Join Steve Nelle for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding CAT, part of 3ds Max 2011 New Features.
The new Character Animation tools in Max 2011, more commonly referred to simply as CAT, with without a doubt change the way your characters of all shapes and sizes are going to be both build and animated inside the program. Now as a fully integrated part of the software, CAT offers a very robust set of tools that provide you as an animator with a much greater level of freedom and flexibility in bringing your characters to life. If you've used Max for any length of time, you're all too familiar with the fact that up until now, you really only had two choices in animating a character, using either the Character Studio Biped, which was primarily designed for animating two-legged characters, or by building a custom skeleton using Max's bone system.
A painstaking ordeal of not just creating bones one-by-one, but then having to individually set up each bone's rotation limits and linkages in order to get everything to work just right. Now both of those character creation methods are still available, but I think one should get a little more time under your belt using CAT, your time with either of those other alternatives is going to be substantially reduced. In a nutshell, CAT is a character rigging and animation system that allows you to create characters that have an unlimited number of arms and legs. It works most effectively by creating layers of animation, each layer being nondestructive to the other layers on the character rig.
This method of building an animated sequence makes things much more flexible as individual layers of animation can be added, removed, or temporally turned off, whatever might be needed to best control the behavior of your character. There is a series of pre-built rigs, controls for setting up loopable walk cycles that can even be tweaked in order to be able to give a character more personality or attitude. You can work with motion capture data, a muscle simulation system for bulging and flexing, all kinds of really cool tools, and tools that are both intuitive and easy-to-use. Let's head into the next video and we'll jump right in.
- Using Caddies
- Slate Material Editor Overview
- Building a node-based shader
- Understanding the CAT (Character Animation Tools) plug-in
- Building and animating CATRigs
- Using the Viewport Canvas
- Rendering with the Quicksilver Hardware renderer
- Using the SketchUp importer