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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 have done a first pass of my animation, but I really want to fine-tune this, and as I said, I can't really distinguish which keyframes are which if I select multiple objects and look in the Timeline, so that's when the dope sheet comes in handy. So I am going to the Graph Editors > Track View - Dope Sheet, and I will expand this window a little bit. If I select an object, I'll see its keyframes. So I can select all three of these animated objects and I can see their keyframes here.
Turntable, Shoulder and Elbow, and I can zoom in on this a little bit with my Zoom Region tool. I know that these are all Rotation keys but if I wanted to, I could drill down into here and look at these. So you got Transform, Rotation, and you'll see that it's created keyframes for x, y and z. I'm going to have to leave those alone for now, but if I really wanted to, I could go ahead and delete them to make things simpler, but I don't have to because I can treat all of the Rotation keys as the single unit by just moving them in the Rotation channel.
So if I use my Move Keys tool, I can select here and you will see that selected all of the Rotation keys. If I select up here at the Transform level, that will select all of the Transform keys. In this case, I only have Rotation keys, so either way is fine. So what I would like to do here is just change the timing of this a little bit. So let's say I want this movement here to happen more quickly. I can select these keys with the Move Keys tool and move them earlier in time, and that's going to create a gap in the motion here. Play that back.
So it's going to think about it for a second and then tilt down. Okay and what I really want to happen here actually is instead of these two parts moving one at a time, let's say I want them synchronized. So I will figure out what's going on here, so this is my Shoulder and Elbow and you will see these are the Shoulder keyframes and these are the Elbow keyframes. So if I want this to move synchronously, I can move the keys around. So I will take this Elbow key and move it so that it's lined up with that Shoulder key, and I can line this one up as well.
Again, I am moving all of the keyframes on that object all at once. Rewind, play it back, so you can go over and then they're both going to animate at once. So that's kind of a neat effect. As you can see here, it's kind of a cool robotic effect, okay. Also, in the Dope Sheet I can stretch time. So that's the cool thing that I can do. I go about to my Dope Sheet and scroll up to the top and what I want to do is I want to turn on an option that's going to allow me to animate all the keys in the World all at once, and that's what this is up here. Modify Child Keys.
If I turn that on then I am going to see up at the top here in this World row. These are all of the keys in my whole world. So I can grab these and do things to them, like I can use the Move Keys tool and shift that all down or whatnot, make it happen later, or I can hit Ctrl+Z to move that back, but I can also go into a completely different mode within the Dope Sheet that will let me treat these keyframes as sort of an entire range.
So that's called Range Edit mode or Edit Ranges mode. So I can activate that mode and now what I am seeing here are these lines that indicate this whole range of keyframes. And if I am going to stretch time out, I can just drag this out in the World then I am moving all the keyframes in the World. I am actually stretching time for my entire World. So that's pretty cool. So let me zoom out here with the Zoom Horizontal and if I wanted this to go much more slowly, to take 8 seconds, I'll drag that range bar out for all the keys in the World.
So again, I've got to have Modified Child Keys turned on, and I have got Edit Ranges turned on. Rewind and it's doing that same motion. It's just taking a lot longer to do it. Okay, going back up to my Track view, I could play around with different things. So if I scroll down here, you can see I have got my robotShoulder and robotElbow. I can actually move those to an earlier point in time, so that there is not so much of a long wait there.
So I can drag these guys out. I have actually selected both of them by clicking on those and I'll move those down. So I will play that back. There is not as much of a gap there. I will go back into my Track view, back into Edit Keys mode and then for the Shoulder and the Elbow, maybe I will move those keyframes even earlier. So -- oops! I've selected all of them, so Ctrl+Z to undo. I just want to move these and rewind.
Okay, so that's not the most exciting animation. I could probably make this go faster. So I will go back into Edit Ranges and speed it back up again, give it only four seconds. And by the way, by default, 3ds Max is actually going to snap those keyframes to whole number frames and that's shown here, Snap Frames. So that when you scale time or you move keys around, they won't end up on fractions between frames.
Finally, if I wanted to fine-tune this a little bit more, let's say I wanted to have a more robotic type of movement here. I might decide to go into the Graph Editors > Curve Editor and play around with these curves. Let me expand this out a little bit. So I have got all of those three objects currently selected. So I am seeing all of their keyframes. So for a truly robotic movement, if I wanted to make it just linear, I could select all the keys and then choose linear, Set Tangents to Linear.
Rewind and this is going to be a more sudden stop, sudden start, so that it's not quite so smooth. So there is no ease in and ease out. So it's a very simple starting example of animating a hierarchy.
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