Super Rig Builder Window
Rig builder overview
The Rig Builder window is where you set up and create your Super Simple Rig. This window has tools to help position your character skeleton and it contains settings for how your rig is built.
Opening the rig builder window
If you have Super Simple Rig installed on a toolbar, open the Super Rig Builder window by clicking the icon shown below:
If you do not have this icon, make sure you have followed point 5 and 6 in the quick install guide.
The Main rollout contain the most important options needed to create a rig, such as the name of your character and its height. Here you will also find the buttons to create the rig locators and the rig itself.
Super Simple Rig title image
Clicking this image will open up a web browser and load the Super Simple Rig webpage.
Character Name field
This is the name of your character. All the rig layers, objects and bones will be prefixed by this name.
Create Locators button
Pressing this button will create the position locators for the rig. The placement of these locators will determine where the controllers and bones are positioned.
Use the Load Preset button in the Position Tools rollout if you want to load an existing set or start with a more complex set of locators.
This spinner will set the height of the characters. Changing the height value will scale the entire collection of locators, so this spinner is great for setting the initial size of the character.
Use this button to fetch the height from your character mesh. Select one or more objects, then press Fetch, and the height will be set to the total mesh height.
Build Rig button
This is the button that actually builds the rig. The rig will be built according to the position of your locators, the settings in the Rig Creation Options rollout, and all the rig objects and layers will be prefixed with your character name. If you have set up skinning in the Rig Skinning Tools rollout, the script will also attempt to skin your character.
For more advanced users, the rig will look for a MaxScript file named "postrig.ms" in your scene folder, and run that script file at the end. I use the "postrig.ms" file for scaling individual controllers to accurately match the character, and to set up additional rig functionality, such as muscles.
Check the Listener
Super Simple Rig will give you feedback inside the Maxscript Listener. I recommend that you open up the Listener occasionally to check for errors or messages. I keep it open all the time while rigging.
You will find the Maxscript Listener inside the Maxscript menu in 3ds Max. You can also open it by pressing F11.
Rig Position Tools rollout
The Rig Position Tools rollout have tools to help you adjust the position of the rig locators. It has some important tools for symmetry and alignment, and also tools for adding tails or long ears to your character.
Load Preset button
Loads a locator preset from file. This will replace the existing locators and the character name.
Super Simple Rig include three ready-to use rigs that you can use. They should be appear in the default rigs folder when you press the Load button.
- human_skeleton_180cm.rig - The default rig that is created when you press the Create Locators button. It's a general human rig, but without toes or bones for chest and tummy breathing. This default rig is great for characters with shoes. I typically use this setup for cartoon characters.
- human_skeleton_toes_breathe_180cm.rig - The same as above, but with toes and bones for chest and tummy breathing. I use this rig for more realistic characters. The troll in Troll Hunter was made from this rig.
- mudbox_man_180cm.rig - A rig adjusted to fit the male model included with Autodesk Mudbox.
Save Preset button
Stores the current locator positions to a .rig-file.
Resize presets when loading checkbox
If this option is checked, the loaded rigs will be resized to match the height you have set for your character. If not, the rig will be loaded with the size it had when it was saved.
Locator Symmetry buttons
These buttons will move the the locators on one side to match the other side, mirroring the character rig. So if your character is symmetrical, you can first position the locators on the right side, and then press Right >> Left to copy the positions to the left side.
Straighten Elbows, Knees and Feet buttons
These three buttons will straighten up the limbs for cleaner axes when animating. I strongly recommend you straighten all these limbs before finalizing the rig. Axis-aligned limbs makes for much cleaner curves and better IK. The arms and legs will be straightened in regards to the front viewport, and the feet will be straightenend in regards to the top viewport.
Finger and toe align helpers buttons
Pressing the Toggle button will create alignment planes on the locators of the fingers and toes. You can use these planes to help with finger alignment. Rotate the planes to match the center of your fingers and toes, and then press Snap To to move the finger and toe controllers to the planes. Press Toggle again to delete the planes.
The setup of fingers and toes use the bend of the bones to calculate the direction of rotation. Completely straight fingers or toes will result in flipped fingers or weird rotation angles, so please avoid a straight chain of bones. Just a tiny amount is enough, and you can use the align helpers to make sure the bend is aligned correctly.
Create Extra Locators buttons
These buttons will add locators for extra body parts. The Centered button is perfect for tails, and the Symmetric button is great for parts such as ears or wings. Type a name for your body part, select a starting locator (for example in the spine), press either button, and the first chain will be created. Repeated clicks on the buttons will add segments to the body part.
The new body part will be connected to its nearest skinning bone. This will usually be the bone positioned at the locator you selected.
Clean Orphaned Lines button
If you delete locators you don't need, there will be stray or orphaned locator connetion lines in the scene. Press this button to delete and clean them away.
Delete Locators button
When the rig is complete, you probably don't need the locators any more. This button will delete all locators in the scene. Make sure to save the locators first if you want to change the rig in the future.
Rig Creation Options rollout
The Rig Creation Options rollout is where you choose which type of rig components you would like to create. Here you will find the options for twist bones, and whether the rig should have FK, IK or both.
Spine Options drop-down list.
