Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Positioning the foot control splines, part of 3ds Max: Character Rigging.
Once we have our skeleton in place, we can start adding controls to the character. Now, these will be controls that the animator will use to manipulate the character. So we need to make sure that these controls are obvious and intuitive, and also named properly. So that way when the animator works with your character, he'll know how to use it. So let's go ahead and start with the foot controls. I'm going to zoom in here. And I've actually already created a few basic foot controls for this character.
Now these are basically just made out of spline, so if I click on this one here, you'll see that this just basically a circle. And if we open up our rendering tab, you'll see that I've enabled it in viewport. And that allows us to see it in our viewport, but we're not going to render it. So that way you don't have to worry about these showing up in your final renders. Now, each of these is basically just the same thing. This one's an ellipse that's been modified, and so are these. So the first thing we need to do is give these a descriptive name. So we're going to go ahead and start with this outer one, and this will be the one that we use to actually move the foot, so we're going to call this the foot control. Now I'm going to start all controls in my naming scene with a CN for control. And then I'm just going to name this left foot. So this is control for the left foot. This one here will lift the heel up and down, so we can call this CN left heel.
This one will be control for the left toe bend. So what this is going to do is this is going to rotate the toe up and down like he's tapping his toes. So we're going to call it toe bend. And then this last one will rotate the entire foot up on the toe, so it's kind of a tippy toe kind of control. So lets call it CN_LToeTip. And that should give it a pretty descriptive name. So once these are all named properly, we now need to align our pivots to the point where we want these controls to operate.
So I'm going to actually turn on shaded mode here, so I'm going to be shaded and in x-ray. And let's start with this outer foot. Now, I want this to actually work at the ankle, so I want it to work at the top of this bone here, the ankle bone. So let's go ahead and connect that. Now we can do it one of two ways. We can use a line, like we've done before, or we can use the snaps toggle, which we haven't used. Let's go ahead and use that, just so you'll understand how this works. So we'll turn this on, and then we want to snap to pivot, and we want to leave all the rest of these off.
So this will snap pivot to pivot, which is really what we want to do. So just go ahead and make sure this is turned on, and let's go over to our hierarchy panel, and we're going to say Affect Pivot Only, and then we're going to go into the move tool. So I want to make sure my foot control is active, and then I'm just going to go ahead and snap this to the ankle bone. And there we go. Now, the heel is going to rotate around this axis to lift the ankle. So basically I want to snap it to the toe bone.
As does this one. So this one should snap to the toe bone as well. So these are actually rotating around the same axis. And then this last one, the tippy toe, should snap to the bone and there, and really what it's doing is snapping to the end of the toe so it lifts it up. So now we have all of these in place. And they're all named properly. Let's go ahead and make sure we turn off snap. So now let's go ahead and make sure these are the proper color. So I'm going to go ahead and select all of these. And right now they're kind of this gold color.
So let's go ahead and make these a light blue to match the blue of the bones. And again, this is the same scheme that we have, which is blue is on the left and green is on the right. So now that we have all of this, let's go ahead and just copy these over to the other side. So I'm just going to use the mirror tool here. And this is different than bone mirror. This is just mirroring objects. So we're going to go ahead and select mirror. And I'm going to mirror this across the x-axis, I'm going to give it an offset so that it matches up with this foot here, and I'm going to make sure that it's a copy.
So I'm going to hit OK and make sure that those are centered. They are. So let's go ahead and change the colors of these to a light green. And then, we can also rename these. So, we can rename this right foot, toe tip, right toe tip, right toe bend and. Right heel. Now I didn't do the rename thing because this is only four objects and it's really a very simple process to rename all of these.
Now that we have everything in place, let's go ahead and just add these to the proper layer. So I'm going to go into my Manage Layers. And we've already created one called CONTROLS. So these right now are in the zero layer here, or the base layer, so let's go ahead and just make sure we select these. Let's make sure we get all of these in the CONTROLS layer, and there we go. And now so these are all in CONTROLS, and we can toggle these on and off if we want. Now with all of these in place we can start setting up the feet.
- 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