Fan Art: 3D Artists - Question on animation

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by BMGFX, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. BMGFX

    BMGFX Awesome Spooner Veteran

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    Hello all,

    is there anyone out there with 3ds max experience that knows anything about animating Transformers? I have no clue how to animate even an organic character, and even the thought of how to approach a robot transforming makes my brain hurt. There are parts that don't operate like a normal skeleton and I was wondering if anyone had any tips or methods that work well. Thanks in advance.

    Love,

    Brian
     
  2. bobby_C

    bobby_C Well-Known Member

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    Well, at the basic level a transformer is no different than any other character - still arms and legs, so to speak, and most of the time two of each, so actually the same theory applies. There should be pretty good tutorials in max's help (and probably some on the web) that'll show you how to rig a basic character and make it walk, should be a good start.
     
  3. RunaR

    RunaR Well-Known Member

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    There are some nice tutorials on the net and with 3ds max. You can use Character Studio or a self made rig. Just search the 3ds max tutorials (help -> tutorials) for "bones", "rig" or "character studio"
     
  4. Primus

    Primus Beware, the modelers. Veteran

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    Depends on what you want to do with it. If you just want to animate a robot it shouldn't be too difficult. If you want to transform it then that is another matter.
     
  5. Draven

    Draven Banned

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    Hope the chat earlier helped, bro.
     
  6. -=|cerebros|=-

    -=|cerebros|=- Headmaster Commander

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    I use a 2 part rig. One for animation and one for Transformation. The Anim rig is a rig like any other. The transform rig is constrained to the Anim rig but can override the anim rigs keys to transform. 3dsmax and lots of Ik limiting. You could do it with a custom biped but you'd really need to keep track of what goes where. Not for the fainthearted. Having 2 separate but "connected" rigs means you don't have the one holding the other back and you can work with 1 rig at a time knowing the other will follow suit, until it needs to override it and become the main rig.

    Ahhh, the fun of rigging... now onto rendering... What did we think of the shaders used in the movie?

    Njoy

    C
     
  7. bobby_C

    bobby_C Well-Known Member

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    Actually transformation is, at least to me, much simpler than character animations. In fact, the first 3D animation I ever did (done looong ago on pre-Max era 3D Studio 2, no less) was a transforming armored Valkyrie from Macross. The simplicity comes from the fact it's really just a sequence of basic mechanical movements usually not necessitating any IK (which didn't even exist in 3DS2 anyway XD).

    Oh yeah, I do the same, except I usually also have a very basic rig for the vehicle mode.
     
  8. Sledgehammer

    Sledgehammer Digital art monkey

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    One thing I've not yet tried is actually creating a true bone structure for a TF - up until now, it's all been pivot points, parent-child linkage and a whole lot of keyframing. So although I can't offer any help as such, I certainly wish you every success! :thumb 

    *reads tutorials*
     
  9. Mike

    Mike Banned

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    I've yet to try to attempt to animate anything in 3D max in the few years I've been playing around with it :p 

    I'm still learning to model and render things properly lol
     
  10. Sentry Prime

    Sentry Prime Member

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    I find robotic characters far easier to rig and animate using Weight-maps (or whatever the Max equiv is) - assign each individual part its own vertex weight map set at 100% and then assign each bone to affect particular maps (ie: Forearm bone>Forearm map) that way moving one bone will effect all the geometry assigned to its weight map (as well as any child bone/item groups) without the need for tedious parent/child set-ups - although I do have to admit, I have never worked on a transforming character (well, I am right now, but more on that later....)
     
  11. BMGFX

    BMGFX Awesome Spooner Veteran

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    My problem now is that I'm having trouble restricting the way a certain limb moves. I'd like certain limbs to only be able to move on one axis, but nothing I've tried has worked.
     
  12. Misatokitty

    Misatokitty The Major

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    You can constrain bones to only rotate certain amounts in certain directions, but I haven't done it in years and thus can't tell you off the top of my head.

    Cerebros, your method of rigging sounds intriguing, and I'd love to see or hear more about it, how you do it and what it looks like in max.
     
  13. bobby_C

    bobby_C Well-Known Member

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    bones and pivot points/parent/child links actually are the exact same thing, only represented and set up a bit differently, but once set up the use is the same.

    In max it'll be done in the hierarchy tab, in the IK category, sliding joints and rotational joints sections. However, it only constrains IK animation, not any direct rotations or translations you'll apply to the object.

    (Also I guess it's a bit too technical for now, but the IK solver will need to be a HD solver)
     
  14. BMGFX

    BMGFX Awesome Spooner Veteran

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    So if I set up the IK constraints and keyframe an object to only rotate along the z axis, it will stick to the z axis and not move on all of the axises?
     
  15. bobby_C

    bobby_C Well-Known Member

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    Yes, but only if animated through IK, and it also allows you to limit the angle to which it can move.

    If you merely want to constrain which axes can move and you do not use IK, then the bit you're searching for is in Hierarchy->link info->locks. Any ticked box will prevent you from modifying the corresponding axis, it's very handy too and simpler than IK constraints.
     
  16. Valandar

    Valandar Dilettante and Dabbler

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    When I made the transforming meshes for the game Freedom Force, I of course had to include animations.

    What I did was create a biped with the proper number of spine links (usually 2, sometimes 1), then add on Dummy objects (with a second dummy object terminator) as extra "bones" for the parts that move outside normal human limits for the transformations.

    As an example, I did Classics Starscream. The collar bone segments were made barely long enough to reach from the edge of the body to the actual joint, so to move the arms inside the body / fuselage simply meant rotating the collars down. But the shins and feet had extra bones parented to the shins and feet of the Biped, so that when it took jet mode I could just straighten the biped legs, then translate up the new bones so they "collapsed" the way the toy's did. And finally there were bones parented to the torso and head for the fuselage - under normal circumstances they caused the fuselage and nosecone to behave like they were part of the torso / head, but i could move them independantly to transform.
     

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