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3ds Max 2011 Essential Training
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Applying path constraints


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3ds Max 2011 Essential Training

with Aaron F. Ross

Video: Applying path constraints

A constraint is a type of controller in which one object controls another object, or one entity controls another entity. So constraints are very useful. One of the most common ones is a Path constraint where you can attach an object to a Spline Curve and have it animate down that path. So I am going to use this example here to make a simple turntable animation. It's a very common thing that modelers need to do so they can show off their work. So I have got a model here and what I want to do is create a circle that's going to be the path and then a camera to attach to that path.
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  1. 3m 19s
    1. Welcome
      57s
    2. Prerequisites
      1m 18s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 4s
  2. 7m 33s
    1. Using the Custom UI and Defaults Switcher
      1m 35s
    2. Setting local file paths to relative
      1m 27s
    3. Using project folders
      4m 31s
  3. 36m 35s
    1. Getting familiar with the interface
      4m 5s
    2. Touring the command panels
      1m 44s
    3. Creating primitives
      3m 5s
    4. Navigating the viewports
      3m 57s
    5. Using hotkeys
      3m 18s
    6. Choosing shading modes
      3m 6s
    7. Configuring the viewports
      3m 29s
    8. Transforming objects
      4m 32s
    9. Using the toolbars
      3m 33s
    10. Using the Modify panel
      5m 46s
  4. 36m 11s
    1. Surveying different modeling methods
      5m 18s
    2. Setting units
      5m 8s
    3. Setting home grid dimensions
      3m 37s
    4. Understanding the Level of Detail utility
      3m 34s
    5. Working with the Modifier Stack
      3m 51s
    6. Understanding dependencies
      5m 9s
    7. Collapsing the Modifier Stack
      4m 53s
    8. Working with sub-objects
      4m 41s
  5. 18m 32s
    1. Creating shapes
      5m 17s
    2. Creating lines
      2m 56s
    3. Converting a shape to an editable spline
      2m 20s
    4. Transforming editable spline sub-objects
      4m 20s
    5. Using different types of vertices
      3m 39s
  6. 35m 30s
    1. Lofting a vase
      3m 59s
    2. Setting loft parameters
      3m 49s
    3. Editing the path and shapes
      5m 18s
    4. Manipulating loft sub-objects
      3m 55s
    5. Adding a scale deformation
      5m 47s
    6. Adding a shell modifier
      3m 50s
    7. Smoothing polygon edges
      8m 52s
  7. 26m 20s
    1. Setting up the project and scene layout
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a backdrop profile line
      1m 19s
    3. Using Editable Spline Fillet
      1m 24s
    4. Extruding shapes
      2m 36s
    5. Creating text
      1m 21s
    6. Applying a bevel modifier
      3m 57s
    7. Choosing bevel parameters
      2m 33s
    8. Using Display All Triangle Edges
      1m 56s
    9. Adjusting spline interpolation
      2m 22s
    10. Deforming beveled objects
      1m 17s
    11. Exporting paths from Adobe Illustrator
      2m 39s
    12. Importing Illustrator paths to 3ds Max
      2m 22s
  8. 55m 55s
    1. Setting up the scene
      2m 8s
    2. Creating chamfer boxes
      4m 44s
    3. Smoothing edges
      1m 16s
    4. Using the Array tool
      5m 31s
    5. Grouping objects
      10m 18s
    6. Modeling lines
      11m 17s
    7. Using the Sweep Modifier
      3m 0s
    8. Soft-selecting sub-objects with Volume Select
      5m 40s
    9. Removing polygons with Delete Mesh
      2m 37s
    10. Clearing a sub-object selection with Mesh Select
      3m 37s
    11. Adding randomness with the Noise Modifier
      5m 47s
  9. 33m 2s
    1. Understanding subdivision surfaces
      2m 46s
    2. Creating a box and converting to editable poly format
      3m 54s
    3. Using the Symmetry Modifier
      1m 44s
    4. Working with TurboSmooth
      3m 3s
    5. Extruding polygons
      1m 54s
    6. Editing edge loops
      8m 15s
    7. Shaping the model
      4m 57s
    8. Baking subdivisions
