Animating a Propeller in 3ds Max - Part 3 - Motion Blur with an Animated Bitmap

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Industry
  • Film & VFX
  • Games
  • Design Visualization
Subject
  • Animation
  • 2013
  • Simulation and Effects
Products
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
Duration
10 min

Animating a Propeller in 3ds Max - Part 3 - Motion Blur with an Animated Bitmap

In this tutorial, you create an Animated Bitmap to simulate a propeller spinning at a constant speed. This will provide you with a convincing effect and minimize the render time.


Notes
  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2013
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2013 or higher.
Transcript
00:00:02 --> 00:00:07
In this movie, you create an animated bitmap to simulate a spinning propeller.

00:00:08 --> 00:00:13
As you will find out, the effect will look convincing without taxing render time.

00:00:13 --> 00:00:18
Go back to the file you saved where you set up the propeller to spin at a constant speed.

00:00:18 --> 00:00:26
If you need to, you can use the file named p47-Propeller_PropSpin.max you downloaded for this tutorial.

00:00:27 --> 00:00:31
Scrub the animation and verify that the propeller is spinning at a constant speed.

00:00:31 --> 00:00:37
You need to render out the propeller separately; and you need a camera shot perpendicular to the propeller.

00:00:38 --> 00:00:42
Press Alt+W to switch back to a four-viewport configuration.

00:00:42 --> 00:00:45
In the Left view, create a Free Camera.

00:00:47 --> 00:00:54
Using the Align tool, align it to the propeller, pivot-to-pivot, in Position and Orientation.

00:00:56 --> 00:01:01
Right-click the Camera view and then press C to view the new camera in that viewport.

00:01:02 --> 00:01:09
Next use the Dolly Camera tool to move the camera back, while keeping it in the propeller axis.

00:01:13 --> 00:01:20
Next, go to the Render dialog and set the Output Size to a custom 512x512 resolution.

00:01:21 --> 00:01:27
Now adjust the dolly until the propeller fills the space defined by the safe frames without going over.

00:01:28 --> 00:01:32
Scrub the animation to ensure all three blades are never outside the yellow borders.

00:01:33 --> 00:01:36
Select and isolate the propeller.

00:01:38 --> 00:01:42
Go to the Environment dialog and switch off the background image.

00:01:42 --> 00:01:45
Replace it with a white background.

00:01:49 --> 00:01:53
Try a test render; the propeller is rendered against a white background.

00:01:53 --> 00:01:57
Actually, save this image out, you will need it later.

00:01:57 --> 00:02:02
Give it the name and type "propeller.png".

00:02:05 --> 00:02:09
Save it as a 24-bit image with Alpha channel.

00:02:10 --> 00:02:14
Next add a motion blur effect as you did in the previous movie.

00:02:14 --> 00:02:22
In the renderer tab, enable Motion Blur with a shutter speed of 3 and an offset of -1.5

00:02:23 --> 00:02:27
Set the Motion Segments to 10 and the Samples to 48.

00:02:27 --> 00:02:31
These values are given for reference; feel free to experiment with your own.

00:02:32 --> 00:02:41
Test render the scene. The propeller is blurred but keep in mind you're mostly interested in the transparency effect shown in the Alpha channel.

00:02:42 --> 00:02:49
Also, and because of how you keyframed the animation, you'll only need to render out 10 frames of the animation.

00:02:49 --> 00:02:57
At the start, you have a blade pointing straight up and that is repeated every 10 frames throughout the animation.

00:03:01 --> 00:03:07
Switch back to the Common tab in the Rendering dialog and set the Time Output Range from 0 to 9.

00:03:07 --> 00:03:11
That would render the first 10 frames of the animation.

00:03:13 --> 00:03:23
In the Render Output group, click on Files and specify an output file, such as "prop-opc_.png"

00:03:24 --> 00:03:30
You also need to specify a folder for the images to be saved. Choose the same one where you stored the scene files.

00:03:31 --> 00:03:35
Again, choose a 24-bit type with Alpha and choose OK.

00:03:36 --> 00:03:41
Render the animation. Even though it's using Motion Blur, it shouldn't take too long to render.

00:03:42 --> 00:03:47
At the end of it, you should have 10 frames rendered that are ready for use.

00:03:48 --> 00:03:52
Reopen the same max file without saving it.

00:03:54 --> 00:04:00
Double-click the plane body to select it and all its children and hide the selection.

00:04:00 --> 00:04:07
From the Selection Sets list, choose P47_InFlight and click Yes to dismiss the warning.

00:04:08 --> 00:04:10
Switch the viewport to the Camera-Fly viewpoint.

00:04:11 --> 00:04:16
Here you have an animated plane on a path but it has no propeller.

00:04:22 --> 00:04:24
Create a plane object.

00:04:27 --> 00:04:30
and set its Length and Width values to 200.

00:04:31 --> 00:04:34
Name it "PropellerProxy";

00:04:35 --> 00:04:44
Make sure you are at frame 0 and then align the new object to the P47, pivot to pivot, in position and orientation.

00:04:46 --> 00:04:50
Move it locally on the Z-Axis until it is in the correct position.

