Creating City Blocks in 3ds Max - Part 28 - Animating Pedestrians Using Populate
In this tutorial, you use the Populate Tool to add animated pedestrians to your city scene.
- Recorded in: 3ds Max 2014
- This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2014 or higher.
00:00:06,345 --> 00:00:13,349
Continue working on your project, or open the file named CityBlocks_Bldgs-populate.max if you need to catch up.
00:00:13,942 --> 00:00:21,915
In this movie, you use the Populate tool to add animated pedestrians to your city, in particular in and around the park you created.
00:00:22,510 --> 00:00:29,075
If you are a regular visitor on this channel, you may have already seen the Populate tool in action in other tutorials.
00:00:29,675 --> 00:00:34,894
So here, we'll revisit and experiment with some of Populate's strengths and limitations.
00:00:35,873 --> 00:00:38,820
Maximize the top view, you will start there.
00:00:39,225 --> 00:00:46,371
Expand the ribbon and go to the Populate tab. You'll start by creating a pedestrian flow on the sidewalks surrounding the park.
00:00:47,089 --> 00:00:55,420
Note that there are chamfered corners around the building lot. This is significant as Populate doesn't like short distances too much.
00:00:56,070 --> 00:01:01,220
Click the Create Flow button and hover over the top view. A round brush appears.
00:01:01,688 --> 00:01:08,614
This brush dictates the width of the pedestrian flow. It seems a tad big for the size of the sidewalks.
00:01:09,046 --> 00:01:14,345
Bring the Width value down to about 9, this seems to match the scene a little bit better.
00:01:14,897 --> 00:01:22,074
To start the flow, pick a point on the sidewalk away from the corners and away from any pathway intersection.
00:01:23,082 --> 00:01:28,110
This will prevent any problems when you start inserting flow direction changes later on.
00:01:28,885 --> 00:01:36,452
Hold Shift down to work in ortho mode and go around the building lot without worrying about the chamfered corners.
00:01:37,559 --> 00:01:39,899
Right-click to end the flow.
00:01:40,959 --> 00:01:46,268
In the Modify panel, expand the single entry to access sub-object mode.
00:01:48,599 --> 00:01:53,384
Make any necessary adjustments to the flow points and segments.
00:01:57,409 --> 00:02:02,858
Make sure you move flow point and segments based on individual pivot points.
00:02:10,030 --> 00:02:15,161
Adjust the start and end points so that they share the same location.
00:02:20,127 --> 00:02:24,402
Next, you adjust the corners by adding extra segments.
00:02:25,333 --> 00:02:31,666
Zoom in on one corner. To add a new control point to a flow, use the Add to Flow button.
00:02:32,324 --> 00:02:36,503
Hover over the flow's center line around the corner area.
00:02:36,929 --> 00:02:41,355
Notice that a new segment appears in either a tan or green color.
00:02:41,932 --> 00:02:48,905
The tan color indicates a bad insertion point. In general, it happens when you are too close to another point.
00:02:49,467 --> 00:02:53,056
Make sure the line is green and click the mouse button.
00:02:53,408 --> 00:03:01,539
With the new inserted point selected, note what happens when you move closer to an adjacent point on the same flow: tan lines appear around the edges.
00:03:02,011 --> 00:03:06,822
This is an indication that the flow is broken; it is something you need to avoid.
00:03:07,222 --> 00:03:15,678
In shaded mode, you also lose the paths that pedestrians are supposed to follow, so again, make sure this doesn't happen.
00:03:17,830 --> 00:03:23,929
Adjust the two points as best you can to get a 45-degree corner without breaking the flow.
00:03:24,661 --> 00:03:28,391
Repeat for the remaining three corners.
00:03:43,288 --> 00:03:49,498
When you're done, exit sub-object mode. You're now ready to add more flows for the pathways.
00:03:49,903 --> 00:03:53,382
This can be done simply by using the Create Flow button again.
00:03:53,742 --> 00:03:59,263
However, before you do that, you need to remember that the Populate tool works in AutoGrid mode.
00:03:59,610 --> 00:04:06,401
This means the flow you just placed was created on top of the sidewalks, at Z=0.15m
00:04:07,160 --> 00:04:13,830
To ensure the pathways are also at the same elevation, you need to start them from the center of the park going outwards.
00:04:14,004 --> 00:04:22,316
If you start them from the street, then they'll be at Z=0 and the pedestrians feet will be below ground once they're in the park.
00:04:22,802 --> 00:04:28,857
There are ways to create elevation changes using ramp flows but we won't be using those here.
00:04:29,340 --> 00:04:38,401
Consider this flow I'm adding here. Watch what happens when I cross the existing sidewalks flow, and the three-arrow icon that appears.
