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Old 04-17-2004, 09:28 PM   #1
RightField
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Default 3DSM 5 Simple animation tutorial

What is needed for this tutorial is 3ds max 5 and nothing more really except for Republicolas MDX exporter since it's hadny for converting to the right controllers and saves you from trouble, it can be found here. Since this tutorial is only about the animation part in 3ds Max so you should know the rest from other tutorials.

First start up Max and start off with a clean tutorial scene. Make robo snowman thingy of spheres, boxes and a cone. This will only be used as a tutorial model of course. If you can't, then here is mine: TutorialSnowman.max. Note, textures are not included.

After skinning mine it turned out something like this:
Zoom (requires log in)

Now it is time to start the fun. First make a box in the center of the lowest ball and name it bonemain. This will be.. The Main bone! All bones need to have a name starting with bone. You will be using this one to move the whole shit when you need to. It should look something like this in the left view:
Zoom (requires log in)
Now let's connect the lower ball to the bone. To do this press the linkbutton:
Zoom (requires log in)
and then select the lower ball and click and drag so it forms a line over to the bone, then release. If the bone "blinks" after you do this it means you did it correctly. If not then do it again. Now just to check it works you can move the bone around and see if the ball follows. If it does then you're a good lad and you get a cookie from the box. Now make another bone with the name bonetorso or something then connect the backpack and middle ball to it. (Just select both object and drag and drop as useal). Now link the torso bone to the main bone. It should look something like this now:
Zoom (requires log in)
Now make two more bones. One for the left gun and one for the right. Then connect the the fitting gun to the fitting bone. It should look like this or something from the top view:
Zoom (requires log in)
Then connect the "flares" to the arm bones. Like the left to the left and right to the right. Now connect both those arm bones to the torso bone. Now make a bone for the head which you connect the head and nose to. Then connect that bone to the torso bone.

Now there are several animation methods that exists. Warcraft 3 uses the keyframe animation method. Also Wc3 doesn't support float key controllers so do this first. Go to the utilities tab and press max script. Then press run and select republicolas MDXexport, then press the rolldown menu and select the MDX/MDL export to rollout the menu:
Zoom (requires log in)
Now select ALL of your bones. H is a nice hotkey for selecting stuff, just make sure you've switched back to move mode instead of link mode. After selecting all bones press the Configure Controllers button in the rollout.
Zoom (requires log in)
Now your controllers should be alright. Now go and open up the User Property Editor from the ultilities More... button. And set all the selected bones as bones.

Now grats! You're just through part one. It's rigged! Now it's time to ANIMATE IT!

When we animate in max we use the Auto key button and the timeline: Click image for larger version

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Now the first I do when I start making one animation is that I plan how long it should be, and set the start and end keyframes for that animation. Now we're gonna make the stand animation which will start at 0 and end at 100. So to plan out this for the stage when you're gonna export it go to the Graph Editors menu and select Track View - Dope Sheet:
Zoom (requires log in)
You should get something like this:
Zoom (requires log in)
Now press objects as you see I have highlighted on the picture above. Then press tracks->Note Track>Add
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Now double click objects to get fourth the Track marked with the name Notes. Now press the add keys button: Click image for larger version

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Now add a key at 0 like this:
Zoom (requires log in)
and right click it so you get a window which you write the name of the animation which here, is "Stand"
Zoom (requires log in)
Now add another key at 100, right click it and write "Stand" on this one as well. You should now have a opening and a closeure note key and we can get on with the animation. before you close the dope sheet editor select the bonemain from the list and from the same place you added a note track add a visibility track to it. I'll explain why you need it later. Now close the dope sheet window and select all the bones you got in the scene again. Press the Auto Key button and make sure this time thingy:
Zoom (requires log in)
is at zero. Now press the button with a picture of a key which is left to the auto key button. Then move the time thingy to 100 and press Key again. Now you have made sure that the bones move back to their original position automaticly when you animate so you don't have to worry about animation sequences doesn't match each other. Now let's animate! Select the main bone and with the time thingy at 10 and the auto key button activated move the bone a bit up and press the key button. Now move the time thingy to 20 and move the bone down again and press the key button again. Now select these two keys and copy them forward by holding shift while dragging. Drop them so the one that was on 10 is on 30. Then repeat this 3 times forwards then for the fourth time just copy the one on 10 to 90. You should now have a simple bouncing animation and your time line should look something like this:

