P3D v4 Trying to do Bones and Skinning on a Pilot

So I am at this juncture where I would like to do skinning. Flexing parts skins. Mainly for the yoke. I did the bones and linked parts of the yoke to the bones, and that works excellent. Not trying it with the pilot and cannot seem to link particular Vertices to bones. I cant seem to figure out how to change their linking. For instance, the hand makes his leg move as well, lolol.. Watching videos and nothing seems to touch that exact topic, except one, but his worked differently then mine. Like my Max is misbehaving or has 'dont do what bill wants' mode secretly turned on. sigh....

I almost want to give up, but I can see so many uses for this tech for my models. I have learned so much already about bones and animations and things. Just need to be able to de-select Vertices. I tried this with 'Weight Painting, but it only 'adds' Vertices. No way to use Weight Painting (that I could find) to deselect zones of vertices... How hard can it be? sigh...

Reminds me (again) of the blue and white checkered button of the Gmax days so long ago... One single button, hiding somewhere, right in front of me.
One thing to keep in mind...you cannot assign a visibility condition to a skinned mesh part. If you want to hide the pilot you have to do it via animation and hide him somewhere like the fuselage behind the cabin. ;)
Learned last night on a tutorial on YouTube about 'Biped' in Creation/Systems in 3ds Max.

Select the type of bone structure you want (like Skeleton/Skeletore...) and 'drag to scale' and pull out a complete skeleton. Adjust the parts you want on it, like 5 fingers, joints in fingers or no fingers, etc, etc, etc... Then start working the skeleton in 'Animations'.

Found what I needed. Wheww... Now to continue on how to animate. I needed to know how to redirect linkages to vertices to certain bones. The right leg was connected to the left leg vertices, etc, etc. This is how its done.

This is the tutorial I am running with presently that showed me the above bits and pieces. Great tutorial.

The Maule pilot has rudder pedal controls in his feet, arms and hands work the throttle and joystick, and his head is linked into the rudder.

Need this...

You can then re-use this pilot on other planes easily 'AND' he is better scaled standing up then when he is in the plane, sitting. Realism is more advanced. Need this.

What I am hoping is that I can re-use this persons bones with a lady pilot, etc, etc. Get everything working, animating in P3D, then change out to a different pilot mesh, and Voila... A totally different pilot.

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor

That's exactly my topic :)

But the process of assigning the bones to the mesh (weighting) is very laborious- and time consuming. Even experienced character modelers have trouble with it. But maybe you can save yourself all the work, because many months ago I provided two complete characters as source code on my download page:

Download Source Files P3D Avatars

If they meet your needs, then maybe you can try and try them. It is a woman and a man. Actually, I wanted to set the download for a long time here in the forum as a resource, but have forgotten to do it again and again. Maybe I should catch up soon :)
Hey Christian! Arent you the one that does bicyclists?

It is laborious... I just now thought I copied the Vertice settings from left to right, after a half day of setting Vertices to bones. Wrong side copied over... erased my work, lolol.. Well, perhaps it will make me an expert.

Makes me wonder how P3D did their walking avatars....

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
Yes, the cyclists are from me :)

I assume that the developers of the P3D have access to full-body scanners or use a photometric method to create their character. I can not imagine that the avatars were created by hand (manually).

And the rigging will probably have taken over an autorigger. Rigging by hand (manually) is too laborious - even if you know exactly how to do it, it would take too long for an avatar to finish. With an autotrigger that may take 1-2 minutes and the character has a fully functioning bone system. Probably the developers of the P3D have all these possibilities.

If you want, then send me your character via PM and I can see what can be done there.
Thanks Christian. Let me just try a bit more on mine. I downloaded yours to see how you did yours. I have a really nice pilot model that I made in Poser Pro. Supposedly you can export him rigged, and I tried that, but the rigging didnt import well into Max. Maybe I didnt do it correctly. I'll search for answers on that on Google. (I didnt think to ask others on that). I did get it to bring in bones, but the bones were nearly invisible (small) and difficult to scale up. (The bones were like tiny dots. scaling issue).

Yesterdays work, which stretched deep into the night (nearly 1AM?) gave me the results of very bad blending... like zero blending.. was so horrible. I thought it would work that out. This means if we try to do all selection of vertices to bones, we need to include the 25%, 50%, 75% zones as well as the zero zones and 100% zones... Goodness. If thats the case, then I need to be dealing with the envelopes rather then the manual assignments, and let Max figure that stuff out. Just separate the other legs and things with the 'zero' zone option in the Skin Weights tool.

