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Biped Setup

tutorial on how to rig a character in 3ds max. Source currently unknown.
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  Positioning biped into your character and getting ready to add the physique modifier.CHAPTER 1 This tutorial is geared toward beginner and intermediate users of Studio Max and Character Studio.A few words about this process…Keep in mind that there is no “perfect” way of doing this. What I am about to show you is simply one of many ways toget the same result. Once you go through this tutorial, I suggest you experiment with various techniques and find out whatworks best for you.Take your time and learn as you go. Be prepared to rework areas over and over until you get the desired result. Inmost cases, you may not see errors in your mesh until you’re on your final step, or well into the animation process.I have chosen to use the model pictured above as a base for this tutorial; mainly because it contains a lot of the“situations” you may run into when setting up (rigging, physiquing) a character. There are also areas in this model that willrequire some reworking during the physique process. As with many character models, not ever joint on the mesh will deformcorrectly, so there will be times when you have to go into the mesh and make adjustments, by either adding or subtractingverts.This tutorial is GAME based, meaning that it uses the rigid physique settings. A lot of what is talked about in thistutorial can relate to the Deformable(smooth) physique setting and I encourage you to experiment with both so you can see thedifferences in deformation and outcome.I should also note that, if a lot of the terminology used here is vague or not understood, just hit the F1 key on yourkeyboard for the Max Help section and look on your own for definitions of terms. There is also a help section for characterstudio, but it’s sorta hidden from view, you can access it by selecting the help function from the menu and then selecting,ADDITIONAL HELP (see diagram below) or hit the 3dbuzz forums, somebody will be happy to answer your questions. Weall had to ask at one point ☺  Pictured below is how you can access the character studio help files. About shortcut keys. For the most part, I’m not going to be using shortcut keys in the tutorial. I have mapped my own personal keys and I’mpretty sure they don’t match what you may have. So I have included screen shots of the menu commands to help you along.First, it’s pretty important that you set the scale of the character. Meaning, what is the system of measurement used inthe game engine. For most cases, it’s usually in Meters. A human that is 6.2 feet is roughly 2 meters tall.I have created a wire template you can use to gauge the size of your character, you can download itHERE. INSERTLINK HERE.   This scale template is set for the meter scale system. For instructional purposes, we will be using the meter scale systemthrough out this tutorial.1.   Open your mesh file2.   Merge the scale template into your current sceneWhen you merge an object into the scene, you maybe presented with a popup dialog that states something about thescale differences. This is because the scale system (units) that you created your character at does not match that of the scale. If this is the case, check the adopt new file scale. This will change your scale settings to match those of the merged file. If you arenot presented with this message, don’t worry…that’s a good thing ☺  If your character is too big, you may not see the scale template.Use the select by name dialog to highlight your scale template, or start scaling down your character mesh so it roughly matchesthe template.You will want to center you character in the world. Meaning you have CENTERED the pivot point for the mesh withthe co-ordinates of 0,0,0. DO THIS: 1.   Select the hierarchy button2.   select the AFFECT PIVOT ONLY button3.   click the CENTER TO OBJECT button.4.   DESELECT!!! The AFFECT OBJECT ONLY BUTTON5.   click once on the SELECT AND MOVE button6.   Then right click on the SELECT AND MOVE button7.   In the pop up dialog, you want to make sure that the highlighted areas all contain zero’s. This will center yourmesh, based on it’s pivot point to the center of the world in max. Once done, close the dialog box.We can’t have our character just floating around in space, so we need to decide where his/her/it’s feet will be. Thisshould be the same for ALL characters that are exported.With the Scale template, you’ll see he is standing on a wire box, this is where the feet will contact the ground. Use thatas your guide for foot placement. This will help keep the feet from penetrating the ground plane or hovering above it whenactual animation is applied. You can move this ground plane after you center your mesh, but try to keep it in the same place forall your characters. The Scale template is a group, if you wish to move the lower plane, simply OPEN the group and then movethe Ground plane as desired. Once you are done, simply close the group.Before we move on, select all of your geometry and put it into a named selection.This way, you can easily select your geometry, if it’s hidden or frozen, with out having to go through various menus.   If you need help with using named selections, look in your manual or hit F1 for online help and do a search for namedselections. Ok, check list time: ã   Your character is scaled correctly ã   Your character is centered in the world ã   Your character has some sort of guide as to where the feet will be placed. CHAPTER 2.BIPED TIME!!!!CHECK LIST: ã   In the front viewport, your character is facing towards the front ã   You have successfully completed the above check list DO THIS: 1.   Click on the create tab2.   click on the systems button3.   click on the BIPED button and STOP!!!!Ok, before you get too click happy, let’s go over what’s happening in this panel.Not a whole lot really, but there is one very important section that can be useful to you. The ROOT NAME section. This is where you can NAME the parts of your biped. So, instead of there being BIP_01 etc etc, you have somethinglike SNOTPILE_01. So essentially, all the prefix names of your biped bones can have custom names. Now, if your gameengine supports sharing of bones for character meshes, you may want to keep a single name or use the default. BIP.  Don’t worry about the section below root name, we’ll cover that later in a separate panel.Now, it’s time to click…In the front view port CLICK AND DRAG, starting from the very bottom of your character’s feet. And drag upwards.Character studio draws the biped from the feet upward, so to keep from moving stuff everywhere, start at the feet and drag upto the top of the head. As you drag, you’ll see your selection indicated by a bounding box, use that as a rough guide until youreach the tip top of the head.Once you’re done, you should have something that looks like this:Now it’s time to start positioning the biped so all of its components lie inside your mesh. In order to do this, you needto be in FIGURE MODE!!1.   Select the bip01 ,or any bone of the biped object from the named selection dialog box.2.   Go to the motion tab and click on the figure mode buttonFigure mode is where you set the DEFAULT pose of your character and where you make adjustments to the biped.You CAN NOT create keyframes while in FIGURE MODE. So, if at some point down the road, you’re animating yourcharacter and can not generate keyframes…chances are, you’re in figure mode.The pos that you see now, is the current default pose of the biped. Just to make sure you understand the difference, let’s do this :1.   Deselect figure mode2.   grab any joint and rotate it, move it what ever you wish.3.   Go ahead and move all the joints around if you want to.4.   Once you are happy with that, select the figure mode button.5.   BAM!! The biped has now snapped back to it’s srcinal pose.Figure mode is a great way to temporarily revert back to the default pose for any adjustments you may need to make.
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