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Author Topic: Mannikin Build  (Read 5056 times)

Old Codger

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Mannikin Build
« on: July 17, 2021, 01:55:39 pm »

I have been making things for a buddy of mine who does a web comic using CGI. Everything I have done has been things that have people in them. So I need a properly scaled and posed mannikin to build the models around. He sent me an .obj export of one of the figures and it helps to get scale and final orientation correct. To get things down to the 1 grid unit = 1' scale I have to scale things he sends me for reference down to .033 of original. That gets a 6' man down to 6 grid units tall. When I import stuff he sends for reference a front view shows the import from the top with the front of the import pointing up. Meh, 1 X rotation and 2 Zs gets me where I want to be either way.

I still need a usable mannikin. I found a free model of an artist's wooden poseable model that I took apart and I reassemble with the pieces in the rotations needed to make a mannikin (maquette?). What I would LIKE to do is to pose the figure my buddy sent me because then I would have the proportions correct for arms, legs, torso etc. irrespective of pose. Accordingly here's what I think the workflow would be:
1) Construct a figure/skeleton with joints as needed.
2) Add the complete figure (appropriately scaled and oriented) to the skeleton and adjust the different bones' influence volumes as appropriate.
3) Pose the result as needed.
4) Save the result as a basic mesh posed in the way the figure was posed.

Now, upon reading the manual I pretty much understand the whole skeleton building process (even though I am in no wise proficient at building skeletons) and I found the reference to "skinning". Okay so far (as the guy who fell off the top of the Empire State Bldg on the way down ;) ) but if I cannot do step 4 then no need to go to the trouble to do #s 1-3. So. Can I do step 4? If so, how do I do it?

While I have your attention, I'd love to be able to export an articulated figure so my buddy can pose things with doors open or closed, landing gear up or down as opposed to sending him separate .obj exports with the doors in different positions. Is that possible? And if not I might pout for a moment but I'll get over it. ;)

Anybody who is interested in the modelling I have been doing for this guy is welcome to visit my Deviant Art page where I post screen shots and quick renders.


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Re: Mannikin Build
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2021, 10:53:51 pm »

If your maquette (I think that is the word) is essentially made out of a collection of parts, like a wooden figure with moveable joints or a toy robot, you can skip the skinning stage.  Skinning is useful for objects that are bendy, like a maquette made from plasticine or something similar.

To create a non-skinned, jointed figure I would generally have each body part in a separate object, and another object that contains the full assembled figure.  The skeleton can be constructed using the full figure as a guide which is then removed, and each body part is then added to its corresponding bone.  It's important to have the orientation and centre point of each object correct in object mode or the objects may not align with their bone as expected, but this can be corrected in object mode easily enough if required.

Once the object is posed in Sequence or Scene mode, it can be exported as a posed mesh using Sequence > Export... and choosing the 3DS option (the Anim8or option exports the sequence as a complete Anim8or file rather than a posed mesh).  I should point out that the 3DS export function may have problems exporting subdivision objects, though this might be something that has been resolved in later updates (I'm using V1.0).  If this is the case it may be necessary to convert any subdivision objects to meshes first.

I'm not sure if there is any way to directly export a posable figure from Anim8or, this isn't something I have had need to do but others may be able to assist.  I assume you would need to know the format your buddy requires (ie. the software he is using) at the very least.