As I have had Gmax for a while now and am familiar with modeling, I wanted to start doing some basic animation and make some movies out of it. In this tutorial I will show you how to construct a basic fake room and start animating it. I will also include how to use Gmax’s drag and drop texturing. A fake room is a way to get models to look like they are actually somewhere rather than the vast expanse of nothingness that is a view port. For this technique I use Gmax because it is good and free but this idea can be used in any modeling program.If you don’t want to start from scratch here’s the finished version: Room Gmax
Anyway lets get started.
Step 1 – Constructing the Room
Open Gmax (or other modeling program) and make sure your four view ports, (top, front, left and perspective,) are normal. Then on the side panel click on Create, Geometry then box. This will get you ready to make wall one of three.
Drag out a fair sized box in the top view and then release the mouse button. Move it up bit to give it a thin thickness then click. This is your floor.
Now using the front view drag out another block and using the left view keep the thickness approximately the same.
Before we can move onto the last wall we need to move it into position. So hit the move tool and click on the horizontal axis in left view and move it till it is on the corner of the wall.
Now repeat step 3 and 4 but dragging out the final wall in left view and moving it to the left in top view.
Now click on the perspective view port to activate it then click arc rotate and have a look at what you’ve made. To resize the views click Zoom extends all diagonally up and right from arc rotate. Well done you’ve made the room structure! Now we’ll start making it look a lot more real with textures. Make sure you save your project as room or something.
Ok now we have the walls but they are just coloured boxes. Now we will make them look real with photo textures. So we need a floor texture and a wall one. Minimise Gmax and start Internet explorer.
I used: Brick: www2.odn.ne.jp/metanoia-style/freetx/brick.jpg
Save those two textures somewhere where you can find them easily.
But how do these flat images make good-looking walls and floors? Read on to find out.
TIP: You can get nearly all the textures you need for any project from www.google.com/images and do a search for what you want.
With those images saved go on Gmax again. Click the little Material Navigator Button in the top right and on the left hand panel select File system. Now navigate thorough the folders until you have the two textures displayed. Oh yeah and keep the material navigator box not too big so you can see your work underneath.
Now here’s the fun part. Make sure you can see the perspective view and the material navigator. You may need to shrink the material navigator a bit.
Click on the brick texture and drag and drop it onto one of the upright walls. Be amazed as it turns into a brick wall! Repeat with the other wall.
Now for the floor. With the material navigator still open, drag the floorboards picture onto the last remaining box. Close the navigator. Ok it doesn’t look perfect but look how cool it looks!
Now we will start putting a few things in the room to make it more interesting. Maybe a comical character would be good. In the model section of this website are good characters. We will use the smurf character from 3D Valley. Click here for download. Unzip this file and on the file menu in Gmax click import and select smurf.3ds and click OK.
The smurf should appear in the middle of everything.
Now to get him down to size. Click on Select and Uniform Scale on the top bar and clicking on the corner gizmo shrink him down to a fairly small size. Use the left view for this.
Now use the move tool to position him near the room corner. Take care to have his feet on the floor. You can use the Zoom tool in the bottom right and other view tools to get it better fixed in on the perspective view. Or the zoom extends tool to get everything zoomed automatically.
Ok at this point you can add any other objects that you want but we’ll just move on to animation. Wow, we’re there already!
Ok we’ll simply make the smurf rotate for a first animation. So click the animation button followed by the Key button, which means key frame animation. Key frame animation is easy but not precise. What you do is skip ten slides then move the objects in the scene to the state you want them to be in and Gmax creates the frames in-between for you which makes the animation fairly smooth and easy. You will also notice the slider nearby indicating what frame you are on and how many there is. This should be frame 0/100.
Ok so lets animate him. Move the slider to frame 10 then click the rotate tool on the top bar and then rotate him in any view you want until he is upside down.
Now move the slider on again to frame 20. Notice how blue bars have appeared on the timeline at 0 and 10. This indicates that the key frames are stored and done. Ok, so on frame 20 keeping rotating him till he’s done a whole flip and is squarely on the floor. Now click the animate button and key button to deactivate animation mode.
Now click the play button near the animate button in the animation toolbar and look at him flip as the frames play from 0 to 20. He may do half and then flip back again if you mixed up which way he was going but never mind but if you didn’t well done. Ok, now you have done that you can if you want to continue animating him. You could make him rotate on another axis or move about if you want. Just use Step 14 again to get you restarted. When you have done all the animation you need then move onto Step 17 if you want to make it into a movie.
Step 17 – Extra – Making it into a movie
So now you have your animation all right and you want to get a good copy of the animation? Here’s how. You cannot make a movie straight out of Gmax of your work. This is called rendering and only comes with Gmax’s big brother 3DS Max which cost in the region of 3 thousand pounds. But I found an easy and fairly good way of doing it. First you need a screen capture program called Camstudio. You can find it at: http://www.brothersoft.com/CamStudio_Download_3944.html Camstudio captures the screen that it can see and saves it as a movie file perfect for what we need. Fire up Camstudio now and minimize it.
Back onto Gmax click on the perspective view port and click min/max toggle, (total bottom right button,) and the perspective view will fill up the screen. But it’s still not big enough! Hit CTRL + X to make it into Expert mode which gives you a much better view. Finally move the frames back to 0 and the beginning. Now Gmax is ready. With Gmax still up click on the minimised Camstudio to make it pop up in front. Now we are all ready!
Click the red record button and drag out over your room. You can either do a far shot and show the whole thing or you can zoom in for a close shot and no greyness. Now you are recording switch to Gmax and hit the ‘/’ button on your keyboard to start the animation. Finally hit ‘/’ again to stop. Now go to Camstudio and click the blue stop button. If all has gone well it should ask you whether or not you want to save the video. Make sure you save it somewhere safe and CONGRATULATIONS you’ve just made your own 3d animated movie!
This tutorial is created by Adam Ladd for 3Dvalley.com. You are not allowed to redistribute this tutorial in any form.