Ropes in 3ds Max

I recently had to animate some ropes that hung from a crane boom, not the crane wires themselves but guide wires pulled by someone standing to one side. These ropes had to droop and as the crane moves the wire moves with it. It's easy to set up these ropes for a still but can be a bit of a pain if you want to animate them.

I solved the problem using spline IK, which is nowhere as difficult as you might imagine.

1. Create a straight line, with a vertex at the halfway point,
make each vertex a smooth point.

2. Add a Spline IK modifier, click on Create Helpers,
this will put a Spline IK helper at each vertex.

3. Create 3 dummy objects, centre each one on a corresponding
Spline IK, and link the Spline IK helper to the dummy object.

4. Move the middle Spline IK vertically down to create a nice droop.
Make the spline renderable

5. Select the middle dummy object and change its position controller
to Position Constraint, add the 2 end dummy objects to the Position Target List,
they will get 50% weight each, this will keep the middle dummy exactly
halfway between the ends.

You can now attach the end dummy objects to whatever objects you want and
the rope will keep a nice droop at all times. What this method doesn't account for
is rope length/drop ratio etc. so you may want to animate the vertical position
of the center Spline IK helper to make things look believable.

Download a Max 6 version of the rope