There must be an easy way.... Aces did it with that cool pilot in the Maule. Its doable. Goodness, that was what, 12 years ago? 14 years??

It would be cool if P3D had a pre-made, pre-animated skeleton which we could attach a skin to. That would be nice. But then we probably would mess it up with adapting our skins to it, lolol..
Christian, have you seen the 3ds Max (Autodesk) Character Generator system? Its an online service that Autodesk provide (for a small price, around $50 USD, annual charge). You tune the character to your liking (many to choose from) then download it. I think that too might be a charge, not sure. But you import it supposedly like its a file from Autodesk, ready to go, all done.

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
Well, I do not have the generator, but have already read about it. I'm not sure how that works, whether the characters are then also rigged or just the body shell (mesh) possess. The price you can not go wrong, I think. It might be worth a try.

Yes I agree with you. It would be a great help for everything if there were already preconfigured Biped models that you can modify as desired. But then suddenly the character experts would not have a job anymore. They also have to live on something.

Ah, understand. You already have a rigged model. Then it would be possible to export the character in Poser as an FBX file and import it as an FBX file in 3dsm. Here are a few settings needed to get the bones displayed correctly. Did you already try it with the FBX format?
Nothing worked on importing procedures to get bones working and right.

I tried a new program called 'Baby Steps' where I would install just a spine/neck/head into the mesh (pilot) and rig it for rudder. ALL day... ALL day I tried to get 'Baby Steps' project to function. It started crashing. They fixed crashing in Max 2017. I have Max 2014. sigh... A while ago, I gave up on Baby Steps. I googled and tried things.. Nothing worked. I tried redoing the system over and over. Nothing worked. Touch something wrong, and I was instantly back to Desktop looking at wallpaper, in the blink of an eye. No warnings, quiet, quick, like a light switch...

Tonight about 830PM, I remembered getting a freebe download from Renderosity of a fully rigged business man. For fun, I imported it. It was all there, fully functioning. I put it in my scene, exported with him by the plane, and there he was in P3D. First, he exported, even with all these bones and things sticking out of him. There he was on the tarmac, hovering in the air like a Tall White from Area 51 in his hover suit. Sweet.

Then I go to fit him in the cockpit, in his nice, laid back seat.. and all heck breaks loose... He flips over. I remember you adjust bones in the Animations section in Max. I go there, he beams out and reappears about 40 feet above the scene facing a new direction, simply by clicking a blue button on the Bones management animation panel. I tried bring him back to the plane. Things got crazy again.

Fearing I might form a high blood pressure issue.. I saved the project for another point in time and turned off Max before it could turn itself off.

What a crazy several days. I thought I would have this down in 2 days. I thought the SDK would have all the info I needed. I figured this was OLD TECH....! nope...

I even tried importing the pilot from the Maule via MCX to see if I could bring-recycle-reuse the bones from him.... nope... none came over. Transporter technology linking MCX from FSX to Max in this universe of the 3D CG realms isnt quite there yet. Jellyfish.... Jelly mesh... Boneless pilots... :(

A long day.


Late at night, woke up.. thinking on this. I went to the website that made Eric (the model above) and they have TONS of models. All my hard work is done for me. I'll see how hard it is to animate Eric, and I may have my situation fixed. This might be a blessing.

I also know how to use Bones to animate parts, which is fine. No flexing 'Skin' issues to deal with. Just parts. And if Eric works out, then I can just purchase these people for my projects.

They have some retired people that would look awesome in my classics. Some younger people would look good in uniforms (suits) in the Fokker 100. This will be good.

So in the morning, back to bones and skinning and now to animate and see how that works. Have to figure out why Eric jumps into the sky. Has an anti gravity issue... :S

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
Hehehe, I know the Renderpeople. I downloaded the free characters to make P3D avatars. Unfortunately did not work. Are too complex. Too many polygons. But the price is good.
Good to know. Thanks Christian.

Quick question. Does one need to have 'sealed up edges'? Can you have 'open edges' like shirt sleeves, or does that cause issues? I am wondering if that is what was causing my character to crash Max...
Christian, using your settings screenshot for Max importing FBX, this did the trick. I was able to import a Poser model perfectly fine. Bones all intact. (so far.. . He hasnt exploded or anything).