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How to animate. Anyone?

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Thanks for the feedback on the dozer animation (check down two entries). Looks like about everybody liked it. TANS wasn't wild about his hard-hat. The idea for the hard hat (and the eye headlights) actually came from pal Rick Carey who modeled me a cartoon dozer in Swift 3D. I didn't much like the general shape of Rick's dozer, but I did like the idea of giving him a hard hat. Noaktree said that he could give me the general boxy shape of the dozer pic I posted a couple of months ago, but with the cartoon eyes and hardhat that I liked from Rick's. All in all, I think it's a winner.

Only problem now is animating it, and I've got a few directions I can go. The animation I posted was done in Emotion 3D, a wizard-based animation program that can do a bunch of different character animations on 3D models or flat bitmaps. All of the duck-dances in Duck Tiles were done with it. In fact, the duck model was one that came with the tool.

Anyways, Emotion 3D is undoubtedly the easiest way to go to do some little animations for the game. I can easily model a little bounce-animation, export it as a pile of alpha-channeled PNG files, pull the PNG's into Flash, and then write five lines of ActionScript code to move the dozer in the X direction. The animation you saw literally took 20 minutes to make, which is great.

That scheme's got several problems, though. First, Emotion 3D is long discontinued, so I'm stuck with the canned animations E3D comes with.

Next, E3D's 3DS importer is broken. It'll import models made by genuine 3D Studio (like Noaktree's), but it seems to choke on other 3D programs that output 3DS. I tried with Carrara Studio and now Cinema 4D, and the 3DS files that they make crash E3D. That means that I can't make any changes to the dozer and animate 'em without first sending it to someone (like Noaktree) to read and write back out as a 3DS file that won't kill E3D.

So I'm trying to teach myself how to animate stuff by hand in Cinema4D. That way if I want to do something cute like making the dozer's hat pop up or making his treads spin, I can do it.

I'd also like to output the animations and pictures as vector, but I can't find anything decent to do it. Cinema4D relies on a mediocre 3rd party plugin for SWF output. Swift3D doesn't deal well with textured stuff. So I'm bitmap-only for the time being.
Oh, and the book picture yesterday was a gag. It was a book that TANS proposed to the publisher, but never wrote. I just thought it was funny that they came out with an atrocious cover even though the book was never made.
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I actually used a non MAX exporter to get you that dozer. So I guess E3D works with PolyTrans 3ds too.

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