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In 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training, author Aaron F. Ross demonstrates how to use this top-tier application for digital content creation, widely used in diverse industries such as architecture, industrial design, motion pictures, games and virtual worlds. This course covers modeling with polygons, curves, and subdivision surfaces, defining surface properties with materials and maps, setting up cameras and lights, animating objects, and final output rendering. Exercise files accompany the course.
So I've done all my Link constraints, and I'm ready now to animate the cylinder falling and I currently have the Add Link button still turned on, so I want to click that to turn it off. I'm not adding any more links. And I am just going to animate this directly. If I wanted to get fancy, I could actually maybe link it to dummy object or something invisible helper that doesn't render, but I don't need to do that actually in 3ds Max because the designers have already thought at this for me.
And in fact, this constraint is actually blending with the standard transforms through something called a List controller. So up here in this Assign Controller rollout in the Motion panel, if I open this up you'll see here-- it's kind of little bit hard to see because the window isn't really wide enough. But it says Transform: Link Constraint and then below that it says Link Parameters and if I open that up, you'll see that it's still got the Position, Rotation and Scale Transform channels available.
So it's actually automatically sort of layering the constraint with standard animation transforms. So that's pretty cool! So in other programs it doesn't work that way. When you constrain something it's sort of locked to that object and you can't really animate the constrained object. But in Max you can. So what I want to do here is I want to set a Position key right at this point in time when it's about to make the drop. We'll actually want to animate Position and Rotation. So I'll go into my Set Key Filters down here, open that up, and I want to activate Position and Rotation because I am going to make it fall and also tumble and maybe roll away or something like that.
Okay, so on Set Key Filters, Position and Rotation are active. And I'll enable the Set Key mode and just click the big Set Key's skeleton key button, and now I've got an actual keyframe there for Position and Rotation. And it's not going to take very long for it to fall, only a few frames really. So I'll go forward, let's say 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 frames maybe, and let's go out to an Ortho view so we can see where the floor is.
So I'll hit Alt+W, go into my Side view, and move this down and click Set Key, and let's rewind and play this back. I've got a Camera view here, so let's see what it looks like in that Camera view. So far so good, cool! So it's falling. And you notice that since it's now constrained to the floor or to the room that the motion of the robot arm does not affect the cylinder any longer. Excellent! So I can mix this up a little bit, make it a little bit more interesting, maybe I'll grab the Rotate tool and make it spin around, and click Set Key again.
Just scrub through there. Maybe I'll make this bigger, Alt+W. See what I have done, cool! And then just a couple of frames later, I'll just animate this tumbling and falling, maybe going up and down, and hitting Set Key and just creating a couple of more keyframes so that it's a little bit more believable. Set Key. Go a couple frames forward.
W to move and again I might want to hit Alt+W and go into Side view so I can tell if it's going through the floor or not. E is rotate, W is move, key it then. Cool! So let's see what we've got. So I'm done setting keys. I'm going to rewind and see what I have got. All right, so I can finesse this a little bit by going into the Graph Editor > Track View - Curve Editor.
I am concerned with this region here so I'll zoom in on that, and what I'm seeing here is the Position, Rotation, and Scale. So I can grab my Move Keys tool and I just want this to happen a little bit faster. So I can grab all these and use my Move tool, move these a little bit. I can do this in the Dope Sheet too, but I like doing it in the Graph Editor because it's showing me the curves. I just sped that up a bit. Maybe I want it to bounce up a little bit higher when it hits the ground.
Scrubbing through here, that's when it's hitting the floor. So maybe when it bounces up I want it to go up a little bit higher than that. Back in my Curve Editor. So my Z-Position is going to be one of these blue curves. So let's check it out, Z-position, here it is. So if I want that to go up a little bit higher, I'll just move this up and when I release the mouse it will actually change. Now unfortunately, what I'm seeing here is this actually the Z-Position is calculating relative to the object's parent, so it may not be doing exactly a linear motion.
So unfortunately, I am going to have to do undo that, Ctrl+Z, and looks like I'll have better luck if I do it from the viewport directly. So if I want to update this, actually I'll just go into Auto Key mode and pull this up a little bit and that's going to automatically update it. Okay, so I could finesse this a little bit more and play around with it, but you get the idea here that we can animate a constrained object independently of its parent, and have fun with this.
We'll actually be rendering this in the later exercise. So that's a good introduction to controllers and constraints.
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