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Old 02-27-2013, 02:29 PM   #1
I like Lego
Rune Spaans
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 352

Super Simple Rig

The rig is now at version 1.4

Download it here:

Here are the most recent changes:

Feel free to post questions and feedback by posting in this thread.

------------------------ Original post -----------------------


I've just received a grant to expand and release my rigging system, which has been developed and used in production since 2008.

I thought I'd kick the pre-release out of the door, because there are a couple of issues with it that I'd like to discuss with you people out there!

Visit my site to check it out and download the beta/pre-release:

Here are some thoughts on the rig (which will be in the upcoming help page on the plugin):

Unhappy with CAT and Biped, I decided in 2008 to program my own simple and easy-to-use custom rigging system. I wanted something with minimal setup, high framerates and little fuss. I've kept upgrading it for every new character project the past five years, and I've just received a grant to add more functions and release it to the public.

The rig is inspired by the work of Paul Neale, Jason Schleifer and Paul Thuriot, and it carries with it a lot of their principles. It's made to be fast, minimal and modular, with as few controls as possible. It tries to avoid counter-animation, caused by multiple controllers affecting a single bone. In a way, it's a Max rig that wants to be a Maya rig. In Maya you can do beautifully complex rigs using just clever node connections, so in the same fashion, this is a rig that tries to manage without too much wiring, script or expression controllers. Also, the rig does a Channel Box imitation, where you can reset or dial in every animation value from the modifier panel.

The rig is part of a larger animation system that makes it easier for individuals or small teams to make animated projects in 3ds Max. Unlike the powerful reference system in Maya, 3ds Max has nothing comparable for easily swapping out a character rig while keeping the animation stored on it. This rig overcomes that obstacle by storing all animation in its controllers, which can be saved out and loaded onto a new rig. This opens up a more non-linear production process, and puts less pressure on the rigger. I have used it on two projects where we updated the rig on several occasions - without any loss of animation

My plan ahead is to:
- Add squash/stretch presets to most bodyparts.
- Add storing of rig presets.
- Add custom bodyparts, such as tails. The code is there, it just needs a proper GUI.
- Face rigging. I have code for controller setup and a mouth bone system. Again it needs a GUI.
- Loading of skin data, perhaps breaking up a mesh for pre-skin rig testing.
- The graph editor is a bit of a mess, it's best to turn off transforms and only view attributes. Will have to solve that.
- Quadruped rigging. It's in there, but needs some fixes.
- Documentation and some tutorials.
- A lot of other stuff!

I want most of this to be done before summer. Preset-saving, squash/stretch and face rigging have highest priority.

Here are some of the things I'd like feedback:
- Are there install problems?
- Any errors when running the script or clicking buttons?
- What is your playback framerate when playing back the animation?
- At the moment, the hand has a separate rotation and translate controller. That was to avoid gimbal lock and make for "cleaner" curves. But is that cumbersome to work with?
- I've linked some rotations directly to the attribute holder, which means they are in radians. When dialing, you very often have to hold "alt" for proper control of the values. Will that be a problem?

I'd like the last two oddities to stay that way, but I will be listening if they are causing issues.

Finally, a little warning! I only program as a hobby, and this was just a part-time project that happed to work better than I planned! A lot of what I can do will be limited by the time I have available and my programming skills!

Last edited by SuperRune : 03-04-2016 at 10:08 PM.
Old 02-27-2013, 03:37 PM   #2
Random Animation Goon
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Chris Bobko
Indie Animator
Raleigh, USA
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 270
Looks pretty neat! I'll give it a whirl when I get home this evening.
Old 02-27-2013, 03:50 PM   #3
PiXeL_MoNKeY's Avatar
Eric Craft
Dallas, USA
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 5,665
First, congrats on the grant and release of this tool. Second and more importantly, thank you very much for releasing it as an open (ie, non-encyrpted) tool.

"The Evil Monkey hiding in your closet."
Old 02-27-2013, 04:44 PM   #4
I like Lego
Rune Spaans
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 352

I totally hate it when people release free maxscript tools that are encrypted!

