Character Animation Toolkit

GabrielW 2004-07-31 00:00 tutorial  > Making of  > modeling

Character Animation Toolkit "CAT" for 3D Studio Max. CAT is a plugin, that was designeded by animators - for animators to help them with character animating.

CAT is quite big like for external 3ds max plugin - something about 20 mg, so man can expect huge portion fo animation stuff. And no one should be disappointed. This plugin allows users to create complex fully customizable riggs and makes animation process faster, effective and, what is the most important, much more easy. At start we are able to use 25 already-made riggs, that were prepared intelligently, so work with them is quite easy and pleasant. We can make choise between many human and animal riggs like earwing, spider, lizard, monkey or even crab :)

Of course users are able to create their own, unique riggs and this process was simplify to minimum. At start we have to place "Catrig" and "Pelis" objects. Next, we just have to decided how our rig should looks like and then add all stuff like backbone, arms, legs. CAT allows us to use unlimited number of all this elements so creativity and imagination aren't limited. After finishing we can save our riggs and use them in the future projects. Of course all those riggs can be freely modified (also those prepared by authors). We can simply scal and move all bones, even we can add FDD modifier or Editable Mesh to them, so we can do everything to adapt our rig to the shape of concrete model. Great solution is possibility to change number of segments in all limbs - this operation was reduced only to change value of "num link" in parameters' table. Have there values of length and thickness of bones. Very helpful is function called "Symmetry Limb", which allows us to mirror set-up of bones, what can really saves our time.

Strong side of the CAT is animation process. Interface is intuitive and user-friendly, so work is easy and fast. All animation is created and controled in table called "Motions", that is located in Command Panel. And this is the heart of the CAT, that has few nice features, that are not included in standard 3ds max. We are able to create "Walk Cycle" - we just set points on the curve for all elements of our rig. What is the best, all animation process is based on layers. We can singly work on motion of every parts of character. For example, firstly we create motion of torso, then we add head, legs or hands motion. It's perfect solution. Of course we are able to merge all sequences with each other, so for egxample we simply can make smooth crossing between walk animation and running. CAT's layers allow us to create combinations of them, so we can make unique motion styles, what helps a lot with animation of some fantasy or s/f characters. "Footsteps" function is made very good in CAT. Animators have got full control over them (like moving and rotating). It's possible to snap "footsteps" to the ground (even animated surface!!). This function can save a lot of time, cause we don't have to position "footsteps" by hand to gain correct effect - CAT will do this for us.

All this are only few of advantages of CAT. This plugin makes work much faster and is one of the most effective tool for animation I have ever worked on. It's a great software for all those, who can't create riggs but would like to create nice animation of their characters and for all professionals who treasure their time.

Best Regards
Evermotion Team
Author: GabrielW
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