Animation & Key Frames: FSX/P3D
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Thread: Animation & Key Frames: FSX/P3D

  1. #1

    Animation & Key Frames: FSX/P3D

    Question;

    As a rule, when animating, should all animations be collapsed in order for them to work, correctly?
    Reason I ask is some of the animations are not working. Mainly the switches on the dash panel.

    I know. Try it and see. I'm asking first. :mixedsmi:

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by OleBoy View Post
    Question;

    As a rule, when animating, should all animations be collapsed in order for them to work, correctly?
    Reason I ask is some of the animations are not working. Mainly the switches on the dash panel.

    I know. Try it and see. I'm asking first. :mixedsmi:
    Can't answer the direct question as I am not sure what "collapsing an animation" means since there is nothing added to the stack for animations in FS9.

    But I do know that if in FSX you have anything between your point of view and the switch, it will not activate the animation in FS. For example, if you have moved back a little, your POV may be from inside the seat back. You will not know this of course as you can see thru it unless you have moved all the way back behind the seat.

    Try moving forward a bit to see if the mouse hand then shows for animation.
    Milton Shupe
    FS9/FSX Modeler Hack

    My Uploads at SOH - Here
    Video Tutorials - Gmax for Beginners

  3. #3
    If an animation has been built in Gmax using animation constraint tools (Path, Look-At, Surface, etc) then it must be Collapsed to keyframes before it will work in FS. But I doubt you need any of these tools to animate switches in the VC: simple keyframe animations are all that's usually needed.

    Milton's suggestion is a more likely source of problems, as is scaling gauge polys: see n4gix's sticky at FSDeveloper.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  4. #4
    SOH Staff Tako_Kichi's Avatar
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    As you are fairly new to animation Don make sure all your animations are made with 'linear' parameters in the motion rollout. GMAX defaults to something else but FSX/P3D will only accept linear.
    Larry


  5. #5
    I am making this thread a sticky for now due to its importance to all gmax/3DS users.
    Milton Shupe
    FS9/FSX Modeler Hack

    My Uploads at SOH - Here
    Video Tutorials - Gmax for Beginners

  6. #6
    I've logged into the forum a couple times since my posting, and forgot to scroll down. Long hours at work.

    There aren't a lot of switches on this particular model's panel, but my reason for asking if things needed to be collapsed came due to being in the area in the "motion" tab, trajectories/ collapse transform. I wasn't sure if I've read anything about having to collapse standard-type animations. HS gave me the answer I was needing on that part.

    The mag-switch apparently needs a special code due to the way it's animated 3-stage.
    Then comes the coding of the individual gauges.

    Thanks all for the help. Sounds like it's time to gain a bit of XML knowledge.
    The link to n4gix's sticky is great info. Many thanks, Bill. :salute:

  7. #7
    I'm having no luck animating basic control surfaces, I am also new to gmax. Was wondering if anyone has any instructions on how to do this?

    Kind regards,

    Matt

  8. #8
    FS9 - don't keyframe animate control surfaces.

    FSX - AFAIK it's keyframe 50 is centered, keyframe 0 is all the way one direction and 100 is all the way the other direction?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by tgibson View Post
    FS9 - don't keyframe animate control surfaces.

    FSX - AFAIK it's keyframe 50 is centered, keyframe 0 is all the way one direction and 100 is all the way the other direction?

    In relation to FSX, Yes you are correct. Aileron and rudder + elevator are animated this way. Flaps are the same however they require frame 0 to be retracted fully and frame 100 to be extended fully to my knowledge and testing so far on my model that is correct.

    Having answered that, I too am stuck. I need to animate a propeller, instead of flying a glider! Lol. I don't suppose anyone has any in depth instructions on prop animation??

    Regards, Matt.

  10. #10
    Hi,

    AFAIK you keyframe animate them every 20 keyframes, from 0 to 100. Then assign the animation in the Animation Manager. Hopefully someone will come in and correct me.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by OzFlightSimulations View Post
    I don't suppose anyone has any in depth instructions on prop animation??
    You should look at the SDK – Environment Kit/Modelling SDK/New Aircraft Procedures and also download the Douglas DC-3 Gmax model for FSX, available from Microsoft.

    FSX requires you to do all the work, unlike FS9, so you'll have to animate the propellor(s) and tag with the Animation Manager.
    Check the DC-3 model's props and you'll find there are three models for each prop:- eg prop0_still, prop0_slow and prop0_blurred. Each is animated for a full 360 degree rotation from frame 0 to frame 100.

    That takes care of the prop rotation, but note there are keyframes at 0, 25, 50, 75 and 100: FSX likes it that way and had the animation only had keyframes at 0 and 100 there is every chance you won't see any animation in FSX.

    As said, you have to do all the work so you also have to set a Visibility tag for each prop model: _still, _slow and _blurred models each have to be appropriately tagged. That way the _still model will hide after engine start and _slow or _blurred don't show when it's stopped.

