View Full Version : Rendering 3d animations into a 2d Sprite sheet?

10 October 2005, 12:56 AM
does anyone know of a plugin, tool or whatever for Max, that will allow 3d animated objects to be rendered into an animation stripe or sprite sheet?

it would save me quite alot of work from compliing all together in photosho


Kazuya Mochu

10 October 2005, 01:23 AM
I've searched for this kind of thing before for a project I had to do at university, but wasn't able to find anything.

The way I did it in the end was to create Photoshop Actions to format each frame of my renders so that they were the right scale and cropped correctly, then used a feature in Photoshop called 'Contact Sheet' (File > Automate > Contact Sheet), to automatically arrange each frame into a single image.

It takes some tweaking to get the Actions and Contact Sheet working as you'll want them, and it's still not a perfect solution, but it does work, and once you have the system in place, since most everything is automated, formatting new animations is a fairly quick process.

10 October 2005, 04:00 PM
I have been doing this for a cell phone game, and i have not found a good way to automate any step of the process yet. I did not know about that contact sheet thing, that is an appealing idea; though for me the arrangement part really didn't take long compared to actually getting the screen caps, etc. Here is my basic workflow:

1 - Open model in Wings3D. Select the model or animation frame you want to capture for a rotation.
2 - Change to orthographic mode, and position and zoom model to be the size you want it to be in-game. I like to place my model in the upper left-hand corner of the window (explanation below).
3 - Save view
4 - Set UI background color to key color (1.0,0.0,1.0 for me).
5 - Press PrntScrn button on keyboard to capture the screen.
6 - Open a new image in photoshop, can be fairly small (256x256, maybe). You are going to be pasting the entire screen cap in here, which after a lot of animations and rotations takes up a lot of memory. To keep things fast, you want to have a small image. To avoid having to manipulate the image after you paste it in, you want your model to be placed way up in the upper left-hand corner of the modeler window. That way when you paste it in Photoshop or whatever, it fits in your nice small window. Every 20 or 30 pastes you can do a select->all, image->crop to get rid of the extra data you don't need. This helps a lot, even on a fast machine with a lot of memory.
7 - Yay! You got your first keyed screen cap. Nice work! Here is the trick to getting easy rotations: Edit your Wings3D preferences, and set your Auto-rotate angle to whatever interval you are using, and set the time to something pretty high, like .5 or 1.0. I like .5, its a good compromise. Here are some sample angles:
8 rotations: 45
16 rotations: 22.5
32 rotations: 11.25
8 - Now to rotate your model. This is very easy - hit the "u" key, and as soon as the model rotates one frame just left click once to exit "auto-rotate" mode. Then hit PrntScrn, and paste it into photoshop. Repeat until you have your full rotation!

At this point, you can either do a photoshop action or just set up some rulers and crop the frames yourself. A handy tool here is the Grid, too. You can set it to whatever size you want; I have been making 32x32 sprites, so I set my Grid to 128 px with 4 subdivisions. Make sure "Snap to Grid" is on and its very easy to arrange a custom sprite sheet.

Hope this made sense! Good luck!

10 October 2005, 05:00 PM
You could use GameMaker 6 (Share-/Freeware) to generate your strips. If you only need this feature you dont have to pay for the Prog.

click add Sprite > Import your frames and save them as a filmstrip.

I made some explosions like this...

11 November 2005, 05:22 PM
thanks to both of you. I still haven't found anything which is pretty weird because I have been told that lightwave has such a plugin.

i'll keep searching, and hope anyone knows about this or has some sort of freeware tool laying around.

thanks in advance,


Kazuya Mochu

CGTalk Moderation
11 November 2005, 05:22 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.