Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Binding with biped

Binding the hands of the biped to follow a object.
This trick is maybe limited for its use, like in animations with swords and weapons which are hold with two hands, but it can be used for anything if you are creative.

Select a hand of the biped and go the "motion" tab.

Go to "key info" and extend "IK" from the drop-down menu.

Now you have to set a "planted key" for the selected hand (also highlighted in red in the image below), you will notice that you now can change the pivot point of the hand if you need to.

Click on the little white arrow at the end and choose a object what the hand should follow,
in our example it will be a red box which should represent a sword.

A warning will pop up, confirm it with "yes".

You maybe noticed that nothing happened and the hand still doesn't follow the object,
because max uses his standard parameters but we will change that.

You will need to deselect the biped and select the hand again,
above the little white arrow are two options "Body" and "Object".
Change it to "Object" and the hand will follow.

(click on the image to enlarge)

This can be applied to both hands if you use a two handed sword or rifle.
Keep in mind this should make it a lot of easier to animate not just a sword but also the pull of a shot or anything else on what the bipeds movement depends.

If you are using a sword and the pivot point is in the middle of the object, you should change it to the position of the hand.
Select the sword and go to "Hierarchy" than choose "select pivot only" and position the pivot.
Click again on "select pivot only" when you are finished.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


So you decided to take a step further into the realm of 3d.
Animations are not an easy step to take so let's cover
some basics before you begin any animation you would
like to do:

First off you should have a vision how the animation should look like.
Ok ok... I know of course you know what you want to do.
But it is important to know the timing of things that will happen.

Timing is very important, the hardest thing is to sync the camera
with what actually is happening.
In the beginning I always added a camera at the end of an animation,
just to realize that my timing was out of sync.
and I've done too much actions simultaneously, so the eyes can't
catch all the things what are happening on the screen.
Of course there is also timing in a movement but that is not basic stuff.

Second keep it simple... it would be beautiful if all of us had some big server
in our room so max could handle everything we want to do.
But I for an instance use a laptop which is not that strong, and if
I overdo some effects and particles in the early phase of an
animation I end up working with a slideshow.
Just leave most of the effects for the end and use your imagination instead,
but some basic effects are necessary or you will screw up the timing of everything.

Third look at reference, animating a movement is very hard to get right.
At least in the beginning, to learn some basic movements is maybe boring
but it is necessary.
A big help is some reference of course, if you are animating a walk cycle
it would be great if you look at a movie or something just to see how a
real human walks and then try to copy the movement.

Fourth tips and tricks...? Yes you should get a basic knowledge of
everything that max has to offer.
For example learn something about reactor, than learn IK (inverse kinematics),
than learn how to bind objects... and so on.
In an animation a variety of skills is used to make things look great,
for instance using a ragdoll and reactor instead of animating a fall
by hand, it is not just to save time it will also look more realistic.

I think I covered some good points with this,
and as a special i will show you an animation
on which I'm working right now.
I spend almost 16 hours animating for only around 600 frames
(20 seconds) and there is still so much to do and to repair,
the animation isn't that good but I think it will show you how
much time and effort goes into it...

Sometimes all goes well without any problems but sometimes
I mess up and spend a lot of time on repairing...

(it's just a preview ,not rendered)