Help with my Roller coaster animation - 3DS Max

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  02 February 2013
Help with my Roller coaster animation - 3DS Max

Hey people,

I have my track, columns and single car train completed and has been imported into 3ds max 2012. I am not experienced in the animation area...and now struggling.

I have used AutoCAD for my track and car design. From there I am used to adding materials to the objects, then render the image.

Now I am looking to create an animation.

My aims:

Link a camera to a path which moves round the track with accurate banking and velocity simulating a POV for the ride.

Then, I will move on to linking the single car to the path and follow the car with a camera around the track. Also animating the guide wheels of the single car.

I have also imported a 3d polyline from AutoCAD into 3D Max which exists as an editable spline. This represents the position of the path of the camera, about neck height on a rider sitting down. It is about 1.5m above the track position.

I have made a lot of calculations and have values I want to import.

I have both relative and absolute banking and velocity information.


With a time based step size of 0.04 seconds I have the value for banking and speed. I created it in excel with columns for time(0.04s,0.08s,0.12s etc), banking angle (degrees), velocity (m/s),height (elevation from the ground, metres) travel distance on the tack (metres) and also ride percentage covered of the track distance(%). The ride last 69.44s and is 458.9m in travel length.

Absolute: This is in a .dat file....I have the x, y z position (metres) of this path for the camera including slope (degrees) ,banking (degrees) and velocty (m/s). It has a time based step size of 0.04 seconds as well.

I need help on applying the banking and velocity values accurately to my imported 3D polyline from AutoCAD. Or maybe from my excel or .dat file 3DS Max can draw out this path without the need for my import 3D polyline.

Any advice would be great...I'm completely stuck.

Last edited by fraser182 : 02 February 2013 at 02:14 AM.
  02 February 2013
You can read out values from external files using MaxScript and apply those to a camera.

0.04 seconds step size = 25 frames per second, percentage is something which can be controlled using a path constraint.
  02 February 2013

Thanks for the reply. I've had a look, so I see i will need to write a script to import velocity and one for rotation. I think I'm going to have to ask someone in a scripting forum to help out.

I guess once I have these scripts, and they are applied to the same path, sorted? This path will be initially for the camera, and then from there add my single car train.

Last edited by fraser182 : 02 February 2013 at 11:46 AM.
  02 February 2013
Thanks Scrimski!
  02 February 2013
Just another thought. Is there any way to define the path of an object or camera with 2 path constraints? I.e left and right rail of the coaster. Thus the banking would be defined from the path of the rails, having only to solve the velocity issue.
  02 February 2013
Sure, why not?
  02 February 2013
I'm away from my 'high spec' computer, so will act on that thought tomorrow and see how it goes.

Off the top of my head, the process:

Select object (intially my camera)
- path constraint, add path, select left rail spline.
then repeat with same object for right rail.
  02 February 2013
Sounds OK.
  02 February 2013
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