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Dated: Sep. 29, 2004
Related Categories3D Studio Max
You can animate a dolphin using bones, just like in LightWave 3d, but if you want to do the same on 3DStudio Max you will need physique or use morphs targets, but the final result won't be enough, morphing between meshes will do the movement, but not the perfect effect that the dolphin is moving across the ocean. Using bones can be a long way also, so what can we do? Well, we can take advantage of the animating tools from max, this is only a tutorial on how to animate, so don't bother about the ocean or the scene, it only explains the movement.
Let's start this tutorial now...
First we have our dolphin here, and move the pivot point to the mouth just like the image:
Now that we have the mesh on the scene create a "Wave" from spacewarps and put it on the screen I used 3 sides for this example so the middle will modify the center body and the others the borders from the mesh, (but just only a little).
I used this parameters but you will have to try to fit them to your scene, then bind the wave to the dolphin, and this will do the effect. When you move the dolphin on the same axis as the wave you won't have any problems, but if you want that the dolphin move in another axis there's a trick.
So then create a dummy object and link it to the dolphin. And assign a new transform controller, so the position and rotation transforms will change smooth but won't do a weird move, just like the image.
Because the wave forms are part of the stack of the dolphin, it can't be linked to the dolphin to inherit rotation from it, so link the wave to the dummy and restrict its rotation just like the image. This will cause that the wave only rotates when the dolphin rotates but it won't move from its place.
This part will take much more eye to do it that to explains it in words, because you will have to press animate button and animate the wave parameters, but only Amplitude 1 and Amplitude 2 so the dolphin will match the desired move.
You will have to assign controllers first, if you try to assign it later sometimes 3dsmax will exit or crash. I think it creates a dependency loop that max won't notice until you try to modify it, so if you want to modify it just unlink it, then modify and link it again to the dummy.
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