Tutorial 7: Skinning with Physique

Lesson 7: Linking to the Biped

In certain cases, you want to link objects to the biped rather than using Physique to deform a mesh. The Link tool on the 3DS MAX toolbar is used to link objects directly to the biped. Objects that make up mechanical characters, a character in a suit of armor, or a space suit, and regular jointed characters are attached to the biped using the 3DS MAX Link tool.

Characters for sale often come in two varieties, jointed and jointless. A jointed character has separate objects with ball joint geometry for the limbs and lends itself to the linking technique described in this tutorial. Jointless characters have a seamless mesh at limb joints. Jointless characters should be attached to the biped using Physique.

The procedure to link the objects representing your character to the biped is straightforward. Load your character, create a biped, turn on Figure mode, align the biped to the character and use the Link tool on the 3DS MAX toolbar to link each object on your character to the corresponding limb on the biped. The thigh object on your character is linked to the biped thigh for example. Any animation applied to the biped will now animate your character.

In this tutorial, you learn the linking process using a simple human figure with a low resolution mesh for the body and limbs.


Reset 3DS MAX. .max files for this tutorial are installed in the cstudio\tutorial\tutorial_7 directory under your 3DS MAX directory.

Linking objects to the biped

Every mesh object except the arms are already linked.

  1. Load Joe2.max.

    The biped is already in Figure mode.

  2. Turn on Select and Link on the 3DS MAX toolbar.

  3. In the Front Viewport, select one upperarm and click-drag to the biped arm. On mouse up the link is performed.

  4. Select each arm object in turn and click+drag to the corresponding body part on the biped.

  5. Select the biped, on the General rollout, turn off Figure mode.

  6. Minimize the Front Viewport.

  7. Click Play.

    The character runs. All of the mesh objects follow the biped objects.