Animating Text in 3ds Max - Part 2 - Using Audio Files

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8 min

Animating Text in 3ds Max - Part 2 - Using Audio Files

In this tutorial, you create text to simulate musical instruments such as a trumpet and two congas. You will use FFD modifiers to shape the text into form. You will also learn about the Reset XForm Utility to reset local orientation.

  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2012
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2012 or higher.


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Now that you have laid down the basics, it is time to create the text simulating the musical instruments.

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You will start with the trumpet.

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In the Front view, create a line of text that reads TRUMPET in capital letters.

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Zoom back a bit and move it a bit to the left and up, about 400 units in each direction.

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Change the font to one you like. In this movie, We're using Bauhaus 93.

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Extrude the text about 60 units.

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Incidentally, be careful which font you use as some do not extrude very well.

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Notice for example how the Berlin Sans FB Bold font displays a weird behavior when extruded.

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In order to shape the text to look like a trumpet, you need to sub-divide it.

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Add a Quadrify Mesh modifier and leave the Quad Size % value to 4. You can always decrease it later if you need more detail

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With the added detail to the text, you are now ready to deform it.

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Add an FFD(box) modifier. FFD stands for Free Form Deformation.

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Change the number of points to 3x4x3.

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Expand the modifier and select Control Points. As you move the FFD control points, you deform the text.

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In the Left view, select the middle vertical column of control points and scale it vertically to curve the text.

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Next select the middle horizontal row and scale it horizontally.

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In the Front view, select the vertical columns one at a time and use 3D scale to shape the text into a trumpet.

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Keep on fine-tuning your work until you get a shape that you like.

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Go to the Slate Material Editor and create a Standard material based on a gold Diffuse color.

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Adjust the Specular Level and Glossiness to make it shiny.

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Connect the golden lake image as a reflection map.

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Bring down the Reflection level a bit and apply the new material to the object in the scene.

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Test render the perspective view.

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If you feel the resolution is jagged, reduce the Quadrify % value to about 2%.

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Be aware that this affects computer performance and rendering time.

00:03:17 --> 00:03:24
Once done, you need to relocate the object's pivot point as it will help you with the animation later.

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In the hierarchy panel, click the Affect Pivot Only button.

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Start by centering the pivot to the object and then move it to the left closer to the mouth piece (the first letter).

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Exit Affect Pivot Only mode.

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At this time, notice that the object's local orientation is not aligned with the World Coordinate System.

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This is mostly because the text was created in the front view.

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It is usually good practice to reset objects after transforming and modifying them.

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This way, you ensure they're oriented the same way before you start animating them.

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The safest way to reorient an object to the World Coordinate System is to use the Reset XForm utility.

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This utility adds an XForm modifier to the stack and reorients the objects' local axes.

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Once you are done with shaping the trumpet, and once you are absolutely sure no more changes are required,

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you can collapse the object to an editable poly.

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This way, 3ds Max wouldn't need to evaluate the Extrude, Quadrify, FFD or XForm modifiers and needs only to deal with a simple mesh.

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You can of course save your file to keep a working version of the trumpet in case you need to fall back on it later.

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Now that the trumpet is in place, let's model the other instruments starting with the congas.

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Create text that reads HI CONGA in capital letters,

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and set it to the Snap ITC font.

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Set the size to about 50,

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and rotate the text so that it is standing up.

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Extrude the text about 30 units.

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If you want, add the small letter "l" before and after HI CONGA to provide the drum with upper and lower horizontal platforms.

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From this point on, the technique is similar to what you did earlier.

00:05:45 --> 00:05:50
Namely, you need to add a Quadrify Mesh modifier to the top of the stack,

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and an FFD(box) modifier, although in this case, you can use the preset FFD(3x3x3).

00:05:59 --> 00:06:04
This time, you will round up the instrument using the top view,

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and then shape it a bit more by inflating its mid-section, and slightly the top.

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Use the Reset XForm utility to reset the object's local axes.

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Add a UVW Map modifier in Box mode,

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and create a material for it based on the provided bitmap.

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Finally, relocate the pivot point as you did earlier so that it is at the base of the drum.

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Before you collapse the stack as you did earlier, make a copy of the hi conga drum to create the lo conga twin.

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Actually, a low conga is slightly fatter and has a lower pitch sound,

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so in addition to changing the text to read LO CONGA, adjust the FFD control points to make for a slightly larger drum.

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You'll notice an unexpected 90-degree rotation of the FFD gizmo, that's due to the applied XForm modifier.

00:07:30 --> 00:07:32
You're still able to deform the mesh however.

00:07:41 --> 00:07:48
Collapse both congas to individual Editable Poly objects. This will help with computer performance.

00:07:48 --> 00:07:53
In the next movie, you will build the last instrument,the double bass.
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