The Skin Morph modifier
lets you use a bone's rotation to drive a morph; that is, a deformation
of the object mesh. Skin Morph is intended for use with Skin or
a comparable modifier such as Physique: add the Skin Morph modifier
after the skin-type modifier. You create the morph at the frame
in which the effect should be greatest, and then Skin Morph automatically
animates the affected vertices into and out of the morph, based
on the rotation of the bone that drives the morph.
Skin Morph lets you fine-tune
mesh deformation at any frame, using a bone to drive the morph that
is fixing a problem area. Often, when you animate a character with
bones, you have to create extra bones to handle problem areas such
as armpits and the groin. With Skin Morph, instead of adding extra
bones, you can simply create a morph and then transform vertices
into the exact shape you want. Skin Morph provides an easy way to
create muscle bulges and many other effects.
NoteWhen working with
Skin Morph, it's important to be familiar with the concept of delta.
The frame at which you apply the modifier determines the base position
for each vertex that's used in a morphing animation controlled by
Skin Morph. After applying the modifier, go to a frame at which
the bone driving the morph is rotated an amount that will cause
the greatest deformation, and then transform vertices to produce
the morph. The amount by which you transform the vertices is called the delta:
the difference between the base pose and the morphed position.
To use Skin Morph (basic usage):
- Create an animated character with bones
and a skinned body mesh, using a modifier such as
- Go to the “pose frame” and apply the
Skin Morph modifier.
The pose frame contains
the initial pose; typically a standing character with arms outstretched
and legs apart. This is often frame 0, but it can be any frame,
even a negative-numbered one. This is the frame from which the modifier
measures delta: the change in the vertex position between this pose
and the morph.
- Determine which bones are driving deformations
that you want to modify with Skin Morph.
For example, bending
an arm might cause the inside of the elbow to indent too far, or
you might want to add a bulging bicep. In this case, the forearm
bone is driving the deformation.
- Use Add to bind the deformation-driving
bones to the modifier.
The modifier overlays
an orange line along the length of each bone you add.
- Go to the frame where you wish to create
the morph. Using the arm-bending example, this might be the frame
where the forearm is at a 90-degree angle to the upper arm.
- In the list box, click one of the bones.
In the viewport, the
orange line representing the bone becomes a thicker yellow line
to indicate that this bone will drive the morph.
- On the Local Properties rollout, click
The modifier adds a morph
to the highlighted bone and sets the morph to 100% at this frame,
as reflected by the number next to the morph's name in the list.
- On the Local Properties rollout, click
This temporarily freezes
the skin deformation at the current frame.
- Move vertices to where they should be
at the current frame.
- Click Edit again to exit this mode, and
then test the animation.
Skin Morph modifier stack
- Points sub-object level
At the Points sub-object level,
you can view and select vertices on the skin mesh. However, you
can transform these vertices only when
mode is on. The ability to select points
when not in Edit mode lets you make the selection when the points
are more easily accessible, and then go to the pose to transform
them in Edit mode.
- [list window]
Lists all attached bones and
their morphs in a hierarchical view. You can expand or contract
a bone's morph listing by clicking the + or - box next to its name
in the list. The number in parentheses next to the morph name shows
its relative influence as a percentage at the current frame.
Highlighting a bone in
the list highlights the bone in the viewports as a yellow line,
and lets you create a morph for it. Alternatively, you can select
the bone in the viewport while the modifier's Points sub-object level
is active by clicking the orange line through its center.
Highlighting a morph
in the list lets you edit the morph. To change the morph's name,
edit the Local Properties rollout Morph Name field.
- Add Bone
Click to add one or more bones
from the Select Bones dialog.
TipTo keep things simple,
add only bones that will drive morphs. There's no point in adding
any other bones.
- Pick Bone
Lets you add bones by selecting
them in a viewport.
Click Pick Bone, and
then select bones in any viewport. While Pick Bone is active, the cursor
resembles a cross with the words ADD BONE attached. To exit Pick
Bone mode, right-click the active viewport or click Pick Bone again.
- Remove Bone
Removes a bone and its morphs
from the list. Click a bone name in the list, and then click Remove.
If a morph name is highlighted
when you click Remove, its bone is removed. To remove the morph
only, highlight it and then click Local Properties rollout Delete Morph.
- Use Soft Selection
Enables soft selection
for editing vertices.
