1. Lights: All models for which lighting is requested should be viewable from all angles. To create this ambient light, place six omni lights (called point lights in Director) at the six sides of the model, all with between .2 and .4 intensity. One omni can be increased to between .5 to 1, or an additional free spot light can be added, to produce contrast and highlights.
All must be moved a good distance from the objects in the scene, so they do not clutter the Director image.
2. Other guidelines: bgcolor: black , ambient color: 100,100,100 (RGB)
3. Always export from a camera view (creates a "perspective view"). The orthographic views tend to cause clipping problems.
Questions and Procedures
How do I export a non-bones hierarchy with animation from MAX to Director (like a car)?
- Put each child-piece (doors, wheels, etc) in its own group.
- Apply any desired animation to these groups (not to the pieces!!).
- Link each child piece to the parent (the body of the car). Ready to export.
What are the equivalent Lights in Director and MAX?
- A Spot light in Director is a free or target spot in MAX (free preferred to avoid clutter-- like a camera)
- A Directional light in Director is a free or target direct in MAX (free preferred)
- A point light in Director is an Omni in MAX
- An ambient light in Director is the default ambient light under "render/environment" in MAX.
Can bone-animated models work without Physique?
Yes! Director accepts multiple meshes attached to a single biped. Therefore it is possible, for example, to use character studio to make a biped, and, instead of applying physique, simply link various objects separately to each bone. They will not deform as they would with physique, but they will move with the bones.
Can objects in a MAX file be hidden so they do not export with the rest?
No. Director exports everything currently in a MAX file, regardless of whether it is hidden (this is a departure from other programs, like Pulse). In order to export just a single mesh, it needs to be copied into a different MAX file.
How do you export multiple, separately controllable animations for a single character biped?
There are two methods for preparing multiple animations in MAX for export so a LINGO programmer can apply them separately to a model. One makes use of the timeline (simply place all animations on a single timeline to export and the Lingo programmer handles the separations in Director). The other uses multiple copies of the character biped (bone structures) and is accomplished through the following steps:
- Make the first biped.
- Select all the parts of the biped, and apply "group" (in the Group menu). Name the group per the name desired by the LINGO programmer (typically the name of the animation it will hold). Now any time a part of the biped is clicked, the whole biped is selected.
Note: To gain access to the individual bones: select the grouped biped, return to the Group menu, and click "open."
- Select the first group, and make a "Copy" copy, moved to the side of the original.
- In the Modify panel, name this second group for the second animation. Open this second group and, in the Motion panel, turn on Figure Mode, go down to the Structure rolldown, and change the name of the biped to the same name as the first biped. Turn off Figure Mode and close the group.
Note: this is the critical step. The biped name must be the same for all exported animations or they won't work on the same figure.
You now have two bipeds ready to accept animation and be exported (in separate files) to the LINGO programmer. Often it is useful to export one biped without animation, and then all the animations without bipeds, to produce less clutter for the LINGO programmer, and possibly less load time for the shockwave file as well.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 to produce as many copies, for as many animations as desired.
Note: Grouping, like in most vector based programs such as Adobe Illustrator, is traditionally used by MAX users as an asset manager-- keeping things together as needed. Just like Pulse uses the rarely used MAX Note Track to facilitate distinct animation exporting, Shockwave3D makes use of this other rarely used feature to accomplish what is otherwise impossible to do in MAX-- having many bipeds with the same name. It also evidently helps preserve the cohesiveness of the biped, since the hierarchy (the animation structure built into bipeds) is collapsed upon export, but the grouping remains intact.
Note#2: If the bipeds are not named the same, animations are not interchangeable once they are in .W3D format. MAX artists are used to the idea that an animation placed on one character can be moved to another character, with some small adjustments made for the relative size and proportions of the mesh. You can, however, export multiple animations from the same character model:
- Export the mesh (everything except animation).
- Drop an animation on it.
- Export just the animation.
- Delete the animation from the mesh.
- Drop another animation.
- Export just the animation, etc. The Lingo programmer will take these animation files and place them with blending on the mesh.
Can I export an opacity map to Shockwave3D?
Shockwave3D can only accept a single texture map exported from MAX. To export opacity, a 32-bit .tga or .tif file with the opacity must be placed in the diffuse channel.
Note: any other art on the image that is not 100% white will have some transparency. A user of Paint Shop Pro claimed that if the alpha channel can be reserved to the last 8 bits, then any art can be placed in the first 24 without fear of altering transparency.
To create a texture map in Photoshop with opacity baked in:
- In Photoshop open windows/channels.
- At the bottom of the dialogue, click the create channel button (just like making a layer). A new channel called Alpha 1 will appear
- Double click this channel and make certain that the opacity is correct (typically will be 100%)
- Edit this layer in the usual art display window using the selection tool to cut out any area that is NOT supposed to disappear (the remaining areas will be masked out-- rendered see-through-able).
- Save a copy of the file as a targa and you are done.