Skin Wrapping in 3ds Max - Part 3 - Adding Props

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  • Games
  • Modeling
  • 2012
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
9 min

Skin Wrapping in 3ds Max - Part 3 - Adding Props

In this tutorial, learn how to skin wrap an additional prop for a skinned character. As you will see, this method is a lot easier and faster that making the prop part of the original character.

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2012
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2012 or higher.


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If you followed through the first two movies of this series and made changes to the characters,
simply reopen the file you downloaded for the tutorial.

00:00:09 --> 00:00:15
Hide the LODs and the two characters on the right.
You will be using only the main character for this part.

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In the last movie, we discussed how an Art Director can have a change of heart
by changing the design of a character.

00:00:23 --> 00:00:29
In that example, you had to change the waist and shoulders of a character
to give it a more cartoonish look.

00:00:29 --> 00:00:33
This was achieved by selecting sub-objects and scaling them in or out.

00:00:34 --> 00:00:38
Although the volumes changed, the topology and edge flow didn't.

00:00:39 --> 00:00:46
In this situation the Art Director wants to add a gun belt to the character,
the character being is a soldier or a rebel of some sort.

00:00:47 --> 00:00:54
This means that making the gun belt "part" of the character will require
not only modeling it but cleaning up the resulting model.

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The existing character's edge flow will be seriously compromised
by the addition of a gun belt that goes diagonally from the waist to the shoulder.

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Instead, you can keep the gun belt as a separate prop.

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However, you'd still need to skin it properly so that it travels flawlessly
with the rest of the character's body.

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This is where Skin Wrap comes in… again…

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First things first: Let's model the belt.

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You need to model it in a way that conforms to the body.

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Make sure the character's mesh is selected and go to the Modify panel.

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Highlight Editable Poly and expand the modeling ribbon.

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Go to the Freeform tab. You will use the Strips tool to build the belt.

00:01:40 --> 00:01:48
Instead of building the belt on the construction grid, choose Surface
and then pick the character's body as the surface you want to conform to.

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If you wish, enter a small Offset value, such as 0.1 or 0.2
so that the ribbon is very slightly over the body.

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Expand the PolyDraw panel.

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Set the Min Distance to about 40. This in effect, defines the size of the strips
that will make the belt.

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Click on New Object to ensure the belt is a separate prop and not an element of the existing mesh.

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Click the Strips tool and then click and drag over the character's chest
to build part of the belt, from the left shoulder to the opposite side of the waist.

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Orbit around, and then hold Shift and click & drag to continue the strip to the side,
and then up the back.

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Keep on going using the same Orbit/Shift+click & drag technique to close in on where you started.

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When you get close, choose Step Build and drag from the last strip edge to the first,
and this closes the loop.

00:02:56 --> 00:03:03
If you want, use the Shift tool icon (not the keyboard key) to reposition vertices.

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At this point, the belt is very much an independent editable poly and can be edited as such.

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Add a Shell modifier to it to give it depth.

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Set the Outer Amount to about 0.3

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Convert it again to an Editable poly. Have a little fun with it.

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Try creating some detail for shell casings for example.

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If you were to manually skin this gun belt to the biped skeleton, you're in for some trouble.

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Try it! With the gun belt selected, add a Skin modifier.

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Add all the biped components (starting with the pelvis) as skin bones.

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Select the biped's head and exit Figure mode.

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Test the animation and notice the many skin problems you're encountering.

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Adjusting the weights at this time… you would have had to spend a good deal of time on them

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With Skin Wrap, it's kid's play.

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Set the biped in Figure Mode again to go back to the initial pose.

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Remove the Skin modifier from the belt and replace it with a Skin Wrap modifier.

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Using Face Deformation with a 0.001 Falloff, choose the Full Body character as a Control object.

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Set the Biped out of Figure Mode again and test the animation one more time.

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It is practically flawless!

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Set the Biped in Figure mode again and select the belt.

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If there are any adjustments to be made, you can always convert Skin Wrap
to a regular skin like you learned in the two previous movies.

00:06:21 --> 00:06:27
Notice however that the belt is using all of the biped's bones for skinning information,

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but that's only because it is a direct transfer from the character's skin data.

00:06:32 --> 00:06:39
If you want, you can access Edit Envelope mode and remove those bones
that are not affecting the belt.

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This will make calculation times easier as fewer bones are processed.

00:06:44 --> 00:06:50
You have to be careful though not to remove a needed envelope as undoing is not possible.

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As you select envelopes in the list, keep an eye in the viewport for color codes.

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If the belt stays a uniform dull gray, then that envelope does not affect it
and can be safely removed.

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When you highlight an envelope and a part of the belt turns blue, yellow or red,
that means this envelope is needed and should be left alone.

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Some should be pretty straight forward. Spine envelopes logically affect the belt
because of their proximity and should be left alone.

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Fingers, toes, hands or feet on the other hand are far away and can be safely removed
without second thought.

00:07:59 --> 00:08:05
In this particular case, you should be left in the end with only about 8 to 10 bones
affecting the belt.

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Remember to be very careful as removing an envelope cannot be undone.

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To demonstrate, choose Edit > Hold to bookmark your progress.

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Remove an envelope that you know is needed such as Bip001 Spine2.

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Press CTRL+Z to undo. Even though the envelope is back, the skinning information is gone
and cannot be retrieved.

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Choose Edit > Fetch to recall your bookmark.

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Test the animation one final time.

00:08:56 --> 00:09:03
In this 3-part series, you learned how to use Skin Wrap in a variety of ways,
to transfer skinning data from one object to another.

00:09:04 --> 00:09:07
We hope you enjoyed this set and found the techniques useful.
Posted By
  • 3ds Max
  • Modeling
  • 2012
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