Overview

Anima allows you to render animations in your favorite 3d application using plugins specially designed to import and render a large quantity of 3D characters. The Anima plugin for 3ds Max optimizes memory usage and gives you the flexibility to use your choice of renderer including V-Ray,  Corona,  Scanline and Mental Ray.

For each scene you import the 3ds Max plugin will create two types of object, Anima Actors for each person in your simulation, and a single Anima Scene object that is used to control them. To edit the parameters for Anima Actors and Scene objects, simply select them and open the Modify Panel.

Installation

To automatically install the Anima plugin for 3ds Max

In normal usage plugins are installed or all your 3ds Max versions automatically using the Anima installer.

To manually install the Anima plugin for 3ds Max

If you need to install the plugins manually, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Anima installation directory and locate the Plugins\3dsmax folder. The default location is in C:\Program Files\aXYZ design\Anima 2\Plugins\3dsmax.
  2. In this location is a folder for each version of Max. Open the version you need and copy Anima2.MAX.dli.
  3. Locate the folder where 3ds Max is installed on your computer. The default for it is in C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 20xx.
  4. Open the plugins directory and paste in file Anima2.MAX.dli
  5. Finally copy the contents of aXYZ design\anima 2\3dsmax\Scripts to the Autodesk\3ds Max 20xx\Scripts directory.

Procedures

To open a scene

Loading, controlling and rendering an Anima scene into 3ds Max is really simple, just follow these steps:

  1. Go to File Menu and click on Import.
  2. Under File Type select Anima Project (*.aniproj) and then browse to the location of your Anima project. Select it and Click OK.
  3. The Select Scene menu opens with a dropdown list showing all the available Anima scenes in the project. Choose the one you wish to load and click Select.
  4. The Material Adapter window opens. This automatically detects and creates photorealistic materials for your current renderer but also allows you to select from alternative options like Plaster or Semi Opaque materials for stylized results. To load photoreal materials leave the settings on Regular Config and click Apply Materials to import the Anima scene.

To delete actors

To delete individual actors:

  • Select an Actor and press the Delete key.

To delete all actors:

  • Select the Anima Scene object for the actors and press the Delete key.

To use stylized materials

The Anima plugin allow you to choose from a number of built in non-photorealistic materials for your characters. To use this feature when you import a character, just make sure that you select them from the drop down list when the Material Adapter menu opens. Please see the previous procedure for more detailed information about this technique. If however you wish to change a previously loaded scene to use stylized materials, follow these steps.

  1. Select the Anima Scene object for the characters you’d like to change. For a quick way to locate the scene object just select a character, go to the Modify Panel and click Select Parent.
  2. With the Scene Object selected click Rebuild Materials to open the Material Adapter.
  3. Pick a new material type from the drop down list.
  4. Click Apply Materials to apply the preset.

To change animation speed

The Anima plugin for 3ds Max allows you to change the playback speed of animations. This is ideal for creating slow motion and high speed effects, or simply to subtly adjust the scene. To use this feature:

  1. Select the Anima Scene object for the characters you wish to edit.
  2. Open the Modify Panel.
  3. Adjust the Playback Speed value or slider. Values less than 100% slow down the animation and values greater than 100% speed it up.

To optimize viewport previews

Displaying hundreds or thousands of animated characters can be taxing for your viewports. To make sure you never see a slow-down the Anima plugin allows you to display characters as arrows when their number exceeds a set threshold. To do use this feature:

  1. Select an Anima Scene object.
  2. Open the Modify Panel.
  3. Adjust the Display Value. This represents the number of characters to display in full mesh mode.

To Offset Animation

You can fine-tune animation by offsetting it along the timeline. To use this feature:

  1. Select an Anima Scene object.
  2. Open the Modify Panel.
  3. Adjust the Time Offset parameter. Negative values move the animation backwards in time, positive values move it forwards.

Interface

Anima Scene Object

When you open an Anima project in 3ds Max you import an Anima Scene Controller as well as all the individual characters. The scene controller is represented in the viewports by a symbol in the form of the anima logo.

To control many aspects of the display and playback of the characters, select the scene controller and open the Modify panel to access the following settings:

  1. Anima Project
    The anima project associated with the scene controller. Click on the ellipsis () to change the project.
  2. Reload
    Reloads the Anima project and opens the Select Scene window. You can use this to either open a different scene, replacing the existing characters, or update the scene after making changes to it in Anima standalone.
  3. Rebuild Material
    Opens the Material Adapter window allowing you to regenerate the materials. You can use this to rebuild the materials with appropriate shaders if you change to a different renderer, or if you’d like to swap the photoreal materials for one of the alternative options.
  4. Select Actors
    Click to select all the characters associated with this scene.
  5. Icon
    Controls the size of the Anima icon in the viewport, measured in scene units.
  6. Display
    Controls the number of characters that can be displayed in Full Mesh mode. If there are more characters in the scene than this value then the additional characters display as a simplified arrow. This is to keep viewport playback responsive but it doesn’t affect the render. You can also display or hide the textures in the viewports.
  7. Playback Speed
    Controls the animation speed.Use value less than 100% to play back animations in slow motion or greater than 100% to speed them up.
  8. Time Offset
    Offsets start and end point of the animation. Measured in seconds.
  9. About
    Displays information about your version of the Anima plugin for 3ds Max. You may be asked for this if you contact support.

Anima Scene Object

To manually change the display mode of an individual character, select them and open the Modify panel.

  1. Parent
    Displays the Anima Project file to which this character is associated.
  2. Draw as arrow
    Turn this option on to display the character in the viewports as an arrow mesh. Does not affect rendering