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Physique and CAT
show user profile  Dejitarujin
Okay, I have discovered that Physique will give me much better options than just Skin can. Roughly the magical tool I was looking for. But it does have its issues.

First is, since the CV's are still restricted to planar cross-sections, MAX sometimes spazzes out. I'll try dragging a CV straight outward, and it'll instead start moving around the cross-section, or jumping around randomly. There a fix for that?

Also, since CV's can be moved assymetrically, that results in, well, assymetry, along any center bones. Is there a way to make things even on both sides?

And, is there an option for the axis to mirror along? The Mirror button for envelopes flips them front-to-back instead of left-to-right.

A quick fix for all of them: Can CV's be force-scripted into a location? Or even better, is there something even better than Physique? Yeah, a long shot, but always important to ask ;)

Also, since Softimage CAT went from being a $1,000 tool to... free, I'm messing around with it. Quite nifty. But, am I correct in assuming it has no skinning modifier of its own? Also, how do I make leg bones that aren't in a straight line limit their rotation properly? Using actual rotation limits as one normally would, I need some leeway just for it to stay properly rotated (it's default position), but that leeway goes horribly awry when the joint is bent with the IK.
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 1632 times
2/27/2009 11:19:28 PM (last edit: 2/27/2009 11:19:28 PM)
show user profile  Jollabollathan
Skin is better than physique, dude. What's this "magical tool" you're going on about?

read 1607 times
2/28/2009 6:27:33 AM (last edit: 2/28/2009 6:27:33 AM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
I switched from Skin to Physique for a very, very good reason. The "magic tool" I sought, in a topic a couple days ago, was a sort of pseudo-geometric area-of-influence system to replace the pill-shaped Skin envelopes - which are roughly akin to a caveman hitting things with a rock.

When Skin can do that, then we'll talk ;)
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 1586 times
2/28/2009 3:08:46 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 3:08:46 PM)
show user profile  markoid
Why not switch to vert mode to get accuracy with your skin/physique assignments ? .... much more accurate/tweakable than trying to get envelopes to do the job.... no magical tool needed.

read 1580 times
2/28/2009 3:26:21 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 3:26:21 PM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
This is a job that can only be done using envelopes, quite strictly. Actually, I guess I shouldn't say that - if I wanted to put in many, many hours of work, start over from scratch about a half dozen times, and then outright give up, then it could be done in a manual fashion. But I'd really rather not have that happen again. It was looking like that was the path I'd have to take, until I discovered Physique's far more advanced envelope abilities.

Why such a powerful tool was removed from Skin, the world may never know...
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 1578 times
2/28/2009 3:37:22 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 3:37:22 PM)
show user profile  Jollabollathan
Nobody does skinning only with envelopes. The whole point is that they're just to rough things out initially before you do the real work. You just need to get better at manually painting and tweaking vertex weights. That character isn't even very high-poly.

read 1573 times
2/28/2009 3:47:34 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 3:47:34 PM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
I think I can say, without any doubt, that the only reason people don't use adaptive envelope skinning techniques is because the existing tools are inefficient. No one wants to put in more effort than necessary.

Physique's envelopes can easily cover vertex weighting alone, with no manual intervention required. That whole leg is completely done. I can't imagine anyone needing more in that field. What it lacks are better symmetry capabilities.

Meanwhile, Skin has many very nice abilities - at the cost of the advanced envelopes. I mean, really now, even if you don't want to use envelopes only, why would anyone want it to be such a horror to work with the envelopes that are there? This was a horrible oversight by the programmers.

Multiple times in this model, I have had to go back to the base Edit Poly modifier, and make changes - specifically, adding vertices. And I'm definitely not done yet. And after I make a change... I re-initialize Physique, and maybe tweak the envelope just a little bit. That's it. Nothing gets screwed up. It is completely adaptive - which means my plan of eventually tripling the poly count on that very model would go off without a hitch just the same. I'd like to see your manual weighting do the same.
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 1569 times
2/28/2009 4:09:16 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 4:11:03 PM)
show user profile  Jollabollathan
A bit more than halfway through the video.

If physique is working for you then fine, all that matters is the end result, but you're ignorant of all the features of the other tools available to you and need to stop talking like you're not.

Why are you working this way anyway? You should finalise your model before you skin whenever possible. Tripling the polycount AFTER skinning is just madness, nice envelopes or no.

read 1563 times
2/28/2009 4:32:40 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 4:33:06 PM)
show user profile  donvella
Dej, Physique is a legacy tool and still around only for old max files, skin is far superior - each to their own though if your comfortable with it then use it.