Soft Selection in Skin
Morph works much like
Selection in other parts of 3ds Max Design,
except that instead of Pinch and Bubble settings you can adjust
the graph shape directly, and it uses a Radius setting instead of
Falloff to determine the extent of the soft-selection area.
Determines the extent
of the soft-selection area in system units.
- Edge Limit
When on, Skin Morph uses
the Edge Limit numeric setting to determine the extent of the soft-selection
area in terms of the number of edges from the selected vertex or vertices.
- Reset Graph
Sets the soft-selection graph
to default values. Use this if a vertex or handle is no longer visible
and thus cannot be manipulated.
Skin Morph provides a small,
full-functioned curve graph for editing soft-selection characteristics
globally; it works much like other such graphs in 3ds Max Design, such
Curve Editor Introduction.
The toolbar above the graph offers functions for moving and scaling
points on the graph, as well as inserting new ones. The same functions
are available by right-clicking the graph: If you right-click a graph
point, you can set it to Corner or one of two different Bezier types.
If you select a Bezier point, you can reshape the curve by moving
Expands a vertex selection
by first converting the selection to an edge selection, selecting
all edges parallel to the selected edges, and then converting the
new edge selection back to a vertex selection. Use of Ring requires
that a qualifying vertex selection exist; that is, at least two
vertices on the same edge.
Expands a vertex selection
by first converting the selection to an edge selection, selecting
all aligned edges, and then converting the new edge selection back
to a vertex selection. Use of Loop requires that a qualifying vertex
selection exist; that is, at least two vertices on the same edge.
Reduces the vertex selection
area by deselecting the outermost vertices. If the selection size
can no longer be reduced, the remaining vertices are deselected.
Expands the vertex selection
area outward in all available directions.
Local Properties rollout
This rollout contains
functions for creating and editing individual morphs. The settings,
such as Morph Name and Influence Angle, are specific to each morph.
- Create Morph
Sets a morph at the current
frame for the highlighted bone. Also sets the “pose” for this morph,
using the bone's current orientation, and sets the bone to 100%, as
shown in the list window hierarchical view. When you edit the morph,
the skinned object returns to and stays at this orientation.
When you create a morph,
the modifier displays, in orange, all vertices that are part of
the current pose (that is, they're offset from the initial pose).
Also, the modifier creates a default name for the morph and adds
it as a child to the highlighted bone in the list window.
By default, the Show
Edges switch is on, which might make it difficult to see the vertices themselves.
To see only the vertices, turn off Options rollout
TipTo help keep track
of morphs, use the Local Properties rollout to rename each morph
as you create it.
- Delete Morph
Deletes the highlighted morph,
removing it from its parent bone in the list window. Available only
when a morph is highlighted.
Lets you shape the current
morph by transforming vertices. To exit Edit mode, click the Edit
Transforming a vertex
in Edit mode creates a morph target. Each transformed vertex moves
into the morph target position (or orientation or scale) as the
morph value increases to 100.0, and then out of it as the morph
value decreases, based on the angle of the bone driving the morph.
Transforming a vertex
in Edit mode also changes its color from orange to yellow. This
lets you easily see which vertices are part of the current morph.
Choosing Edit places
the skinned object at the 100% “pose” orientation for this morph
(see Create Morph, above). It also activates the Points sub-object
level so you can transform vertices using the standard 3ds Max Design transform tools.
- Clear Verts
Keeps selected vertices
in the morph, but resets their deltas (changes from the initial
pose) to 0.
- Reset Orient(ation)
Sets the morph orientation
to current orientation of the bone that controls the morph.
This lets you change
the angle at which the morph has its greatest effect. For example,
if you create a bulging bicep at frame 120, and later decide that
the muscle should be largest at frame 150 instead, go to frame 150,
choose the morph in the list box, and then click Reset Orientation.
- Remove Verts
Removes selected vertices from
the current morph, which deletes any animation applied as part of
Use this command to save
memory by removing vertices not part of the morph animation.
When on, the morph is active;
when off, the morph doesn't appear in the animation, and is indicated
in the list box with the text “Disabled.” Default=on.
The ability to enable
and disable each morph individually lets you isolate the effect
of each or test them in combination.
- Morph Name
Displays and lets you change
the name of the current morph.
- Influence Angle
The angle around the bone's
current orientation within which the morph takes place. Default=90.0.
This is an important
parameter. Think of the influence angle as a cone around the bone at
its orientation when you create the morph. Consider an example in
which Influence Angle is set to the default value of 90.0 degrees.