      3m 45s
    9. Optimizing polygon Level of Detail
      2m 44s
  10. 38m 45s
    1. Understanding the graphite tools within Editable Poly
      2m 40s
    2. Using the Graphite Ribbon interface
      3m 26s
    3. Using traditional editable poly tools within Graphite
      11m 30s
    4. Adjusting detail with Remove and Cut
      4m 44s
    5. Using SwitfLoop
      2m 46s
    6. Constraining sub-object transforms
      2m 23s
    7. Attaching polygon meshes to a single object
      5m 33s
    8. Bridging parts of a mesh
      5m 43s
  11. 25m 24s
    1. Understanding NURBS
      2m 35s
    2. Creating NURBS curves
      7m 27s
    3. Creating a U-loft surface
      5m 52s
    4. Editing curves and surfaces
      3m 9s
    5. Setting surface approximation
      6m 21s
  12. 1h 0m
    1. Using the Material Editor
      7m 8s
    2. Choosing a material type
      3m 3s
    3. Choosing a shader type
      2m 12s
    4. Adjusting specular parameters
      3m 6s
    5. Setting opacity
      3m 5s
    6. Understanding procedural Maps and bitmaps
      4m 11s
    7. Using bitmaps
      5m 21s
    8. Navigating shader trees
      2m 27s
    9. Tracking scene assets
      4m 40s
    10. Creating simple UVW mapping
      7m 52s
    11. Adding reflections with a Raytrace map
      4m 32s
    12. Creating an environment
      5m 27s
    13. Mapping a bump channel
      7m 13s
  13. 27m 4s
    1. Creating cameras
      4m 1s
    2. Understanding target and free cameras
      4m 39s
    3. Using Camera Pan, Truck, and Dolly
      4m 8s
    4. Adjusting the field of view
      4m 59s
    5. Understanding aspect ratio
      2m 6s
    6. Showing safe frames
      3m 12s
    7. Choosing render output size
      3m 59s
  14. 43m 36s
    1. Understanding CG lighting
      5m 56s
    2. Understanding standard and photometric lights
      1m 48s
    3. Creating a target spotlight
      2m 3s
    4. Enabling viewport hardware shading
      2m 10s
    5. Previewing renderings with ActiveShade
      3m 6s
    6. Adjusting intensity and color
      2m 27s
    7. Controlling contrast and highlights
      2m 52s
    8. Setting spotlight hotspot and falloff radius
      4m 59s
    9. Choosing a shadow type
      3m 56s
    10. Optimizing shadow maps
      5m 46s
    11. Using area shadows
      3m 57s
    12. Creating omni lights
      4m 36s
  15. 43m 33s
    1. Understanding keyframes
      1m 41s
    2. Setting time configuration
      3m 48s
    3. Choosing set key filters
      1m 27s
    4. Using Set Key mode
      2m 39s
    5. Editing keyframes in the Timeline
      2m 43s
    6. Using Auto Key mode
      5m 44s
    7. Creating animation in passes
      2m 40s
    8. Animating modifier parameters
      3m 53s
    9. Working in the dope sheet
      7m 47s
    10. Editing function curves
      5m 28s
    11. Looping animation
      5m 43s
  16. 43m 54s
    1. Understanding hierarchies
      3m 16s
    2. Understanding reference coordinate systems
      5m 51s
    3. Editing pivot points
      4m 40s
    4. Linking objects
      3m 20s
    5. Using the Schematic view
      1m 59s
    6. Preventing problems with scale
      7m 50s
    7. Animating a hierarchy
      10m 11s
    8. Fine-tuning the animation
      6m 47s
  17. 20m 53s
    1. Understanding controllers
      3m 55s
    2. Applying path constraints
      4m 55s
    3. Assigning a link constraint
      2m 27s
    4. Using the Motion panel
      2m 48s
    5. Animating constrained objects
      6m 48s
  18. 28m 29s
    1. Understanding particle systems
      2m 24s
    2. Emitting particles from an object with PArray
      2m 18s
    3. Adjusting particle parameters
      5m 33s
    4. Binding particles to a gravitational force
      2m 51s
    5. Colliding particles with a POmniFlector
      6m 4s
    6. Creating a particle material
      3m 23s
    7. Mapping opacity with a gradient
      2m 1s
    8. Assigning a material ID G-Buffer channel
      46s
    9. Creating a lens effect glow
      3m 9s
  19. 18m 50s
    1. Understanding image sequences
      5m 40s
    2. Setting render options
      7m 53s
    3. Compressing an image sequence to a movie
      5m 17s
  20. 27s
    1. Goodbye
      27s