Skinning took me 6-10 hours per character when i first started, and the envelopes i found to be an absolute nightmare, and then when i finally thought i had it right, and i pressed the mirror tool, i wanted to cry... lol.

Now i can skin a 10,000 polly character in about 2 hours - it just comes down to technique and experience... and proper polly flow, if you dont have the right flow then your not going to get good deforming geometry no matter how good you skin. - strange name for a website but has very good tutorials for character deformation and what not.

I havent heard of CAT, tell me how it works out.

read 1559 times
2/28/2009 4:46:19 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 4:46:19 PM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
Well the real problem with this is, I can't truly finalize the model. I have never, ever successfully gotten past the skinning step, because the Skin modifier is just so backwards to me that I just give up outright. I have tried numerous times in the past. As such, I don't know what works. I can make a model look kinda nice, but I don't know a damn thing when it comes to properly placing geometry such that it will deform correctly.

This is, for all intents and purposes, a learning experiment. Like a lot of things I do. I have finally gotten overall character modelling down to a science and/or art, and I no longer give up halfway through (or after just the head, like I did at the very beginning). Now I just need the geometry placement down. I can learn to rig/skin like a pro next time - this is a rush to get my first display-worthy character model ready for actual display. And this is just the middle step, I'm doing UV last (I know, I know!), so quick and dirty is key.

That video is quite interesting, largely because I've tried that before. Last time I tried messing with geometry with a Skin modifier in place, it failed catastrophically. Physique also fails catastrophically (and in fact, every time I re-open the scene my mesh is an explosion of random vertices), but with the envelopes-only approach I only need to re-initialize Physique and everything pops back into place.

As for CAT, it's... interesting. A major problem is, its only help file - an online Wiki - doesn't have any images. Well, it did, but every last one of them is broken. And it essentially is relying on those images for instructions. Thus, I have no idea what I'm doing ;)

That's kind of a problem, because, no matter what route is used for skinning, I really need a way to check how it's deforming, and CAT uses some crazy shit to set up its animation. I think I might just go back to the MAX bones, which I wisely hid instead of deleting...
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 1552 times
2/28/2009 5:41:52 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 5:41:52 PM)
show user profile  donvella
well if you think the skin modifier is just backwards, your on the right track. Here is a skinning method which may help you which was shown to me back in uni, this might help you out a little.

1. Turn off Evelopes
2. Turn on "Select Vertices"
3. CTRL + A vertices and assign 100% to Pelvis
4. Select "Ribs 3" & Deselect all vertices below half the Pelvis.
5. Assign 25% to Ribs3
6. Deselect 1 row between Ribs3 and Pelvis - assign 50%
7. Deselect 1 row between Ribs3 and Ribs2 - assign 100%
8. Select Select Ribs2.
9. Assign 25%
10. Deselect 1 row between Ribs2 and Ribs1 - assign 50%
11. Select Ribs1.
12. Assign 25%...

Continue this process throughout the hirearchy down 1 arm and include the head, and then you can do the same for 1 of the legs. (preferrably the same side as the arm you do).

This method allows you to have perfectly blended weights throughout the entire model, which has less chance of playing up when you mirror and also rids you the trouble of having 1 of 2 verts on your foot 'somehow' connected to your clavicle or something wierd lol.

After you have blended them evenly throughout all the 'joints' you can weight them according to your polyflow and geometry considering your still learning deformation.

Note: each "row" i was talking about could be 2-3 rows if not more on your mesh, i just kept it simple with boxes so theres no confusion.

read 1538 times
2/28/2009 6:58:43 PM (last edit: 2/28/2009 7:25:15 PM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
Skin works better than it did when I first tried it, I'll admit that. That little Weight Tool popup box is quite helpful. And, after adding a few additional rings around joints, it hasn't completely exploded yet.

Though there is one issue. I'm setting up the wrist, and some vertices are shared among the thumb bone, palm bone, and forearm. Now, the forearm weights are good. When the palm bends (taking the thumb bone with it), it bends as good as I'll be able to make it. Now I need to work on the thumb bone - but when I increase or decrease weighting for the thumb bone, it distributes the change between the other two. Is there any way to lock in values for certain bones once complete?

And a non-Skin-related issue is that, bones aren't bending right. They're oriented properly, with no limits, but when I keyframe a rotation along a world axis, it kind of bends outward on its way to the end pose. Only in keyframe mode though; plain rotation goes just fine. Is that supposed to happen?

Edit: Also, does anyone know where to find a tutorial on using two linear forearm bones to assist in proper twisting? I picked up the tip long ago, and apparently have since forgotten how to do it right.
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 1480 times
3/1/2009 4:02:15 PM (last edit: 3/1/2009 5:03:08 PM)
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