If the bone starts its rotation beyond 45 degrees away from the
orientation at which the morph was created, the morph has no effect
at that time. As the bone moves from 45 degrees away to the morph
orientation, the morph increases to its full value. As the bone
then rotates away, the morph gradually decreases until, at 45 degrees or
more away from the morph orientation, the morph no longer appears.
TipInfluence Angle is
useful for isolating morphs; that is, to prevent overlapping of
different morphs on the same bone. Reduce the value until one morph's
contribution percent value (shown in the list box) falls off to
0.0 before the next one begins.
Determines the rate of change
of the morph as the bone moves within the influence angle. Use the
drop-down list to choose one of four different falloff types: Linear, Sinual,
Fast, or Slow. If you choose Custom Falloff, you can then click
the G (for Graph) button and edit the falloff using standard curve-graph
NoteThe default graph,
displayed when you first access the falloff graph, shows the Sinual
- Joint Type
Determines how the modifier
tracks the angular motion of the bone. This is a per-bone setting,
not per-morph. Default=Ball Joint.
- Ball JointTracks
all rotation of the bone. Use this setting in most cases.
- Planar JointTracks
rotation of the bone only in the plane of its parent bone.
- External Mesh
Lets you use a different mesh
as a morph target. Click the button (default label=-none-) and then
select the target object. The target object should have the same mesh
structure as the Skin Morph object. After specifying an external
mesh, its name appears on the button.
Using an external mesh
makes it easier to set up morph targets in a target mesh that uses
a reference pose, rather than the skinned, animated mesh of which
sections might be interpenetrating, making it difficult to select
the specific vertices to be morphed. In this situation, it's probably
best to turn Reload Only Selected Verts.
connection is not live; if you edit vertices in the external mesh, Skin
Morph doesn't automatically recognize the changes. To update the
vertex positions after editing the external mesh, use Reload Target
- Reload Target
Updates the Skin Morph object
with edited vertex positions from the external mesh.
- Reload only selected verts
When on, Reload Target copies
only the positions of vertices selected in the Skin Morph mesh from
the target mesh. When off, Reload Target copies the positions of all
Copy and Paste rollout
These functions let you
copy all morph targets for a specific bone from one side of the
object to the other. Indicate the morphs to copy by highlighting
the bone or any of its morphs in the Parameters rollout list box.
- Paste Mirror
Copies the morphs from the
highlighted bone to the target on the other side of the mirror gizmo.
A qualified target bone must exist and be present in the list box.
NoteThis copies the morph
data only; the rotation of the target bone must be comparable to
that of the source bone for the morphing to appear in the animation.
- Show Mirror Plane
Displays the mirror plane as
a red, rectangular gizmo in the viewports. The target bone must
be on the opposite side of the mirror plane from the highlighted
bone, and must be present in the Parameters rollout list box.
- Preview Bone
Highlights the target bone
in red in the viewports.
- Preview Vertices
Displays the morphing-qualified
vertices in red in the viewports, as well as any animation present
in the source vertices.
- Mirror Plane
The axis for the mirror plane.
The plane is perpendicular to the indicated axis. Default=X.
- Mirror Offset
The position for the mirror
plane on the Mirror Plane axis. Default=0.0.
- Mirror Threshold
The radius, in system units,
within which Skin Morph looks for a qualifying target bone on the
other side of the mirror plane. Default=1.0.
- Beginner Mode
When on, you must use the
Create Morph button to create a morph and the Edit button to edit
When off, you can create
and edit morphs on the fly. In this mode, when you select and move
vertices at the Points sub-object level, 3ds Max Design first determines whether
a morph exists for the selected bone at 100%; if so, all edits will
go to that morph. Otherwise, 3ds Max Design creates a new morph automatically
and applies the edits to that morph.
- Show Driver Bone Matrix
Shows the matrix tripod of
the current bone.
- Show Morph Bone Matrix
Shows the tripod of the orientation
of the active morph.
- Show Current Angle
Shows pie wedges depicting
the angles between the driver bone matrix and the morph bone matrix.
These are color coded: red for the angle about the X axis; blue
for the angle about the Y axis; and green for the angle about the
- Show Edges
Highlights the edges connected
to morphable vertices in orange.
This is useful when a
tessellating modifier such as MeshSmooth is applied to the skinned
mesh above the Skin Morph modifier, to see the actual mesh being
affected by Skin Morph.
- Matrix Size
- Bone Size
The size of the bone display.