Paragon Project: Animating a Horse in 3Ds Max.

With semester two of our second year under way,  we are looking to progress our project by adding animated animals and people into our environment. As our project is set in 1914; horses would have been a common sight on the streets of Hull.

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To start with I downloaded this horse model from TurboSquid and then added bones to the model in 3Ds Max. I linked the bones that I needed to move together using the IK solver tool in the animation drop down menu and then added Dummy controllers to the IK links; this helps me to easily grab the part that I need to move.

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Next I applied my own texture to the horse and set up an animation using  Auto Key to give the impression that the horse may have been startled.

I was also able to export the horse and its animation and then import them int UDK where I set up the animation to be a triggered event, I added a horse sound to the animation too.

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Using Bones in 3Ds Max

To achieve a realistic interactive environment for our group project I looked into adding a static human asset into our environment; this was achieved but the end result was too mannequin like. So to push the project on into the second semester I will be looking into the development of animated human characters which will populate and move around our environment.

To be able to move the limbs, head, etc., of an animated character or object bones have to be added to your model. To get me started I followed this YouTube tutorial by CG Swot that showed the bone tool being used to move a desk lamp.

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First I made a model of a desk lamp with three pivoting joints (much like a human arm).02

Then in the animation tab I selected the Bone Tool and then selected Create Bones.

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I then clicked at a joint to start the bone then clicked at the next joint to end the bone and to start a new one.

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This gave me a total of three bones for the lamp, the same as a human arm (upper arm, lower arm and wrist).

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Next I connected Dummy helpers to the parts of the lamp that need to be moved and rotated, the Dummy helper helps keep objects connected to it move with it without becoming detached from each other. I also added some quick materials to the lamp and a lighting set up in order to render out an animation of the end result.