What Are The Standard Intermediate Rigging Features?

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  03 March 2013
What Are The Standard Intermediate Rigging Features?


Over the Summer, I'll be doing a university project where I'll be looking into custom rigging with bones in 3ds Max (no plug-ins like Biped or Human-IK), but I'm interested to find out what passes for an "intermediate" feature on a bipedial character rig so that I know what I have to include and maybe what I can include if I have time towards the end.

1. For the face I was going to go for a bones-based approach rather than a morph target solution - I have seen people create spline controllers on a seperate panel (like you'd see in a traditional morph target set-up) which use Set-Driven Keys or Reaction Manager to control the bones' position which is something I could try to incorporate.

2. For the limbs, I have a list of features which I'd like to include:
  • Traditional IK-FK blending system (three chains: IK, FK and one for skinning)
  • Skinning bone chain blends between IK and FK with an arc rather than linearly
  • IK to FK snapping and FK to IK snapping
  • Twist links
  • Bendy elbow/knee
  • Additional controls for a hosepipe effect
  • IK pinning
  • IK/FK stretching
  • Volume preservation in elbow knee area (using Skin Morph)
I'd like to know how to do elbow/knee pinning in 3ds Max, but I can't find much information to implement that feature

3. For the hands:
  • Pose storing
  • Control rotations with viewport spline controls and slider UI controls

4. I can't really decide what spine type to go for, but it must have:
  • Ability to stretch and squash
  • Change colour when stretched and a different colour when squashed
  • Have independant chest and pelvis controls
and if I get time I'd like to look into creating section of the rig with script and rig resizing.

If you have other suggestions for features that I should try to include then I'd be happy to hear them.


Last edited by hazmondo : 03 March 2013 at 07:50 PM.
  03 March 2013
Look up some maya tutorials for knee pinning, same technique applies to max.

But even tho you have all these features in your custom rig, you will discover that the result is a rather slow rig and not fun at all for an animator to work with. At least thats my subjective Max experience.
  03 March 2013
This will be the first time that I will have created a character with all of these features so I don't know how it will perform. I am also planning on creating a proxy mesh for my character which I will use for animation - hopefully this should speed up the viewport display slightly.

  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by sidvici: Look up some maya tutorials for knee pinning, same technique applies to max.

But even tho you have all these features in your custom rig, you will discover that the result is a rather slow rig and not fun at all for an animator to work with. At least thats my subjective Max experience.

I don't know, Brad Noble's Skeleton rig has all these features in one form or another and it's a great rig to work with. I've had no performance issues with it at all. Easy to use and a lot of fun to animate with.

Plus, now there's Rune's SuperSimpleRig which is very light weight and also has most of these features with more on the way.

I've used both these rigs on my Alienware m11x laptop in Max 2011 with very fast performance. Compare that to the Morpheus rig or even Norman on the same computer in Maya 2012. So sloooow. May not be an exact apples to apples comparison but that's been my experience anyway.
  03 March 2013
Thats why i added the last sentence. It's my subjective experience. I know Brads rig, i know Runes rig, and there are a few more excpetion out there(Felix Joleanes, Charles Looker, Sami Sorjonen or Paul Neal just to mention a few). What you didnt mention is that these guys are in buissnes for decades and there knowledge is far beyond from a average Max user. I remember reading a topic were Brad mention that he changed to Maya for a reason.

Could be just me but fact is i dont have to fight for speed and dependency loops in Maya that much. Period
  03 March 2013
I highly recommend you get Paul Neale's 3DS Max Intermediate Rigging DVD 4-disc set. I think it is exactly what you need-- even though it's done in Max6 it is all still applicable today and covers 95% of what you want to learn. But first do all of the Max bone rigging tutorials that ship with Max.
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by sidvici: Period.


Anyway, totally agree with Archangel35757. Neale's stuff is some of the best there is. You can also find a lot of really good methods and techniques on his website, too.
Also, Rune's rig is all open source I believe. Even though all the features haven't been added yet it'd probably make for some really good material to study.

As far as features that would be nice to see, how about hands you can "cup". Most rigs seem to have a single hand bone with fingers linked to it. Instead, you can join each finger to the wrist with a knuckle bone so you can cup the hand itself, or spread/flatten it for more dynamic hand poses. I think that'd work great together with being able to store hand poses like you mentioned.

Any plans to post your works in progress?
  03 March 2013

Thanks for all the replies.

I think everyone know's about Paul's DVD's, it's amazing that they're still held in such high regard but I suppose that a testament to their quality.

I mentioned in another post about my fondness for trying to deconstruct rigs, I started looking at Brad Nobles Skeleton rig which has some nice features in it; it tends to be that I know how to do basic versions of what he's got on his rig - his spine setup for example - but I'm at university to learn I guess!

In terms of starting a work in progress thread, I hadn't really thought of that but it sounds like a good idea - perhaps I assumed that WIP threads were reserved for seasoned pros.

  03 March 2013
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