Familiarize yourself and learn about Inverse Kinematic (IK) controllers in 3ds Max. In this video, George shows how to take an existing bone chain and add an IK controller to allow manipulation via translation, He discusses the various types of controllers, including the HI Controller, the HD Controller, and the IK Limb Solver.
- [Instructor] Now let's go a little bit further with bones and work with inverse kinematics. Now inverse kinematics, or IK, allow you to use translations to manipulate bones. Now as we saw before, we can rotate bones, but manipulating them via translations is a little more difficult. And for that we have to use IK. Now IK is used a lot in character animation, but you can also use it in mechanical animation. So here I have a simple character with two joint chains here.
And actually I'm gonna turn on Wireframe here, and you can see that I've got these two leg chains. So I'm just gonna take one of these and just pull it out and away so we can see it a little more easily. So this is that leg joint chain. Now if we want to move the leg at the ankle or at the foot, we have to add in what's called an IK chain. Now as we saw, we can add this in as we draw the joint chain, or we can add it in later.
Now we can add this in under Animation, IK Solvers, and we have a number of them. We have HI, HD, the Limb Solver, and the SplineIK Solver. And I do need to select a bone for those to highlight. So let's go through those again. The HI Solver is the History Independent Solver. Now this is the preferred method for character animation, and the reason is because it doesn't maintain history and it's a very fast and easy to use one.
The next one is the HD Solver, which is History Dependent. Now this can be used a lot for mechanical objects, and one of the reasons is that it also allows for sliding parts and that sort of thing. We also have the IK Limb Solver. Now that only works for two bones on a chain, so for example, a thigh and a shin, or a bicep and an elbow. Now it's very fast in viewports, and it's mostly used for compatibility with game engines.
So if you're in gaming, this may be something that you'll want to look at a little bit further. But typically, we still want to use the HI Solver. And then finally we have the SplineIK Solver, and that takes a spline and uses that to create an IK chain, so all you have to do is manipulate the curve of the spline to manipulate the chain. So now that we understand all these, let's go ahead and set up a joint chain. So I'm gonna go ahead and select this bone here, go into IK Solvers, HI Solver, and notice how I get this little dotted line here.
So what I need to do is drag it to the end of the chain. So if I want this to be for the thigh and the shin, I need to drag it down here. And when I let go, watch what happens. It creates this null object, and that is what's called my IK chain. So if I go to my Modify panel, you'll see that I have an Object called an IK Chain, but if I really want to manipulate it I have to go into the Motion panel, and this is where I can control all the properties of this.
But even by default, it should work pretty well. So all I have to do is select this object, my IK Chain, and move it, and notice how now my leg is moving along with that chain. Now if I want to change the way that this works, we can, let's go ahead into some of the parameters here. First one is, we can switch between HI Solver and Limb Solver and that's because this has only two joints. We can also do IK/FK Snap which allows you to switch between inverse kinematics, which is translation, and forward kinematics, which is rotation.
Now we can also set our preferred angles of our joints, and those are typically set at the angle that they were at when you created the IK chain. Now we can also change which bones are in the chain, and then we can also change things such as Swivel Angle. So a Swivel Angle is basically the direction that the knee is pointed. And you can use this to further control the chain, and you can also have this point at a target, so if I wanted to, I could create an object in the scene, and this chain will always point at that object.
So if you want your character's knees to point at a specific direction, you can have an object that you can manipulate that will help you do that. And then we also have some Display Options, so do we want to turn on or off the End Effect, and then we also have what's called a Swivel Angle Manipulator as well. And then finally, we actually have a motion panel, so if we actually do keyframe this, you can go into this and manipulate the keys, just like we did with other objects in 3ds Max.
So, as you can see, setting up an IK chain is fairly easy, all you have to do is select a joint, select the IK tool, and then click on the bottom joint of the chain. Now we have four types of solvers, history independent, which is great for character animation, HD, or history dependent, which can be used for mechanical, as well as the IK Limb Solver, and the SplineIK Solver.
This course isn't designed to teach you the basics, but to help you refresh your 3ds Max skills and prepare for the exam topics. Once you're finished with the course, you can feel confident taking the 3ds Max Certified Professional exam.
- What is 3ds Max certification?
- Importing data
- Using scenes
- Configuring viewports
- Transforming, duplicating, and cloning objects
- Polygonal modeling
- Editing splines
- Setting up cameras and lighting
- Working with materials
- Rendering scenes
- Animating models
- Rigging characters
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 11/01/2017. What changed?
A: The following topics were updated: working with camera settings and FOV, understanding standard light types, using the Slate Material Editor, understanding standard materials, understanding Arnold materials, and assigning 3ds Max renderers.