introduction to 3ds max

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An Introduction to 3D Animation Introducing 3ds max The Main Screen and the Main Control Groups Undo/Redo Viewports Menu Bar Main Toolbar Snap Controls Command Panels Mini Listener Track Bar Mini Curve Editor Time Slider Status Bar Prompt Bar Lock Selection Coordinate Display/ Transform Type-In Time Tags Grid Size Animation Controls View Controls Malcolm Wilson An Introduction to 3D Animation Welcome to the course Over the last fifteen years computers have become important tools for 3D
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    An Introduction to 3D AnimationIntroducing 3ds max The Main Screen and the Main Control Groups Undo/Redo Viewports Menu Bar Main Toolbar Snap Controls Command Panels Mini Listener Status Bar Coordinate Display/ Animation Controls View ControlsTransform Type-InTrack Bar Prompt Bar Mini Curve Editor Lock Selection Time TagsTime Slider Grid Size Malcolm Wilson  An Introduction to 3D Animation Welcome to the course Over the last fifteen years computers have become important tools for 3D animation. The main areasare special effects for film and television and computer games. Three programs lead the work in thisfield; 3ds max from Autodesk/discreet, Maya from Alias, and XSI from Softimage.This course focuses on max and is based around a series of tutorial tasks and mini projects. Evidence of your work in the form of printouts and written assignments will be needed along with completed LogBooks, recording your progress. For more details, see the Log Books. The tutorials assume that youhave not worked with max before and will teach you how to operate the software. We’ll be using a widerange of functions in max, covering the three main areas of Modelling, Rendering and Animation. Conventions As you might expect, mouse actions are referred to as click , drag and double click . These all use theleft mouse button. Right click uses, would you believe, the right-hand mouse button, but only use thiswhen instructed to do so, as the results are usually quite different.Keyboard Shortcuts requiring two or more keys to be pressed together are shown as the sum of the keysin question, e.g. Alt + F means that you hold down the Alt key while you press the F key. Logon Procedures Your tutor will tell you how to log onto the computer, how to start up max and, most importantly, whereyou should store your files. Get into the habit of remembering where your files are stored and back themup at least once a month….So, start up max. Getting Started If you are running max for the very first time on a computer which has an NVIDIA graphics card installed,max may ask you to open the NVIDIA MAXtreme Driver Configuration dialogue box. ã Just click “Yes” ã In the next Panel, in the Wireframe Views section at the top, un-tick“Use Triangle Strips” followed by “Close”.MAXtreme is a special graphics card driver designed to work with max and certain NVIDIA cards.I have deliberately changed the max colour scheme to prepare these tutorials. The real program in frontof you will be coloured differently, but the controls will be the same. In the following tutorials, you will findmore details on the various functions and buttons on the screen. For now, ã Read the following notes and locate the items on the screen, ã Move the cursor over the buttons and read the Tool Tips, ã Try out functions as instructed. ã Complete the task at the end of this introduction Windows Bar  Right at the top of the screen is the Windows bar, which shows you (as if you needed telling) whichprogram you are running and the file you are working on. Initially this file is “Untitled”. Incidentally, thereare no differences between the Educational and Commercial versions of max. Page 2 of 9  Introducing 3ds max Main Menu Under the Windows Bar is the max menu. The normal Windows conventions apply here; if you want toopen a menu either  click on the word or press Alt + the underlined letter in the menu name .To close a menu without selecting, click on the menu name again. (You can simply click off to one sideof the opened menu but you may inadvertently select or deselect something else) Changing the User Interface Part of the assessment of this course requires you to produce written assignments discussing therelative merits of different tools and techniques. Obviously, being able to include screen-shots of maxhelps a great deal.Max’s dark grey colour scheme doesn’t print out well however and needschanging so that captured screenshots are clearer. ã Click on the Customize Menu and select Load Custom UI Scheme as shownNotice that there are a number of ready-made User Interfaces. IMPORTANT MaxStartUI.ui is loaded onstart-up. If you start up max and find thatsomeone has changed the interface,come to this dialogue, load up Copy of MaxStartUI.ui and save this over the topof the corrupted MaxStartUI.uiThis is the quickest way to get you upand running again with these tutorials. ã For now, load up the printout.uischeme as shownYes, I know it’s a bit bright. (The Log Book has more information on how to capture screenshots.) ã Click on the Customize Menu again and select Load Custom UI Scheme ã This time, select Copy of MaxStartUI.ui and click on OpenThe screen will revert to the normal grey colour scheme. Main Toolbar  As usual, toolbars simply provide a single location for functions which can be found elsewhere.Functions on the Main Toolbar are also available through the Menus. If your are running max on ascreen with a horizontal resolution of roughly less than 1200 pixels, you won’t see all of the Main Toolbar anyway. Obviously, as with any Windows program, you can move the toolbars around, but you loseworking screen area.To scroll the toolbar on a small screen: ã Move the cursor over the toolbar and when the pointer changes into a hand, drag horizontally tomove the buttons. Page 3 of 9  An Introduction to 3D Animation Viewports Below the toolbars and occupying the most screen area are the Viewports. These are the windows intothe 3D space and by default, max displays four equally sized viewports. Notice that each Viewport has aname and that three of these are “orthographic”.Thankfully, however, max doesn’t namethese as “Plan” or “Side Elevation” etc.,but uses the much simpler terms of “Top”, “Front” and “Left”.Only one viewport can be “active” at anytime. This is shown by the yellowborder. ã Click on another viewport to make itactive.Notice that you can right or  left-click toactivate a viewport. (Right clicking isthe better method, but Right clicking asecond time will bring up a menu –which we will worry about later – justclick off it to remove).Notice also that each viewport has agrid, but that these grids do notnecessarily appear in another viewport.For example, the grid seen in the Frontview does not appear in the Perspectiveview, but the Top grid does.Each viewport has a small x,y,z axes “tripod” in the bottom left corner. These are the “World CoordinateAxes”. However, when you put objects into this 3D space, they will also have their own individual (Local)axes tripods. Finally, notice also that max uses a colour convention; “X,Y,Z” equals “Red, Green, Blue”.This is important later when we look at max animation displayed in the form of graphs in the CurveEditor; movement in the x direction will be shown as a red line, y will be a green line and z will be blue. Time Slider, Animation Controls, Track Bar and the Curve Editor  Directly below the Viewports lies the Time Slider. ã Click and drag the Time Slider from side to side.This is how you move forwards and backwards through the frames of your animation. Alternatively youcan click on the arrowheads at either end of the slider or click on an empty section and the slider will jump to that position.By default max gives you 100 frames to work with; equivalent to four seconds in the European VideoFormat known as PAL. (No, it’s got nothing to do with dog food; it stands for the catchy little phrase“Phase Alternate Line”. America and Japan use the NTSC format; that’s the even duller “NationalTelevision Standards Committee” where 100 frames whiz by in about 3.3 seconds). max allows you toset up for various film and video frame rates, but these are only important if you intend to transfer finished animations. ã Locate and click on the Time Configuration button (it’s circled in the above screenshot) to see framerate and playback settings. (Here you can select more than 100 frames, when needed). Click onCancel to exit from the Time Configuration Dialogue box. Page 4 of 9
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