Using Controllers

character studio lets you add 3ds Max controllers to the biped object tracks. This allows you to mix the biped animation with standard 3ds Max animation techniques.

Why Add Controllers

Adding controllers to biped body parts lets you create animation that is difficult to do with character studio alone. For example, you can create “stretchy” cartoon arm or leg animation by adding a Scale controller to animate the bipeds arms and legs. You could make a character shaking by using a Noise controller for its limb rotations or for a Scale controller on the spine objects to make a character breathing. An Audio controller could be used to synchronize movement with sound.

Biped SubAnims

Different controllers can be added together, blended or sequenced in a list called a Biped SubAnim. These are the same as the weighted list controllers in 3ds Max. By animating the controller weights you can increase or decrease the effects of the different controllers. You can enable, disable or collapse the list controller animation tracks. If you collapse the track, you can then bring them into the Motion Mixer, Motion Flow, or Layer editor or export them to a game engine.

NoteBiped SubAnims exhibits different behaviors based on whether you assign a controller or a constraint as the SubAnim. A SubAnim with a controller assigned will layer the controller animation with the existing biped animation. If you use a constraint, however, this will replace the existing Biped Animation.
TipSubAnims are best used when combined with freeform animation. You can use them with footstep animations but you may experience unexpected results. If this happens, simply convert the footstep animation to freeform before applying the SubAnims.

Assigning SubAnims

Biped SubAnims can be applied several different ways. You can assign controllers to the Biped SubAnim in the Assign Controller rollout of the Motion panel.

Controllers can also be added in the Animation Workbench using the Controller button to display the controller list. Right-click and choose Assign Controller from the right-click menu. You can assign controllers to multiple objects by using the SubAnims filter.


To add a controller to a biped object:

  1. Select the biped object that you want to control, and set a key for that object.
  2. O n the Motion panel, expand the Assign Controller rollout.

    The Biped SubAnim entry is displayed in the list window.

  3. Expand the Biped SubAnim entry in the Controller window.

    List controller entries are displayed for BipScale, BipRotation, and BipPosition.

  4. Expand the list controller you want to add to and highlight the first Available entry.

    (Assign Controller) becomes active.

  5. Click (Assign Controller).

    3ds Max opens an Assign Controller dialog.

  6. Choose the controller to want to use, and click OK.
  7. Play the animation and observe the effect.

    You can animate the parameters for the controllers using Track View or by right-clicking the list entry in the controller window and then choosing Properties.

    Controllers can also be assigned in the Animation Workbench by displaying the Controllers list, choosing an Available entry, right-clicking and choosing Assign Controller.

To collapse a controller:

You can collapse a controller to use the animation in the Motion Mixer, or with Layers, or to export to a games engine.

  1. Select the biped object with the controller; for example an arm with an added noise rotation controller.
  2. On the Motion panel, in the Assign Controller rollout, click the Biped SubAnim controller you want to collapse.
  3. Right-click the Biped SubAnim and choose Properties.

    A dialog appears with the Collapse choices.

    If a different dialog appears, you don't have the correct selection in the list window. Be sure you've selected the Biped SubAnim entry and not something else.

  4. Turn on the tracks you want to collapse in the Enable group.
  5. Turn on the options you want to use in the Collapse group.
  6. To perform the collapse, click the Collapse button.

    The controller tracks are “baked” into the Biped tracks. The new keys will appear in the track bar, or in the Workbench Curve View if the Workbench is open.

To add controllers to multiple biped parts at the same time:

  1. In the viewport select the biped parts to which you want to add list controllers.
  2. Open the Workbench.

    The selection list in the Select panel has the biped parts highlighted.

  3. Click the Controllers button on the Workbench toolbar.

    The controller list appears to the right of the select tab.

  4. Select the tracks you want to affect.
  5. On the Filter panel, locate the part to Filter group. Set it to Selected Parts if it isn't already.
  6. Choose a SubAnims filter from the drop-down list.
  7. Adjust any other options you need to in the Filters tab, then click Position, Rotation, or Scale to add the subanims.
  8. Expand the controller list to observe the newly added controllers.

To animate the weights of an added controller:

You can animate the weights of an added controller to determine when the effect takes place. A weight of 0 will yield no effect, a weight of 100 will provide the full effect. See the tutorial “Using Controllers with Biped” for an example of animating the weights.

  1. Add a controller to a biped object, using either method outlined above.
  2. Immediately after adding the controller select the appropriate BipScaleList, BipRotationList, or BipPositionList entry in the controller list, and expand it to see the Weights.

  3. Expand the Weights and select Weight 0.
  4. On the Motion panel Keyframing Tools rollout, click (Manipulate SubAnims).

    Three new rollouts appear in the Motion panel: Position List, Scale List and Rotation List.

  5. Navigate to the appropriate List rollout. In the Layer window highlight the Controller you wish to weight.

    The Weight field becomes available

  6. Turn on (Auto Key), move the time slider, and enter values in that field, or use the spinner to set keys to animate the weights.
    WarningDon't even think about using the 3ds Max Set Key button to animate the weights. Avoid using this button with character studio as a rule. Use Auto Key or use the Key Info rollout set key buttons instead.