This week our lecturer taught us the rigging method in 3DS Max known as the CAT rig and it was an amazing revelation. The simplicity of the CAT rig as compared to the manual method of rigging which I was familiar with before is such a relief. I am still happy that I have initially learned the harder way of rigging since it is the more technical way which may be useful in the future.
CAT rig, which stands for Character Animation Toolkit, is a skeletal animation system built into 3DS Max. It allows you to create flexible and practical character rigs in a fast and simple method without the use of code (“Getting Started: Rigging with CATRigs, 2017).
The workflow is pretty simple and follows the following pattern. A CAT parent is created and placed at the center below the character. Then in the modifier of the parent helper, you create a Pelvis helper and from there it keeps going to leg, spine etc. Through this process, one gradually builds the skeletal structure using helpers and once that is complete, you simply add a skin modifier to the model itself and make suitable adjustments to the skinning. CAT also has pre-made animation cycles such as the walk cycles which really simplifies and accelerates the animation process.
Here is a screenshot of the CAT bone structure I created in class on the provided model:
Getting Started: Rigging with CATRigs | 3ds Max | Autodesk Knowledge Network. (2017). Knowledge.autodesk.com. Retrieved 10 July 2017, from https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2017/ENU/3DSMax/files/GUID-BB87B15F-7A2C-4C6F-AADF-3A5F2962549E-htm.html
Tutorial – Setting up a CAT Rig for CRYENGINE in 3ds Max – CRYENGINE V Manual – Documentation. (2017). Docs.cryengine.com. Retrieved 10 July 2017, from http://docs.cryengine.com/display/CEMANUAL/Tutorial+-+Setting+up+a+CAT+Rig+for+CRYENGINE+in+3ds+Max