Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Drawing the spine, part of 3ds Max: Character Rigging.
Once you have the hip bone positioned properly, you can draw the rest of the spine. And let's go ahead and do that. So I'm going to actually do this from a side view, in this case the left view. So I have my hip bone here and then I have this additional bone. Which I'm actually just going to go ahead and select and delete. So we're going to extend this, hip bone to become the spine. So I'm going to go into my Create menu. Into Systems and select Bones.
And then notice how when I hover over my hip bone, I can extend it. So go ahead and left click there, and you see we get another bone. So now I'm going to start to draw my spine. Now a lot of people will draw the spine through the center of the body, because that seems kind of the logical thing to do. But anatomically the spine goes along the back. It's known as our backbone. So we want to align our spine bones towards the back of the character.
And that will give you much more natural deformations. So actually I'm going to use these edge loops here as kind of my guide. And I'm just going to draw a couple of spine bones going up the back of the character. Now, as I get towards the top here, we are going to start going towards the middle, because we have to create a shoulder bone and a clavicle, and we also have to get the neck of the character as well as the head. We're going to draw one long chain.
So again, I'm just roughing these in, we can always change these later, but I want to make sure that I get a clavicle that goes kind of in towards the center of the chest. And then a base for the neck. And then the neck itself, and I want to make sure that the neck ends slightly under the chin, and then if you want to put in a bone for the character's jaw, you need to create a place for that as well, so his jaw is going to be slightly behind the ear, and then I'm going to create a head bone.
Right there, and then we'll have another bone at the top. So, this is all kind of roughed in, but let's go ahead and see how this looks from the front. So, one of the things you'll want to do is align these two edge loops. So, here, along the back, you can see that we've got these pretty much aligned to the edge loops of the character. But if we want to adjust them further, we can go into Animation > Bone Tools, and just click on Bone Edit mode. And then I can use my Move tool to position these, so I click on the bone and just basically position the base of that bone.
Now from the front, I want to make sure that I have a place for the clavicle. So where's the clavicle or the collar bone coming in? And it's probably right around there, so I'm actually going to move this bone down a little bit. And then where is the base of the neck? Again, I think this is going to be down just a little bit, right there. And if we go from the side view here, you can see that, okay, well, where's the jaw bone going to be. Probably right around here. And again, we can adjust these later. These are not fixed until we actually skin the character.
So we can still play with these. But now that we have them in place,. We should have a pretty good skeleton. So let's go ahead and start naming these. So I've got my hips here. And actually I named this wrong when I created it before. It should be BN_hip. In fact I'm going to copy that BN_ so I don't have to ever re-type it. And now let's go through and name the rest of these bones. So this is going to be BN_spine01, BN_spine02, spine03.
Let's call this spine04, because it is a spine bone. And then, let's go ahead and take a look at this from the front as well. And that's bone05, so let's call this neck base. And this is the actual neck. And we could call this one head base. And this one here will be head. And then this top one, is a no deform so it's ND_head. Okay, so now that we have these, we can start to set up our bone fins.
And make sure that it matches our character. So let's go ahead and select some side fins here, and just start playing with these. I'm just going to go through and do all the side fins. And then go into another view port and do the front fins. So again, you want to make sure that these match the character. And then basically, this will help with the deformation. Now, as we get into this area here, these fins won't matter as much. Because we're going to have additional bones here for the arms and the clavicle. And the neck bone here is pretty good.
So it's pretty close to the size of the neck, we probably don't need fins on that. The head bone obviously will need some fins, so let's go ahead and create some side fins here. And then let's go down through a side view here and do the front and back fins. So I'm going to go ahead and do front fin. Which is actually in this case our back fin, but whatever, and let's do that. And then let's go through the rest of these spine bones. And these, particularly, just need additional fins for the torso, so you probably don't need the front fins.
Even though they are in the front. So this kind of flipped around a little bit, but there we go. So now that we've got these pretty much aligned here, and again you just adjust these to match your character. You can see how in the wire frame here, these pretty much line up with the geometry of the character So you can see how that is pretty much aligned. And once we have all of these set up and named we can also color them. So I'm going to go ahead and close my Bone Tools, and then just basically, select, all of these bones.
And let's go ahead and color these ones red. So basically anything through the center of the character is going to be red. So we've got green, red, and blue as our main colors. So red is center, green and blue are left and right. Now once we have all of that set up, let's go ahead and just manage our layers here. And I'm going to go ahead and just drag these into the Deform layer to make sure that they're in the proper layer, and we've got everything set up. So, just make sure that your spine is placed anatomically along the back of your character, and also make sure that you give yourself enough bones so that you can deform the character the way that you want.
- 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