00:04:38,889 --> 00:04:43,736
This shows a flow direction change but there are a few rules for that to work properly.
00:04:44,204 --> 00:04:48,977
For example, note what happens if the angle between the two flows becomes too sharp,
00:04:49,477 --> 00:04:54,953
The arrows disappear from the viewport signaling a flow change is no longer possible.
00:04:56,035 --> 00:05:02,175
Another problem that may cause this is when you have a flow point too close to the intersection.
00:05:03,407 --> 00:05:05,684
Keep that in mind as you design your flows.
00:05:06,012 --> 00:05:11,425
As always, you can place a flow and then fine-tune it at a sub-object level.
00:05:39,162 --> 00:05:46,203
You can also create idle areas, where people are just standing still, chatting or talking on their cell phones.
00:05:46,804 --> 00:05:53,795
You can use custom shapes or simple shapes for idle areas. Here I'll keep it simple and use the rectangle shape.
00:05:54,150 --> 00:05:59,316
Do the same and use the center area of the park, and don't step on the grass.!.
00:06:00,033 --> 00:06:06,880
For now, you simply created flows and idle areas using default settings. You'll get to experiment with that in a moment.
00:06:07,633 --> 00:06:13,946
Go back to your shaded camera view, and in fact, press P to turn it into a Perspective view temporarily.
00:06:14,524 --> 00:06:17,322
Orbit around to get a better view at the park.
00:06:18,082 --> 00:06:24,368
The scene animation is set to 600 frames but the Populate simulation is set to 300 by default.
00:06:24,855 --> 00:06:30,068
Set it to 600 to match the animation length and then click the Simulate button.
00:06:30,599 --> 00:06:34,997
After a few moments, you can see the pedestrians appear in the viewport.
00:06:35,652 --> 00:06:37,917
Playback the animation to see them better.
00:06:38,431 --> 00:06:46,763
If you need more pedestrians on a given flow or idle area, then you can select that element and adjust it in the modify panel.
00:06:47,230 --> 00:06:52,581
There are other parameters that you can control but let's just focus on density for this example.
00:06:53,109 --> 00:06:58,724
Remember that increasing density adds to the number of pedestrians, which affects render time.
00:06:59,301 --> 00:07:04,843
If you decide to make changes to one or more flows, you will need to run the simulation again.
00:07:05,275 --> 00:07:07,990
This also takes more time to process.
00:07:18,286 --> 00:07:23,045
Finally, you will need to make sure your pedestrians are not running into any obstacles.
00:07:23,502 --> 00:07:28,410
This may be hard to see with traffic lights, bus stops, and other urban elements hidden from view.
00:07:28,957 --> 00:07:33,076
You will need to unhide them, typing UDC to filter the selection,
00:07:33,466 --> 00:07:38,146
and then, you'd need to move any obstacles from the pedestrians' paths.
00:07:38,456 --> 00:07:41,982
This is certainly easier than editing pedestrian's flows.
00:07:42,607 --> 00:07:47,302
For example, we have here a man walking right through a bench,
00:07:48,425 --> 00:07:53,963
and over here we have a woman going through a bus stop.
00:07:54,696 --> 00:08:01,343
So take your time and move these objects out of the way. The top view is probably easiest to that effect.
00:08:26,397 --> 00:08:34,569
When you're done moving obstacles, you can select and hide the urban design components again and switch back to the animated camera view.
00:08:35,130 --> 00:08:36,330
Save your file.
00:08:37,147 --> 00:08:40,917
You have now completed the tutorial and are ready to do a final render.
00:08:41,337 --> 00:08:49,120
This 600-frame animation will take a while to render; it took almost 12 hours on the system used to record this movie.
00:08:58,485 --> 00:09:04,972
As an alternative, you can also view the end-results in the MP4 file you downloaded along with the scene files.
00:09:05,376 --> 00:09:07,920
In this tutorial, you learned a great many things.
00:09:08,292 --> 00:09:14,220
You learned how to build roads, sidewalks and building lots while keeping material application in-check and flexible.
00:09:14,560 --> 00:09:21,970
You learned to duplicate and place urban design components and in the case of traffic lights, you even learned to control their status as well.
00:09:22,537 --> 00:09:29,852
You also learned to create low-polygon buildings by going through the manual methods and then by using the Building Maker free script.
00:09:30,477 --> 00:09:34,874
Finally, you placed and animated a camera to get a shot at your new city,
00:09:35,312 --> 00:09:39,295
and you used the Populate tool to add animated pedestrians to your scene.
00:09:39,648 --> 00:09:45,170
As always, we hope you have enjoyed this series and we'll come back with more topics very soon.