Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 27 - Adding and Animating a Camera

By
-
Login to Follow
-
Industry
  • Design Visualization
Subject
  • Animation
  • Modeling
  • Scripting
  • 2014
  • Environment
  • Workflow
Products
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
Duration
9 min

Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 27 - Adding and Animating a Camera

In this tutorial, you turn an empty building lot into a park and then place and animate a camera to get an interesting shot at your newly-built city.

Notes

Transcript

1
00:00:06,440 --> 00:00:14,838
Continue working on your project, or open the file named CityBlocks_Bldgs-cam.max you were introduced to in the last movie.

2
00:00:15,538 --> 00:00:23,412
By now you have a city made of nine blocks, complete with streets, sidewalks, urban elements and low-poly buildings

3
00:00:24,004 --> 00:00:28,747
Notice that in this particular scene, I left a building lot empty among the high-rises.

4
00:00:29,279 --> 00:00:35,850
Let's turn this building lot into a park; this will be helpful later when we start animating pedestrians.

5
00:00:36,313 --> 00:00:38,295
Zoom in on the building lot.

6
00:00:38,778 --> 00:00:44,409
Use the Rectangle tool in AutoGrid mode to create a rectangle just inside the sidewalks area.

7
00:00:50,634 --> 00:00:58,058
Create another rectangle in the center of the lot; make it about 20mx35m in Length and Width.

8
00:00:58,935 --> 00:01:05,876
Now create a series of lines from the center out, which you would eventually turn into pathways.

9
00:01:06,390 --> 00:01:10,897
You may want to turn the viewport into wireframe mode (F3) to see better.

10
00:01:11,397 --> 00:01:16,701
Also hold the Shift key as you create the pathways to keep them orthogonal.

11
00:01:18,062 --> 00:01:23,845
Make sure the lines and the rectangles intersect; though you will need to trim the excess later.

12
00:01:24,590 --> 00:01:28,120
Once the lines are drawn, exit AutoGrid mode.

13
00:01:28,905 --> 00:01:33,492
Select the center rectangle and turn it into an editable spline.

14
00:01:35,914 --> 00:01:44,645
Attach the outer rectangle and all the lines representing pathways. You now have a single spline object made of multiple splines.

15
00:01:45,160 --> 00:01:53,670
Go into Spline sub-object mode and select all the lines but not the rectangles. Hold the Ctrl key for multiple selections.

16
00:01:54,146 --> 00:02:03,522
In the Modify panel, enable the Outline Center option and give an Outline value of about 4 or 5 meters.

17
00:02:04,883 --> 00:02:11,665
Now use the Trim command to remove all the excess segments and clean the intersections.

18
00:02:22,011 --> 00:02:28,685
Switch to vertex mode, and then select all vertices and weld them to close the loops.

19
00:02:29,214 --> 00:02:33,854
Exit sub-object mode and press F3 to go back to Realistic mode.

20
00:02:34,721 --> 00:02:39,588
To turn the spline into a volume, you can use either Extrude or Bevel.

21
00:02:40,104 --> 00:02:43,644
Here, you will use Bevel to prevent the sides from being too sharp.

22
00:02:44,195 --> 00:02:48,670
Add a Bevel modifier with a height of about 0.2m.

23
00:02:49,464 --> 00:02:56,176
Adjust the outline to your liking; a value of about -1.5m should work nicely.

24
00:02:56,858 --> 00:02:58,980
You need a material for the grass.

25
00:02:59,323 --> 00:03:05,142
Go to the Slate Material Editor and create a new Arch & Design material using the Matte template.

26
00:03:08,438 --> 00:03:15,208
Add the grass.jpg image as a Diffuse Color Map and assign the material to the newly-created object.

27
00:03:15,941 --> 00:03:22,356
Make sure the material is set to show in the viewport. Mind you, it still needs mapping coordinates to display properly.

28
00:03:22,821 --> 00:03:30,640
Add a UVW Map modifier and adjust its properties. A gizmo size of about 10mx10m should do nicely.

29
00:03:31,158 --> 00:03:35,222
You could also have used Real-World scale by enabling it in the modifier,

30
00:03:35,535 --> 00:03:40,463
and adjusting the bitmap properties accordingly to end up with the same results.

31
00:03:41,046 --> 00:03:47,411
Dismiss the Material Editor. Next you create and animate a camera to take a different look at your city.

32
00:03:47,999 --> 00:03:54,364
Start by creating a target camera at street level, by clicking and dragging along this road over here.

33
00:03:55,132 --> 00:04:02,433
Using the Move tool, set the Z-height to 1.8m, which is about 6-feet high.

34
00:04:03,068 --> 00:04:08,034
Right-click or pan the viewport slightly to remove the focus from the Transform Type-ins.

