Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Controlling finger spread, part of 3ds Max: Character Rigging.
So, at this point, I've got all of the fingers bending from my control panel which is on my hand controller. So, when I select this I can control the curl of each individual finger and it makes it very easy to animate those hands. And if I want I can zero those out and know that they're at my default position. Now hands don't just move up and down, they don't curl, they also spread so let's create a single finger spread control.
Again, we're going to add a custom attribute to our hand controller, so select that, Animation > Parameter Editor. We'll going to select an attribute and lets just call this one Finger Spread and I'm actually going to make this go from say negative ten degrees to about 30. So I'm trying to figure out how much will fingers spread, so lets start with this value, we can always change it,. And once we have this let's go ahead and click Add.
So you can see now we have a finger spread attribute here and all we have to do is wire the rotation of these to that attribute. But of course we need to figure out which attribute to wire, so I'm going to rotate these and you can see that when I rotate this it rotates around the Z axis so that's what I want to wire. So I'm going to go wire parameters control five, Transform > Rotation > Z to this. And I'm going to go ahead and select that. Load it up here on the right side.
And again, we're looking for modified object, attribute holder, custom attributes. And so our fingers spread is can Ctrl+Z rotation. Now remember, we've got a radian to degree problem, so I need to make sure that I convert the degrees of my spinner to the radians that the rotation control needs. So I'm going to go degrees to radian, fingerspread. And make sure I've got my directions set and hit Connect. So now when I rotate this you can see that, well it's actually going in the wrong direction. When it goes positive I want it to go out and when It goes negative I want it to kind of bend in. So I'm going to go ahead and set this back to zero and let's go ahead and change our little expression here. So instead of degrees to radians I'm just going to make that the opposites. So going to say negative degrees to radians of finger spread. Hit Update. And now, our index finger is spreading. You can see that a little bit better here. Okay, that's good. So let's go ahead and add in the rest of them. Now, I can leave this parameter wiring dialogue up. And just select another joint. So I'm going to go ahead and select my pinkie. And I already have my expression, so I'm going to go ahead and copy that. And then I'm going to load up my pinky. And again, it's Z Rotation. So, I want finger spread to control Z Rotation. And here's my expression.
And this time, I'm going to leave off the negative sign because I want this to rotate in the opposite direction. So let's go ahead and set that, hit connect. And now, okay that's starting to work, great so this is rotating in the negative direction, this is rotating in the positive direction but they're spreading exactly the way that we want. Now, these middle two joints aren't going to spread as much, so I'm going to divide those by two. So, let's go ahead and select our ring finger.
Load it up, find Z Rotation and keep this selected on the other side here and just type in our expression, degrees to radians of finger spread and divide by two and connect it all up. So now that should go halfway and you can see how our fingers are spreading fairly evenly. So one more to go, our middle finger. Load it up here. And again find Rotation > Z Rotation and drop in our expression. And remember, this is going to go in the same direction as the index finger, so we need to put in a negative sign to make sure the rotation is correct.
Hit Connect and that should do it. Select our hand controller There we go. Oh, we got one little problem here. The middle finger needs to be divided by two. So, go ahead and select that. Let's go back into Wire Parameters. Load that up on this side. Select this. Load it up on this side And let's go ahead. Find our expression, divide by two, Update, and that should do it. There we go.
So now, these fingers spread fairly evenly. Now if this isn't exactly the way you want, you can certainly change the values so that they spread a little bit differently. But we have some pretty good controls here, we can control individual fingers. Or we can control this spread of all fingers. So as you can see, we can additional higher level controls to our hand to make it a little bit easier to animate.
- 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