3DS max help thread

Well, during my time at the kickoff today, I was noting that people had plenty of questions about things in 3DS max, often ones we could answer. Of course we all have questions about anything in robotics, so I thought we could have a help thread in 3DS max.

Some of us out there know a lot about 3ds max and are willing to help others who are in need of answers to problems they run into, so this thread is there for anyone who want to post questions and answers, all user-run, so post anything you need, and hopefully we'll answer these questions. :)

Alright. I was wondering how to create water in 3ds max. It seems to be tough. Currently i’d like to make a little lake. If anyone could help me with that, maybe like a tutorial or something, that would be great. thanks in advance.

This thread is where I think you can get the most helpful information as the links will lead to to professionals who have a long history with 3D animation and will give you more than enough assistance.
It helped me and my team through many a nights over the year and I highly reccomend it.

um, which one would i go to for water tho?

Well, water can be a really tricky thing here. For your case, you just want some type of lake, so particle waters are not what you want, and you don’t need to worry much about the physics of water. For some lake kind of water, a plane will do just nicely. The trick is getting the material correct, that is the key here. Water is both reflective and refractive, just to let you know. It’s basically transparent but you often see water as blue because of the sky. It’s really all about the material in your case, so if you’re good with that, work on the material, I gave you some good pointers to help you out. If you need any more help, ask :).

here is what I found that works.

Dont use refractive unless your going to show somthing in a the water. The refractive raytrace will jack up your rendering time. Use falloff material for diffuse and opacity. On the diffuse make it so it is light blue in the center and darker on the edge. I know water is clear, but people like to think it is blue.

After add a number of animated wave modifiers to it and it should look like water. You have to do a lot of tweaking to get it to look good. Lighting also plays a big role in the look of the water.

Um, ya, i guess that kinda helps. I will post an image or quick video here of my water when i get something. Thanks so far.

alright all venteren animators knows that the DV-NSTC codec kills the quaility of your animation. Is there any program out there that can convert it to that codec without butchering the look of the aniamtion? or which one does the best job? Premire is out of the question, its just awful with DV-NSTC.

It’s really how you set your codec and stuff. I personally use Camtasia studio for my conversions, it’s pretty good. If you want to get it though, it’s a 30 day evaluation. Later I’ll do a series of tests to see how an animation looks like in different settings using that codec, and I’ll get back to you on that.

Does anyone have any major tips or hints on creating a realistic walk?

Well your in luck! I specialize in character animation! Man, I can talk all day about that subject. Well, here it goes…

First off you must remember that a walk is never the same for each person and also projects their character. For example a woman who is self reserved is going to take smaller and tighter steps. While a big macho man is going to strut his stuff and take wide pounding steps. Also if the character is happy, sad, angry, or drunk their walk is going show it. Happy walk has a lot of bounce in the step, so the torso is going to be moving up and down quite a bit. Sad walk is more dead hardly any moment in the torso and it is slow. Angry walk has arms swinging and feet slamming on the ground as the character stomps around. And drunk walk…well you get the point.

Now the first thing you want to do is to change your timeline to 24 frames per second. Trust me, it is far easier to think in 24’s than it is to think in 30’s. Now walks are normally on the dot and do not vary in time when the person is walking. for example, the most common walk is every 2 steps a second. So thats one step for every 12 frames (15 frames if you are animating on 30 fps). mainly here is the break down:

4 frames = a very fast run
6 frames = a run or very fast walk
8 frames = slow run or cartoon walk
12 frames = natural walk
16 frames = strolling walk
20 frames = elderly or tired person
24 frames = slow step
32 frames = I’m…almost…dead

Now that you know the speed lets take a look at the action. The heel of the foot always leads the toe and the rest of the foot. For example, the heel rises and before the toe does went the foot is about to take the next step. The heel also touches the ground first when the character actually takes the step. Also the toe of the foot stays on the ground until the last moment then the foot swings to a up position barely missing the ground just as the heel hits the ground. Are bodies spend as little energy as they can when walking, so the feet are barely above the ground. That is why it is so easy for us to trip over the slightest crack in the pavement.

So basically it goes like this:
1Heel moves up toe stays on ground (other foot is on step 4)
2foot starts to move forward as toe leaves the ground
3toe swings up as heel makes its way down
4heel touches ground first (other foot should be on step 1 at this time)
5then toe touches ground.

Now you have your feet animated lest talk about the torso.

The torso can do just about anything when the fee are passing each other but when both feet are on the ground the torso is aligned with the feet. Also when the feet are making there pass from the foot in back to the foot in front the torso is up a little higher. So we get this bouncing affect when the character walks. It mostly depends on what mood your character is trying to portray.

Its hard to teach this subject without you being right next to me. The best way to find out how a body moves is to grab a stopwatch and go people watching. Walk behind someone and try to copy there walk and pay attention to where your body is. Most of the time I act out what my character is going to do before I animate them.

Once you completed one cycle of the animation you can just copy the keys so your character’s walk is just repeateing. If you do it right, i will look natural.

I hope this helps you and good luck!

With that huge list of information about the naturalism of character movement, even I learned something… Thanks a lot! :slight_smile:

Thanks alot for the help! I forgot to subscribe to this thread so I almost missed it. :smiley:

You should really try using the mental ray Arch & Design material in 3ds max 9, if you have it. This makes very good looking water just with a plane (animated as well).

I have a stumper for you guys. I am having some problems as I try to render one of my scenes. It is in short of a full mesh with hair walking by a moving camera. I know 3Ds Max is not the happiest programs when it comes to hair, but it’s really giving me a rough time. I have tried to render this scene on 5 different computers 15 times total. My Scene is 30 frames long, with basic materials. I would appreciate any help you guys can offer to me, because everyone on my team is stumped.

What is happening when it is causeing you problems? You never say what happens.

Sorry, basically my computer is rendering frame 72 and it just freezes. Depending on the computer you can close the program with task manger and not have to restart your computer, but typically you do.

more details, what are you rendering with? what renderer are you using? how many things do you have in the scene? How many polygons? Lighting? reflections? unessary large amount of meta particles?

My computer has trouble freezing sometimes to and here is what i do.

  1. Make sure there are no screen savers, power savers turn on includeing the monitor shutting off. Some how it messes with my computer, if you need to turn your monitor off just turn it off yourself.

  2. render The video out in a targa sequece. That way if the computer freezes you wont lose everything that has been renderd. Then after it is done rendering, put it throught a second party and composite the targa sequence. (or something alone those lines)

  3. No cruiseing internet or playing music with the computer that is rendering.

This is what I do when my computer is rendering. (although i break rule three a lot).

I still dont have any idea whats happening with your computer. What is the error that is popping up? what are you trying to render? details!

sometimes a “freeze” may only be a “super special” effect that is taking a really big time to render… Is the camera starting to view a really heavy object (in polys =p) or a heavy effect (like motion blurring+GI+raytrace+F.O.V.) ?

These things can really slow down the render unexpectedly, and not “freeze” it. And you shouldn’t minimize/use other applications while rendering, it causes 3dsmax to freeze until the frame is ready.

Hope I helped =)
Good luck ^^

P.S.: Lol we posted almost at the same time =P
But its basically what Buddy said =)

Oh yeah and that reminds me. To check if your computer is frozen hit the num lock on your keybord. If the num lock light doesnt change then chances are your computer is frozen. If it does than leave your computer alone.