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Old 20-01-2013, 10:50 PM   #1
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Question 'Simple' rope/chain bone animation help.

Hi All,

Can some kind soul please advise on how I can go about effecting a boned/skinned animation of a 'simple' aircraft door rope rail ? I tried several tutorials but many seem overly complex or not at all suitable for what I need to achieve. The two images below hopefully show what I'd like to do. The rails in question are coloured red and the rotation axis of the door is along the yellow line. The two 'rails' are in reality metal chains but are covered in a leather sleeve. I animated them already by means of breaking up the rail into individual pieces, linking them and animating them in a simple manner using keyframes. This method doesn't actually work correctly in game. I figure it would work a lot better using skinned bones and an 'IK solver' of some kind but I guess I just don't know enough about this type of animation, I really find it very complex and difficult to 'grasp. If anybody could help me out with some advice, help or a suitable (simple) tutorial I would really appreciate it.

I'm using 3DSmax8 and the structure is editable mesh for a flightsim game aircraft.

Many thanks indeed.


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Old 22-01-2013, 10:19 AM   #2
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Have you already tried SplineIK solver? It might take a bit of work animating it so it doesn't "overshoot" the end connection, since by default it doesn't have the ability to stretch. That's about the simplest rope solution I can think of.

1. make a bone chain at the position of the rope
2. make a spline from first to last bone, refine the spline to have enough points for animation. 4 total (2 ends and 2 intermediate) should be enought. Make the points bezier.
3. select first bone in chain, click Animation -> IK Solvers -> SplineIK, click last bone in chain, click the spline - you get point helpers at the vertices in spline that you can now animate (move/rotate/scale) to deform the spline, which in turn affects the bone chain.
4. use skin modifier to skin the rope to the bone chain. Adjusting the bones' envelopes should be enough.
5. Animate it.

If the animation doesn't require much quality and the ropes don't have to bend all over the place, the solution could be even simpler - make the bone chain in slightly bent position and just add HI IK solver to them - the whole chain will simply bend in a single plane when you move the end effector, which can be linked to the rope's attachment point. It's a bit straightforward and will probably look rigid, especially if you don't animate the swivel angle, but that's the absolute easiest/simplest solution there is.

If that's not what you're looking for, describe what you want it to do in more detail.
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Old 22-01-2013, 11:07 AM   #3
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Give a try to Hoses (extended primitive) : with good settings, this should give a good dynamic result.
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