    This sounds like a whole lot of work, but it's just a matter of moments with the AttachPointTool on the FSTools menu in Gmax. See the SDK section mentioned for the details.



    Also make sure you're using Linear animations for both Position and Rotation animations, see this post: if you don't, animations might be jerky or just plain weird in FSX.

    If this seems like a whole load of faffing to FS9 modellers, the upside is you can animate almost anything in your models for FSX and you're not tied to a limited set of specific names for animated objects.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  12. #12

    Worked animation example

    I'm using a member's model to demonstrate in detail how to animate the propeller in FSX. This covers the keyframes, the three propeller models recommended by MS, tagging the animation for FSX and visibility conditions to hide the two unwanted propeller models at any given time. I make no assumptions other than a general familiarity with Gmax.

    The propellor blades are separate from the spinner cone, the spinner is named prop_still and the blades blades_still :-






    The spinner's pivot is pointing backwards: it's a good idea to align this to point forwards along the thrust line, which in this model's case is pointing straight ahead and level: Click on Affect Pivot Only and then Align to World to do this:-






    Link the propellor blades to the spinner: this means whatever the spinner does, the blades will follow. Once that's done, click on Select to get out of linking mode (important!):-







    Click on Animate and the slider bar turns red. Move the time slider to frame 25, right-click on Rotate and make sure the Reference Coordinate System is set to Local (very important!). Type 90 in the Y Offset box and the spinner - and the prop blades - turn 90 degrees.
    Last edited by hairyspin; October 8th, 2017 at 14:12.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  13. #13
    Move the time slider to frame 50 and type 90 in the Y offset again. Repeat this at frames 75 and 100: the spinner and prop have now completed a full 360 degree turn. Click on Animate again and the slider bar turns grey. The animation is complete (a keyframe is automatically created for frame 0) and if you now click on Play Animation the prop and spinner will rotate smoothly:-







    Notice the use of intermediate keyframes: if you only have keyframes at 0 and 100 it's unlikely FSX will show an animation.

    Next, the slow and blurred versions.
    Last edited by hairyspin; October 9th, 2017 at 13:34.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  14. #14
    Click on the spinner and Clone it: name the clone prop_slow. Clone again and name this one prop_blurred :-










    Make a disc like the one shown, centered on the spinner, and call it disc_slow. Link this to prop_slow :-







    Clone disc_slow and name this clone disc_blurred. Link it to prop_blurred:-
    You now have three spinners with associated prop blades or prop discs and because the original spinner is animated, so are the other two:-





    Next, tagging for animation and visibility.
    Last edited by hairyspin; October 9th, 2017 at 13:45.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  15. #15
    SOH-CM-2019
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    Ohhh - I'm glad its easier in FS9!!!......
    Keith

  16. #16
    FSX requires all animations be tagged using the Animation Manager or they won't work, period. The Animation Manager is on the FS Tools menu in Gmax if you have the SDK installed.
    Select prop_still, open the Animation Manager and click Update Sel - the object's name prop_still appears in the box at right:-




    From the Animation List click on prop0_still, enter 0 in Start, enter 100 in End and click Create. The animation is now tagged for FSX and will work. If you click on Summary the Animation Manager will show prop_still to be animated:-





    Now open the AttachPointTool from the FS Tools menu. With prop_still and blades_still both selected, click on Visibility, select prop0_still from Visibility Objects and click on Attach to selected geometry! :-




    Now tag prop_slow for animation (prop0_slow, Start 0, End 100) and tag both prop_slow and disc_slow for visibility (prop0_slow). Tag prop_blurred for animation (prop0_blurred, Start 0, End 100) and prop_blurred and disc_blurred for visibility (prop0_blurred).

    When the engine starts, the prop will start turning, be replaced by the _slow version as it picks up speed and finally be replaced by the _blurred version as it settles to running speed. When the engine stops, the _slow version will reappear followed by _still as the prop stops turning. Here are textured examples:-





    All of this may seem a lot of hassle to FS9 modellers (or even CFS3 modellers like me...) but it only takes a few moments to do. The strength of FSX in animations is you can animate almost anything, you're not tied to the stock animations of FS9, 8, CFS3 etc. Custom animation code is easily added and the sky's the limit.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edited by hairyspin; October 9th, 2017 at 13:51.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Dev One View Post
    Ohhh - I'm glad its easier in FS9!!!......
    Keith
    Other than tagging, the animation process is very similar to FS9. Yes, FS9 deals with propeller animation and visibility by itself and correct naming and pivot alignment is all that's needed, but undercarriage animation (for example) isn't automatic. The above example is to answer a member's query.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  18. #18

    thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by hairyspin View Post
    Other than tagging, the animation process is very similar to FS9. Yes, FS9 deals with propeller animation and visibility by itself and correct naming and pivot alignment is all that's needed, but undercarriage animation (for example) isn't automatic. The above example is to answer a member's query.
    Tom,
    Thank you for your help..... Now the animation works perfect in GMAX but yet when its exported to FSX nothing spins and the prop discs are sitting there...... any tips? maybe I've missed something.... the export is tagged Flightsim.MDL and has the Export Animation ticked.

