A character assembly is a special type of group for objects particular to a character setup: the character mesh, bones, IK chains, helper objects, controllers, and other objects used to animate characters. Once the objects are grouped (assembled), you can perform various functions on the group as a whole, such as saving and loading animation for the entire bone/mesh set.
The objects that make up a typical character assembly
When a character assembly is created, it is designated by a placeholder object called a node, placed near the bottom of the character assembly. Selecting the node gives access to special tools for working with character models and animation.
Character assembly node
A character assembly will not create a character mesh or bone structure for you. The character assembly tool is designed for use on character structures that have already been set up using other tools.
By default, the character-assembly commands described here are not part of the 3ds Max user interface. To add them, choose Customize menu Customize User Interface, click the tab representing the part of the UI to which you'll add the commands (Keyboard, Toolbars, etc.) and then, from the Category drop-down list, choose Characters. Use standard to add the commands.
To create a character assembly, first select the objects that will make up the assembly. Next, you need to add any character-assembly commands you wish to use to the user interface; see . Last, choose the Create Character command.
Any or all members of the character assembly can be linked to a single object outside the assembly, but no more than one. For example, ThighLeft and ThighRight, which are both part of the assembly, can both be linked to Pelvis, which is not part of the assembly. However, if ThighLeft and ThighRight are each linked to different objects outside the assembly, the creation of the assembly will fail, and will show the following error message: