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3DS Max animation and X format

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Hi, I'm working on a small DirectX project which includes animation. The modeling and animation will be done in 3DS Max ( "out sourced" ). To see if this will work, I've installed the 3DS Max demo, and exported some free animated models I've found on the web, using the PandaSoft exporter. Unfortunatly, not all animations were exported correctly. In the Pandasoft website help it says: "Only mesh rotation,scale and translation is supported in .X files. These are used to transform bones if your using skinning etc. The problem is that .X format isn't suitable for morphing/tweening in its present form". My problem is, that I need to give the animator instructions how to do the animations "correctly" in 3DS Max (Which I don't know to use), so I will be able to use them in DirectX. The other issue is that the animation wanted for this project, is some kind of morphing. E.g. A plane with 1000 polygons becomes a sphere. I've seen it animated in 3DS Max, but is it possible at all in DirectX, using 1 mesh ? Can someone help with this ? What the guidelines should be used in 3DS Max ? Any suggestion\help is appreciated. 10x.

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Original post by MyGameDevNet

Hi,
Hi.
Quote:
I'm working on a small DirectX project which includes animation.

The modeling and animation will be done in 3DS Max ( "out sourced" ).
To see if this will work, I've installed the 3DS Max demo, and exported some free animated models I've found on the web, using the PandaSoft exporter.
Alright, it looks as if you're going to be exporting models from 3dsMax into the .X format for use with your DirectX program.
Quote:


Unfortunatly, not all animations were exported correctly.

In the Pandasoft website help it says:
"Only mesh rotation,scale and translation is supported in .X files. These are used to transform bones if your using skinning etc. The problem is that .X format isn't suitable for morphing/tweening in its present form".
Well, that's a limitation on the X file format as well as on the exporter, and there's not much you can do to change that unless you want to switch model file formats.
Quote:


My problem is, that I need to give the animator instructions how to do the animations "correctly" in 3DS Max (Which I don't know to use), so I will be able to use them in DirectX.
So, you don't know how to use 3dsMax fully, but you want to use it to export to your DirectX program. Okay...
Quote:


The other issue is that the animation wanted for this project, is some kind of morphing. E.g. A plane with 1000 polygons becomes a sphere.
I've seen it animated in 3DS Max, but is it possible at all in DirectX, using 1 mesh ?
Yes, this is possible in DirectX. No, it is NOT easy to do as far as I know, because what you'd have to do would involve some hard work with model morphing, and if you don't yet know how to use 3dsMax, this definetly won't be easy.
Quote:


Can someone help with this ?
What the guidelines should be used in 3DS Max ?
Any suggestion\help is appreciated.

10x.
Well, I think that first off, you're going to want some help improving your 3dsMax usage skills. I suggest reading the help file that comes with 3dsMax, or checking out some of the free online tutorials:
http://www.google.com/search?q=3ds+max+free+tutorial

Good luck with your project!

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There is an old D3D example of "morphing" animation, called vertex tweening, that shows an animated dolphin. They did it by exporting the dolphin mesh in three different shapes (each in its own X file) and using a morphing shader to interpolate between those shapes. So it seems that X file does not support morphing animations directly, at least I haven't seen any DCC exporters that
can do it.

Note that shape animation requires a 1:1 vertex mapping between all shapes.

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--> DragonGeo2,
Thanks for your suggestion regarding 3DS Max, but as I wrote, I plan to give the modeling and animation to "out of house" modeler\animator, and stick to the programming. I don't have the time( \will?) to start learn how to this in any professional tool, so I will hire somebody that will do it for me (and I'm sure he will do it better).

I've asked people, and searched the web for models etc, and for exporting models to DirectX, and the most suggested tool was 3DS Max, but maybe my conclusion was wrong. Is there anything else that might be better for this task ?
I didn't "hire" any modeler yet ("hire" is too much for this job).
Till now, I've only dealt with X files which came with SDK sample, and it worked well.
Moving to "real world", Is there any tool which is standard\common for modeling\animation for DirectX ?

Rearding "unless you want to switch model file formats", is there any other format which is supported without requiring me to develop my own parser ?

--> KreK,
Thanks. I will look at that sample.


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