Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Rigging the thumb, part of 3ds Max: Character Rigging.
Now with the fingers all rigged, lets go ahead and just rig the thumb and we'll be done with the hand. Now, before we do that, let's go ahead and make sure that we understand how the thumb is going to move. Now this outer joint of the thumb will rotate around it's local space and you'll see that it basically rotates like that, the same goes for this second joint. So again it will rotate this way. Now this based joint of the dumb actually is going to rotate in a access that's almost perpendicular to the form. So I'm going to actually put this into world space here. Just so you could see that it's basically going to rotate up and down this way. So let's go ahead and create some controls that allow us to do these rotations. So, first thing I would do is create some objects with which to control these. We're just going to use standard circles. So I'm going to create a circle here, not too big, about one unit or so for this particular model. And then I'm going to align that to the outer thumb joint, thumb 02. Now I'm going to make sure I'm aligning pivot points, and I also want to align orientation in x, y, and z, hit OK and as we can see, this is kind of 90 degrees off from where it should be, so I'm going to go ahead and hit my angle snap. Going to Hierarchy > Affect Object Only and then make sure we are in local space here and I am going to rotate that about 90 degrees. So now, I have got this at 90 degrees to that.
And actually this is a little bit big, let's go ahead and make this about .75 or so, and then again your model may be different. So now that I have this I an duplicate it and use that for the second joint, so I am just going to go ahead and hit Ctrl+V to clone, copy. There it is and lets go ahead and align that to the second joint there. Okay. Now, as we create these we do need to name them, so this one is going to be control cn_ left thumb 02, this is left thumb 01 and now we need to create one more for the base of the thumb.
So, I'm actually going to create a different object. I'm going to create more of a rectangle here and that's because when I have. My IK on I'm going to have this object here so I want to make sure I have an object that looks different when I go to manipulate so people don't get confused. So I'm going to go ahead and create a rectangle and create any shape you want here but it's basically just going to be a simple rectangle, probably one by one or so. And again, I'm going to align that and this time I'm going to align it to this object here, my point controller and we're going to align it in position and orientation.
And again, I'm going to affect objects only and then rotate that so that it's at 90 degrees. And this looks like it should be a little bit bigger so I'm going to make this two by two. So now I can also tell what angle that is, so it gives me a little bit better rotation. So, now all we have to do is set this up in a hierarchy and set up our orientation constraints. Just like we've done with so many others. So, let's go ahead and select this object here and link it.
So, I'm going to select my thumb, link it to my thumb 01. And link this one to the base and this is still called rectangle. So let's go ahead and rename this, CN_thumbbase. So now, when I rotate this, everything else rotates. So that should be good. So now, let's go ahead, and just set up our orientation constraints. going to go ahead and select our bone. Animation > Constraint > Orientation Constraint and select the corresponding circle.
Select this bone, orientation constraint and select this one. And this one is going to jump out of alignment because it's not exactly aligned to this one. And so for this one, we have to go into our motion panel. And scroll down and find keep initial offset and we want to turn that one on for this particular joint. So now that we have this, all we have to do now is rotate this and that rotates the thumb up and down. We can rotate this this way and so on.
So now we have control over each of these joints. Now if we want, we can lock down the parameters that we don't want to be animated but I'll leave that up to you. So as you can see, we've got a pretty good hand rig now. All we have to do to animate the actual fingers is select the hand control object, and if we want to animate the thumb, all we have to do is select the controls for the thumb. So now that we have all this in place, you understand the basics of rigging hands.
So go ahead and take this knowledge and use it to rig the opposite hand of your character.
- 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