Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding morph targets, part of 3ds Max: Character Rigging.
I've gone ahead and finished the skinning for the character, and now we have the body completely rigged. Now, as you can see, we don't have the head rigged. So we're going to go ahead and start in on that really it's going to be a multiple step process. We're going to set up morph targets for the character. We're going to wire those morph targets to controls, and then we're going to skin the character's head so that it moves along with the rest of the body. So, let's go ahead and start off with morph targets. Now I have a layer here called morphs. Now, if you're not familiar with morphs, let me show you what they look like here. I'm going to go ahead and unhide this layer and you'll see that basically all they are is copies of the character's head with a little bit of modelling done to them. So here you can see that I have a lower blank, an upper blank, on the right and on the left side. So I've taken the character's head and I've just modelled that portion of the character's face, so that it changes. So you can see up here we've got smiles, left and right as well as a left and right frown and then down here we've got some facial animation targets, some phonings basically. Now, all of these can be used to change the shape of the characters face using the Morpher Modifier. So when you create morphs, all you have to do is just copy the geometry that you want, in this case the head and then just remodel it to get the shape that you want. Now the big key here is that it has to have the same topology. So it has to have the same number of polygons and vertices in the same order.
So let's go ahead and apply that Morpher Modifier. I'm going to select the character's head, go into Modifiers > Animation > Morpher, and you can certainly get to this through the Modifier list if you want. Now when the Morpher modifier loads up, you'll see that we've got a number of roll outs here, and probably the most important one is this center one, which has the list of all the morph targets. Now we need to load some morph targets here, so let's go ahead down towards the bottom and you'll see we have a button here that says load multiple targets. So if I click that, it brings up a dialogue box here, and it shows me all of the objects in my scene.
Now the nice thing about this is that it displays only those objects that are suitable for morph, so the things that have the same geometry. So let's go ahead and select all of the objects in the morph layer, hit load and you can see that it brings up all of those objects in a list. We can scroll through this and each one of these has a slider so if I zoom in you can see that if I dial up bottom blink it just moves those. If I move frown, smile. Again we're just moving parts of the character's face, so, the M sound, the O sound, and so on.
So now that we have these, we could actually just animate with this. But we'll make it a lot easier for the animator by wiring this into a control panel and we'll go ahead and do that next.
- 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