Chapter 41. Understanding Rigging and Working with Bones

What does a graveyard have in common with animated characters? The answer is bones. Bones are used as an underlying structure attached to a character that is to be animated. By using a bones structure, you can produce complex character motions by simply animating the bones and not having to move all the vertices associated with a high-resolution character.

Although Max includes a prebuilt skeleton with its Biped system, at times you may want to build a custom bones system because not all characters stand on two feet. Have you ever seen a sci-fi movie in which the alien was less than human-like? If your character can't be created by modifying a biped, then you need to use the traditional manual methods of rigging.

This chapter focuses on the process of manually rigging a character, which, depending on the complexity of your character, could end up being even easier than working with bipeds. It also gives you a clear idea of concepts of rigging.

Creating a Rigging Workflow

A rigged character starts with a linked hierarchy. A linked hierarchy attaches, or links, one object to another and makes it possible to transform the attached object by moving the one to which it is linked. The arm is a classic example of a linked hierarchy: When the shoulder rotates, so do the elbow, wrist, and fingers. ...

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