Click to view: Click image for larger version

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Now put a key between all the other keys to smooth the animation out or it'll get choppy. Ohh funky isn't it? You've just animated something! Now let's make it more complex! Select both flares and open up the material editor. Then activate auto key. Now for the material the flares are using, set its opacity to zero:
Zoom (requires log in)
Then move the time thingy to 50 and with the auto key still on, set the opacity to 100. Now move the time thingy to 100 and set opacity to zero again. Now Wc3 will just turn the opacity of these flares on and off to hasty so we want it gradual. To do this just add some extra keys in between. Set time to 25 and set opacity to 50. Now just press increase the opacity once and then decrease it again untill the thing around is red, this is to make sure that the key is set so move time to 75 and set it to 50 again, and do the same up and down stuff again. Now here's the funny part. Open up the Dope Sheet editor again. Now with the material and box still selected you should automaticly get directed to the flare and so on. So just scroll up it's material so you get something like this:
Zoom (requires log in)
Now select the track that says Opacity. Now press controllers->out of range types:
Zoom (requires log in)
Select cycle and press ok:
Zoom (requires log in)

Now what the hell did I do? You might think. Well you just set the flare pulsating animation as a global pulsating one, which means that the flares will pulsate indepentent of whatever sequence played. Now open up the warcraft 3 previewer and view your work! You should see a snowman bouncing up and down with some glowing flares!

That's one more cookie for you, Now let's make another sequence!

Now as you may have noticed, there is no room for more keys on your timeline. So let's expand it! Press the time configuration button:
Zoom (requires log in)
And set end time to 300 instead of 100. Then press ok. Now set up another animation starting at 150 and ending at 250 and go to the dopesheet editor and make a two notes for it, one on 150 and one on 250, both named "Stand -2". You should now know how to do this, so I shouldn't have to explain it. Now activate the auto key button and take the middle torso and rotate it around some degrees so it looks like he's looking from one side to another. Use your fantasy! Animating is simply just moving stuff around! Just remember to put some keys in the middle of others to smooth out the animation. Now you might want to keep the same up and down jumping as in the first animation, so simply select all the keys from 0-100 and shift drag them on top of the second sequences ones. This way it keeps the same jumping and the animation will look like a variation of the original stand one.When you're done with that animation you can view it with the warcraft 3 previewer and press + to view the next animation.

You're starting to get the hang of it ehh? Now do a simple walk animation. Expand the timeline if you have to, although the walk animation doesn't nessecarily have to be so long. Also here's something new. For the notetrack note which now should have the name "Walk" you can add another thing to make it easier to view in the previewer. Press return and write movespeed 270 under where it says walk. This way the grid will move in the previewer when you preview the animation, making it easier for you to figure out the fitting walkspeed of the unit. Now make animate it! Make something where he jumps incredibly high or something, then falls down again. So he kinda bumps forward. To see how i animated mine check out the link to the finished model in the end of this tutorial. Now you should make an attack anim. You should know how to do all of this by now so i shouldn't have to explain it. Experiment is the key to success. You just need a bit of training. Attack anims should be named "Attack" and in the note key there should be written nonlooping to keep the attack animation from looping. You can make a "Stand Ready" animation which wc3 will view between each attack instead of the stand anim but I won't. You can also have several attack animations if you like. They should be named "Attack -2" "Attack -3" and so on. You can also make a "Spell" animation. This should also be nonlooping as the attack animation.

Now it's time to kill our poor snowman. So make a "Death" animation. It shouldn't be too long and it should be nonlooping. Also remember here that the animation isn't supposed to return to it's normal position so only set a keyframe at the start of it. Set the ending one AFTER you've animated the death anim, same goes for the decay anim. After making that one you can make a "Decay" animation. It should also be nonlooping. Now remember the Visibility Track i told you to add earlier? Well now you're gonna use it. open up the dopesheet editor and select the mainbone and open up the visibility track. Now add a note at the end of your animation and right click it. Then set the visibility to zero. This way your unit won't be displayed for ages of time. You can also make visibility tracks for other things such as normal objects if you're planning to do things like building animations.

