Reusing rigging information for other characters?


Max does support this actualy and does a great job of it. You can do it in several ways.

if you are using the same rig with similar naming conventions you can save the envelope and weight data out to and file and load it back into the new character. If the vertex count and order has changed and you have weighted the verts with paint weights or weight table then this method will not work.

Another method if every thing is the same is to just copy the Skin modifier off of one character and paste it on another. We do this all the time to update a character mesh in an already animated scene.

Next method is more flexable because the vert count, size and shape of character can change all that you like. In the Tools Panel go to more and open SkinUtilities. Here you can select the original mesh, press bake to mesh, which will create a mesh with all the saved Skin data stored in it. Merge this mesh with the new character. Add Skin to the new character and add the bones to it. Select both the new mesh and the baked mesh and in the SkinUtilities press Import Skin Data From Mesh. Just so you know you can remodel the skin data mesh any way that you want to make it fit the new mesh. the closer that it is the better the result will be. You can also use this tool to extract weights from one side of a character and paste it to the other. You would only need to do this if the character wasn’t even close to being a mirror copy. You can just model up the data mesh to fit the other side and then import the data from it.


I wanted to say thanks for all the information Jason. I do allot of rigging in both Max and Maya and your process is great to hear. I do most of my work in the TV series market and some feature work.

As for the discussion being maya focused that is fine. Max and maya as well as others are very similar in what you can do but getting there is often quite different. If you know other packages you can usualy apply this information with a few changes to reflect different tools.

Once again thanks, and thanks for all your great work.


Another method for dealing with high and low res rigs like what Jason was talking about is to use constraints instead of copying animation.

So the animators work with the animation rig that is fast and doesn’t require all the extras that you need for skinning a character. The TD’s work with an FK rig that has all the extras and they skin to that rig. Merge the skin rig into the animation file and constrain the skin rig to the animation rig. This allows the animator to see both at once and even make small changes to the animation while seeing the final character. This isn’t something that you would want to do with a character like gullom as he is so complex but I work mostly on TV series in Max and this is a very fast workflow since we can merge and delete the final character at any point in the animation process. I have a full set of Max scripts that run this and make it seamless to the animators and lighters.

A host of scripts for speeding up rigging is also the answer to all your rigging problems.


does anyone try to use Houdini for character? I heard that the digital assets does the same thing that you guyz want.


Yep. Ask around odforce’s forum:


Hello :thumbsup:

4 all users of max i would like u to try this bones rigging …which i have linked to move 4 legs

select any circle or the middle point to move the system … thanks…ators/bones.max (download this file)


Hi guys,

if I’m posting this in the wrong section, please let me know.

I’m in the process of making of movie called Lord of the Mojo. It’s pretty well based on our own storylines but does have some some LotR elements, because we do wanted to get a feel of it, because it’s such a great movie.

So we have Gollum, a CG character. Doesn’t really show up in our fist part, but will be (far) more significnally in the 2nd/3rd part. So I got myself a modeller already. It’s pretty much our first movie, and it’s a feature film, so that means I’ve got a lot to learn, montage, sound, etc. We’ve got a crew of 4 people and 2 other assistants (camerra and conceptual).

Now for my question… I’ve got to get him rigged and textured, I’ve already practised on animation and I think I’ll cope with that… But tips for rigging? I don’t have that much time to delve into the art of rigging (not to mention texturing). Any tips? Is it hard to find one who would like to rig Gollum for me, or will I have a fair chance of doing it myself?

Getting just a basic feel of Gollum in our first part of LotM is essential, for now we don’t have the need or urge to create a great or outstanding result. So would it be reasonable if I would say that if I would got through the Max UR and do some tutorials in the Tutorials index from Max, then I would get a pretty adequete Gollum?

I’m pretty new to the world of 3d, so some detailed feedback would be great…

Thanks in advance for your replies,



I’m definitely favoriting this thread :).


