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Reviewing the simulation with an animation sequence

From: Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

Video: Reviewing the simulation with an animation sequence

Although we have now baked our MassFX simulation down to standard 3ds Max animation keyframes, there is still another step we need to take before we can be certain that we're reviewing the motion completely accurately. As with a live simulation, animation playback in our 3D application's viewport is dependent on both power and setup of the hardware and software we're using. For this reason, it will always be safest if we review our motion after having rendered out a preview animation. In 3ds Max, this is just a fast way of capturing animation playback using viewport settings.

Reviewing the simulation with an animation sequence

Although we have now baked our MassFX simulation down to standard 3ds Max animation keyframes, there is still another step we need to take before we can be certain that we're reviewing the motion completely accurately. As with a live simulation, animation playback in our 3D application's viewport is dependent on both power and setup of the hardware and software we're using. For this reason, it will always be safest if we review our motion after having rendered out a preview animation. In 3ds Max, this is just a fast way of capturing animation playback using viewport settings.

The brilliant thing here is that we can match our final frames-per-second output requirements without getting anywhere near the time needed to create a final render. Rendering out an animated sequence file, or preview as it used to be called in 3ds Max, is very easy in the 2013 version. All we need to do is come up to the Tools menu, come down to Grab Viewport, and from the flyout, choose Create Animated Sequence File. Now, something worth noting here is that along with changing the name of this function in more recent 3ds Max versions, this tool has also moved around in the menu system quite a bit, so you may need to do a little bit of searching around before you come across it, if you're not using 3ds Max 2013 with the subscription update as we are.

Getting back to our menu option, when we click on this, we get a dialog that opens up, offering a variety of options for customizing the preview file that we will be creating. Again, complexity of the scene, length of the sequence being rendered, processing power and RAM available to us, all of these things will need to be weighed out carefully and will influence the options we choose here. In this particular instance, we're just going to make a couple of tweaks to the default settings. In the Frame Rate options, we want to set 24 as our frames-per-second playback rate.

This of course matches the frames- per-second setting for our scene. For our Image Size, I'm just going to leave this set at the maximum value available to me at this moment, which is 65% of my current 1280 x 720 render output settings. We also have the option of choosing the visual style we want to render in. If we just access this dropdown, you can see the options here correspond exactly to the viewport styles available to us in 3ds Max. In fact, when we set this up, that's what we're doing: we're telling the Render options to use this particular 3ds Max viewport style to create the render in.

Realistic of course is the highest quality setting. That is what we're going to be using here, but more often than not it will also be the slowest to render, so just keep that in mind. In the Output area, I want to make certain we're rendering as an AVI. I want to set my Codec to Microsoft Video 1, at 100% quality. This is just a nice safe codec to use for a preview animation. With the options set up, we can hit the Create button and 3ds Max will now work away on our preview video.

One other interesting snippet of information here is that unlike some of earlier versions of Max, whilst a preview animation is being created these days, it is indeed fine for us to pull up other application windows to work in. In the days when Max used to essentially just do a sequential screen grab of the viewport this really was a big no-no, unless of course you wanted to capture a video of your Word document or email client. As we say though, that isn't a problem these days. As soon as the preview is completed, 3ds Max will open up our AVI file in our default media player.

What we can do now is carefully review the motion that we've created. Straight away, we can see that there is quite a difference in the timing of our motion here as compared to what we were seeing inside our live simulation. One thing that immediately strikes me is that the pauses or gaps between the individual launches of spheres are really nowhere near long enough. This seems a little bit too rapid-fire. Now, this would be something that I would most definitely want to go back and alter.

Doing that of course would be a simple matter using the Unbake All function in MassFX and then going and adding a little more spacing between the groups of keys for our animated discs. One other anomaly that strikes me in this preview is the motion of the single can that ends up on the right-hand edge of our stand. In fact, if we just close our animation preview and then just scrub the timeline and keep an eye on that particular can in the viewport, we can see that its motion does seem to be a little bit confusing.

It does seem to do some odd things, getting a little mixed up with other motion inside of the simulation. And I'm not really too keen on how that is looking, or the position that it ends up in. Thankfully, applying a quick fix to this is a very simple thing to do in 3ds Max, by means of animation layers. So, let's move into our next video and see how we can do just that.

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This video is part of

Image for Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max
Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

51 video lessons · 2494 viewers

Brian Bradley
Author

 
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  1. 3m 27s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Working with the exercise files
      46s
    3. Setting up the 3ds Max project structure
      1m 43s
  2. 39m 20s
    1. Why simulate and not animate?
      3m 38s
    2. A look at gravity and drag
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding volume, mass, and density
      3m 45s
    4. What are Newton's laws of motion?
      3m 20s
    5. Finding believable frames per second and substeps
      3m 5s
    6. Understanding the difference between rigid and soft bodies
      3m 28s
    7. More about rigid body types
      3m 32s
    8. How collisions are calculated
      4m 35s
    9. Learning the difference between concave and convex meshes
      6m 24s
    10. What is a constraint and how do we use it?
      3m 38s
  3. 24m 20s
    1. A look at the MassFX and the 3ds Max user interfaces
      5m 52s
    2. Exploring the MassFX workflow
      5m 14s
    3. Discovering ground collision and gravity
      4m 49s
    4. Adjusting substeps and solver iterations
      3m 43s
    5. Using the Multi-Editor and the MassFX Visualizer
      4m 42s
  4. 44m 11s
    1. Breaking down the shot
      4m 51s
    2. Setting up the launchers
      3m 59s
    3. Setting up the drop system
      4m 30s
    4. Prepping the cans
      3m 33s
    5. Refining the simulation on the launchers
      5m 9s
    6. Refining the simulation on the colliders
      6m 5s
    7. Baking out the simulation for rendering
      5m 37s
    8. Reviewing the simulation with an animation sequence
      5m 3s
    9. Adding an animation override
      5m 24s
  5. 33m 32s
    1. Adding a rigid constraint and creating breakability
      8m 3s
    2. Creating a moving target with the Slide constraint
      4m 47s
    3. Creating springy targets with the Hinge constraint
      5m 59s
    4. Spinning targets using the Twist constraint
      4m 57s
    5. Creating crazy targets with the Ball & Socket constraint
      4m 58s
    6. Constructing a MassFX Ragdoll
      4m 48s
  6. 36m 51s
    1. Applying the mCloth modifier and pinning the hammock
      5m 55s
    2. Setting up the hammock's physical properties
      5m 39s
    3. Working with the mCloth interaction controls
      6m 14s
    4. Attaching the hammock to animated objects
      4m 5s
    5. Putting a rip in mCloth
      6m 14s
    6. Using mCloth to create a rope object
      4m 53s
    7. Creating a soft body object
      3m 51s
  7. 14m 47s
    1. Adding forces to a simulation
      5m 27s
    2. Putting forces to practical use
      5m 33s
    3. Using forces with mCloth
      3m 47s
  8. 35m 27s
    1. Walking through mParticles
      4m 38s
    2. Using fracture geometry
      6m 0s
    3. Creating breakable glue: Part 1
      4m 19s
    4. Creating breakable glue: Part 2
      5m 19s
    5. Creating a gloopy fluid: Part 1
      4m 14s
    6. Creating a gloopy fluid: Part 2
      4m 41s
    7. Adding forces to mParticles
      6m 16s
  9. 1m 5s
    1. What's next?
      1m 5s

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