My only reason would be that my code is so bad I prefer to hide it, but I'd rather have comments on it than to hide it altogether
Old 02-27-2013, 05:09 PM   #5
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John Martini
CG Supervisor, 3D, Maxscript, VFX
Ingenuity Engine
Los Angeles, USA
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,309
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Great work man. I love that you are sharing and willing to help improve the industry.
____________ ___ __ _
John A. Martini
Old 02-27-2013, 08:47 PM   #6
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Oleksandr Klimuk
Kyiv, Ukraine
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 149
thanks, let's try
Old 02-27-2013, 08:57 PM   #7
All around nice guy
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Michael McCarthy
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 331
Great news. Thanks Rune!
Autodesk Master
Old 02-27-2013, 08:57 PM   #8
FainoDS's Avatar
Oleksandr Klimuk
Kyiv, Ukraine
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 149
when I push Builder button pops the following message. it's means I must install attribute holder too?

what a stupid question . I'm sorry

Last edited by FainoDS : 02-27-2013 at 09:02 PM.
Old 02-28-2013, 09:02 AM   #9
Bar Stool Enthusiast
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Daniel McGrath
Dublin, Ireland
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 3,814
First off Rune, a huge show of appreciation for this release. Max is in dire need of a rigging system like this. I almost weep when I see some of the amazing Maya rigs out there.

I've had a play with the rig and I really like it. I almost always animate with IK arms so I would much rather be able to avoid gimbal lock as much as possible by having seperate translate/rotate ctrls even if this sacrifices both on one controller. Even with euler filtering it still often means straight-ahead animating the hands on 1's with a single control.

Also, the channel-box-like zeroing is a really nice touch. And the 'Alt-holding' seems fine to me...

Any plans to add IK to FK - FK to IK switches? Or CTRL>click on the character selector GUI to select multiple nodes?

I eagerly await updates and will continue to test and post issues here.

Great work!

Last edited by musashidan : 02-28-2013 at 09:28 AM.
Old 02-28-2013, 10:51 AM   #10
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Oleksandr Klimuk
Kyiv, Ukraine
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 149
all works fine. one problem -I can't change character name, pops script error
Old 02-28-2013, 11:53 AM   #11
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Dr Zenith
Not a real doctor.
United Kingdom
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 634
Just had a play with this for half an hour - Wow. This is amazing! Thanks SuperRune for your hard work and congrats on the grant.

For someone like me who's not great at rigging, this could be a life saver. I look forward to your continued development.

Last edited by DrZenith : 02-28-2013 at 12:01 PM.
Old 02-28-2013, 11:56 AM   #12
I like Lego
Rune Spaans
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 352

Thanks for the feedback so far!

Sasha: The PEN Attribute Holder warning window might be a bit too much like an error window. I'll think about changing it. What is the script error message you get when renaming the character? Is it "Unknown property: "setName" in undefined" ? I just found that myself, and its an easy fix For now, create the locators before you change the name.

Daniel: You're my kind of animator! I prefer IK arms myself, and had too many gimbal issues with one controller. I am thinking of doing a script that watches if the user change from translate to rotate, and then will switch controller accordingly.

If you click the "more" button at the bottom of the character selector GUI, you will find FK/IK switching at the end of it. I decided to keep it out of the rig to keep it clean. The switch will add keys to the previous frame and then switch on the current frame.

And you should be able to select multiple controllers from the GUI by right-clicking on additional controllers. Unfortunately, this will not work like Maya where you can change the values for all selected controllers.

I will do some proper tutorial videos later on. But I have some older videos that show me playing around with the rig:

Last edited by SuperRune : 02-28-2013 at 12:04 PM.
Old 02-28-2013, 02:01 PM   #13
Digital Handyman
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Christopher Harkins
Lead CG Artist
Louisville, USA
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 905
This is a really valuable contribution, thanks! Do you have, or have plans for, an issue tracking system so people can log bugs/requests?
Chris L. Harkins
Old 02-28-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
I like Lego
Rune Spaans
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 352

At the moment I'm just putting your suggestions and bugs into a text-file on my Dropbox - together with all of my to do-items. It's a simple solution that will have to do for now
Old 02-28-2013, 02:23 PM   #15
the frequentest!
Rotem Shiffman
Tel Aviv, Israel
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,838
<ot>I like your website design </ot>
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