Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Adjusting envelopes, part of 3ds Max: Character Rigging.
With the skin modifier applied, it's time to start adjusting the weighting of your character. We're going to start with envelopes, which are really broad way to adjust the weighting and then work our way down to more discreet or finer detail. So, we can select our character here and we can start adjusting our envelopes by pressing this button here at the top of the modifier. So we have our skin modifier here and we hit Edit Envelopes, and up pops the first envelope. And this is actually the wrong envelope because it's for the head. Now, remember, we're going to modify the head separately from the body, so let's go ahead and remove this from our list.
So I'm going to have this BN_Head, remove that and then there's another called HeadBase, we'll take that one out of our solution as well. So now we should pretty much have only the bones that we need for this character. So you can see that with Edit Envelopes enabled, we can see all of the envelopes for the character. We can scroll down. We can select, for example, forearm and you'll see the one for the forearm or the bicep. So you can pick from the list here or you can pick visually.
So if I click this one here, you'll see that that's the spine. This is also a spine joint. So each one of these bones has a line with a dot on the end and picking that line, picks the envelope. So when you start adjusting the weighting of your character, we are going to start here by adjusting these envelopes. Now, these envelopes basically have two components. You can see that we have this outer capsule here and when you adjust it, it adjusts how much of the mesh is affected.
Now, the inner capsule is how much is affected directly by the bone, so this is basically the 100% capsule. And it fades off to 0% at the edge, so we have an inner and an outer capsule. And so we go from 100 down to zero, so this is basically our fall-off. And by adjusting these, it adjusts how the weighting is affected by that particular bone. Now, in order to adjust the weighting properly, I do need to see the character in motion.
So I'm going to create a little bit of an animation. So I'm actually going to go ahead and jump out of my skin modifier, turn off this Edit Envelopes here, zoom out a little bit here. So let's go ahead and animate the shoulder. I'm going to select my bicep IK bone, and let's go ahead and set a key for that at zero. Scroll forward just a little bit. Rotate it down. So now I've got an animation that basically puts the character through his range of motion. We could go from zero to six here. And then I'm going to go ahead and animate that back up.
So i'm going to go ahead and select the key at zero, hold down Shift and just drag that over. So now, he's basically just moving through a range of motion that he normally would and this gives me the ability to see how the deformation works. Let's do another one here for the elbow. I'm going to go ahead and set a key here at 12. Go forward about six frames. Bend that elbow. And then I'm going to go ahead and hold down my Shift key and copy that first key, six frames later.
So now I've got basically two motions and I can use this so I can scrub through my animation to see how my deformation is affecting my character. Now remember, at zero, we want to maintain a neutral pose. So let's go through and hit Edit Envelopes and start working with the bicep. So, if I look at this from the front, you'll see that, well, this envelope here is really overreaching and you can see kind of how it's kind of pulling his collar away from his neck and we really don't want that to happen.
So, we can start dialing in our envelopes to make it work a little bit better. So I am going to go ahead and just grab that envelope. You can stretch it out or squish it in and in this case, I am going to squish it in so that it's away from the collar, so this bicep doesn't touch the collar. So now when he bends that bicep down, the collar isn't pulled. Now we can do this on both sides. So if I select the shoulder, for example, I can again drag it up or down to affect how much of the bicep is affected.
And we can also affect the inner and outer envelopes. So if I select this one here, you can see I can dial this in a little bit or bring this one out. So again, we're looking at how this works here, but we can also work with this elbow. And if we look at this elbow from the top, you'll see that, well, we're really not getting the deformation that we want. And that's because this is way too broad. You could see that as this gets bigger, it starts to create an unnatural deformation. So we want to get the bicep as close to that elbow joint as possible.
And this'll make for much better deformation. And we could do it the same on the other side. I want this forearm to be close. So if I bring it up, you'll see how it kind of twists that bicep out, so I, actually I want to get as tight as possible with this and just get it around that joint. Now we can see this maybe a little bit better here at the neutral pose as to how this is working. So again, I just want to affect this right at that joint. That's a little bit better. Now again, this is just a very broad way of getting our deformations. A lot of times, we'll have to dig a little bit deeper and go down to the vertex level, so we're going to do that one next.
- Setting up layers
- Drawing and positioning bones in the skeleton
- Rigging foot controls
- Creating hip and spine controls
- Setting up IK and FK skeleton controls
- Wiring the IK/FK switch
- Rigging hands
- Skinning characters
- Setting up single- and multiple-axis face controls