3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 18 - Animating Pedestrians

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  • Design Visualization
  • 2015
  • Interoperability
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
11 min

3ds Max and Revit Interoperability - Part 18 - Animating Pedestrians

In this tutorial, You add the final touch to your museum scene by placing and animating pedestrians using the Populate Tool.


  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2015
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2015 or higher.


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Continue working on your file from the last movie or use the provided file named Museum_populate.max

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As a final touch and before you attempt rendering, you will place and animate various pedestrians using the Populate tool.

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Populate has already been covered in other tutorials on this channel, so it may already feel familiar to you.

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Maximize the camera view (you can use Alt+W for that) and in fact, press P to turn the view into a Free Perspective.

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This will make it easier to orbit around. You can go back to the camera view for rendering later.

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Before you start working with Populate, you can make the viewport easier to navigate by hiding objects you don't need.

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Hiding the surrounding buildings and animated cars will make it easier to see around the museum plaza.

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In the Scene Explorer, type the name: "baked" and press Enter. All surrounding building names start with that prefix.

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With these objects selected, right-click and choose Hide Selected.

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Do the same for all objects starting with the prefix "VHC".

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You can even hide all trees by hiding all Foliage objects.

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That'll work; you're ready to use Populate. Expand the ribbon and choose the Populate tab.

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Globally, there are two methods: walking pedestrians and idle pedestrians.

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There are also some variations to each, especially starting with 3ds Max 2015, such as running and sitting options.

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Moving pedestrians (walking and running) are created by first placing a flow, a sort of corridor where they will be moving.

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When you click on Create Flow and you hover over a surface, a circular brush appears.

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The size of the brush determines the number of pedestrians lanes. Bring the size down to about 15 for this example.

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Also keep in mind that Populate works in AutoGrid mode, so it's important to place the cursor on the appropriate surface.

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Go ahead and click about six times to create a flow outside the plaza area.

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Let's do a couple more flows inside the plaza area.

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Reduce the flow size to 10 and create a straight flow along the building.

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There are some restrictions to flows, for example, you cannot yet have pedestrians walking up and down staircases or steps.

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However, you can create ramps.

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Create a flow with a turn towards the existing concrete ramp.

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At this point, the whole flow is on the same Z-level.

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To add a slope, zoom in on the area of interest,

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and go into Edit Flow mode.

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Select the flow where you want to introduce a ramp and click in the middle of that segment.

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With the segment selected, click the Create Ramp button.

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You might find it helpful to work in wireframe mode, so keep a finger close to the F3 button toggle.

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Two extra divisions appear on that segment.

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Now select the segment to the right, the one supposed to higher,

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and set its Z-height to 6", which is the level of the sidewalk.

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Now adjust the segments for the ramp's beginning and end points. You may want to revert back to a shaded view for that.

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Flow intersections can sometimes offer a change in flow direction, but it can be touchy to get just right.

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It has to do with segment lengths and angles.

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You'd need to edit how the flows are intersecting,

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until you see arrows appear.

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Ultimately, each flow can be adjusted for Density, motion speed and gender, among other parameters.

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Idle areas are a lot easier to deal with. Most often, you use rectangular or circular areas.

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Press Ctrl+D to deselect all objects. This seems to reset Autogrid when working with the Populate tool.

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Use the circular idle area option,

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and place a few pedestrians where you need them.

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Press Ctrl+D again,

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and then use the rectangular idle area to place a few people on the museum terrace.

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Adjust by using move and rotate as you see fit.

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So far, you've only placed flows but you haven't run any simulations yet.

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By default, the Populate simulations run for 300 frames but your current animation goes to 600.

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Set the Populate simulation to 600 frames and click the Simulate button.

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Animated 3D characters appear once the simulation is calculated.

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Scrub the animation to see people moving.

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However, go to frame 600 and notice that walking people disappear from view.

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That's because your current animation is in fact 601 frames ranging from 0 to 600.

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Change the simulation number of frames to 601 and try again.

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This time, it works better.

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If you feel like experimenting with the parameters of the individual flows, go right ahead,

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and run the simulation again.

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When you are happy with the results, there is one last option you may want to consider:

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Zoom in on the end (or beginning) of a walking flow.

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Scrub the animation and notice how some people are popping in and out of the scene.

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This can be quite disconcerting in an animation, if the characters are directly in the shot.

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The easiest way to get rid of that problem is to select the offending pedestrians,

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And simply delete them from the flow and from the scene.

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Repeat for every animated pedestrian that may have the same behavior.

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You're almost ready to render the scene but one last check remains to be done:

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There are some hidden components that might come in conflict with the pedestrians paths.

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Right-click and choose Unhide by Name.

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Type in "UDC" to select all objects starting with that prefix and unhide them.

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Move or delete problematic objects.

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When you're done, hide the UDC components again,

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and in fact, bring back the cars and the buildings to view.

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Switch the viewport to view the camera you want to render.

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Don't forget the trees, although they'd still render even if hidden from view.

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When you're ready, use the Render dialog to specify a Time Output, a folder and a Render Output file.

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3ds Max doesn't let you to render to an .mp4 format but you can render to .avi and convert it using third-party software.

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You can also view the rendered files that are part of the downloadable assets.

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In this tutorial, you learned a great many things about Revit to 3ds Max Interoperability:

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You learned to do prep work in Revit so that your work in 3ds Max is minimized at import time.

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You learned to import and link the file to 3ds Max using FBX workflow.

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You learned to create your own Import and Link presets so that you filter the information in a way that works for you.

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You learned to import and link a file separately, or into an existing 3ds Max scene.

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You learned to place and adjust the Revit model and fine-tune any adjustments directly in 3ds Max.

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Finally, you learned to bring the scene to life by animating cars, cameras and people to embellish your Revit model.

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We hope you have enjoyed this series and hope to talk to you again very soon.

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This is Amer Yassine, signing off.
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  • 3ds Max
  • 2015
  • Interoperability
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