P3D v4 Trying to do Bones and Skinning on a Pilot

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
That could be a weighting problem. You must be careful to set the vertices at the transition from the forearm/upper arm to the elbow correctly. That's a critical point in weighting.

Or it could also have gone a bit wrong during the rigging. The left arm is obviously right geriggt? In the Skin Modifier you have the option to transfer the envelope values from one side of the body to the other side of the body (mirror mode). Here you could try to correct the deforming.

This is meant ...


Here you can choose the side of the body ...

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Alright. I have added what they call IK Solvers to my arms to hands (top of the shoulder to the wrist joint, must be 3 sections). This way, you can get the elbow rotating. It must be the 'Limb' option IK solver or you will not get a bending elbow.

But.... I cannot get the arm to rotate. For instance, his arm gets down to the location I need it, but his elbow is outwards, like not at his side, but out like a wing. Going through the cabin wall. So, unto another quest to see how to hinge the arm around...

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
So far I have not worked with the IK Solver, I have mostly linked the bones, as well as the sunglasses or hat/cap. They do not have to be part of the mesh. It is enough if you linked them to the head bone. Can you link your hand on the Throttle instead of using an IK solver?
Can you link your hand on the Throttle instead of using an IK solver?
I didnt know you could do that. If thats so, you just made my week!

In the mean time, I broke my animations. Nothing is working. :S This is V4. Might have to restart into V5. I wonder if IK solvers breaks the export? That would be a bummer as this IK system is BRILLIANT...
Animations working again. :)

Deformation working again. :(

I believe I forgot to add the redone 'Skin' texture to my V4 pilot on the latest export.
I also deleted the IK Limb Solver to see if that restored things. The head now animates properly. The arm and also part of the hand deforms on full throttle, which I believe is zero point. (not related to zero point energy systems). KF-Zero. KF 50 is fine.

I have some more things I wish to try.

Very interesting. I started to lose heart when I couldnt get things to work. This would be nice if it didnt deform and also if I can link bones to other parts in the cockpit such as the throttle handle and joystick.

This is very cool to fit a properly scaled pilot into the plane. Dial him into about 5'7" or 5'10" and adjust until he's in proper seating position, then animate. My other pilot was probably over 6' tall because I was using a 12" scale for his head, jaw to skull. His skelature put him at over 6 feet, lolol.. I didnt know that. I matched this guy with the existing one (same model from Poser Pro) and he was well over 6 feet with that same size skull. I reduced him down to 5'9 or 10" and he has room to spare in the cabin now. Not all cramped up. So this is a big plus on 'guessing' a pre-sitting pilots size.


Resource contributor
IK Solvers are indeed wonderful tools to build animations with, but the only supported use in FS is animating jetways and some here know how well that works, harrumph. Once an animation is built, it should be reduced to keyframes and the Solvers deleted.

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
IK Solver! I knew there was something to read in the SDK: The Default Jetways. Now I remember.

But in relation to animated people, only the "Planted Key" comes to my mind: link an object (hand bone) with the animated object (Throttle) and set a start key and a target key. And already the hand moves with the throttle. Pre-animated, so to speak.

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IK Solver! I knew there was something to read in the SDK: The Default Jetways. Now I remember.

But in relation to animated people, only the "Planted Key" comes to my mind: link an object (hand bone) with the animated object (Throttle) and set a start key and a target key. And already the hand moves with the throttle. Pre-animated, so to speak.
Awesome....! A thousand thanks, Christian. I'll check that out now.

What do you use to make humans
is it pure 3dsMax model or made by other programmes
thnx in advance :)
Hello RedCool,

I use Poser Pro which was for people that were in the gaming industry. My copy is perhaps 3 years old now. You can increase and decrease the mesh amount on their newest people models. They had addon things like shirts and shoes and jackets, dresses for the ladies, etc, etc.

I had problems importing them rigged, so I imported one without bones into 3ds Max without bones, then uploaded to Mixamo.com and had that install my bones for me. I could make the bones also, but its very sophisticated and was taking too much time with negative results. Mixamo took several minutes and was totally boned and rigged when done. But it is having issues. Also in their forums, people are having issues with it, so its not a perfect program.

Hope that helps.

Reason I bought Poser to begin with (I have two versions) is for the people. An alternative is https://renderpeople.com/3d-people which make amazing photo real rigged people, $100 USD each. Very worth it in my humble opion.

Poser basic link;

Ok... Some more notes..

