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Max has added a few new features to the Biped tool-set that you will appreciate when animating your next character. First, is the new Knuckle option that allows for the addition of more subtle hand animation when needed. The Standard Biped Hand link which up until now has been the only available hand configuration gave animators the ability to move things around, but never really offered the opportunity to create finely detailed movement on a character's hand. That is all now changed with the new Knuckle and Short Thumb options in 2010.
With Knuckles activated, you see that the hand automatically converts to a small base and individual bones for each finger, each finger having four links. New in 2010 is also the ability to now more freely rotate each bone along all three axes. The Short Thumb option went on, configures the thumb with one fewer bone at each finger, making it a little more anatomically correct when working with a human hand. The Bone Twist option which was previously limited to the biped's forearm has now been expanded to include all the biped limbs.
Activating Twist allows for a much more realistic deformation on your character's mesh when a particular limb is twisted. When the option is active, the Twist link controls the skin deformation set up by your physique or skin modifier, while the base link, the primary bone drives the animation. You can see a similar result if we would rotate the ankle. The new Xtras group directly below the Twist link lets you add extra tails to your biped.
The tail is added by simply clicking on the Create Xtra button. By default, the biped's center of mass is assigned as the Extra Tails parent. Although you can change that if needed. To make that change, you will go down a little bit lower, click on the Pick Parent button, and then choose your new parent. In our example here, I'll go ahead and choose the Green Thigh. You can also add additional links if needed.
It's also easy to add an additional tail to the opposite side of the biped by simply clicking on the Create Opposite Extra icon. Now, these extra tails like the biped ponytails aren't configured with inverse kinematics. So transforming a bone further down the chain won't affect any of the links going toward its parent. Now because of that, any animation you want to add to the extra tail must be done by setting individual rotation keys. Whatever key framing you do, will be saved in both your Max file, and if you were to save out the motion, via the BIP format.
So there is a few things you can play around with on the Biped. Next time you are doing a little character work, be sure to remember the new options.
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