3Ds Max Basic Animation with SL Avatar

3Ds Max Basic animation with SL Avatar

This page will explain how to create very basic animation for SL (This can apply to many applications not just SL)


3Ds Max 2010, 2011, or 2012
SL Avatar and Bones file to Animate <– Click link then press the Download Original Button

Starting your animation

This section will teach you about the basic buttons and scene.

Basic Overview

The included SL avatar and bones file in this tutorial has the scene setup for you:

A quick description of the buttons for animation

1) The time bar: You slide this to slide up or down your animation frames.
2) The auto keyframe button: This button will automatically create keyframes on the frame your on if you move any of the bones. (Keyframes are like snapshots of movement for that bone that stores rotation etc)
3) Time configuration button: This button will open a Dialog window to many things such as lowering or increasing the frames per second or add more frames to the overall animation.
Note: Second Life only allows a max of a 30 second animation file. If you are running at 30 frames per second that is about 900 frames total.


This section will cover: moving bones around and keyframes
1) click on a bone like the forearm or chest or whatever you want to move.
2) click the Auto Key button shown as 2 in the previous image.
3) click on the Time bar (Shown as 1 in the previous image) Slide the bar to somewhere around frame 20 or so
4) Click the Rotation tool at the top of 3ds max and rotate the bone by grabbing the green, blue, or red circle gismo with your mouse:

5) Repeat this for all the bones you want to move on frame 20. then grab the time bar and slide it to a later frame like frame 40 and move the bones more.

6) click the play button to see your animation and check to see if its moving right.

Animation Layers

This section will explain how to make slightly more complex animations using layers
1) select ALL of the bones of the figure your animating (Very important to select all of the bones) You can use the select tool and highlight all the bones, or if your figure is the only thing in the scene do CTRL A to select all.
2) click on Enable Anim Layers button (click ok on the popup)
3) Click on Add Anim Layer Button (Name the Layer in the popup and Check the “Use Default Controller Type” on the popup) then click ok.
4) Select the New Animation layer and now you can add additional keyframes on top of the keyframes you already made
For example:
You can move the Hips around the screen on the base layer so that you can create a path. Then you make a new layer and animate just the head or the arms.
You can then create a final Layer that does any additional animations on top of all of them to give it additional detail.
Think of each Layer as a clean slate of Keyframes to move parts around without messing up keyframes on other layers.
Thats it! Enjoy animating!

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