It seems that IK Solver Limb version breaks the animation system. No animations will work. I do not know what version of IK handles the old version of Max uses that is in the SDK concerning the Jetway. I tried animating the IK Solver, gave it the Animation input via the Animation Manager. Also did that with the Arm, lower arm, and wrist, as well as the IK solver handle, and that did nothing.. Just sat there. I also linked the IK solver to the throttle. The throttle wouldnt animate because all animations broke with the IK solver in it.

Taking the IK solver out (deleting it) fixed the animations. Even if the pilot was 'not' exported but the IK Solver was still in there, it broke all animations, lol.. Also, upon deleting the IK solver, the wrist would no longer 'hinge' the forearm. His forarm just bends in half, like a U-shaped object. Early version save point, before the IK solver is applied, the wrist will 'hinge' the arm at the elbow like normal. So the IK Solver will break that if you apply that to the arm then delete it later.

For me, deleting the entire pilot fixed the animations problem. So you cannot do IK solvers on a pilot. Maybe you can with an Avatar.

Also, on the Jetway, you give your IK Handle (what they call it in the FSX SDK) a specific name for each IK handle. That and you need bones to have specific XYZ checks in their IK settings in the Hierarchy settings. Again, this is for the Bones only.

I finally decided to watch the entire video by Chuck Jodry on animating a rigged pilot. I think I watched it 2 or three times via re-winding things and bits. He uses multiple joints on the arms so that you have sideways movement (right and left input) and hinging (forward and backwards movement) all mixed together for the joystick controls. No IK Solvers.

Note that in Chucks tutorial on YouTube, he does not use IK solvers, he does not have special 'name tags' for joints. They are assigned their normal Animation points via the Animation Manager system.

I hate to fold and put my cards in and call this a loss. I do not want to go on with this another week. I invested what I think is my max time on this and I am not happy. The more I dug for answers, the more I got questions and problems. So I am at a bit of a loss. Maybe one more day and then I am walking away from this. Goodness. How hard can it be?? lolol...

Christian Bahr

Resource contributor
"The more I dug for answers, the more I got questions and problems. "
This is the topic itself. Character design and character animation are two very complex topics. It is hardly possible to work in there in the short time. It takes a lot of patience here.

There are two basic differences in animated people. There are Biped-Skeletons (P3D Avatars) and there are Bones-Skeletons (ORBX PeopleFlow, Bahrometrix LivingPeople etc). The Biped characters have much more extensive animation than "simple" Bones characters. The avatars are clip-based, the simple people are just a contiguous Bones system in which the animations are in the bones. I suspect a Bones system can not have Planted Keys, does it need to find a solution via IK Solver?
Well, 2 nights ago.. I quit the pilot project. Talked it over with family, vented, grumbled... quit...

Next day, gave it another try.. Same thing, worse results... quit again...

Today... same thing... I just did it on a whim...

Then I found a tidbit of information. The Skin Modifier goes onto a Editable Mesh object, not a Editable Poly. I found the file (out of TONS) of my stock standing man with no bones in him. I added the Skin modifier. I added some basic bones to bend him around. I tested him.. It worked....!!

I still had the problem of having vertices that refused to be 'disconnected' from arms (body was blending into the arms). No matter what, I couldnt set the vertices of the Skin (Envelope mode) to non-Red color. Locked in. I had read last night about someone having an issue like this also. No bones were in her area, so she needed to 'link' the vertices, not de-link them. I tried this.. and... VOILA! For once in days, the red vertices turned bright white. They were detached... I retested in FS and the animation went well...

I also tried some re-tuning of the Vertice merge points (yellow zones) and that worked well also.

I am so happy about this, I might redo the rig again and fine tune the Vertices 'before' I bend him into the seat.

Very impressed... Now that its working.

I might do a tutorial on this.
On the Weighted Paint mode, I wish there was a way to 'reduce' those zones. Perhaps I'll try the container thing in the Envelope mode tire structure (with the rings and pill shaped Spline thing) and see if that helps with zones on bones.

Zones on bones...

Dang.. what a rough road this has been.
I wish I had seen this as one of the first videos on YouTube. This explains tons for when you are adjusting the 'effect' of the Envelope of each bone that it has on the mesh surface....

Containers seemed to make zero difference. Colors do not change on the vertices or poly zones. odd. Quite a few experiments today on trying things out to get a smooth transition in body mesh folding. Nothing worked.

This is not easy...
Man... Goodness... I think I am going to throw in the towel again... I went for just the neck animation on a basic pilot. Getting the arms to move correctly seems to be an impossibility for some reason. I get nothing but radical folds and distortions. I have been working for days with just trying to dial in the right weight blends and nothing works, lolol.. ACK...

I tried re-using the Mixamo.com model, which animates PERFECTLY in Max, but in P3D, its a mess... big mess... too gruesome to show here what happens to his arm.