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Rigging 101

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:

Fig 23. Hips control

Create a big point object, and set its display properties to box. Name it COM (short for Center of Mass). Align it to the spine root (Bone_spine01) in both position and rotation. Now, select the following nodes:

* Bone_spine01
* HipsControl

and link them to this new point object.
If you move this COM, you'll notice the whole character moves, but the arms and legs. This is good, because it allows us to have the hands and feet locked to the world, which is what we usually want. However, it makes posing the character and moving it to different parts in the scene a bit cumbersome. We'll add another object to help us do this.

Fig 24. COM

Create another circle primitive, and align it to the COM in both position and orientation. If it ends up oriented in the wrong way (left to right instead of top to bottom), go into sub-object mode, select the spline, and rotate it. Now, move it to the bottom of the character, where its feet are. Scale it (in sub-object mode) so you can see it and select it easily. Now, select the following nodes:

* Both ArmControlxx nodes
* Both LegControlxx nodes

and link them to this object. Name this circle "Character" or whatever name you deem proper for this guys. If you move it, the WHOLE character should move. This way, you can move this character through the scene or make him jump or fly easily.

Fig 25. Character helper

And there it is... the finished rig...

And that's it. You're ready to get started animating him. Try doing some movements with this rig, like walking, falling, carrying stuff, weaving, jumping, etc. See how hard or easy it is, and make notes on where the rig falls short. THINK of ways to improve it. Try them out. See what works and what doesn't. Think of more stuff you'd like this rig to support. THINK of how you'd get it to support them. This is what a character TD does. Keep playing with the ideas exposed here, since they're the basis for EVERYTHING else you'll do to customize and improve rigs. The most important part of rigging anything is to know where in the hierarchy should objects be places. It's also the trickiest. Try placing objects in different parts of the hierarchy, and see what happens. Chances are you'll find new behaviours, or that you'll break the rig. But that's no problem. Breaking stuff is the best way to learn (don't tell your ma I said this, please), so don't be afraid to experiment. SAVE OFTEN, though... especially when playing with new possibilities. And once you feel comfortable, move over to the other tuts where I touch on some more advanced stuff. I hope you found all this useful and inspiring. Just remember... it's YOUR responsability to take it to the next level. And remember... any questions/suggestions/donations (yeah, right....) ...'till nex time!!

Copyright 2003, Sergio Mucino. maxTD.

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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...;)
Anil on Sat, 20 April 2013 11:57am
Such a useful tutorial ! thanks for sharing
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