What's New in character studio 3

character studio 3 for 3D Studio MAX R3.1 combines evolutionary and revolutionary enhancements to the 3D character animation process. These improvements offer dramatic new capabilities for:

Nonlinear Animation

Unique enhancements to the Motion Flow Editor accelerate layout, tuning, and sharing of large-scale nonlinear animation systems between Biped characters.

Track Operations

A simple, yet powerful extension to Biped's existing compliment of track operations opens new doors for transferring entire tracks of motion between Biped body parts, between separate Bipeds, and even between stacked layers of Biped motion.

Behavioral Crowd Animation

character studio 3 provides tools and controls for intelligent animation of large systems of arbitrary characters via the Crowd system.

New Crowd and Delegate helper objects let you design crowd animation which can be based on behaviors. Use animated 3DS MAX objects to create flocks and herds, or use bipeds to make groups of humans with motion-flow script driven animation. When using bipeds and delegates together, you can take the speed from the biped motion, and the turning and position from the motion of the delegate. When using standard animated 3DS MAX objects, an extension to Block Controllers called Clip Controllers are used to attach non-bipedal animated 3DS MAX objects to the crowd of delegates.

How Crowd Animation Works

When a crowd system is solved, characters in the scene that have been attached to crowd delegates move along the delegates' paths. A crowd delegate can be attached either to a Biped or to an arbitrary 3D Studio MAX object that represents a character.

Crowd uses two different methods for attaching delegates to Bipeds and to arbitrary 3D Studio MAX objects and for managing their respective motions. This separation allows the Crowd system to work well for any "non-terrestrial" 3D Studio MAX character, but to also take full advantage of Biped's nonlinear motion flow features and motion mapping capabilities for "terrestrial" bipedal characters. This latter connection brings the full power of Biped animation tools to bear on the behavioral animation of large systems of bipedal characters.

For delegate-driven bipeds, the Motion Flow graph provides critical information to the crowd system about the character's library of possible moves. With this advance knowledge, the crowd system solves the delegate's path and speed accordingly, while selecting and bending "best fit" motion clips from the Biped's Motion Flow graph - driving the character over terrain and through obstacles - synchronizing its motion with the ground at all times. After solution, each Biped possesses a lightweight Motion script which may be viewed and edited for maximum control.

The use of shared Motion Flow graphs between Bipeds driven by a crowd system allows hundreds of Bipeds to potentially share the identical motion flow graph and assets - and yet move through a scene with completely unique results.

Global motion clips and master motion clips can be used to apply best fit motion clips from an existing animation sequence to non-Biped objects linked to delegates, based on the trajectory of the delegates. This is ideally suited for realistically animating such phenomena as flocks of birds and schools of fish.

See also

Inverse Kinematic Pivots

Keyframe Animation Workflow

Footstep Animation Improvements

Figure Mode Improvements

Motion Capture Editing

Skin Deformation

Physique offers dramatic improvements in performance and deformation functionality, especially for highly detailed polygon and Bezier patch characters.

Programmatic Access

Note: A number of character studio 3-specific additions have been made to the MAXScript language. The MAXScript Reference is updated when you install the character studio software, and is still available online from Help menu > MAXScript Reference. MAXScript information specific to this product are also available as a separate chapter in the printed Reference.