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Working in the dope sheet


3ds Max 2011 Essential Training

with Aaron F. Ross

Video: Working in the dope sheet

As we saw earlier, you can edit keyframes in a basic fashion by moving them around in the Timeline, but you will find that that's got some limitations. For example, if you have got multiple keyframes stacked at the same point in time, you can't deal with them separately in the Timeline, so it's all or nothing. So if I wanted to, for example, edit my Position Key without editing my Rotation Key, I would need to open up another panel to do that. And one of the panels that you can do that in is called the Dope Sheet.
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  1. 3m 19s
    1. Welcome
    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
    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

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Watch the Online Video Course 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
3D + Animation
3ds Max
Aaron F. Ross

Working in the dope sheet

As we saw earlier, you can edit keyframes in a basic fashion by moving them around in the Timeline, but you will find that that's got some limitations. For example, if you have got multiple keyframes stacked at the same point in time, you can't deal with them separately in the Timeline, so it's all or nothing. So if I wanted to, for example, edit my Position Key without editing my Rotation Key, I would need to open up another panel to do that. And one of the panels that you can do that in is called the Dope Sheet.

So I will go up here into my menus. I am looking for Graph Editors, and Track View - Dope Sheet. Go ahead and launch that. I have got my logo selected, so that the Dope Sheet will show the keyframes for the selected object, which is currently called Text001. So I will scroll down here a little bit. I can zoom in, too. I have got a Zoom tool so we just zoom in on the relevant area. So in the Dope Sheet, we are seeing all the keyframes, but we are able to view them separately.

The word Dope Sheet, by the way, comes from traditional animation. It's sometimes known as an exposure sheet or an X-sheet, and it's basically just a spreadsheet that lists every single frame in the animation and what's happening on that frame. It's used for doing things like lip synchronization. So you write out every letter of your sentence on each frame. So the word Dope Sheet comes from that tradition. In computer animation, the Dope Sheet is usually a way of organizing keyframes hierarchically.

So to see this better, I can expand the Text001 object. And what do I see here? I see Transform and I see Modified Object, and if I continue to open this up, under Transform, I am now seeing Position and Rotation. And if I open up this Modified Object, you will see Stretch has got some boxes on it. I will continue opening this up, and under Stretch, you will see the Stretch Parameter has got keys. So what all is going on in here? Well, most of these little boxes you will see here are little open rectangles, and that's an indicator of something that 3ds Max actually calls a fake key, because this is not actually a keyframe at all. What it really is a way for you to select other keyframes.

So over here in the Dope Sheet I have got a Move Keys tool, and I can click on that. If I select one of the Position Keys here and drag it, you will see I am able to move that without moving the Rotation Keys. Notice also that these so-called fake keys up here are moving along as well. I can continue to open up this hierarchy, or this tree here, to see that I have got keys actually in Position for X, Y, and Z. And if I open up Rotation, you will see I have also got keyframes for X, Y, and Z.

Well, 3ds Max has the Key Filters which allow me to determine whether I am going to keyframe a particular Transform or not, but it actually doesn't give me the ability to say, oh, I only want to Key the X Position right now and not the Y or Z Position. So I end up with actually more information than I really need. So I can use the Dope Sheet to kind of clean things up. So if I look at my scene here, I have got, X is the Translation Transform, so Position is moving in X and not in Y or Z. So I can kind of clean this up a little bit by just kind of erasing the unnecessary keyframes.

So X is the only one I care about. So I can drag a selection rectangle around Y and Z and press the Delete key on my keyboard, and there. I have deleted that excess information, and I didn't erase my animation, because in fact, Y and Z were never animated to begin with. Rotation, I want to investigate this as well. It looks like it's X rotation as well. So I can click this button to zoom out, and I don't need these Y and Z Rotation Keys either, so I can select those and press Delete.

And I have just kind of cleaned things up a little bit. Cool! So let me zoom back in to just that area, and scrolling down, and you will see I have got all these Stretch Keys as well. So I can shift those around too if I wish. So I can grab my Move Keys tool, and let's say I want that Stretch to happen earlier or later. I can just select and drag and move those around. So let's see what I have got now.

Rewind and play back. So now the Squash and Stretch effect is happening earlier. Go back to my Dope Sheet, grab those Stretch Keys and maybe move them down later. Rewind, play that back, and see what I have got. Cool! So the Dope Sheet is very useful. In fact, in my final version, I am not really going to use that Squash and Stretch effect, so in fact, I am actually going to delete all those keyframes.

That was just for demonstration purposes. So I want to be careful here. I want to select these Stretch Keys only and Delete them. So be cautious here, because it's kind of confusing what's going on in here, because these are all lighting up, and this kind of leads you to the false conclusion that you have actually selected some of the keys in these other tracks, or these other channels here. So this is just the way that the interface is constructed, that when you select a keyframe here, it's also lighting up in these other sort of categories.

You will notice that some of these tracks here are in a darker background here, and that's basically a hierarchical category of keyframe selection. These tracks that are in a lighter gray, these are actually truly animated tracks. So when I select a keyframe here at Stretch, it's also lighting up here to indicate, okay. I have selected the keyframe that's in the Stretch Modifier. It's also in this Modified Object. It's also at the very top level of the object proper.

So again, this just kind of takes a little bit of getting used to. You will get accustomed to it after a little bit of working with it. I press the Delete key now. I have deleted those Stretch keys. Now, here's another one here. So now all I am left with actually are a grand total of four keyframes now. I have got two Position Keys and two Rotation Keys, and then all of these up here are merely fake keys that indicate that I have got something somewhere lower in this track hierarchy.

Additionally, by the way, if I click on one of these, if it's higher up in the food chain, as it were, then all of the keyframes are going to be selected down there. But if I click here down, kind of low in the hierarchy, then you will notice that they are all lighting up, except for this Position Key. So this is an indicator that I have got some key selected in Text001. I have got some key selected in Transform. I have got some key selected in Rotation, and it turns out that it's X rotation.

So that's the Dope Sheet. There's a lot more to it. You can also work in different modes, but this is the basic, which is called Edit Keys mode.

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