CAT (Character Animation Toolkit)

CAT (Character Animation Toolkit) is a character-animation plug-in for 3ds Max. CAT facilitates character rigging, nonlinear animation, animation layering, motion-capture import, and muscle simulation.

Useful Links

To view a number of how-to movies that can help you learn to use CAT, visit CAT Movies.

To learn more about CAT, to post questions and comments, and to take part in discussions, visit these sites:

  • Getting Started: Rigging with CATRigs

    The CATRig is the hierarchy that defines the CAT skeletal animation system. It is a fast, sophisticated yet flexible character rig that is designed to let you create the characters you want without having to write scripts.

  • Animating with CAT

    CAT's FK/IK rig-manipulation system lets you simply push and pull the rig parts into the pose you want, whether in IK or FK. For walk-cycle sequences, CATMotion allows you to create a fully customized walk cycle and then direct the character around the scene without the need to place individual footsteps. Footprint collision detection provides the icing on the cake.

  • Working with Poses and Animation

    CAT provides tools for working with motion data, including importing, mapping, retargeting and editing. You can save individual animation layers and even whole layer stacks for reuse, including on other characters.

  • CATMotion

    CATMotion is CAT’s procedural-motion-cycle-generation system. Using CATMotion you can create motion cycles that adapt to the velocity and direction of the rig without sliding footsteps, even while moving over an uneven surface.

  • Working With Motion-Capture Data

    You load motion-capture data into the Layer Manager in much the same way as any other keyframe data. Once the motion-capture data is loaded, all the same keyframe-editing tools are available to transform, edit, duplicate, and retime the motion data. You can then use all the layering tools to edit the motion-capture data in a nondestructive way.

  • Working With Muscles

    In CAT, muscles are non-rendering helper objects that you can use to create a skin that looks realistic when stretched and deformed.

  • Utilities

    CAT includes the following utilities, available from the Animation menu Animation - CAT submenu.

  • Tips and Tricks

    This section offers suggestions for how to better use CAT in production.