View Full Version : Character Studio workflow question.
23-04-2003, 08:03 PM
I'm using 3Ds Max 4.2 and Character Studio 3.2.
I recently box modeled a low-res human body, and used biped and physique, for animation. My intention was to create a character template, which I could then use in any project I needed.
After spending hours perfecting the physique settings on the left hand (envelope settings, link settings etc) is there a way to copy all those settings to the right hand, or must I go through the painstaking process of adjusting each link, of each finger joint, manually?? I know that there's a way to copy the envelopes, but what about the links, and manually assigned vertices? This would be a big help, as it would save me from hours of eyestrain and neck cramps…
Question two (the biggie):
Okay after I get all the links working the way I want, and the character is ready for use in a production... what next?
What process do I go through to add clothes to my, currently nude, model?
- Should I extrude some faces from the actual template, and model the clothes from that? (of course that means that the clothes will be under physique in the modifier stack).
- Or should I box model the clothes separately, and then attach it to the model? If so, should I do it before, or after physique?
Or is there an even better way that I am not aware of?
Also, what's the general idea behind adding secondary animation to the clothes?
Are there any rules and guidelines I should follow when creating characters (particularly human/oid), so that the mesh bends and folds properly when applied via physique to a biped? Right now the model is okay, but it could look better. For example: I can't get the fingers to bend perfectly, so I'm moving on and will come back to that when/if I acquire more knowledge/experience.
I'm still a newbie to Max (and 3D design and animation in general), and learning how to box model and using biped to setup the character, was an accomplishment in itself. Now I'm ready to take it to the next level... but I'm confused about how I should do it, a little guidance from somebody who actually did it, could help a lot.
Thanks in advance,
- Seth Ra'ad
23-04-2003, 10:30 PM
1) i know of no way to do this with physique. there may be a way that i don't know of (anyone?). this is one of the biggest drawbacks of rigging. however if you use skin there is this script by chuggnut that will mirror skin weights called skin tools. www.chuggnut.com i have had mixed results with this tool, however i have not tried its latest incarnation.
2) this gets kinda hazy. what type of clothing do you want to do, are you doing hi poly or low poly. if its tight clothe chances are you'll get the best visual results with by box modeling clothing for your character. if its a lot of flowing clothing and you're animating then i'd say simulation is your best way to go, stitch and simcloth are good from what i've heard here, i've tried stitch but not simcloth. if you're doing low poly modeling, then chances are you don't have a lot of polys to dedicate to clothing most likely i'd animate that with a rig made with something like dummy objects.
3) the general idea of secondary motion is to emphasize the initial motion and make it more real by animating the action and subsequent reaction of that motion. as for clothing. simulation should take care of this for you. modeled clothe won't do this which is why i said tight clothe should be considered in modeling, or for a static shot at least. as for animating by hand, this methodology can get complicated but what i like to do is animate the main motion of the character and then study that motion and animate the secondard motion after the main motion has been done, that way you have a better idea of directions and intensity of the secondary motions.
4) there are many ideas. one of which is that your joints should be composed of all quad faces, 4 sided polygons. the popular belief is that they deform the best. chances are no matter what you'll have to edit some weights on the vertex level, i find this especially in areas like the finger, knuckles especially and the shoulders. there are other solutions that might enhance the rig like absolute character tools that let you also build a muscle rig on top of the bones rig. this tool is quite amazing but once again it will increase production time by having to add another level of rigging. rigging in general is a tedious process, hence the jobs specifically to do this in bigger studios, but its an important part of character animation (obviously). what i find is that each character's rig is slightly different from another and the more you do the more you learn (also obviously).
from what you say, i do have a few tips for ya though, try using skin. physique is very old, hasn't changed since version 3 i believe, but skin has seem some nice improvements in max 4 and 5. for the most part, people seem to prefer this over physique now, especially in max 5.
also, for your next character you might wanna consider building your own skeleton with bones and doing your own IK solutions and all that, more work but you learn more i think. check out my friend mike's tutorial on the 3dtotal front page for a great tutorial on leg rigging.
another thing to think about is that its a waste of polygons to have both skin and clothing on an area if you're not doing a simulation. so consider how you wanna go about this and then drop out the parts of the model you don't need. every bit of speed and power you can squeeze out of your comptuer makes a difference in either workflow or rendering time.
good questions dude, good luck, hope this helped. guys if anything wasn't right please correct me. take care.
23-04-2003, 10:36 PM
For the first question I'm afraid u can not symmetry link parameters as far as I know and i hope to find something do this!!
for the second and forth question I would highly recommend u to check "Joan Of Ark" tutorial @ www.3dtotal.com it will answer your questions perfectly!!
23-04-2003, 11:18 PM
Reply to Kuman:
In re: point no. 2:
Well what I'm doing is modeling low-res, and then using meshsmooth for the final render. My aim is to make hi res characters for a short movie I will do. Is this the right way to go about it?
So you're saying that I should just box model the clothes, and then any flowing parts, use simulation to animate them?
In re: point no. 3:
Okay, so I understand you correctly if I say that generally: rigging is a royal pain in the backside? lol If so, that's okay. I just wanted to make sure that my hard work wasn't because I didn't know what I was doing. I'd feel really foolish if I was needlessly doing things the hard way.