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3ds Max 2011 Essential Training
10h 4m Beginner May 26, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Getting familiar with the 3ds Max interface
  • Creating shapes and splines
  • Modeling Loft objects
  • Creating motion graphics
  • Modeling with polygons and subdivisions
  • Modeling with NURBS
  • Shading objects with materials and maps
  • Setting up camera and scene layout
  • Lighting basic scenes
  • Animating objects with keyframes
  • Editing keyframes in the Curve Editor
  • Constructing and animating hierarchies
  • Using animation Constraints
  • Animating particle systems
  • Rendering animations to disk
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
3ds Max
Author:
Aaron F. Ross

Applying path constraints

A constraint is a type of controller in which one object controls another object, or one entity controls another entity. So constraints are very useful. One of the most common ones is a Path constraint where you can attach an object to a Spline Curve and have it animate down that path. So I am going to use this example here to make a simple turntable animation. It's a very common thing that modelers need to do so they can show off their work. So I have got a model here and what I want to do is create a circle that's going to be the path and then a camera to attach to that path.

So I'll go to my Create panel. I want to go to Shapes, and I want to make a circle. I'll snap to the grid, and I'll position my cursor right at the origin so that my circle is right there centered on the model, and if I am not sure whether it is or not, I can always go into the Move tool and right-click on that and make sure, okay, the circle is at an absolute position of 0, 0, 0. And I'll also need a camera and this one will be a camera with an aim point or a target camera. So go ahead and click on Cameras > Target, and I'll build that in my Perspective view, click and drag, and I just want to place that target at the origin once again and right-click to finish creating my camera.

And so now, I'll look through the camera lens up here. An easy way to do that is just to press the C key on your keyboard and that will load the camera into that viewport, and I can hit F3 as well so I can see shading. Very cool, okay. So I haven't attached it to the path yet. I'm going to attach the camera to the path using the Path constraint. Constraints work by selecting the object that you wish to constrain first. Let's turn off Snaps. In other words, I want to select the camera and constrain it to this path.

So I've got the camera selected, and I'll go to the Animation menu set and there is a category here for Constraints, and I've got Path Constraint. So once I click on that, now 3ds Max is expecting me to click on a spline curve in my view. So when I get close to a spline curve, you'll see that my cursor changes to a different icon. So I'll click on that and now you'll see the camera is attached to the path, and if I rewind and play that back, you'll see the camera is orbiting around the object.

And if I look in the Camera viewport, play that back, you'll see we're getting a turntable. So all I need to do now is move that path and possibly move the target as well. So I have got my circular path and I'll just move that upward. The camera is constrained to the path. And I also want to move the camera target up to, so I can go over here to my Ortho View, grab that target and move that up. And I'll also probably want to change my field-of-view here, so I can go into my Camera View, right-click on that and use my Field-Of-View control to zoom out a little bit, and play back, and I've got a turntable animation.

Now how cool is that? Super-easy! Path constraints are great for this sort of thing. So my camera is just spinning around and around and around. Because this is a procedural circle, I can actually go to the Modify panel and select my Select Object tool, grab the circle, and I can change the radius too. So I can maybe move the camera further out and then use my Field-Of-View tool. Once again going back to the camera.

Zooming in a little bit, remembering that I always want to have Safeframes enabled. Shift+F to visualize my Safeframes and frame that up and play it back. Maybe zoom back out again, and I've got a Path constraint, and it's working great. If I want to change the speed of the motion, all I have to do is select the constrained object, so in this case it's the camera. So I'll select that camera, and you'll see there's a keyframe here and here, and this is distance along the path in percentages.

So this is 0% along the path at Frame 0 and 100% along the path at Frame 100. So if I wanted this to go more slowly, I go to my Time Configuration, increase the number of frames, let's say 300 frames, which is 10 seconds, say OK, and just move this second keyframe down to the end. So it will be 100% along the path at Frame 300. Going back and playing that back, and now I've got a nice slow turntable. So that's just one simple example of the utility of using constraints.

There are many, many examples and if you get into rigging characters, you will do a lot of constraints, but this is a simple Path constraint.

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