The lesson begins with a history lesson that probably should have been in the first chapter of the text. We have discussed some of these ideas already:
The lesson returns to a discussion of frames and keyframes, which were introduced in an earlier lesson. We are told that an animated movie, like any movie, is shown at a particular frame rate, which varies based on the standards that are used in different parts of the world. The NTSC (National Television System Committee) standard of 30 frames per second is the default frame rate for 3DS Max. The PAL (Phase Alternate Line) standard of 25 frames per second is mentioned as being a European standard. It is not the only one. Follow the link above for more discussion about NTSC, PAL, and SECAM.
The keyframe method of animation is a time saver. Keyframes are frames where we establish the position, rotation, and scale of an object. We do not have to establish these factors for every frame. If, for example, we set the values of these properties in frame 10, and set different values in frame 20, 3DS Max will fill in in-between frames at 11 through 19, creating the changes that must occur to get from the starting values to the ending values.
In an earlier lesson you were asked what color a keyframe is on the timeline. In this lesson you learn that what you saw before was only part of the answer. A keyframe is shown as one, two, or three colors, depending on what values change in it: red (position), green (rotation), and blue (scale). A keyframe can also be white, if it is a copy of another keyframe.
In this lesson, you use Auto Key to automatically create keyframes each time you make one or more changes in an object. You also use Set Key to create keyframes manually.
Exercise Notes and Questions
Work through the exercises and turn in your answers to all questions below as part of the homework for this assignment.
Exercise 1: This exercise illustrates using
Auto Key to show a basketball going through a hoop and bouncing on the
The lesson continues with new material about Track View Curve
Editor. Note that you will have to move it around the screen
during the exercise to see what you will be working on. The Track View
Editor lets you modify the action taking place at and between keyframes.
To demonstrate several modifications you will make to motion in this lesson,
the text tell you to play several .avi files in the folder for this lesson.
It consistently refers to that folder as 11 - Animation Basics.
The text is in error. The folder is 10 - Animation Basics.
Exercise 2: Exercise 2 simulates the experiment
performed at the leaning tower of Pisa: he dropped two objects of different
weights from the top of the tower to determine if they would fall at the
same rate. (They did, and they do.) This exercise looks a little shaky
at first, but if you follow directions, the two balls will look very realistic.
Exercise 3: This exercise sets up the next one, which demonstrates changing an object's position, rotation, and scale in the course of an animation. What puzzled me was the use of the phrase "gelatin cake". It may be easier to imagine the pre-made object as molded Jello, or a fruit jelly candy. Note: you will not be able to complete the exercise with the viewports configured as they are at the start. When you can't see what you are doing, stop and zoom out to get a better view of the scene.
Exercise 4: This exercise is based on the
last one. It demonstrates changing an object's position, rotation,
and scale in the course of an animation.
Exercise 5: This exercise animates a car on a race track. It is a long exercise, with many steps. Note that it is preset to have 600 frames in it. It illustrates the use of a Path Constraint, an animation device that controls an object by making it follow one or more splines. The text also describes three other animation controls:
Question 7: What is the effect of adding
two paths to the Path Constraint applied to the race car?