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How to adjust rig for varied character scales?
show user profile  airborne56
Hello. I have a lot of technical experience. But, am pretty new to 3DSMax.

I have a max file set up with multiple rigged characters. I can animate them and then export the animations to be used in a game (Skyrim) via a mod. That works great.

The problem is that in the game some characters are scaled via custom skeletons. The game runs animations at their scale. So, if I want to make animations for interactions between characters are at the full scale, I'm set. But, if I want to make interactions between characters that are different scales my setup is problematic since the size difference is created in the game rather than from the animations.

SO, what is a good solution that will allow me to re-size my rigged characters in max but then have the resulting animations exported at the regular full scale?
read 331 times
3/16/2016 3:04:12 AM (last edit: 3/16/2016 3:04:12 AM)
show user profile  herfst1
Solution: make different sized skeletons. Rigs don't scale well.
read 330 times
3/16/2016 7:46:55 AM (last edit: 3/16/2016 7:46:55 AM)
show user profile  LionDebt
Nude mod? He's making a nude mod. I bet it's a nude mod.
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3/16/2016 11:22:45 AM (last edit: 3/16/2016 11:22:45 AM)
show user profile  airborne56
Uh. No. But, it sounds like something you might be looking for?

Different sized skeletons: Different sized in the max file? Or in the game? Resizing the skeleton in the max file results in distorted characters in game. Resizing the game skeletons doesn't solve the problem of having to use characters of a set in stone scale in the max file.
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3/16/2016 1:17:19 PM (last edit: 3/16/2016 1:17:19 PM)
show user profile  S. Silard
A mod for Skyrim? I love mods for Skyrim.
Honestly it must be a very unique idea if similar mod doesn't exists yet. What it is about?

By the way, installing animation mods nearly always involved FNIS. Which I'm not sure what it does, but as I know it has to do something with skeletons. So you might love to look into that.

Also I googled some in the question, but I'm sure I did not found anything that you did not, but I found that might be helpful: https://steamcommunity.com/app/72850/discussions/0/522730701847485282/

Congrats, you found my signature.

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3/16/2016 2:33:53 PM (last edit: 3/16/2016 2:33:53 PM)
show user profile  Dave
I've no experience with skyrim modding specifically, but I've done a lot of character rigging for games. I don't fully understand the issue you're having but if you have no control over the rigs engine-side, you're in a bit of trouble.

It's not uncommon to use an animation file across multiple rigs in a games engine. Provided the rigs have the same setup you "should" be able to scale to your hearts content, but again, this scaling would be done engine side, not in max.

If you're animating a little child and applying that animation to a grown mans skeleton, and the animation plays at the scale of the grown man, then this is correct.

"I flew over Egypt once"

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3/16/2016 4:08:39 PM (last edit: 3/16/2016 4:08:39 PM)
show user profile  airborne56
Silard: Thank you. Though, that information is more about how things are set up in Skyrim and how to install existing mods.

Not working on a specific mod. Just testing and trying to figure out how to use the related tools at this point. What I'm seeing is that a lot of different characters use the same animations but through different skeletons. It makes simple things like a hand-shaking animation difficult/impossible because the two characters animations may not be in sync due to the skeleton differences.

It sounds like adjusting an existing rig is just not practical. You would have to make a new rig for every skeleton variation in the game and then custom animations for every interaction combination. Not practical either. I guess that explains why it still looks like characters are sort of ice-skating around each other in games like this.
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3/16/2016 4:18:57 PM (last edit: 3/16/2016 4:20:07 PM)
show user profile  airborne56
Dave: Thank you for the information. I don't understand the terminology exactly. But, I think that rigs are controlled game side via custom skeletons. If that is what you mean?

Say that I want to make a hand-shake animation. I can have a max file and animate the hand-shake. But, when it goes in game, the skeletons of the characters may cause them to be different. Scale is only one way they might be different. So, the hand-shake is often out of sync.

Is there a way to make it easy to adjust a max file with rigged characters in it to make multiple animations for various cases? For example, a hand-shake for human-human and a hand-shake for human-orc?
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3/16/2016 4:26:35 PM (last edit: 3/16/2016 4:26:35 PM)
show user profile  Dave
Yeah, so it sounds like they've got it setup so animations can be shared across a variety of differently scaled rigs, this is super common in games with a boat-load of characters as you can imagine that unique rigs and unique animations for all characters in something like Skyrim would take about a bajillion years.

But, that's not to say you can't create unique scenarios for certain interactions. It's just pretty tedious.

As an example, a game I'm working on at the moment has about 30+ characters, they all use the same rig, but the scale and some proportions are altered (though in hindsight, I would vote NO on messing with proportions).

With this in mind, we share the vast majority of animations across these characters, because if you've got a "jumping sword attack", there's no sense in doing 30+ variations of it for every character, it's also the sort of animation that's vague enough to not need precision, the "sword hit" just needs to be in a general area, and it will work flawlessly.

Now, coming to your problem. One thing we couldn't easily do are things like grapples, like a character jumping on top of another character and sitting on their shoulders and then punching them in the head or something like that.

But, that's not to say it's impossible, it would just require unique animations. Where something like "sword swing" can be universal, the grapple would instead have 30 (likely less) variations depending on who the opponent was.

There are of course IK based solutions for this, especially for things like hand-shakes, so like one IK target in the palm of one character knows that it needs to move to a specific location (ie, someone elses palm) buuuut I'd be surprised if Skyrim modding has this sort of functionality.

Unfortunately, this might just be one of those times where you need to make a "creative decision" and swap the hand-shake for a wave or a salute.

tl;dr:
It's easy to get two characters to shake hands if you know the scale of the two characters, but if you're hoping for a "one solution to fit any scenario" then some sort of dynamic IK system is really the only way forward (that I can think of)... but, that's engine-side.

"I flew over Egypt once"

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3/16/2016 6:53:50 PM (last edit: 3/16/2016 6:55:28 PM)
show user profile  airborne56
Dave: Thank you. I can see why it makes practical sense for the game to be set up that way.

I think that my problem is fortunately a little simpler. I'm not looking for a one animation fits all solution. I just don't know 3DS well enough to modify the rigs I have (I didn't make them) to make those one off variations.

So, I'm hoping someone with 3DS skills (like yourself?) can explain what a good technique for this is:

Assuming that we have one max file with zeroed scale/proportion rigs, what is the best way to adjust those rigs so that their appearance in the max file (in terms of scale/proportion) matches unique skeletons from the game but then exports the animation at the generic, zeroed scale/proportion that the game expects the animations to be in. I suppose the answer could be that there is no trick. You have to make unique rigs for every unique scale/proportion character (which is beyond my current ability)?
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3/16/2016 8:59:26 PM (last edit: 3/16/2016 9:01:21 PM)
show user profile  Dave
I'm a bit confused actually.

Can you describe your results again? (maybe with some screenshots?)

If you're saying that the game doesn't care about rig scale, and is just translating animation data, then I would consider this pretty normal behaviour.

But, it sounds like you're saying that the game is taking rig scale into account. So if you export a walk cycle animation on an "grown person" rig, and apply it to a child in the game, that child becomes all stretched/bigger?

"I flew over Egypt once"

read 290 times
3/16/2016 9:20:53 PM (last edit: 3/16/2016 9:20:53 PM)
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