35
00:04:08,361 --> 00:04:14,612
Now press C to display what the camera is looking at. There are yet a couple of adjustments to be made:

36
00:04:14,945 --> 00:04:18,314
The first has to do with how shadows are displayed in the viewport.

37
00:04:18,862 --> 00:04:25,788
Choose Realistic > Lighting and Shadows and enable the Illuminate with Scene Lights option.

38
00:04:26,505 --> 00:04:28,770
Render the scene.

39
00:04:32,834 --> 00:04:36,449
It seems a bit dark. You need to adjust Exposure control.

40
00:04:37,807 --> 00:04:45,980
Click the icon that displays the Environment dialog and change the Exposure value to 13, and then try again.

41
00:04:50,945 --> 00:04:55,404
This is better, although you'll need to change the direction of the sun in a minute.

42
00:04:55,919 --> 00:05:00,349
Notice that at this time, the urban design components are not shown in the render.

43
00:05:00,647 --> 00:05:03,469
This is understandable as they are hidden from view.

44
00:05:03,687 --> 00:05:08,618
You can certainly unhide them but their sheer number would certainly affect viewport performance.

45
00:05:08,960 --> 00:05:15,152
An alternative is to go to the Render Scene dialog and force 3ds Max to Render Hidden Geometry.

46
00:05:15,542 --> 00:05:22,703
This would increase render time (more objects to render) but at least, viewport performance remains unaffected.

47
00:05:23,671 --> 00:05:28,647
Next, you work on the camera starting point, before you start animating it.

48
00:05:29,317 --> 00:05:35,388
Dismiss all dialogs and press Alt+W to switch back to a 4-viewport configuration.

49
00:05:36,141 --> 00:05:43,326
Zoom in the appropriate views and relocate the camera target so that you are looking up the high rises to your right.

50
00:05:43,951 --> 00:05:47,344
Notice that the camera view updates automatically.

51
00:05:50,020 --> 00:05:57,777
Render the camera view. It looks fine but a different location of the sun will yield better-looking shadows.

52
00:05:59,708 --> 00:06:05,151
Use Unhide by Name to select and unhide the Compass and the Daylight system.

53
00:06:08,096 --> 00:06:18,424
Select the Daylight System and go to the Motion panel. Change the North Direction and set it to about 275 and try again.

54
00:06:23,136 --> 00:06:28,863
This looks better. Now you will animate the camera and its target for a better look at the city.

55
00:06:29,920 --> 00:06:35,724
By default, you have 100 frames to work with. That is not enough for a nice, flowing camera motion.

56
00:06:36,302 --> 00:06:44,761
Go to the Time Configuration dialog and set the animation to be 600 frames long. That's about 20 seconds using the NTSC signal.

57
00:06:45,470 --> 00:06:51,460
Again zoom in the appropriate views, namely the top view and a side view, and enable Auto Key.

58
00:06:52,017 --> 00:06:57,164
You don't need to be fancy here; three keyframes for both the camera and its target ought to be enough.

59
00:06:57,646 --> 00:07:01,110
Of course, and as always, feel free to experiment on your own.

60
00:07:01,683 --> 00:07:09,124
For now, go to frame 280 and move the camera target to somewhere around the center of the park.

61
00:07:12,109 --> 00:07:21,712
Next move the camera while still at frame 280. Set the camera to look from the right, and perhaps move it slightly up in Z,

62
00:07:28,905 --> 00:07:36,924
Next go to frame 560 and move the camera again to a different spot, perhaps a higher point near this building.

63
00:07:37,689 --> 00:07:42,632
If you need to, adjust the target as well at frame 560.

64
00:07:44,070 --> 00:07:47,959
Move it up slightly to get a better look at the buildings in the background.

65
00:07:48,781 --> 00:07:52,166
Test your animation using the viewport playback.

66
00:08:02,116 --> 00:08:05,300
You may need to adjust the animation curves in the Curve Editor.

67
00:08:05,797 --> 00:08:12,493
In this case, consider smoothing out the camera animation around frame 280 by editing the tangents.

68
00:08:13,321 --> 00:08:17,340
Exit Auto Key mode and save your file once you are happy with the motion.

69
00:08:17,936 --> 00:08:20,201
This ought to work well for a final render.

70
00:08:20,821 --> 00:08:27,001
In the next and last movie, you'll add pedestrians to liven up the animation using the Populate tool.

Posted By
Tags
  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • Modeling
  • Scripting
  • 2014
  • Environment
  • Workflow
1 Comment
To post a comment please login or register
| 1 year ago
After drawing the spline, I made the grass using Building Maker ????
*Save $66 per month on Autodesk's Suggested Retail Price (SRP) when purchasing 1 year term 3ds Max or Maya subscription.