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Psistorm Ikura

Rigging in 3d studio max

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I'm using 3d studio max 2011 for my creative work (license holder incase you wonder, i saved up for it), and am currently working with rigged mesh objects.

Problem is, im lacking a bit of practice with rigging in max, i know the fundamentals, but I know next to nothing about what is a legit way of getting an export to SL. Right now i got myself an SL avatar skeleton and am trying to use the Skin modifier, but its not very cooperative and cumbersome to use.

Ive seen that there is also biped + physique, but im not sure if SL supports imports done that way. If someone has any experience or resources as to skinning/exporting from 3dsmax to SL, id greatly appreciate that and would give them a thorough read.

Thanks in advance, and cheers!

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Before you start, make sure to set in 3dsMax both: display-units and system-units to meters. 1 unit = 1 meter. 

Skeleton: don't use biped. It's hirarchy and bone-names don't match the requirements for SL. While the renaming should be no problem, it will be tricky to get the number of bones right. (I.e. you can not remove biped's fingers) - so, simply use the skeleton file that's spread in the forum here (was in *.fbx format, easily to import)

Skinning: I suggest not to use Physique. It can be used to skin you object to the skeleton, also the export to SL works. But it might be easier to work with the Skin-modifier: Physique is a rather old modifier. It didm't get updated during the last 4,5 or 6 versions of 3dsMax. 'Skin' has quite a lot of tool that make skinning easier. Also, you find definitely more scripts/tools/helpers/plugins for the Skin-modifier. 

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A biped rig won't be compatible with the SL avatar rig. You need to use regular bones. The easiest way to get a functional SL rig in Max is probably to use Wiz Daxter's SLAV plugin. Physique is a legacy module that's not much used anymore. It has a few features not found in skin but nothing that will translate to SL (like muscles). Use the skin modifier. It's more efficient and you won't have any compatibility problems with it.

Edit: Should have read the whole thread since I just repeated everything that Marielle said :)

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Well, I tried to follow Daniel´s guide, which was very helpful in figuring out some of the WTFs that i had to deal with (like manually editing the .DAE file. i wouldve never guessed that on my own).

Status right now is, the rig imports, but in a weird way. I set the units to metric, and created a SLAV skeleton at 1.0 scale. I resized the model to fit, and did a reset xform on it. Did the skin setup, and it imports at a normal size. well. unless I attach it. Then it inflates its size, and due to that, the bone weights act weirdly and it breaks.

I've tried various unit setups, but the only thing that does, is make the mesh itself smaller or bigger inworld, but once i attach it, it is always the same, wrong size, and can not be scaled either. I would really appreciate some help here, Im completely stumbling around now and dont have a clue what to do next.

 

Edit: I attempted a 0.1 scale on the skeleton and that seemed to have done the trick.  The scale appears to be more correct now at least

Edit2: Working at a skeleton scale of 0.1 does work. However: It makes the job pretty annoying, since everything is so small, the near clip plane is a constant issue. If there is a way of reasonably working at a 1.0 scale, please do let me know. Also, display and system units are set to 1 meter, and I am using 3dsmax 2011 and the 1.0.4 SLAV plugin.

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Definitely don't use Physique...

I've actually been using the Mixamo Auto-Rigger (http://www.mixamo.com/c/auto-rigger) for rigging humanoid characters (literally two legs, two arms and a head) and animating them outside of SL, but you'd probably have to rename the joints and adjust the rig slightly for import to SL (just compare the two skeletons and tweak the Mixamo rig).

Conversely they also have a SL download type (just load their animations on their SL characters and you can upload it to SL and add to whatever characters you want). The mesh obviously doesn't matter but they give you one for preview...once you import to SL you can add to any character since SL shares the same skeleton. Here's their importing 3d animation into Second Life tutorial.

Maybe we can convince them to add an SL skeleton type to the Auto-Rigger, then problems would be solved no?

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I don't have problems with scaling, but here is what I do:  First, start a new file, and generate the SLAV skeleton.  Resize it until it is around 180 cm tall, and facing and positioned correctly.  Then do reset transform from the utility tab on the command panel, so all rotations are set to 0 angle, and scaling is set to 100% internally.  Then import your model and do the same thing.  Finally, use the skin modifier to link your model to the bones.  If all scaling is reset to 100% in max, it *should* load up in SL correctly (at least it has so far for me).

If that doesn't work, contact me in-world and we can try to figure out where the problem is.

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Hmm. I will have to look into that again. My utilities tab only contains "Reset XForm", which i have to apply to objects individually, its no scene wide thing. I take you mean that one?

Also, my display/system units are set to meters, and if I generate the model at a 1.0 scale with SLAV, it shows up correctly. But the export is 10x the size. So a 0.1 creation scale will get the correct results in SL. Which is strange, since the bone scales  - i checked - are 100% whether I create at 1.0 or 0.1 scale in SLAV. I cant shake the feeling that I'm  missing something.

I mean right now i can rig and export at the right scale, so it works. Just working in max at such a small scale is a bit inconvenient with the camera near clip plane.

In any case, thanks for the help so far, you really did save that project :D

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