Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Fine-tuning vertex weights, part of 3ds Max: Character Rigging.
Skinning a character is a very precise activity. You want the deformations to be just right. So most of the time envelopes just wont cut it. We will need to dig down to the vertex level. So let's take a look at how to do that. I'm going to take a look at my character's feet. So I'm going to go ahead and zoom in here. And let's do the same thing we did last time, let's create a little bit of an animation. I'm going to select this foot controller here. Let's go ahead and set a key for that. Scroll forward a bit, I'm going to go ahead and move that foot up and out a little bit.
And this will actually also test my hip deformation. And then, I'm going to go ahead and copy this key here, just so I have kind of a loop here. So this will show not only deformation of the legs and the hips, but also the feet. And when I print it here, you can pretty clearly see what the problem is. And that's that, the envelopes of each of the feet are overlapping. We can see that a little bit more clearly by selecting the mesh, and turning on Edit Envelopes. So let's go down here to Edit Envelopes, and select an envelope.
So if I select this one, on the right foot, you'll see that well, my goodness it's affecting the left foot. And when I go to that 0 pose you can see it very clearly, that this is overlapping. Now, I can adjust the envelopes. But a lot of times, that's just not enough. I need to get down to the vertex level. So let's go ahead, and just skip straight to that step. So I'm going to go into right around frame 12 here, where I've got the maximum deformation. And so what's happening here is that this particular bone is affecting these vertices, and I want to eliminate that from the equation.
So I can do that by just selecting the vertices one at a time, or in groups, and dialing them away from the opposing bone. So I can select vertices here, and this allows me to actually select individual vertices or groups of vertices in my character. And dial in how those vertices are affected by the selected bone. So I have a number of selection options here. I can shrink or grow my selection here or I can select Edged Rings or Edged Loops okay? So these are just other ways of selecting our vertices.
And if I scroll down here, I'm just going to keep one selected. We have a section here called Weight Properties. And this is how much this particular vertex is affected by the selected bone. So this bone here, this right ankle is affecting this at 0.472. Now if I dial this up it will go towards it, but if I dial it back it will go away. And ultimately I want this to be 0. I don't want this bone to affect this vertice at all.
In fact, we can select whole groups of vertices and dial them all down to 0. So what I can do, is I can basically select the entire foot and I dial those affects down to 0. So, this right ankle has 0 effect on the left foot. Now, I am still getting some stretching here and that's because we have additional bones in the feet. So if I select this right shin you'll see that it's affecting all of these vertices here. So I can again, select all those vertices and just dial them away from that shin.
So basically say the shin affects them at 0. And when I dial them back to 0, basically what they do is they recalculate themselves to the remaining bones. So basically, they'll resolve themselves for this other side. So let's do the same for the toe here. So I'm going to go ahead and select the toe, of this character here. Let's go ahead and get this toe bone here. Maybe I can do this from the list. Right toe, there is, okay. So you can see that this right toe is affecting this part of the foot, so let's go ahead and select that. And again, we can dial this up or down. So if I dial it up, it goes all the way there, but we really don't, we want it to be 0. And when we bring it to 0, basically just again recalculates the solution. So once I have this, you can see how I've got a much better deformation on this foot. Now I could do the same for the other side, but we're going to mirror our weights over. So I'm only working on side at this point. So I don't really to focus too much on the right side of the character. We're just working on the left. Now if we want we can also be a little bit more discreet with this. So I can, for example, focus in on the deformation here in his knee area. And I can also dial that and be very specific about how that knee deforms. So if I select this, you can see I can dial in my envelope here, but it might not be exactly what I want. So even if I dial in the envelope of this particular bone, I want these joints to be controlled a little bit differently. So what I can do is I can again, go into Vertex Mode here. Make sure I'm in vertices. And I'm going to select that shin. And then, just select the vertices here, and then I can say well, you know what? I want these vertices to be affected by this at a very specific rate.
So if I want the vertices here on the back of the knee. You can see that if I make them a little bit more affected by this bone, we get a more natural deformation. So I can do the same on the opposite side, so if I select the thigh here and select these vertices on the inside of the knee. On the thigh side, again, I can dial this up and really start to fine tune those deformations. So, we can go vertex by vertex on a broad scale. Like we are doing on the feet, or we can use it to fine tune our deformations like we are doing here. So, the trick is to go through your entire character, adjust the envelopes as best you can, and then, go down to the vertex level to really fine tune and tweak the deformations.
Now this is a real back and forth process and it takes a while, so I am going to go ahead and do that. And go ahead and go through your own character, and fine tune your deformations
- 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