the beginning..). there are still a lot of things to do about it. there is also a new 'editing tools' window with a quick coordsys selector and buttons to lock/unlock chains, some more presets are included as well and a lot other bugs are fixed.. i really would like to hear some comments or suggestions which might help me to improve this one ;)

Download myCharacter Script (

12 December 2003, 08:16 AM
Good Work! :)

I hope to see new features added soon :)!!

:applause: :bounce:

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