Here you choose what type of rig you would like for the characters spine. You have three types to choose from:
- FK Spine - The FK spine is the simplest and fastest setup, with only rotation controllers running up along the spine. This is the default.
- IK Spine - This creates an IK spline rig for the spine. A lot of animators prefer the flexibility of a spline rig, where you can freely position and rotate each controller individually. In 3ds Max, I find spline rigs to be a lot slower, so that is why I prefer the FK Spine.
- Torso-Centered FK Spine - This is basically the same as the FK Spine, with rotation controllers running along the spine. The difference is that the center of the back is the main controllers, which is better when you want the center of gravity in the chest and not in the hip. This spine rig works best for four-legged animals or quadrupeds.
Align Spine Topnode to World checkbox
If you check this, the root of the spine will be aligned to the world axes. If not checked, the spine root will be aligned to match the lowest of the back bones. I prefer to have this checked for human and bipeds, and unchecked for four-legged animals.
Arm Options drop-down list.
Here you choose what type of rig you would like for the characters arms. You have two types of setup to choose from:
- FK-IK Arm - This is an arm rig with both IK and FK, where you can slide between IK and FK. It also has soft IK, to avoid the snap that happens when IK is stretched out. There is also bone stretching and even bend controllers at each twist bones.
- IK Arm - This is a pure IK arm setup, which has very fast feedback. This is my favorite arm rig, but a lot of animators feel limited with only IK, so I have decided to not make this default.
Add Twist Bones checkbox
Tick this checkbox if you want to add twist bones that run along the length of the arms. The twist bones make for better skin deformations, but are more time consuming to skin a mesh to.
Under and Over spinners
Here you can choose the amount of twist bones for the upper and lower arm.
Leg Options drop-down list.
Here you choose what type of rig you would like for the characters legs. You have two types of setup to choose from:
- FK-IK Leg - This is a leg rig with both IK and FK, where you can slide between IK and FK. It also has soft IK, to avoid the snap that happens when IK is stretched out. There is also bone stretching and even bend controllers at each twist bones.
- IK Leg - This is a pure IK leg setup, which has very fast feedback. This is my favorite leg rig, but a lot of animators feel limited with only IK, so I have decided to not make this default.
Add Twist Bones checkbox
Tick this checkbox if you want to add twist bones that run along the length of the legs. The twist bones make for better skin deformations, but are more time consuming to skin a mesh to.
Shin and Thigh spinners
Here you can choose the amount of twist bones for the shin and thigh.
Add Lock Controls checkbox
This will add a set of lock controls to the character root controller. The lock controls lets the entire rig follow other objects in the scene. Parent the lock controllers to the objects you want the rig to follow, and use the lock sliders on the root controller to animate the following on and off.
Rig Skinning Tools rollout
The Rig Skinning Tools rollout is where you save out the skinning data for your rig. You can also check your mesh for problems, and it lets you chop up a mesh if you want to quickly parent proxies to your rig.
Assign Selection to Skin button
Will use the selected objects as skinning geometry. If nothing is selected, the rig will look for layers starting with your character name and ending with "Mesh" or "Render" and try and use the objects in those layers. You can only assign geometry with a skinning modifier.
Pre Flight Check
This button will check the skinning geometry for anything that could cause problems later in the animation pipeline. The results are then output to the Maxscript Listener. This can be very time-consuming on large meshes, but I recommend running it on every object before skinning them. Enabling the Auto checkbox will run the check every time you assign something as skin geometry.
The following will be reported as important issues to fix: if the object prefix does not match your rig, you have loose or double vertices, if there are vertices sharing edges (two-valence vertices), if your transforms aren't zeroed out, if the transforms aren't locked, and if the geometry is missing a skinning modifier.
The following will give you warnings: the geometry isn't editable poly, there are no pointcache modifiers, if the skinning modifiers are empty, if there are symmetry modifiers present, if there is no subdivision modifier, and if there are high-valence vertices.
Proxy Cut Mesh buttons
Use these buttons to quickly create a proxy model for your character. The Cut Mesh button will cut your mesh into one object per bone, and this proxy model can be handy for testing your rig. The Kill Cuts button will delete the proxy objects.
Save Skin Weights buttons
Use these buttons to save and load the skin weights for your skinning geometry. It will create a directory called "Skindata" under your current working directory.
Extra Rig Tools rollout
This rollout contains some extra functions for tweaking the rig or building extra rig components.
Controller Colour swatches
These swatches holds the colour for the controllers on the rig. You can set colours individually for the left, center and right side controllers. The default is to go with nautical colours, so red for port side (left) and green for starboard (right).
Update Controller Colors button
Press this button to assign the colours you have set. Only works after the rig has been created.
Rotation Controller button
(Paid version only) Press this button to build an individual rotation controller for the selected object. I use this to add controllers for extra character parts such as breasts or cheek muscles. This is best done after the main rig has been created.
Pos Rot Controller button
(Paid version only) The same as above, but will also include controls for position.
Linear Pos Controller button
(Paid version only) Creates a controller that only lets you move in the z axis (along a bones length). This is useful for sliding controllers, such as telescoping parts, or muscles that should be axis constrained.
Rename Rig button
Click this button to rename the entire rig and its layers. Only works after the rig has been created.
Delete Rig button
Press this button to delete the entire rig from the scene.