Character Animation

3ds Max includes two complete, independent subsystems for animating characters: CAT and character studio. Both provide built-in, ready-to-go but eminently customizable character rigs that can be skinned with either the Physique or Skin modifier, and both are compatible with a range of motion-capture file formats. Each is quite powerful in its own way, but there are significant differences between them.

The best way to determine which is best suited to a particular project you’re working on is to learn both, and then make the decision based on your experiences. However, if you’re pressed for time, read the following quick comparison and then look over the help for both systems.

  • 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.

  • character studio

    The character studio feature set in 3ds Max provides professional tools for animating 3D characters. It is an environment in which you can quickly and easily build skeletons (also known as character rigs) and then animate them, thus creating motion sequences. You use the animated skeletons to drive the movement of geometry, thus creating virtual characters. You can generate crowds of these characters and animate crowd movement using a system of delegates and procedural behaviors.