Choose the Active Time Segment.
- [Narrator] Opening the chapter on keyframe animation, we'll begin by checking out the time configuration for 3DS Max. And that is a button at the very bottom of the main window, and it's next to all of the transport controls for the time slider here. It's a little clock with a gear next to it. Time configuration. Click that to open it. And here's where we can set up our frame rate, the length of our timeline, and so on. In the upper left is frame rate.
And it's got some acronyms here: NTSC and PAL, and also a button labeled film. I recommend that you stay away from these buttons and just go directly to the custom button and plug in your frame rate here. And that is because these labels can be a bit misleading or ambiguous. For example, NTSC, if I select that, actually runs at 30 frames per second in 3DS Max, but the real standard, the National Television Standards Committee analog TV standard, was not 30 frames per second for color TV, it was 29.97 frames per second.
So this is slightly misleading or inaccurate, because 3DS Max currently does not support fractional frame rates like 29.97 frames per second. It only supports whole-number frame rates. But the good news is that you can switch between different frame rates using this custom and this input field here. You can change the frame rate without changing the length of the animation. If I want to go for a European standard, I would put in 25 frames per second. And when I press enter, watch what happens down here.
The values changed, and also our timeline changed. It went from being 100 frames to 83 frames. So what happened was 3DS Max resampled that segment of time at 25 frames per second instead of 30. I'm going to put it back to 30. And the mechanism that allows you to do this is the fact that 3DS Max subdivides time into elements known as ticks, and a tick is one 48/100th of a second.
And that's the time base or resolution internally, and that allows us to switch the frame rate without changing the total time. Alright, moving on, we have the playback section. There are only a couple of things I want to point out here. First is the real time option. It's enabled by default, and we want to leave it enabled, so that 3DS Max will play back at the current frame rate. Then we have the active viewport only switch. I like to turn that off, and when that's off, all of the viewports will update when we play an animation.
And the only reason we would want this on is if we had a very heavy scene that should only update in one viewport. We can also turn looping off if we want, but I'm going to leave it on for now. Then we come to the animation range or the current time range, and this is a little bit confusing. The first thing that's unorthodox here is that the start time is frame zero. So in 3DS Max, frame zero is a thing. Now in some programs, animation always starts from frame one.
But 3DS Max starts from frame zero. And you can use that especially if you're working in a video production environment. If you wish to view the timeline with seconds and frames, then this start time of frame zero starts to make sense. I can go up here to time display and switch it over to SMPTE, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and we get time code. And now our start time is on the time code of zero. And let's say we wanted five seconds of animation.
Then we could put in here an end time of five seconds and zero frames. Just type in a zero and press enter. And now what we have here is five seconds of animation, plus one frame, because we're stopping on the first frame of second number five, and we're actually going to include that within our clip. And we can see over here we have frame counters telling us that our duration is five seconds and one frame.
This length field up here, I would completely block that out of your mind and pretend it doesn't exist, because it makes no sense. It's merely the end time minus the start time, but it's telling us a wrong result, that we only have five seconds and zero frames, when in fact we actually have an extra frame here. If I wanted exactly five seconds of animation, I could either start on frame one, like this, and now I have five seconds of animation, or I could use SMPTE conventions, and I could start on frame zero and run until frame four seconds and 29 frames.
In fact, I could use the little arrows here to do that. So I could move that around. Let's go to five. This is a little bit easier to see what's going on. I'll just use the spinner and click the down arrow once, and I go to 429 instead of just typing it in. So there you go. This would correspond to a video editing situation in which we wanted our next cut to begin at exactly five seconds and zero frames, and we only render up to frame 429.
Okay, so that's all if you want to use SMPTE. If you want to use just ordinary frames, of course you can do that. Go back to frames. And now my last frame is frame 149, but we have a total of 150 frames of animation. Alright, so that is the time configuration dialogue. If we want to change the length of the timeline, we have to come back into this dialogue. There is currently no way to do that interactively in the main window.
AuthorAaron F. Ross
Learn how to get around the 3ds Max interface and customize it to suit your preferences. Discover how to model different objects using splines, polygons, subdivision surfaces, and freeform sculpting. Then, learn to construct hierarchies, add cameras and lights, and animate with keyframes. Author Aaron F. Ross also takes an in-depth look at materials and texture mapping, as well as options for rendering engines such as Arnold and ART.
- Customizing the interface
- Selecting, duplicating, and editing objects
- Modeling with splines
- Parametric modeling with the Modifier Stack
- Polygon and subdivision surface modeling
- Freeform sculpting
- Framing shots with cameras
- Lighting with photometrics and daylight
- Building materials
- Mapping textures
- Linking objects in hierarchies
- Creating and editing keyframes
- Rendering an image sequence
Skill Level Appropriate for all
3ds Max 2018 Essential Trainingwith Aaron F. Ross10h 10m Beginner
3ds Max: Advanced Lighting (2017)with Aaron F. Ross2h 52m Advanced
3ds Max: Advanced Materials (2017)with Aaron F. Ross2h 34m Intermediate
2. 3ds Max Interface
3. Scene Layout
4. Spline Modeling
5. Parametric Modeling with Modifiers
6. Polygon Modeling
7. Subdivision Surface Modeling
8. Freeform Modeling
9. Camera Techniques
12. Mapping Textures
14. Keyframe Animation
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