Create Character

This command creates a character assembly.


To create a character assembly:

  1. Create a linked structure of bones or other objects. The structure can have several chains. You can also use the linked structure with the Skin modifier, and/or set up character rigs and controllers as needed.
  2. Select all objects that will become members of the assembly.
  3. Use this method to add the character-assembly commands to the user interface, and then choose the Create Character command.

    The character-assembly node is created at the bottom of the entire selection, as viewed in the Front viewport.

  4. On the Modify panel, use the character assembly tools to work with the character structure.

The character assembly is given the default name of Character01, which can be changed. All members of the assembly are listed in the Character Members rollout.


To work with the character assembly, select the character assembly node and work with the parameters on the Modify panel.

Character Assembly rollout

Skin Pose group

The Skin pose is the bone structure pose used by the Skin modifier for associating bones with the mesh. When the Skin modifier is first applied, the current bone structure pose is used as the Skin pose. The Skin pose can sometimes be accidentally altered by animating the bone structure on frame 0. If this occurs, you can use these options to fix the Skin pose.

You can use these options both before and after applying the Skin modifier. You can also invoke these options when any member of the character assembly is selected.

Set as Skin Pose

Sets the Skin pose to the current bone structure's pose. The Skin modifier’s envelopes and vertex weighting are automatically recalculated to work with the new pose.

Assume Skin Pose

Causes the bone structure to take on the Skin pose. This feature can be useful during the animation phase. For example, if you have animated the character on various keyframes and want the character to animate back to its Skin pose at frame 50, you can turn on Auto Key at frame 50 and click Assume Skin Pose.

Skin Pose Mode

Poses the character in its Skin pose and allows the Skin pose to be refined. Changes to the bone structure when Skin Pose Mode is on will affect only the Skin pose and not the animation. When Skin Pose Mode is turned off, the bone structure returns to its pose at the current frame.

Display group

When a high resolution character model is animated, redraw time can slow the animation process. To speed up your work, a low resolution version of the model can be used for the animation process, then switched for the full resolution version at render time. Character assembly objects can be designated as Full Res or Low Res on the Character Members rollout.

Low Res Objects

Displays only the objects checked in the Low Res display in the Character Members rollout.

Full Res Objects

Displays only the objects not checked in the Low Res display in the Character Members rollout.

All Objects

Displays all objects in the character assembly.

Animation group

Animation for the character assembly can be saved or reset in this group. Previously saved animation from another character can also be inserted to the current character assembly.

Insert Animation

Displays the Merge Animation dialog, and prompts for a previously saved animation file.

Save Animation

Saves the character assembly animation in an ANM or XML file. Both file types contain the character assembly and its animation. An ANM file is a proprietary format that can be read and saved only by 3ds Max. An XML file formats the information as XML code, and can be edited with a text editor.

Animation saved as an ANM file loads and saves faster than an XML file. Saving and editing an XML animation file is recommended only for users who are familiar with the XML language, and who have a specific need for editing the file.

Reset All Animation

Removes all animation from the character assembly.

Character Members rollout


Allows you to select individual objects to add to the character assembly.

Add List

Displays the Pick Character Members dialog, where you can select multiple objects from a list and add them to the character assembly.


Removes highlighted object(s) from the assembly. Bones and objects upon which other assembly objects depend, cannot be removed.

Low Res

All members of the character assembly are displayed on this list. By default, all members are designated as Full Res objects. To designate a member as Low Res, check the object on the list. The Full Res and Low Res designations are used in conjunction with the Display group selection in the Character Assembly rollout.

See Also