Join Brian Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding controllers, part of Animating in 3ds Max: Constraints, Controllers, and Wire Parameters.
- The very first set of 3ds Max animation tools that we will look at in this course are controllers. Now, we won't have anywhere near enough time here to cover all of the available controllers in Max, but what we will do is look at putting some of the most commonly used and versatile options to work in some easy to understand scenarios. Probably the best thing we can do right at the start of this chapter though is to first of all define just what controllers are in 3ds Max and understand at least the basics of the functions that they provide, after which we will be ready to move on putting controls to work.
One of the great strengths of 3ds Max then, and one of the most oft repeated marketing points, particularly from its early days, was the fact that pretty much everything in the software could, indeed can, be animated. A feature that owes its existence to a very special set of 3ds Max plug ins that are called, you guessed it, controllers. In fact, many animatable parameters in Max don't actually have an animation controller applied until they are animated. So as soon as we change an animatable parameter at a frame other than zero, 3ds Max goes ahead and assigns a default animation controller to the parameter in question in order to store and interpolate the animation data that is being created.
Now there are in actuality two main types, or categories of controllers that can be used. So we have single parameter controllers, ones that, naturally enough, control the animation of a single parameter. And then we have compound controllers. That is ones that can combine or manage multiple controllers and or parameters all at the same time. Now a single parameter controller, regardless of whether or not the parameter being animated has a single component, such as the number of sides of a cylinder, or multiple components such as the R, G, and B values of a color, the controller handles just one of those parameters.
Where as compound controllers can handle multiple parameters and may also include high level transform controllers, with these always appearing in the hierarchy as an icon with sub level branches. Now although Max has these different types of controllers available, much of the animation that we create will probably be handled by a Bezier controller, which interpolates between key frames in a smooth curve. The default controller for rotation in Max is Euler XYZ, which breaks the rotation into three individual Bezier float tracks.
The default controller for position is position XYZ, which is also subdivided into three Bezier float tracks. And the default scale controller is Bezier scale, which is comparable to Bezier float. With an idea in mind of what controllers are and what they do then, let's move on to taking a look at how we can access and work with them from inside the 3ds Max UI.
- Reviewing the importance of pivot points in animation
- Accessing and working with controllers in the UI
- Creating reaction animations
- LookAT controllers
- Wire parameters