Creating Avatar Animations

What you will need

The ColladaMax Plugin

The Figure below shows the PlugIn Manager window for 3DStudioMax. It's accessible from Customize->Plug-in Manager. the Figure shows you that the ColladaMax plugin has been loaded correctly.

Animating the Avatar Model

This Section explains how you Create and Export your Avatar Animations. The Figure below shows a posed male Avatar Model. The Motion Command Panel contains all the Tools you need to Animate the Avatar and bring it to life.

The e-book available here, contains great information for Animating Models in 3DSMax. For Creating Avatar Dance Animations, you will mostly work with the Freeform Animation Technique. If you wish to make the Avatar walk a few steps, Footsteps is a quick way to quickly work.

TIP: 3DSMax has some Great Tools to help Animate your Character. A great Tool is the Copy/Paste tool, which helps keep your Animation symmetrical. The Left Figure is the original undesired pose, while the Right Figure is the Final Pose after using the Tool.

Exporting Animation

This Section details the procedure to Export completed Avatar Animations using the ColladaMax Exporter.

Firstly, save your file using the following naming convention- for a male weird dance animation, m_weirddance.max; for a female weird dance animation, f_weirddance.max.

Secondly, to generate a preview picture for your animation, create a rendering of your posed avatar. Position your avatar in the perspective viewport, and then press F10 to bring up the render setup window. The figure below shows the relevant settings to take a 256x256 single frame rendering.

Save your render output as a .dds file. Choose the A8 save option when 3DSMax prompts you for DDS save options.

Finally, it's time to export your animation. Select the avatar in the viewport, then select File->Export Selected. Select COLLADA as the export file type. The export settings are as shown in the figure below.

Set the end value depending on the length of your animation- if your animation last for 150 frames, then the end value should be 150. The exporter will export the avatar animation as a .DAE file.

Editing the twml file

This is the Final Stage for Exporting your Custom Avatar Animation to Twinity. The TWML file format is an XML-based file-format, which allows users to add interactivity to their static Collada 3d-models (such as Player Avatars) in the Twinity Game Engine.

TWML files can be created using text editors such as Notepad++ and PSPad.

The TWML Specification lists fantastic examples to add your Custom Animations to your Avatar. Section 4.4.3.1 is a very effective example that will work with your Custom Animations.

POINT TO NOTE: Ensure all of the Export Files (i.e. the .twml, .dds, .dae, .max files) are at the same location for simplicity.

Using your animation in Twinity

You can use your new animation in Twinity just like any other Collada item. Just open the "Actions" menu, click on "Click to add action" and select your animation in the library browser from the My Computer tab: