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Rigging 101

By Sergio Mucino
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
3ds Max


Hi there! Welcome to the rigging 101 tutorial! I decided to post this one because I've noticed there are a lot of novice users who have a hard time trying to learn rigging (I had one!!). So, here it is. I hope this tut will get you up and running with character rigging, so you can start rigging your own models, and then move on to the heavy stuff... nuff said!!

(NOTE: Even though this is a tutorial aimed at beginners, I still assume you have working knowledge of all of max's basic transform and manipulation tools, and that you have a basic working knowledge of hierarchies, node creation and modification, etc. I won't stop to explain these. If you still have problems following this tutorial, I'd suggest doing the tutorials that ship with your copy of the software first, and moving on to this tut afterwards. Enjoy!)


Ok. Go get some paper, glue, scissors... oops! Wrong tut... umm... ah, yes! You'll need a ready character! Since I haven't had much time, I'll just borrow one from the installation CD that you have (because you DO have one, RIGHT???!!). Here's a pic of the model I'll use... our friend Alfred, the alien (I just gave him that name... I'm not sure who created him and what name he had for him).

Fig 1. The model

So... go get your model and bring it into max, so we can get started.


Ok. Let's get some work done before tackling the rigging part. Bring up your layers toolbar, and create 4 layers... Model, Bones, IK Helpers, and Hierarchy Helpers. We'll use these layers to keep everything tidy and organized (if you're still under R4 and have no layers, use RezN8's super-handy layer script "Layer Manager" (dig for it at Scriptspot), or just use selection sets as needed).

Fig 2. Our layers.

Now, place the mesh in the "Model" layer. Open the layer properties panel, and freeze it, turn on see-through, and turn off show frozen in gray. Also, you may need to set your transparency viewport settings to "best".

Fig 3. Mesh layer properties.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
(ID: 234042, pid: 0) AshkanFarmanbar on Fri, 15 November 2013 4:57pm
Thank you a lot because you closed to me one of my Interest parts of the 3dmax i remember you freind...;)
(ID: 193324, pid: 0) Anil on Sat, 20 April 2013 11:57am
Such a useful tutorial ! thanks for sharing
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