00:04:55 --> 00:04:57
Go to the Slate Material Editor.

00:04:57 --> 00:05:02
Create a new Standard material and apply it to the PropellerProxy object.

00:05:03 --> 00:05:08
Set its color to black for now, you can change that later if you need to experiment.

00:05:10 --> 00:05:16
Drag out the Opacity channel node and apply a Standard bitmap to it.

00:05:17 --> 00:05:24
Browse and select the first bitmap in the rendered propeller sequence, and make sure the Sequence option is selected.

00:05:26 --> 00:05:31
Click Open. A dialog appears that will help you create an Image File List (IFL file).

00:05:32 --> 00:05:39
An IFL file is a text file that will tell 3ds Max how to display a sequence of images for animation purposes.

00:05:39 --> 00:05:41
Click OK to proceed.

00:05:42 --> 00:05:46
Double-click the bitmap node in the material editor to see its properties.

00:05:46 --> 00:05:52
Scroll down a bit and under Mono Channel Output, set the option to Alpha.

00:05:53 --> 00:05:56
Also set the RGB Channel Output to Alpha as Gray.

00:05:57 --> 00:06:01
This way transparency will be based on Alpha information instead of pixel color.

00:06:02 --> 00:06:06
Do a test render to view the results.

00:06:08 --> 00:06:13
Of course, if you scrub the animation, the propeller doesn't follow the plane yet.

00:06:14 --> 00:06:19
At frame 0, use the Link tool to link the propeller to the plane.

00:06:21 --> 00:06:24
Try a test render at frames 40;

00:06:28 --> 00:06:35
and 100. Notice that at frame 100, the propeller is not visible.

00:06:35 --> 00:06:39
The material needs to render both sides of the flat surface.

00:06:39 --> 00:06:45
In the material editor, double-click the Standard material node and set it to 2-sided.

00:06:45 --> 00:06:48
Try it again, it should work better now.

00:06:48 --> 00:06:53
You can help the effect by making the propeller "circle" more defined.

00:06:53 --> 00:07:02
In the Material Editor, insert a composite map to the existing material, using the current opacity map in the Layer 1 slot.

00:07:04 --> 00:07:07
Double-click the Composite node to see its properties.

00:07:07 --> 00:07:12
With only one layer, the effect is identical to what it was a second ago.

00:07:12 --> 00:07:15
Add another layer to the composite map.

00:07:15 --> 00:07:19
In Layer 2, use a Gradient Ramp.

00:07:22 --> 00:07:28
This overwrites the propeller map. You need to set the Blending mode to Addition for a cumulative effect.

00:07:29 --> 00:07:36
Double-click the gradient ramp node to adjust the gradient. Also double-click the icon to see the gradient definition better.

00:07:37 --> 00:07:41
You may also want to enlarge the composite map icon to better study the end results.

00:07:42 --> 00:07:44
Switch the Gradient Type to Radial.

00:07:45 --> 00:07:50
You need the outside to be totally transparent, so change that gradient flag color to black.

00:07:51 --> 00:07:58
You are here using a greyscale effect ranging from black being totally transparent to white being totally opaque.

00:07:59 --> 00:08:07
Set another flag at about 95% and also set it to full black. This ensures the outer perimeter is totally transparent.

00:08:08 --> 00:08:13
Create another flag at around 90% and set it to medium gray.

00:08:13 --> 00:08:22
The positions mentioned here at 90% and 95% are given as approximations as they seem to work well with the 3-bladed bitmap underneath.

00:08:22 --> 00:08:29
Set the remaining middle flag to be positioned at 80% and give it a darker gray color.

00:08:30 --> 00:08:35
Set the first existing flag to an even darker gray that is not totally black.

00:08:35 --> 00:08:39
Again feel free to experiment with values you feel give you the better results.

00:08:40 --> 00:08:45
Render again. If you feel the effect is too opaque, you can change the gradient values.

00:08:46 --> 00:08:53
Even easier, you can simply tone down the opacity of the gradient layer in the Composite Map.

00:08:55 --> 00:09:03
Render again. Once you are satisfied, consider that you can also work the Diffuse Map accordingly.

00:09:07 --> 00:09:10
Try a Radial Gradient Ramp as a Diffuse Map.

00:09:11 --> 00:09:17
Consider a red/white outer color, gradually turning to black towards the center.

00:09:18 --> 00:09:22
Some propellers have color markings on the outside.

00:09:34 --> 00:09:38
Once you're happy with the results, you can render the animation to disk.

00:09:39 --> 00:09:45
You will find out that this animation will render in less than 10 minutes whereas the one with Motion Blur takes hours.

00:09:46 --> 00:09:51
If you decide to render this animation, a propeller sound effect has been provided for your convenience.

00:09:52 --> 00:09:56
As always, a rendered result has also been provided.

00:09:56 --> 00:10:01
You learned how to create the animated bitmap using 3ds Max only.

00:10:01 --> 00:10:06
In the next movie, you learn to create a similar effect using compositing software.
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Tags
  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • 2013
  • Simulation and Effects
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