    I can re attach the reworked stuff I'm having trouble with if it aids in the right direction...

    Kind Regards
    Matt.

  19. #19
    Okay Matt, send it over and I'll have a look as work (real life) permits. I've PMed you an email address.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  20. #20

    OBED scaling problems and animations

    You may get an error message when exporting a model to FSX:-




    This has been a problem since the early days of FS modelling: if you have scaled objects up or down in size while building them, the exporter is going to cough. The model might export to FSX but animations won't work however many times you redo the animation, Animation Manager tagging or visibility attachpoints. It just sits lifeless in the sim.

    Many times the answer is to select the objects and reset scale:-




    You may have to click on this several times to get a result!

    末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末 末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末末
    If resetting scale does not work

    Unfortunately there are times when this is not enough: despite resetting scale until your mouse is overheating, the OBED scale error warning still pops up. There is no escaping the nuclear option now Reset XForm. This is an irreversible process, so save your work before doing this.

    All links between objects must be Unlinked prop discs to prop spinners, wheels to undercarriage oleos to wheelwells etc. Then select everything, go to Tools and click Reset XForm, then the Reset Selected button:-




    This places an XForm modifier on top of each object's stack in the Modify tab. Right-click on each object's stack in turn and Collapse All. The result is Gmax now has an accurate handle on each object's actual size (and the object's pivot is aligned to World): any scaling error is gone for good.

    You now rebuild the model's hierarchy and will almost certainly have to rebuild some animations - realigning each animated object's pivot to suit will often be enough.

    This is a royal pain to do if you have built and animated an entire model before discovering the OBED scaling error, so your practise should always be:

    Export early, export often, test your work in the sim as you go along!!
    Last edited by hairyspin; October 9th, 2017 at 13:59.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  21. #21

    OBED scaling error sources

    If you have built geometry using spline cages - several splines in the shape of wing or fuselage cross-sections, Attached together with Cross-Section and Surface modifiers for example - then Gmax or 3ds Max may not have an accurate handle on your geometry. This might be even more the case if you've then used Lofting to form wingtips which are welded on to the Wing mesh and then further scaling of parts of the mesh to refine the shape. The geometry looks just fine to you, but apply a Reset XForm modifier before mapping or animating or Gmax/Max might have lost track along the way.

    The biggest source of OBED scaling errors in practise is Groups. Groups are very powerful tools but should be used as donkeys eat thistles very carefully! Grouping a bunch of objects, performing some operations on the group (especially scaling) and then Ungrouping will lead to OBED scaling errors. Exploding a group will do the same. Gmax/Max loses track of transform data when a group is ungrouped or exploded, which is where the problem starts.

    In general, avoid Groups unless you genuinely know what you're doing.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  22. #22

    Massive THANKS

    Tom,
    I have no idea where abouts you are in the world, however if I could shake your hand and buy you a beer & say THANKS that would be Awesome.

    I will follow it all up, and I thank you sincerely for your time, effort and knowledge.

    Kind Regards
    Matt

    PS. It exports fine, but with the engine off, the prop remains spinning..... hmmmmmm think ive got some more reading to do, unless you know a fix..

  23. #23
    You're welcome Matt. As to my whereabouts, relative to you I'm the antipodean: in the UK...

    The prop continuing turning may not be to do with the animation tagging, or it may only need a little time to spool down and stop. I just dropped the model into the default C172 folder where turning the magnetos off stopped the prop with no issues.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by hairyspin View Post
    You're welcome Matt. As to my whereabouts, relative to you I'm the antipodean: in the UK...

    The prop continuing turning may not be to do with the animation tagging, or it may only need a little time to spool down and stop. I just dropped the model into the default C172 folder where turning the magnetos off stopped the prop with no issues.

    Got it, All good. Thanks heaps. You're worth more money. Hey just a quick question... The elevator has its own trim tab.. Im trying to animate it. Ive given the elevator 30 degrees of travel up and down just for the purpose of the exercise.... That works fine with the yoke,. Then I linked the trim tab on the elevator, to the elevator its self... so that when the elevator moves, the trim tab should stay on the elevator and not float in the air..... however my attempt, it failed... Does anyone have a better solution to this one?

    Thanks again to everyone here for your help. It is greatly appreciated.

  25. #25
    A couple of things come to mind. First check the trimtab is linked to the elevator: to check this quickly select the trimtab and press Page Up the elevator should now be selected. You can also check in the Select Objects list with Display Subtree ticked: the trimtab will be below the elevator in the list and indented to the right (see last pic in post 14 above). Also have you animated the trimtab but forgotten to tag with the Animation Manager?

    That should be enough to check for now, payment at the regular rates to the usual numbered Swiss bank account, lol.
    Tom
    __________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
    Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

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