Super Simple Rig
Frustrated by the built-in 3ds Max rigging systems, I decided in 2008 to program my own simple and easy-to-use custom rig. I wanted something with minimal setup, high framerates and little fuss. I've kept upgrading it for every new character project the past five years, and I've just received a grant to add more functions and release it to the public.
The rig is inspired by the work of Paul Neale, Jason Schleifer and Paul Thuriot, and it carries with it a lot of their principles. It's made to be fast, minimal and modular, with as few controls as possible. It tries to avoid counter-animation, caused by multiple controllers affecting a single bone. In a way, it's a Max rig that wants to be a Maya rig. In Maya you can do beautifully complex rigs using just clever node connections, so in the same fashion, this is a rig that tries to manage without too much wiring, script or expression controllers. Also, the rig does a Channel Box imitation, where you can reset or dial in every animation value from the modifier panel.
The rig is part of a larger animation system that makes it easier for individuals or small teams to make animated projects in 3ds Max. Unlike the powerful reference system in Maya, 3ds Max has nothing comparable for easily swapping out a character rig while keeping the animation stored on it. This rig overcomes that obstacle by storing all animation in its controllers, which can be saved out and loaded onto a new rig. This opens up a more non-linear production process, and puts less pressure on the rigger. I have used it on two projects where we updated the rig on several occasions - without any loss of animation
My plan ahead is to:
- Add squash/stretch presets to most bodyparts.
- Add storing of rig presets.
- Add custom bodyparts, such as tails. The code is there, it just needs a proper GUI.
- Face rigging. I have code for controller setup and a mouth bone system. Again it needs a GUI.
- Loading of skin data, perhaps breaking up a mesh for pre-skin rig testing.
- The graph editor is a bit of a mess, it's best to turn off transforms and only view attributes. Will have to solve that.
- Quadruped rigging. It's in there, but needs some fixes.
- Documentation and some tutorials.
- A lot of other stuff!