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Understanding reference coordinate systems

From: 3ds Max 2011 Essential Training

Video: Understanding reference coordinate systems

Another key concept around hierarchies in animation is the idea of a reference coordinate system. In 3-D you know that you have a grid that has an X-direction or Y-direction and Z-direction. So that is a reference coordinate system, and it's called the World coordinate system. And so, for example, if I grab a Move tool, select an object and move it, I am moving it relative to the World axis. And you can even see that my Move tool is aligned with the axis of the World.

Understanding reference coordinate systems

Another key concept around hierarchies in animation is the idea of a reference coordinate system. In 3-D you know that you have a grid that has an X-direction or Y-direction and Z-direction. So that is a reference coordinate system, and it's called the World coordinate system. And so, for example, if I grab a Move tool, select an object and move it, I am moving it relative to the World axis. And you can even see that my Move tool is aligned with the axis of the World.

And by the way the current orientation of the World axes is indicated in the lower left-hand corner of each viewport. So that's the World coordinate system. And it's very useful for moving objects around. But 3-D has multiple coordinate systems in it. So when you move or rotate an object you can choose different points of reference around which you can transform that object. So, for example, with rotations, let's say I choose the Rotate tool and I grab this turntable and rotate that around.

You can turn that in some direction. And let's say I want to select the shoulder object. And let's say I want to turn it so that it's going to face downward. Well, if you look closely here now you'll see that my Rotate gizmo is still aligned with the World. Okay, so I am going to my Top view, Alt+W. And let me zoom out a little bit here, and we'll hit G so we can see the grid. What you'll see here is that the Rotate gizmo is still aligned with the World.

And because of that I won't be able to make this thing bend down the way that want it to. Get a little bit closer here. And what I want is for to rotate directly in a diagonal here. Well, it's going in this weird kind of strange, funny direction. I'm not able to make it turn straight the way that I want it to. The Rotate gizmo is aligned with the World, but my object is not. What I want to do here is I want to rotate the object relative to its own Reference coordinate system.

So in other words, I want to rotate it in the space of the object, rather than in the space of the World. So that's where different reference coordinates systems come in. On your main toolbar, right next to the Transform tools you will see a pulldown list that normally says View by default. And that's where I choose the reference coordinate system. And by the way, the reference coordinate system is sticky for each one of the transforms. So if I choose a different reference coordinate system for rotate, that won't change my setting for the Move tool.

So what I want here in this case for animating rotations is the Local coordinate system. So Local coordinates are in the space of the object. So I'll choose Local, and you'll now see that my Rotate gizmo is oriented with the object, not with the World axes. And with my Rotate tool in Local coordinates, I can predictably control the rotations here without having any unpleasant surprises. So I can, for example, select this wrist object here and have that twist around correctly.

I'll undo that, whereas if I was in the default View coordinate system there's no way I could even do that at all. It's just going to do crazy stuff. So almost always when you're animating rotations, you are almost always going to be in Local coordinate system. And now we are back to having the control that we need. So there are several different coordinate systems here. The main ones that you'll work with are View, World and Local. I just want to mention quickly what these are.

If I go over to the Move tool, you'll notice it switches back to View. What is the View coordinate system? Well, essentially View coordinate system is the space of the viewport itself. So you'll see in the Top view my Move gizmo is showing Y pointing upward and X pointing to the right. And we're seeing the same thing down here, which is an indicator of the absolute space of the World. So in this case in the Top view it just so happens that the View coordinate system and the World coordinate system are identical.

But if I go to the Left view here, you'll see that X is pointing to the right and Y is pointing up, but we are having a completely different result than in the World coordinate. So in other words World coordinates are absolute and View coordinates are relative to whatever view you are in. So I then go over to my Front view, I can press the Z key to zoom in. You'll see once again in the Front view, X is always pointing to the right. Y is always pointing upward in the View coordinate system. But that doesn't necessarily line up with the World coordinates.

So essentially the View coordinate system operates in screen space, except if you're in Perspective view. So if you're in a Perspective view, and you've chosen View coordinates, then it's operating in World coordinates. I can choose World coordinates, and now in all views, if I right-click on any one of these views and select my object, you'll see that the Transform gizmo is always aligned with the World coordinates as seen in the lower left-hand corner.

So in general, when moving objects, you're typically using the View coordinate system or maybe the World coordinates, but when rotating, you are almost always going to use Local coordinates.

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3ds Max 2011 Essential Training

150 video lessons · 14969 viewers

Aaron F. Ross
Author

 
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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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