As far as physique vs. skin goes; I tried skin before switching to physique, and really liked it, but (and I may be wrong here) I don't think it is possible to make a character template with skin. Isn't skin just used for on the spot animating? Like after I animate the bones and stuff, then I apply the skin, and make the character adjustments....
Like for example, when flexing the arm (without animating), the arm collapsed at the joint. After adjusting the arm, while it was bended, I repositioned the arm, and bended it again; it collapsed while I was bending it, and then popped back up as it reached the point where I made the adjustments… While physique allows you to make all the adjustments you need, and it effects the entire range of motion.
Now, (unless this is the wrong way of doing this) I thought it would be more efficient, if I designed the character, and made all the adjustments then and there, before moving on to animation. I was under the impression that animation was the final thing one does, when dealing with characters.... Or am I going about this the wrong way?
Also, could you please re-explain your last point (about it being a waste of polygons to have both skin and clothing on an area if I'm not doing a simulation)? I'd like to know more about this.
Thanks for your help man.
Also, Net Admiral, thanks for the link. I'm checking it out now. I'll let you guys know if I discover anything new. But I'm always open to new insights.
24-04-2003, 12:51 AM
>>Well what I'm doing is modeling low-res....
yeah a lot of people use this method of modeling now, with a low res cage smoothed to a hi res final model during render. got many names, box modeling, poly modeling, sub div surf modeling, its all saying basically the same thing.
i'm not saying that you should exclusively box model the clothing, what i'm saying is that you need to access what you wanna do. if you have basically tight form fitting clothe, i'd say you probably don't need simulation but if all the clothing is a loose dress then probably you'll need to do nothing but simulation. access what your goals are and then decide what's best. of course it is totally possible using some tools to combine both a rigid poly modeled area with a looser area to be simulated.
>>Okay, so I understand you correctly....
yup its a pain in the ass to get right. sometimes rigging certain areas just takes time, also remember that no one says a certain rig has to hold up for every possible motion, its better that way but its all about getting your shots done.
>>As far as physique vs. skin goe....
no physique and skin are pretty much synonymous, physique has some extra features like muscle bulging, tendons and what not, but the general idea is the same. as a matter of fact, many game engine exporters will allow both physique or skin to be exported. in the end it comes down to vertices that are selectively weighted to bones that drive the overall motion.
>>Now, (unless this is the wrong way...
animation usually is the final thing, well mostly if you're working by yourself. however remember the only way to see if a rig is robust is to really animate. what i do is usually animate my skeleton doing some crazy exagerated motions and see how the rig is looking and then go and fix areas that need work, by weighting the vertices by hand or adjusting my envelopes or painting weights or using deformers at the joints.
>>Also, could you please re-explain...
my last point was this essentially this: a simulation involves collision which means that you need a cloth surface-the clothe, and a surface that it has to collide against-the body. now i'm talking about the model, not skin modifier or physique. skin as in the geometry of the skin. if you're not using a simulation then why have mesh for both the skin and the clothe that covers it. that's what i meant.
good luck with your project
29-04-2003, 06:28 AM
First off, I'd like to thank Net Admiral (once again) for pointing me to the Joan of Arc tutorial! I found it very helpful :)
In re Kuman's post:
Thanks again for your insights.
I spent the last few days offline adjusting and tweaking my character. Since I designed it from my mind's eye, without any images to guide me, it had a lot of major flaws. I even had to rebuild the hands and ears... Anyway, I'm done with the tweaking and ready to push ahead and get some clothes and materials on this sucker.
I've decided to ditch character studio, for now, and rig my character using bones and skin. I initially used CS to check and make sure my model would hold up; since biped seems to be anatomically correct (as far as limb proportions go). But in the end, I got tired of the ankles not bending right, and the fact that biped doesn't have a wrist.
The rigging process is going to be a long, and painful one. Might as well do it from scratch; which I'll worry about later, after I'm done with the modeling.
>> i'm not saying that you should exclusively box model the clothing, what i'm saying is that you need to access what you wanna do.
I see. Well I made some sketches last night, to try and visualize what I will build for my character. I will definitely have a combination. Basically a shirt, pants, boots, gloves, and a utility belt; those are the parts that aren't loose. The chest armor is rigid, and the robe that will go over all of that will be the loose clothing.
Now, based on what I understood from the Joan of arc tutorial, the clothe-less body will only be used as a template on which to build the clothes. Once that is done, the hidden parts of the body are disregarded and the clothes are all linked to the bone system; via skin for clothes, or directly for armor. Any loose articles are modeled separately, and then attached to splines, which are then linked to the bone system.
Have I understood correctly?
My question is. Why?
Why not just attach all the clothes to the body, and then attach the whole thing to the bones system? So essentially, rather than an entire character with clothes (like a real body), we have bits and pieces stuck together, giving the illusion that it is a character with clothes.
This makes me think about scenes where a character takes an item of clothing off. How is this even accomplished? (A general idea will do fine, I'll come back for details when I'm ready to animate that scene, or perhaps I'll figure it out for myself)
Also, could you give advice/point me to any good online sources, that deal with simulating cloth for flowing clothes (like a robe). I don't understand how having the robe bend with the body; yet simultaneously be affected by wind and such, is possible. Still learning the ropes, and the documentation doesn't seem to have any info on the reactor cloth plugin.
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