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Is 3DS Max what I should use?
show user profile  Lachdahnan
Hey all, I am trying to decide if 3DS Max is the way I should go for my needs. My plan is to buy animated or motion capture files that contain all or most of the motion I desire. Then just add a few texture to the model as well and be done with it.

I saw some free motion captures for download here:

They come in .fbx format and I was wondering if I am able to just drop the .fbx file into 3DS Max and then just add some textures to it and its done?

My main concern is that I dont spend the next 2 weeks or however long to learn Max's functionality only to learn there arent many pre-made animation/mocap files out there and I have to do it all myself from scratch. Im hoping to save myself a lot of time by using these pre defined animations and then just texture them myself.

Thanks much!
read 661 times
3/21/2009 1:33:16 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 1:33:16 PM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
Mocap as .fbx? Interesting. You certainly don't find that often. The standard format, as far as I'm aware, is a .bvh, which is not a model - you would first need a model that's been rigged and skinned (in MAX, with Biped) to use them. The same applies to all other software.
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 623 times
3/21/2009 3:48:06 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 3:48:06 PM)
show user profile  TimTamFin
3dsmax is complicated piece of software and it really doesn't have push of a button features. So unless you're willing to spend some time learning the basics - I wouldn't recommend it !

Depending what you're actually doing with this animation. There are alternatives you could look into... cheaper and more suited to your needs.

EDIT: Dejitarujin... here's some reading for you...


read 621 times
3/21/2009 3:49:19 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 3:51:09 PM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
Oh, right! Hurr hurr, that was stupid :P

But really, how common is it to find blank, animated models like that? And, can the fbx data be applied to a different model that's been rigged with regular bones?
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 617 times
3/21/2009 3:55:29 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 3:55:29 PM)
show user profile  Lachdahnan
Thanks for responding guys. I could use a little clarification if possible.
From what I understand, I can NOT apply textures to an .fbx file after it has been animated?
Im also with Dejitarujin on the question about, can the .fbx data be applied to a different pre-textured model?

As for Max being a complicated program, I am totally ok with that. My needs are:
-Find pre-existing animation/mocap files.
-Add some textures to them.
-Perform some slight reshaping, such as height and weight of the person.
-Change the animation itself slightly. (Running with arms up, to arms holding a weapon)
-Run the animation, take screenshots of the animation in progress and implement it in a 2D game.
read 600 times
3/21/2009 5:25:01 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 5:25:01 PM)
show user profile  parkerfamily
if you only need this once why not just hire a freelance to do it for you, i'm sure it would be cheaper than buying a commercial license for 3ds max, you realize this software costs 3400 dollars right?

edit: also, if your designing a 2d game i suggest using 2d sprites, as they would be MUCH cheaper to make (cost of photoshop vs cost of max)
read 583 times
3/21/2009 6:43:13 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 6:44:23 PM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
It should still be noted that, technically, a .fbx file contains an animated model (or entire scene). It's not strictly motion capture - mocap alone would be more like a point cloud of the markers moving around. (Which, coincidentally, is actually what I'm trying to get.)

You're going to find a lot of motion capture files as .bvh, that pure mocap format. At some point, you're going to need a character that you or someone else has modelled, rigged, and skinned.

I think, anyways.
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 557 times
3/21/2009 10:05:12 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 10:05:12 PM)
show user profile  Lachdahnan
parkerfamily, I do plan on using the program many times and I am aware of the pricetag, thanks for the heads up on that :)

And what Dejitarujin said about needing to model and skin, I dont mind learning to do that. But I cant say I know what a "rig" is. Would somebody mind informing me?
You say its an animated model or entire scene. I managed to get the animation to move -minus a few bones such as shoulders in 3DS Max after fooling around a bit.

But I still dont understand, am I able to add textures or manipulate the animated character in the .fbx file? Sorry if it seems I am repeating myself, but I am very new to this area of graphics and want to make sure I fully understand as like parkerfamily said, its not cheap :)

read 554 times
3/21/2009 10:16:43 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 10:16:43 PM)
show user profile  Dejitarujin
Modelling= creating the model mesh. Rigging = creating an underlying bone system. Skinning = attaching the vertices in the polygon mesh to the bones.

As far as I know, you might be able to texture a model in a .fbx file. The trick is, I believe a .fbx collapses the stack, and under normal circumstances, you have to UV map and apply textures before the rigging, skinning, and animation - steps which have already been completed in full in the .fbx file. (Right?)

The .fbx format supports much more stuff than most other 3D formats. It can transfer meshes, bones, skin weighting, UV coordinates, cameras, lights, and animation between software; a complete scene, if one chooses to export all that.

But, I'm not entirely sure how it works in this case. I know how a normal (non-.fbx) mocap file is applied to a Biped rig, but that doesn't involve anything but motion capture - a .bvh is in fact just a gigantic text file of how each bone should be rotated at every frame. As such, I believe the bones must be named appropriately, and there must be the right number of bones in the right positions.

I'm curious to know how .fbx works as a mocap file myself, since I have a much more complicated rig than normal.

Edit: Oh, and in any case, you probably don't want to pay for the software involved in this task. I suggest sticking to free software.
Specialty: Non-organic modelling and effects.
Setup: 3D Studio 2010 with finalRender.
Rig: No, no I can't.
read 549 times
3/21/2009 10:30:56 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 10:37:49 PM)
show user profile  TimTamFin
@ Lachdahnan:
My recommendation as a software of choice would be Blender3D ( freeware with very active forum ). It has all the same features as 3dsmax and is hell of a lot cheaper ( as in free ).

You should look into following also :
- Daz Studio / Freeware :::
- Poser / Cheap Commerical :::

Both of those are specifically for characters / animation. And since you require only rendered outcome - not the actual animated 3d model. They will do what you need !

and while you're at Daz website...
- Carrara ... which you can use to alter daz studio models and animation. And finally ... Hexagon with which you can paint directly on the model. Both Carrara and Hexagon are commercial but very cheap.

read 543 times
3/21/2009 11:00:01 PM (last edit: 3/21/2009 11:15:16 PM)
show user profile  Lachdahnan
Dejitarujin, thanks for the explanation there :) Things are starting to look much more clear now. It sounds along the lines of photoshop and when you 'flatten' and image, how all the layers are gone, making editing those layers harder. Thanks again!

Thank you as well Timo, you can be sure that Im going to check out the links you gave me.

I know there is a lot to the art of 3D and when first jumping into the unknown its pretty daunting. Its nice to have people like yourselves to help point us newcomers in the right direction.

Thanks guys :)
read 516 times
3/22/2009 4:12:49 AM (last edit: 3/22/2009 4:13:23 AM)
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