Inspired by a demonstration of Pixar's Presto (vimeo.com/90687696) and the interesting way in which you can select sections of the deforming surface as control objects, I thought I'd try to implement it into 3ds Max.

This method allows animators to work uncluttered and see a smoothed low- and high-resolution version of the final model and also can be combined with off-viewport controls like spinner and sliders. The downside of this method is that viewport feedback is pretty slow, I'm using 3ds Max 2013 and don't have a particularly powerful computer and was getting 9fps on playback, but perhaps with better hardware and a newer version of 3ds Max (which they've promised has better viewport interaction), this could be viable solution for character animation.

P.S - I feel like I'm getting a lot of mileage out of this hand model!

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