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.
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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.
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In that example, you had to change the waist and shoulders of a character
to give it a more cartoonish look.
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This was achieved by selecting sub-objects and scaling them in or out.
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Although the volumes changed, the topology and edge flow didn't.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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We hope you enjoyed this set and found the techniques useful.