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Rigging in 3DS Max

By Michael Bauer
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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
3ds Max

Alright, we're back on course now.

This time we are going to create some rectangles so we can better control the feet of our character. So Create > Shapes > Rectangle and create it, like so, and then make a copy for the other foot (Fig.26). Position is important, which is why I am showing you two different angles.  We just want to make sure that the rectangles are around our feet. Remember these are what we will use to control our feet.

Fig. 26

Now we link again.

Link each of our new Dummy objects to the new rectangle around each foot. Obviously do this for both feet (Fig.27).

Fig. 27

Test this by moving the rectangle and both IK solvers and the helpers should follow; again, if they don't you did something wrong. Undo when you're done so the feet go back to where they were.

We don't link our foot controls to the outer circle because we want them to be independent from the upper body.

Okay, so where are we?

Note: Save!

We now have created our first rig!

The only thing we could do now is rename our controls, but that's up to you.

Go ahead and spend some time playing with it. Just remember to undo each of your changes so he gets back to his original state.

Okay, now I will go briefly over some things to understand about our IK solvers.

Swivel Angle
There are a lot of things to know about our IK but the most important thing for now is to know how to adjust the swivel angle of our IK solvers.

I'll get right to it.

Select the IK solver (blue cross) for one of the arms. Then go to the Motion panel and scroll down until you find the IK Solver Properties rollout. In here, adjust the Swivel Angle so you can see for yourself what it does. Also, I prefer to set the Parent Space option to IK Goal, but that is just me (Fig.28).

Fig. 28

What is important about the swivel angle is that there are some poses that you simply will not be able to achieve without it; hence why it needs to be discussed.
For example, let's say I want to place the hand of our character on the back of his neck. Without using the Swivel Angle this is the best we can do (Fig.29).

Fig. 29

Doesn't' look too comfortable, does it?

But here I have adjusted the Swivel angle to 80 (Fig.30).

Fig. 30

Ah ... that's the spot!

Fair enough?

Just keep it in mind it is just as important as our controls; it is how we pose our character, and without good poses, we won't have good animation.

One more thing before we wrap this up, find and activate this tool: Select and Manipulate (Fig.31).

Fig. 31

Now you have a nice interactive way of adjusting the swivel angles as you animate (Fig.32).

Fig. 32

Just don't forget to turn it off once you're happy with your adjustments!


Hopefully by this point you understand Hierarchy, linking, IK, Spline IK, creating control shapes and why all of it is important.

Remember, this can be applied to Bones as well, just not Biped because Biped is a rig all in itself.
One last thing: if you really get everything we just covered, make this pose - and then you can go (Fig.33)!

Fig. 33

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
(ID: 287305, pid: 0) Tureli_ on Wed, 16 July 2014 10:35pm
help when I do I back out such result
(ID: 281753, pid: 0) Bug.ikki on Thu, 19 June 2014 12:51pm
Very helpful for a beginner. Thank you very much.
(ID: 208556, pid: 0) HEMA on Wed, 24 July 2013 8:39pm
Awsome tutorial...thanks..
(ID: 198032, pid: 0) Shivaji on Fri, 17 May 2013 3:34pm
nice tuts buddy!!
(ID: 162231, pid: 0) Shemski on Thu, 15 November 2012 9:11am
thanks a lot. well done.
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