Put your rt_hand_ctr in the air and sine wave like you just dont care!

I wanted to build a reusable rig for a biped for a long time, I bought a few books on the subject such as Inspired 3d, Advanced rigging and deformations and Maya Character animation. In fact, those are very helpful and I recommend them for people who want to learn how to design a character rig. But I’m starting all over again this time and I want to automate the process so I can learn Mel and make myself a puppet rig that is fun to play with.

Some questions:

Is it possible and can you share some tricks on how to improve the pretty cool yet not perfect FBIK? Like is it possible to hack it or to build on top of it and make it a little more custom. Are you guys using it only for mocap animation… is it something that can be expended let say to drive a deformation rig?


oops… I did a double post :rolleyes:


Hi jason/or anyone who can help,

I am looking for a solution with which i can switch bet. low>High res rigs without losing any info. Using you rigUI script(fast anim rigs) I am able to transfer animation data as you are using the same animCurves to connect, but my question is ,how to handle constrained animations? Like for eg: if an animator has constrain the low:COG to a locator in the scene , when he switches to high res the constraint is not gonna work.And if i bake animation n then trafer it, i get too many keys and also he losing the capacity to animate the cog with the locator.

So,I personally prefer replacing reference, as it takes animation data as well as constarints and other connections as well .Why have you tranfered link between animNode instead of replacing reference? I am sure its for a good purpose, and I would love to kno y to understand its uses betr. Thanks for your time :slight_smile:


I have a snake to rig !
is there any tutorial or idea about rigging the snake?
waiting for your help!


But, you can rig that snake using the spline ik.:thumbsup:


hi guys i need u r help for some rigging work .i want link spline vertex with dummy or other object in 3ds max , if somebody know how to do this .pls tell me.


Ok Check this out,

  If you are indeed doing this in max then you're in better shape than if you were doing this in maya. The tutorial section that comes with Max is comprehensive, easy to understand, and liberaly hyper-linked for anything you aren't up to speed on. It is so good that I have yet to find a book on the market for Max that I needed to buy. There are tutorials for beginning rigging all the way to advanced production rigs. It builds it in parts so getting through it will give you the framework for piecing together other non-specific rigs for multiple uses and a good portion was written in part or in whole by fellow master rigger and poster Paule Neale. The characters covered are cartoon based and if you want a more comprehensive Max rigging experience you can purchase Paul's rigging tutorial DVDs from CG Academy. From layered rigs to muscle systems it provides step by step instructions for taking rigging to the next level. Great asset for anyone in  a character pipeline.

  The best advice is not to get frustrated. There is a reason they call it a black art and I read through the same tutorials about twenty times with twenty failed rigs before I understood everything but it pays off.

Good Luck with your film,



you can use spline select then select the vert you want then use linked x form to bind it to another helper or object:thumbsup:


Hi Guys , i have a Question , (I am Maya user)
I want to reuse my rig , after i re-position my bone to the correct place , and the controller may be change the value (i.e , tranlate X from 0 to 7 on my controller )

So i was wonder if there is a way , can let it inherit the offset , than the controller still be value at 0 .

Seems a little hard to explain what i want to say ,Hope someone can understand what i`m saying :slight_smile:


most of the time you should use an offset group, some people call it hook, where you have group on top of controller, this way you can move your offset group and preserve zeroed out controller.


I am quite noob in animation but i’ve to do a short movie in my work with 3dsMax2010.
The problem is that i have 2 characters, quite similar in the modeling but differents, and i have 2 short movies to do with each of them. Animations, rigging, and all will be the same between the 2 movies, only the character will change.

I have to estimate the length of work i will have, and I wonder if I shall to do again all anims 2 times or if I can only do again the skinning. In the same way, which would be the best method between biped (character studio> can save .bip) and bones/personal rigging (don’t know how to re-use my anim work), morph or splines (bones) skinning for facial anim?

I am a bit lost thanks for help me!


I just wrote about a similar topic here: