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3D Studio max spline control

Hey guys,

I have been working on a facial rig in 3D Studio max. I have always been a Maya user and have taken up 3DS Max recently. Now there was an option in maya called Clusters which was very useful. All I have to do is cluster a set of vertices and paint some cluster weights and parent constraint it with another object and get a control (like the control for inflating my character's cheeks). I am pretty surprised I cannot find any way to cluster vertices in 3D Studio max. Please help me out. I know using Morph targets is a way but I want to know the equivalent procedure in 3DS Max for Cluster controls in Maya.

Thanks

Replies

  • Mark Dygert
    For the most part max-people seem to stick to skinning the face mesh to various objects. If you're end goal is a realtime engine then you typically use bones or dummy objects (that get converted over to bones). Technically you can skin any object to another object so you can use splines but those typically aren't compatible with realtime engines.

    If you want a control board set up you end up either using wire parameters or Reaction Manger (which is like Maya Driven keys) to tie the objects together.

    There is a plug-in called Cluster-O-Matic which seems to recreate the maya workflow but since it's $150 I've never given it a spin.
    http://www.di-o-matic.com/products/plugins/ClusterOMatic/#page=features


    There might be something similar at a better price, up on scriptspot.com typically those scripts are designed by hobbyist and are free, so you get what you get and you can't get upset, ha.

    Good luck! If you find anything useful keep this thread updated, I'm sure other people (myself included) would be interested in knowing about it =)
  • Mark Dygert
    Oh I also forgot to mention, that you can apply a "SplineIK Controls" modifier to a spline which will generate control points (helpers) at each knot in the spline and then you can assign skin weights to those helpers.
  • SamFisher45
    Well, I was searching like mad for this yesterday in the net and I found out a solution (which does not fulfill my needs completely). The trick lied in the LinkedXForm modifier. Grab the vertices you need, then without exiting subobject mode, add a linkedXForm on the modifier stack and then under preferences, pick your control object. The main drawback is that you cannot add more than one LinkedXForm. So we are basically back to square one....
  • SamFisher45
    Well splineIK needs to have a bone linkage to the spline for it to work. I cannot put a bone on my character's cheeks :-P
  • marks
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    marks greentooth
    Personally, I've found SplineIK very useful for animating cables and wires in max.
  • Mark Dygert
    You don't need bones for "SplineIK the modifier".
    You do need bones for "SplineIK the solver" which is completely different than what I was talking about. SplineIK the modifier just places control points at each knot in the spline. If you move a point, the spline deforms. You can then skin to those control points. Which is just another way to put points in a face and skin to them. But you can derive your splines from edge selections which is helpful. But you can also snap helpers to verts on the face.

    Max will never treat a selection of verts as a node like maya does, at least not without using a plug-in like cluster-o-matic.
    [ame=" o matic - YouTube[/ame]

    You're best bet is probably going to be to skin your mesh to objects, bones, dummies or helpers and control those objects either directly or with some kind of wire parameter or reaction manager.

    Mini-Tutorial:
    Create Panel > Helpers, turn on Point, click autogrid and place helpers on the face.
    Create one more helper and place it in the head, link the face helpers to the head helper.
    Apply skin, add all of the helpers as bones.
    Assign all of the verts to the head helper.
    Assign/paint weights for the various helpers on the face.
  • monster
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    monster Polycount Sponsor
    The main drawback is that you cannot add more than one LinkedXForm. So we are basically back to square one....


    You can add a MeshSelect modifier on top of the LinkedXform modifier, select new verts and add another LinkedXform. You can even use soft selections in the MeshSelect.

    LinkedXform is a legacy tool that was created before the Skin modifier existed. The process above is how I used to "Skin" characters back in 1999. Personally, I would just Skin the influence of the controller/bone. But all of my work is intended for a game engines.
  • SamFisher45
    monster wrote: »
    You can add a MeshSelect modifier on top of the LinkedXform modifier, select new verts and add another LinkedXform. You can even use soft selections in the MeshSelect.

    LinkedXform is a legacy tool that was created before the Skin modifier existed. The process above is how I used to "Skin" characters back in 1999. Personally, I would just Skin the influence of the controller/bone. But all of my work is intended for a game engines.

    Just what I was looking for. You saved my day man. SALUTE
  • SamFisher45
    You don't need bones for "SplineIK the modifier".
    You do need bones for "SplineIK the solver" which is completely different than what I was talking about. SplineIK the modifier just places control points at each knot in the spline. If you move a point, the spline deforms. You can then skin to those control points. Which is just another way to put points in a face and skin to them. But you can derive your splines from edge selections which is helpful. But you can also snap helpers to verts on the face.

    Max will never treat a selection of verts as a node like maya does, at least not without using a plug-in like cluster-o-matic.
    Cluster o matic - YouTube

    You're best bet is probably going to be to skin your mesh to objects, bones, dummies or helpers and control those objects either directly or with some kind of wire parameter or reaction manager.

    Mini-Tutorial:
    Create Panel > Helpers, turn on Point, click autogrid and place helpers on the face.
    Create one more helper and place it in the head, link the face helpers to the head helper.
    Apply skin, add all of the helpers as bones.
    Assign all of the verts to the head helper.
    Assign/paint weights for the various helpers on the face.

    I didnt know there was a splineIK modifier before, thanks a lot. Pretty much fulfills my purpose. Thanks a ton for the help. I would stick to bones and morph targets for rigging my characters in the future. I don't know why but I find the Max bone setup easy to handle. By the way, the point helper thingy was extremely helpful.

    Thanks again mate.
  • Mark Dygert
    monster wrote: »
    You can add a MeshSelect modifier on top of the LinkedXform modifier, select new verts and add another LinkedXform. You can even use soft selections in the MeshSelect.

    LinkedXform is a legacy tool that was created before the Skin modifier existed. The process above is how I used to "Skin" characters back in 1999. Personally, I would just Skin the influence of the controller/bone. But all of my work is intended for a game engines.
    You do have to be careful with this, it can be pretty easy to make a long modifier stack and the longer the stack, the slower max goes.
  • SamFisher45
    I replaced the vertex cluster concept with Morph Targets. Much easier than figuring out vertex handling mechanisms. In the future, I want to use floating bones though. Thanks for the help guys...
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