Animating a Propeller in 3ds Max - Part 5 - Motion Blur effect with Autodesk Combustion

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

Animating a Propeller in 3ds Max - Part 5 - Motion Blur effect with Autodesk Combustion

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2013, Autodesk Combustion 4
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2013 or higher.

Transcript

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In the last movie of this series, you learn to create the animated propeller sequence using Autodesk Combustion.

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Autodesk Combustion is actually a discontinued product, albeit a very underrated and useful one.

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This last part of the tutorial is therefore addressed to those users who already have this application.

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If you don't, you can always use one of the earlier techniques to create the animated bitmap effect.

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In Autodesk Combustion 4, choose File > Open.

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Browse and select the propeller.png still image you worked on previously.

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When prompted, choose to open the image in a new 2D Composite, as you will need to work on separate layers.

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In the Composite Controls panel, set the Duration to 30 if it's not already the case and choose a white background to see the propeller better.

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Go back to the Transform panel when done.

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Go to Frame 30 and enable Animate mode.

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Rotate the layer -350 degrees.

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Disable Animate mode when done.

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Make sure Playback Loop mode is enabled and play the animation.

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You get one full propeller revolution every 30 frames.

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So far, the work is quite similar to what you have done in After Effects.

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Now select the propeller layer and add a Motion Blur operator to it.

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Notice that it has no effect on the scene.

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This is because the footage itself is not animated, only the layer is.

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In order for Motion Blur to work here, it needs to look at the footage and the layer animation as one composition.

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For that, you need to "nest" the propeller layer to be read as if it was animated footage.

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Delete the Motion Blur operator and select the propeller layer again.

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From the Object menu choose Nesting.

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Choose Selected Layers (in this case it is only one...) and you can optionally give the new composition a name.

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Click Ok when done. Notice the new composition that's been added to the project.

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Make sure the new composition is selected and add a Motion Blur operator to it.

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You can now see the effect.

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Change the Shutter speed to about 3 for a stronger effect. Take a look at it around frame 11 to see it better.

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The Phase value is similar to the Offset value you changed in 3ds Max or the Phase value you experimented with in After Effects.

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Here though, a value of 0 ensures an equal amount of blur 'before" and "after" the current frame.

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Finally, the Samples value is all about the quality of the blur.

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Increase it to about 48 for a better result.

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Adjust your work area between 11 and 20 to get a nicely looping animation.

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At this point, you could render out those frames and apply them as an opacity map like you did before.

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However, combustion has a very nice toolset of Paint tools that you can use to improve the effect.

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Not only can you paint color information but you can paint Alpha data as well.

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And so, instead of adding a radial blur in 3ds Max to help with the opacity map, you will use Combustion's paint functionality to that end.

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Go to Frame 1. This is important in order for Paint tools to be applied from the beginning of the animation, even if you only use a few frames.

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Split the Viewport in two, this will make it easier to view the paint layer and the end result simultaneously.

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Select the main Composite entry in the work space and choose Object > New Layer. A dialog appears.

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Set the Type to Paint, and then make sure the rest of the options match your current project.

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Also, make sure the layer is set to Transparent mode. Click OK when done.

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The active viewport should automatically display the new layer, and therefore should display in black.

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What's more, right-click and set its View Mode to Alpha. This way, you'll be directly painting on the Alpha channel.

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Switch to the Toolbar panel.

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Click and hold the Rectangular Selection Tool and switch it to Elliptical mode.

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Click and drag from the center out to create a selection. Hold Shift down for a perfect circle.

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If you need to adjust the Transforms, such as position and scale, you can use the Arrow tool,

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or fine-tune those in the Transform panel.

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Position in X & Y should be centered at 256 given the 512x512 resolution.

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As for the scale, adjust it so the circle encompasses the size of the propeller.

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You'll be able to adjust this a bit better later when you start seeing the accumulated effect.

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For now, choose the Flood Fill Tool and switch to Gradient.

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Choose the Radial Gradient mode.

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Since you're working directly on the Alpha channel, all you need are grayscale color values.

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Add a couple of flags and make them range from white (left) to black (right).

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This is just a temporary setup.

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Using the Flood Fill tool, click inside the circular selection to add the gradient to the paint layer.

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The right viewport may need a refresh, so go to any frame between 11 and 20.

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You should be seeing the accumulated effect on the right side.

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Switch back to the Workspace panel.

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Make sure the Flood Fill entry is selected.

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You need to change the gradient to have a sharper ring on the outside and more transparency on the inside.

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This would fit with the radial gradient you set up in 3ds Max earlier.

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Adjust the gradient flags until you are satisfied with the look.

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If you need to, go down to the Ellipse Selection level and adjust its scale.

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When you're done, you have your completed opacity map, which you are ready to render.

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Go back to the right viewport and set it as a single active view.

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Choose File > Render.

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In the dialog that appears, choose the image sequence type you want.

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Use PNG in this case but make sure it is set to Color +Alpha.

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In the Render Range, click the Markers button to render your Work Area only.

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Finally, choose a path and a file name,

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and render the sequence.

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It should take a second or two.

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Back in 3ds Max, you can now use this opacity map as you have before,

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except that it's self sufficient and you don't have to add a Radial Gradient to it via a composite map.

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In this tutorial, you have learned to animate a spinning propeller by looping a set of keyframes in a relative repeat fashion.

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You also learned to control the animation by speeding up or slowing down the propeller with the use of a Multiplier Curve.

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You have learned how to add a Motion Blur effect directly inside 3ds Max,

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and also how to create an animated bitmap to simulate the effect of motion blur on a spinning propeller.

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An animated bitmap looks just as good and isn't as taxing to render than a blurred 3D object.

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That part you have learned to do in three ways, using 3ds Max, using Adobe After Effects and using Autodesk Combustion.

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We hope you have found these techniques useful and we'll see you soon.

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Tags
  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • 2013
  • Simulation and Effects
  • Workflow
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