MAXScript Biped Auto Rigger

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Old 12 December 2013   #1
MAXScript Biped Auto Rigger


I decided to create my first auto rigger script which is based on Biped, I had a look around at other 3ds Max scripts which all seemed to be based on moving Helper objects into position before creating the rig, whereas I wanted to be able to interactively resize the bones of a character using the scale gizmo before creating the rig.

I'm currently not planning on adding features like overall scaling and squash/stretch, the script is meant more for games, but this could change when I develop more of the rigging systems.

Rigging features that I am planning to add include: IK/FK limbs, IK/FK blending, IK/FK snapping, triple-IK foot, Biped-like spine rig and a lot of custom attributes so that, for example, the fingers can be rotated in using spinners/sliders in the modify panel.

Unlike Biped, you can still use all of 3ds Max's native tools like the Curve Editor, Set Key and Auto Key.

I posted the first update video for the rig:

Stay tuned for more!

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Old 12 December 2013   #2
Nice! I can't wait to try this out. I always liked biped as a rig, but hated animating with it because of it's weird 'fake' quaternion curves and not being able to truly separate keys on bones in the limbs, not easily or in a way that made sense anyhow.

One thing I really liked, and I have no clue if this is possible or even desirable, was the way you could pose the biped knee and elbow "swivels" by twisting the calf or forearm. It made posing out floppiness on bent arms pretty painless.

I hope you have time to investigate squash and stretch because when you're working on a game with cartoony characters squash and stretch will sell that movement better than anything else. When I finally figured out how to apply a stretchTM to a biped bone the characters had so much more life to them. Plus it really helps out on super quick movements where a rigid rig would create a kind of strobing or flickering effect. A little bit of stretch can fake a kind of motion blur to smooth things out.

Anyway, looks good so far. Really like the 'get height from object' feature and how the bones are automatically added to the Skin Mod. Using the scale gizmo to fit the rig to the mesh just like biped does is awesome. Should really speed things up.

Last edited by Pacermike : 12 December 2013 at 02:10 AM.
Old 12 December 2013   #3
Hi Andy,

With the forearm swivel in Biped, are you saying that you like it during setup mode or animation? At the moment, to setup the rig you have to use FK, but when the rig is created and during animation, I had planned on creating swivel angle targets.

I have to admit that my knowledge of games engines is limited, but I was under the impression that most games engines didn't like scaling rigs? Perhaps that condition is outdated now.

I'm glad you like a few of the other things I've done, creating a Skin modifier and automatically adding the Bones to it took me about 2 minutes to script, but doing it manually has always been something that's slightly annoyed me.

I got the Bones mirroring to work yesterday too, I'll post another video when I've got a few more things to show.

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Old 12 December 2013   #4
Hey Harry,

I liked animating the elbow by twisting the forearm. I can't remember if I used it much during setup. I know swivel angle on Brad Noble's rig is a spinner/slider combo and I almost always wind up fighting with it. A floating pin target would definitely be easier to manage, but I liked how clean it was in biped with that twist action. Plus the fact that the controls for FK and IK were the same, letting you pose the FK arm like you would an IK one... but that's a whole other thing

Looking at the Unity documentation it looks like they're still discouraging non-uniform scaling... which is disappointing. So you may be right. (see Non-Uniform Scaling section)
For all I know our engine may have the same limitation but that doesn't stop me from using it every chance I get, haha.

Looking forward to updates
Old 01 January 2014   #5
Hello, I just uploaded my second update video to Vimeo. I've still got a bit of work to do but I've updated a few things, shuffled the UI around and added some new functionality. Hope you like what I've done so far!

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Old 01 January 2014   #6
This is looking great. Thumbs up on the 'Knuckles' option. I always liked that and not a lot of rigs make it available to you. It's not usually practical for game rigs because it's a pretty big bone count increase, but still, I like it. You can get better hand poses when you can cup and splay the hands.
Anyway, you're making awesome progress. If I had any suggestions it would be that I kinda of like being able to see the twist bones just because it makes it easier for me to visualize things, like seeing how the twist bones will line up with the cross sections of the geo, etc. That's just me though. I wouldn't complain if the feature wasn't there
Keep going!
Old 01 January 2014   #7
Hi Andy,

Thanks for the complements, I guess just because it's you I'll do a few test to see what interactive twist bones are like but I'm not promising anything.

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Old 03 March 2014   #8
Hello, I just uploaded the third update video to Vimeo. This one includes the ability to load and save rig presets, merge character meshes and twist bone visualisation as well as some other subtle changes.
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