Week 4 (Part3): 3ds Max > Unity3D

Testing Animations: 3ds Max > Unity3D

Although you can animate geometry in Unity through bone rigging systems and alternatively you can use moving particle systems to create an animated effect, I am much more confident in my abilities in 3DS Max and additionally, I will need to use bone rigging and 3DS animations for other courses. With all this in mind I tried to animate in 3DS then take it to Unity3D before learning Unity3D animations.

My 3DS Max animation explorations: the failures the successes

I began with a low poly geometric sphere that had a slightly transparent shell. I wanted the shell to remain static, but have the inner sphere pulsating.

This tutorial is very simple and easy to understand. On top of that the noise animation delivered exactly the effect I was after. However I came to realise it would not be that easy (what ever is?). While exporting the model as an animated .fbx to Unity 3D I realised that the animations weren’t being exported with the geometry. Frustrated, I turned to online forums that said .fbx animations can’t convert vertex animations…. :( .

Noise modifier used to create noise animation

I took an alternative route and decided it was best to test out whether the animation export/import process actually works from 3DS to Unity before spending all my time on something that may not even turn out successful.

Instead of noise animation I changed the sphere to rotate and scale. To create this animation I pressed the Auto key towards the bottom left (at this point the animation timeline should turn red as seen in the image above) and I set keys where I wanted the sphere to rotate and scale.

To export this animation select all geometries, go to file > export > export selected and make sure to select .fbx as the extension. In the export dialogue box make sure that animations is ticked and baked animations is also ticked. Once exported it should be easy to drag in to your Unity assets folder or straight in to your opened unity project.

From there the process is quite simple to make sure the animations are linked to the imported geometry. Take a look at this tutorial for more information on how to achieve this as well as how to make simple animations in 3DS Max. It’s pretty simple really, and achieves a cool effect that you can customise to your liking.

Here is a snapshot of my spheres in Unity. I also managed to create spatial sound through the holoLens that was placed inside one of the spheres making it seem more realistic. The skills I’d like to learn next are spatial mapping and anchors using these spheres and incorporating interesting particle systems with the spheres.