Now you should be done! You can even export it correctly with some few clicks. Know that there is plenty more stuff that is animatable such as particles, ribbons etc. But now that you know the basics, the rest shouldn't be too hard should it? After all, most of the info about particles and such can be found in the reference help file that comes with the Art Tools. Hope this was helpful, although I am a bit too lazy to write it more complex. Look at the attachment for the "finished scene" with the model.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg snowman1.jpg (42.2 KB, 1297 views)
File Type: jpg snowman2.jpg (62.3 KB, 1032 views)
File Type: jpg snowman3.jpg (8.3 KB, 907 views)
File Type: jpg snowman4.jpg (49.8 KB, 948 views)
File Type: jpg snowman5.jpg (57.9 KB, 57 views)
File Type: jpg snowman6.jpg (88.8 KB, 974 views)
File Type: jpg snowman7.jpg (13.2 KB, 884 views)
File Type: jpg snowman9.jpg (39.0 KB, 928 views)
File Type: jpg snowman10.jpg (142.1 KB, 950 views)
File Type: jpg snowman11.jpg (19.8 KB, 891 views)
File Type: jpg snowman13.jpg (43.4 KB, 926 views)
File Type: jpg snowman14.jpg (23.2 KB, 917 views)
File Type: jpg snowman15.jpg (8.3 KB, 847 views)
File Type: jpg snowman17.jpg (24.9 KB, 880 views)
File Type: jpg snowman18.jpg (31.2 KB, 867 views)
File Type: jpg snowman19.jpg (36.0 KB, 844 views)
File Type: jpg snowman20.jpg (9.5 KB, 848 views)
File Type: jpg snowman21.jpg (35.0 KB, 990 views)
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Old 04-18-2004, 05:01 AM   #2
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When you animate with detached parts, they won't stick together. Resulting in gaps in the m0del. How do you fix it?


And for bliz particles, I've made many, but which part changes the direction it goes in. Not cone angle but the direction?

And how do you add where the missle comes out of?
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Old 04-18-2004, 08:43 AM   #3
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Select the geometry that is supposed to be connected and go into the user property editor (Where you marked the bones as bones) and then there under Mesh Properties there should be a button that is called Connect. Switch that on. Also the geometry that is going to be connected needs to have the vertices that is supposed to be connected on the exact same spot at frame 1.

And for the particles thing you must first press the auto key button and then rotate it and then set key (the big key button). Then it should work.
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Old 04-18-2004, 05:23 PM   #4
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Thanks! It worked.
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:30 AM   #5
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I finished the animation, but what is the path for the snowmans skins/model?
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Old 04-24-2004, 03:42 AM   #6
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I still dont get how to connect parts. I made a human model, and made bones for the legs, feet, guns, arms, hands, chest (main), and head. They all say they are connected in the user properties menu but the vertices arent connected,
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Old 05-02-2004, 03:39 PM   #7
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is this a similar process for gmax? cause i want to know how to do it there...it seems like its similar. if not, can you point me in the right direction?

ty....flames'
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Old 05-03-2004, 01:33 PM   #8
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No, Gmax can't use the Art Tools but it can use 'Dex. But it is very different with that exporter. With it you need to make bones and assign with skin modifier and stuff. There are plenty of tutorials on how to do this, use the powersearcher for tutorials on this site www.3dbuzz.com .

And BladeBezerker, for the vertices to be connected they need to be on the EXACT same spot on keyframe 1. Just select one vertex and copy the 3 numbers (X,Y and Z position) and paste on the other vertex. The number is found in the bottom. You might have to have the move tool on too, i don't know.
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Old 05-03-2004, 09:13 PM   #9
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Or simply use 3D-Snap (S).
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Old 05-04-2004, 08:26 AM   #10
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I still can't get it to work! I've uploaded the file so someone can have a look, but it just wont work. I'm using 3ds Max 5, not 5.1, will that make a difference? I really need help!
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Old 05-22-2004, 12:59 AM   #11
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Just connect. When ingame it'll fix it. In a Max Render, the gaps are still there, but not ingame.
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Old 06-20-2004, 05:08 PM   #12
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Ah, so you use code to make it move....
What language is it in, and can i get a guide to mdl coding somewhere?

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Old 07-03-2004, 06:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Now your controllers should be alright. Now go and open up the User Property Editor from the ultilities More... button. And set all the selected bones as bones.

Now grats! You're just through part one. It's rigged! Now it's time to ANIMATE IT!

When we animate in max we use the Auto key button and the timeline:

I cant find this option, im using 3DSMax 6 though, is this why? if so what do i do instead?
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Old 07-08-2004, 10:12 PM   #14
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mmm... i have done all the tutorial, but at the end, when i have finish all what i must do? only click on EXPORT as MDL ?? because dont work... i must select something? :(
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Old 07-23-2004, 11:08 PM   #15
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if i wanted to make a spell which is a projectile shaped as a disk which constantly spins, how would i set up the animation?

also...i wanted it to start out as a line (from the top view) nd when u first cast it it opens up by rotating around until it forms a chamfer cylinder (from the top view)...

would i still need bones fo smoething like this?
thnx
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