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Questions about Unwrapping & Rigging a Hard Surfaced Character (Lego Man)

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    Questions about Unwrapping & Rigging a Hard Surfaced Character (Lego Man)

    EZ all, I've decided to finally have a go at modelling my own character from scratch in 3DS Max. The character is a Lego Man, which I knew would be a better starting point than an organic character with varied and detailed geometry.

    I've modelled the character completely, although each component is seperate (L/R Arms & Legs, Hands, Head, Torso, Hip), rather than one whole mesh. The reason I've done it this way is because when I rig and animate the guy, I dont want ANY of that "bendy stuff" going on, like in the Lego games (Lego parts dont bend). I want the character to articulate like an actual Lego Man.

    I've already unwrapped the UV's of the HEAD and TORSO, and textured them in 3DS, but I've stopped incase im doing things the long way, or the wrong way, in regards to the way I want to use this model later on (in UDK as a skel mesh)

    Aside from the main subject, I've got a few blank spots Im hoping some of you guys can help me with:-

    1.If I texture each of the parts seperately (as Im doing now), will I still be able to assign them all to the character as a whole in UDK?

    2.My character is made up of multiple seperate objects, which I plan to keep seperate for rigid animation purposes. Will UDK be able to accept these as ONE skeletel mesh when I export, so long as they are all rigged to the same skeleton?

    I had some more questions, but they aint coming to me right now lol, so I'll add more as I go.

    Heres a couple of WIP (emphasis on WIP lol!!)

    Thanks to anyone who can help out a first time character modeller!
    Attached Files

    #2
    Looking good, but...
    I can not imagine how that leg would rotate at the hip - that pink is bound to penetrate the green pelvis. Nor how the character would actually bend over without bending that torso. Have you tried rotating the leg from where the joint would theoretically be? Having no knee would make a nightmare out of a simple walk cycle, though it might be kind of amusing to try.

    I do not know Max so sorry about your actual questions.

    Personally I would finish the UV's then try to rig and animate it in max - Even if it's a train wreck it's that much more experience doing it.

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      #3
      If you want it as one object/one skeletal mesh. It needs to be one object in 3ds Max.

      And for Skeletal meshes, for animation, you must use bones. So you can't just animated the parts.

      Ideally for something like that you'd have it all use one texture image for the material. You want to keep the number of materials down. Otherwise if you really want to, you can use multiple materials on a single object. There's many threads on how to do this.

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        #4
        If I joined all the components into one like you said, and consolidated all my textures, would I still be able to keep the "rigid" efect I was going for? Im REALLY trying to avoid having bendy parts on this model. I know it will look wooden and rigid as hell, and maybe even silly, but thats kind of the point (the walking anim lol), I think it would look pretty funny. I was thinking of placing him in a scene with human characters just to highlight the rigidity of the guy, and then a racist argument breaks out between humans and Lego. For example, it would be very offensive to ask a lego man to climb a flight of stairs, or do the splits.

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          #5
          thats all done in the rigging (weights) if you set the vertex weight to 1 then it doesn't bend

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            #6
            Cool I think I'll do it the more"cost efficient" way then. I'll make two versions, a single mesh version, and the original multi-part one.

            If I was to use the multi-part one at some point, would it be possible to make a skeletal mesh out of it that is capable of having its seperate parts removed in realtime situations? For example, walking along, then having his arm blown off, then still being able to carry on walking around, up until the point where he's just a torso on the ground, at which point your guy dies. (like something you might see in a zombie movie)

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by shuriken88 View Post
              If I joined all the components into one like you said, and consolidated all my textures, would I still be able to keep the "rigid" efect I was going for? Im REALLY trying to avoid having bendy parts on this model. I know it will look wooden and rigid as hell, and maybe even silly, but thats kind of the point (the walking anim lol), I think it would look pretty funny. I was thinking of placing him in a scene with human characters just to highlight the rigidity of the guy, and then a racist argument breaks out between humans and Lego. For example, it would be very offensive to ask a lego man to climb a flight of stairs, or do the splits.
              Yes, it's very very easy to rig something to be rigid. I've got something right now that's a robotic arm, like in a factory. It's all one object, with the individual pieces in it. What I did was model the individual joints, then set the pivot points where I wanted them to rotate and used pivot point snapping to snap the creation of bones to those points. Then I took all of the pieces and attached them together. Add the Skin modifier, when you go to edit the Envelopes, you can also select vertices, so I select a few vertices on one joint section, then use Grow to have it automatically select the rest of the vertices in that object. Then I can go through each bone and set what it's influence is on those vertices. So I would set all of them to 0 except for the one bone I want to influence them.

              Comment


                #8
                I've imported a skeletal mesh that had some rigid appendages and some not. It was also made up of a few separate objects. As long as each object is bound to the same skeleton it should import just fine. And as others have said, when you bind the separate pieces, assign the vert weights to 1 to their respective bone, this way no bending will occur. Without bending, you'll of course get a little bit of clipping between the different objects but it shouldn't be too bad.

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                  #9
                  Thanks all of you, this is some great information! I've not got time to do this tonight, I spent all my time getting the UV's and textures sorted out, but I'll get to it ASAP!

                  Edit: Im going to have to put my Legoman on hold for a while. Im having some menial problem with bone rotation. I just cant get the bones to "behave" normally, like Biped style bones. They keep scaling themselves like crazy when I rotate them. I made a thread about it here because its brought me to a dead end as of now lol:-

                  Code:
                  http://forums.epicgames.com/showthread.php?t=807743

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