You can save and load
animation data for any number of objects separately from the actual
scene via Load Animation and Save Animation commands available on
the Animation menu.
These commands use two
- XAF (XML Animation File) contains the
- XMM (XML Animation Map File) contains
mapping information: how the incoming animation data is assigned
to objects in the current scene.
Mapping is quite flexible:
as long as data is comparable, it can be assigned. For example,
each key for both position and rotation animation contains three
numbers, so you could, if you wanted, assign incoming position data
to a current object's rotation track, or vice versa.
To use the Save Animation and Load Animation
You start by saving animation
data from the current scene.
- Select any number of objects in your
scene that contain animation. The animation can be of any type:
procedural, manually keyframed, IK, and so on.
The frame range from
which the animation is saved is the same for all objects, so make
sure you select only objects from which you want to save the same
Using this method, you can save animation
only from selected objects. Alternatively, you can save animation
from specific tracks in Track View; see
Hierarchy Right-Click Menu
- From the Animation menu, choose
- Set the save parameters.
By default, the command
saves all keys from animated tracks for selected objects, including
motion derived from constraints. For example, if an object rotates
because a LookAt constraint is applied to its Rotation track, then
when you save its animation with
Include Constraints on, 3ds Max Design generates
rotation keys based on the constrained motion. It does not save
the actual constraint.
You can save just a part
of the animation by turning on
setting a frame range.
- Specify a file name and then click Save,
or click the + button next to Save to increment the file name and
save under the new file name.
If the selected objects
contain no savable animation, the message “No animation tracks to
save” appears. If this happens, create animation to save or change
the Save Animation parameters as needed.
Next, you load the animation
- Set up or load a new scene and then select
any objects that are to receive the loaded animation.
Using this method, you can load animation
only to selected objects. Alternatively, you can load animation
to specific tracks in Track View; see
Hierarchy Right-Click Menu
- From the Animation menu, choose
- Find and highlight the XAF file from
which to load animation.
- Click Load Motion. If the objects you're
loading animation to are the same as those you saved the animation
from, the animation loads and is mapped automatically. If mapping
is required, you're given the opportunity to set it up. Or, if you've
already set up mapping for the scene and incoming animation data,
choose a mapping (XMM) file from the Motion Mapping/Retargeting
drop-down list and then click Get Mapping. Otherwise, click Edit
Clicking Edit Mapping
Animation dialog, which contains three
lists: from left to right, Current, Mapped, and Incoming. The Current
list shows selected objects in the scene and their animation tracks;
the Incoming list shows animation tracks in the XAF file, and the
Mapped list shows, for each track in the Current list, the animation
track in the Incoming list that will map to it. In certain cases,
such as with objects that have the same name, some tracks are mapped
automatically and appear in the Mapped column as soon as you open
the dialog. The tracks that are already mapped are shown in gray
in the Current and Incoming columns.
- To map a pair of tracks manually, click
a track in the Current list and another in the Incoming list, and
then click the left-arrow (<-) button to the left of the Incoming
This places the name
of the incoming track in the Mapped list, opposite the Current-list
track to which it is assigned.
- To remove a mapping assignment, click
its entry in the Mapped list, and then click the -> button.
- Continue setting up the mapping assignments
as needed. When you're finished, click Save Mapping or Save Mapping
As, and then specify a file name to save.
After you save the mapping
file, the Load Motion button becomes available, and you can proceed
with loading the animation.
- Click Load Motion.
The animation data is
loaded and assigned to the selected objects, and any animation keys
appear on the track bar.
To retarget an incoming animation:
This is a continuation
of the previous procedure, and explains the basic workflow of node
retargeting. Retargeting means to scale the
animation so it matches the objects onto which you are mapping the
motion. You can use this feature any time you need to transfer an
animation between two objects or rigs of different sizes and proportions. For
example, an animation of a cat stretching could be retargeted to
a bigger dog model, resulting in a scaled animation to fit the dog's
Once your track-mapping
assignments are complete, the Retargetable Nodes list on the Retargeting
rollout displays the mappings available for retargeting.
For steps that describe
retargeting a character rig, see
retarget one character onto another.
- First, in the Scale Origin group, choose
the Incoming and Current objects to use as the origin and basis
For example, when retargeting
a rig, you would use each rig's root object.
- Next, in the Derive Scale Between Chains
group, chose comparable IK or FK chains from the Incoming and Current
models to obtain a Scale Factor that proportionally retargets the
incoming animation onto the current model.
- Click Set to apply the retargeting.
- If different portions of the model are
differently proportioned, you might need to repeat steps 2 and 3
for different selections of mapped tracks. You might also need to
use the FK Retargeting Extent group to account for the different
Retargeting Rollout for
- When you're finished, save your mapping
to preserve the retargeted data, and then click Load Motion to apply
the animation to the currently selected objects.
Retargeting is essentially
a “by hand” process. You might need to try different settings to
get the result you need. You can remove retargeting by highlighting
a mapped track in the Retargetable Nodes list, and then clicking
- Close the Map Animation dialog.
- Load Animation
Load Animation lets
you load animation from an XAF (XML Animation File) file to objects
in your scene. Part of the animation-loading process is mapping
the animation; that is, specifying which objects in the scene are
to receive the loaded animation tracks.
- Save Animation
Save Animation lets
you store animation from your scene to disk in the XML Animation
File (XAF) format. The XAF file format lets you save and load animation
for any number of objects separately from the actual scene.
- Merge Animation
Merge Animation merges
(transfers) animation data from one object to another. Animation
data can be transferred from one scene to another, or between objects
in the same scene. Animation data from several objects can be merged
at the same time.