Tutorial: Making a biped jump on a box in 3D max

Although we could easily make our biped dance the two-step, this tutorial has the biped walk a few steps, transition to a run, and then jump on top of a stationary box. To make biped jump on a box, follow these steps: 1. Select the Create➪Standard Primitives➪Box menu command, and drag in the Top viewport to create a simple box.

2. Select the Create➪Systems➪Biped menu command, and drag in the Top viewport to create a biped object. Be sure to leave enough room between the biped and the box so the biped can get a running start.

3. Open the Motion panel, and click the Footstep Mode button in the Biped rollout to enter Footstep Mode.

4. In the Footstep Creation rollout, select the Walk button and click the Create Footsteps button. Then click in the Top viewport to create four footsteps in front of the biped object starting with the right foot.

5. Choose the Run option in the Footstep Creation rollout, select the Create Footsteps (append) button, and add four more steps that are spread out slightly more than the first steps.

6. Choose the Jump option in the Footstep Creation rollout, and click the Create Multiple Footsteps button. In the Create Multiple Footsteps dialog box that opens, set the Number of Footsteps to 2, and click the OK button. The two footsteps where the biped lands should be in the center of the box object.

7. Select and move the final two footsteps upward in the Left viewport to be on top of the Box object.

8. Click the Create Keys for Inactive Footsteps button in the Footstep Operations rollout to create the keys for the available footsteps.

9. Click the Play Animation button to see the biped walk, run, and jump on the box.

Figure 36-10 shows the biped as he hops onto a box object.

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Figure 36-10: By positioning footsteps, you can control exactly where the biped moves.

Converting biped animation clips

The Convert button in the Biped rollout lets you convert all footstep animations to Freeform keys. If you don’t plan to append any additional steps to a biped, then con- verting the keys makes it easier to work in Freeform Mode.

Clicking the Convert button opens a simple dialog box with the option to generate a keyframe for every frame.

Using Freeform Mode

Freeform Mode is enabled by default when none of the other buttons in the Biped rollout are enabled. Using Freeform Mode, you can select and set keys for any of the biped bones, blend several animations into one using Layers, import Motion Capture data, and define Dynamic properties.

Setting Freeform keys

The easiest way to set biped keys is to drag the Time Slider to the frame where you want the key to be, select and transform the bone, and then click the Set Key button in the Key Info rollout, shown in Figure 36-11. The Key Info rollout also includes buttons for deleting keys; setting a planted, sliding, or free key; and viewing trajectories.

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Figure 36-11: The Key Info rollout includes specialized buttons for setting biped keys.

The Key Info rollout also includes several expandable sets of controls including TCB, IK, Head, Body, and Prop. The TCB controls let you configure the Ease To and Ease From curves of the selected key using a Tension, Continuity, and Bias curve.

The IK controls let you set IK Blend and Ankle Tension values and select a pivot about which to apply the IK solution. The Head section lets you select a Look At Target. The Body controls include a Balance Factor that is used to determine the amount of sway in the biped’s motion. The Prop controls lets you select which bone the current prop is linked to for position and rotation.

Using the Keyframing Tools, Layers, and Motion Capture

The Keyframing Tools rollout, shown in Figure 36-12, includes several useful buttons for enabling and manipulating subanimations. You can also delete a range of keys or all keys, mir- ror keys, set multiple keys, and anchor the right hand, left hand, right foot, or left foot. By default, the animation key for each bone is rolled up to its parent, but you can have the key for each individual bone appear as a separate track using the check boxes in the Keyframing Tools rollout.

The Layers rollout lets you layer sets of animations while maintaining existing animations. For example, if a character is animated walking about a scene, then adding a layer with the character’s arms held straight up will have the character walk about the scene in the same manner with its arms held up.

After several layers are added onto a biped, you can use the Activate Only Me button to see the animation of a single layer or the Activate All button to view all layer animations.

The Motion Capture rollout lets you load, apply, and manipulate motion capture data. Motion capture data is saved using the .bip file extension.

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Figure 36-12: The Keyframing Tools rollout  includes a variety of features.

3ds Max 8 includes support for Motion Analysis’s HTR and TRC motion capture format.

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