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The constraints in 3ds Max have quite a lot of flexibility. In some other programs like Maya, when you sign a constraint to a Transform Channel, that's it. You can't animate the object in the traditional way. But actually in 3ds Max you can, because there's a system of layering to the controllers and constraints. And that kind of happens for you by default, it's very convenient. Right now, I don't have any animation on the cylinder proper, I just got some Link constraints, and I'm just going to animate that cylinder dropping.
I will go ahead and position that at about 5 seconds in, select that cylinder, and I want to keyframe it. You notice these keyframes here now? Those are the Link keyframes that correspond to the Motion panel targets here. I want to keyframe the Position and Rotation for the cylinder at this point in time at 5 seconds in. I will go over to my Key Filters and turn on Position and Rotation. I will enable Set Key, click the Skeleton Key and now I've got Position and Rotation keyframes at that point in time.
Then I will just go a little bit later, maybe about 15 frames later or so. Grab the Move tool and position the cylinder, and maybe I'll rotate it too a little bit and click the Skeleton Key again. And as you can see, even though it's constrained to the floor at that point in time, I'm also able to animate it as well. Maybe I'll move that keyframe a little bit earlier to speed that up.
That's pretty cool! And that all happens because 3ds Max has something called a List controller added by default. Turn off Set Key, I'll go up here in the Motion panel to Assign Controller, and you can see that there is a Link controller in effect, but if I open that up, there is also Position and Rotation controllers inside that. So in fact I've got nested controllers there. It's a very useful feature of 3ds Max and it makes it so you don't have to actually build a separate hierarchy in order to animate constrained objects.
That's the basic introduction to controllers and constraints in 3ds Max. Again, it's a very powerful set of tools that you can use to animate objects.
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