Tutorial 1: Biped and Physique

Lesson 4: Merging and Cloning Characters

If you merge a character into your scene from a different .max file, the characters may vary in size and you may have to scale them. In this lesson, you'll merge an existing character into a different scene. Because the character is really a biped linked through Physique to 3D Studio MAX geometry, you'll need to use a particular technique.

You'll merge the character of Tubby McChubbs into a scene with Dr. X and scale him to fit in the scene. You'll also create a sidekick for Dr. X by cloning and scaling a copy of the mad scientist.


Changing the Biped Root Name

When you merge a character into a scene, change the name of the biped, to be sure it's unique.

  1. Select any part of the biped.

  2. In the Motion panel, on the Structure rollout change the Root Name to tubby bip.

    Tip: When you change the root name in the Structure rollout, you change all the biped part names at once. To change the name of one part at a time, use the Name field at the top of the command panel.

  3. In the Main toolbar click Select by Name.

    All the biped names start with tubby bip.

  4. Save the file as cs3_tut01_myhero.max.

Merging the character

  1. Open cs3_tut01_drx_beaker.max.

    Dr. X is peering into a beaker.

    Dr X is alone in the scene

  2. Choose File > Merge, and select cs3_tut01_myhero.max.

    You'll see a thumbnail image of Tubby when you select the file name.

  3. Select All and click OK.

    Note: If any geometry in the incoming file has the same name in the current file, a dialog lets you change the names of the incoming objects.

    The track bar now displays keys.

    The small merged character is near Dr. X's feet.

Make Named Selection Sets

Make named selection sets for your character after you've merged it.

  1. In the Select by Name dialog enter tubby bip in the Select Objects field, then click Select.

    All the parts of the tubby biped are selected.

  2. In the Named Selection Sets field in the Main toolbar, enter tubby biped.

    You've just created a named selection for the merged biped skeleton.

  3. In the Display rollout of the Motion panel, turn off Objects.

    This hides the biped skeletons, just as if you hid it using the Display panel.

  4. Press H to select by name again.

  5. Highlight tubby patch splines and then click Select.

  6. In the Named Selection Sets field enter tubby mesh.

    You've just created a second named selection set for the mesh. Next you'll create a selection set that contains both the mesh and the biped.

  7. Select tubby biped from the Named Selection Sets list.

  8. A warning tells you that the biped is hidden. Click Yes.

    The biped appears.

  9. Press H to open the Select by Name dialog.

  10. Enter tubby in the Name field.

    This selects both the biped and the mesh.

  11. In the Named Selection Field, enter tubby all.

Finding the Merged Character

When you merge files, you may not be able to find the merged characters because of size or location. You can select them by name, and then find them using Zoom Extents Selected. Then you can scale them using Type-In Transform to adjust their size.

  1. Right-click to activate the User View.

  2. Choose tubby all from the Named Selection Sets list.

  3. Choose Zoom Extents Selected from the Viewport Navigation controls.

    Tubby is now clearly visible in the User Viewport.

Scaling the Character

Scale the merged character so it fits in the scene.

  1. Select tubby bip.

  2. In the Motion panel, turn on Figure mode.

  3. Change the Height parameter to 600 on the Structure rollout.

    The biped and the mesh scale in a single movement.

    Tip: Don't select the mesh and the biped and try to scale it. Change the biped's height instead.

    Now Tubby is the right size, but in the wrong place, since he's already animated in this file. It's easy to reposition the entire character and animation by converting to footsteps.

Repositioning the Character and Animation

  1. Turn off Figure mode.

  2. In the General rollout, click Convert to Footsteps.

    Accept the default settings in the Convert to Footsteps dialog.

  3. Turn on Footsteps mode.

  4. Select tubby's footsteps in the Top viewport.

    Tip: In Footstep mode you can only select footsteps, you can't select geometry.

  5. Move the footsteps, so Tubby McChubbs is on the other side of the box.

Cloning a Character

Create a miniature sidekick (Dr. Y) by cloning and scaling Dr. X.

  1. Turn off Figure mode, if it is on.

  2. In the Named Selection Sets, choose Scientist.

    This selects Dr. X mesh and biped.

  3. From the Edit menu choose Clone.

    This clones the mesh. You won't see a change in the viewport, since the clone is in the same location as the original.

  4. In the Clone Options dialog name the clone Dr. Y.

    Next you'll need to scale the character.

  5. Select the biped root of the cloned copy, and turn on Figure Mode.

    Use Select by Name and pick Bip03 in the list, and click OK to select the root of the cloned copy.

  6. On the Structure Rollout change the Biped's height to make the character smaller.

    The clone is smaller than the original.

  7. Turn off Figure mode.

  8. Select the footsteps of the clone and move them to another location to reposition Dr. Y.

    For fun, try scaling Dr. Y and putting him in the beaker.