Using parameter wiring and sliders is a very quick and easy way to create dynamic and efficient time savers allowing you to use
a predefined interface to control values of objects which would otherwise waste precious time getting to.
In this tutorial i will cover what you need to set up sliders and link these sliders to an objects morpher wiring parameters.
This is the second installment of a 2 part, easy to understand animation tutorial which covers morphing
which are essential tools for advanced character animation.
Creating and Setting Up The Sliders
What we will be doing in this part of the tutorial is setting up a sphere with morph targets created from the first stage, with wire
parameters and sliders.
Some general knowledge about 3d studio max should be known before attempting this and i highly reccomend that the first stage of this tutorial
be read before doing this one as I will use many references to what was previously covered. If you have not read the first part, then you will
need to download the scene file that was created from it.
Morphing Scene File
We will start off by creating a slider. To do this go to the create menu and under helpers choose manipulators from the pulldown menu.
select "Slider" as the object to create and click anywhere in the perspective viewport. Now sliders, unlike most objects in 3dsmax
work on viewport placement not world placement so you cannot move it with the move tool. To move the slider to the desired place ( I have
chosen top left corner ) you must edit the parameters of the slider to that similar to the image below. You need to define the
minimum and maximum values as the same as that in the morpher modifier and give it a descriptive label.
Create two more sliders, similar to this one but with different labels describing the different morpher targets they will control. Also
make the y position values higher, to create an easy to use interface of sliders.
Remember to name your sliders to keep your scene neat and tidy.
Now clone these three sliders and move them to the other side of the viewport. Notice you must change their x position value on each slider to move them.
Thats the sliders created, now onto the wiring.
Wiring is the act of connecting two animatable parameters from one object to another. In this case we will be linking the value parameter of the slider
to the value parameter of individual morph targets of the morpher modifier.
There are two ways to wire parameters. One quick and easy way, and the other still quick and fairly easy. I will cover both here.
: is to open up the "Parameter Wire Dialogue" directly, find the objects and their relevant parameters and link them.
To do this, select the first slider you created, then go to the Animation Menu ( top of screen ), then "Wire Parameters" and then click "Parameter Wire Dialogue". As shown in the image underneath
The image below is displaying the "Parameter Wire Dialogue". Now on the left hand side, you should have the slider object selected. Make sure
it is expanded and select the value parameter.
Now in the right hand window, scroll down to objects, expand it, go to the "Base" sphere object, expand that, then to Modified Object, Morpher, and then to the relevant morph target
with the similar name to the slider you are using.
: is to link the objects and their parameters directly in the viewport. This is the quickest and easiest way to do it.
There are two ways of doing this method. The first is by going to the Animation menu ( top of screen ), then "Wire Parameters" and then click "Wire Parameters"...
The second way of doing this method is to use "Wire Parameters" in the transform section of the Viewport menu. (Reached by right clicking).
To initiate this way, select the first slider you created, right click and select "Wire Parameters"...
Both ways will bring up a little two optioned window, allowing you to select different parameters for the object selected when Wire Parameters was initiated.
Select Object(Slider) then Value, as it is the value number of the slider which we will be using for the morph target value number...
Once you selected the value parameter, a crosshair with a dashed line behind it will appear linking you to the next object you select. Select the sphere which has the morpher modifier
applied to it. Once again, this will give you a new little window appearing. Select Modified Object, Morpher And the relevant named option which you labeled this slider.
Now, the "Parameter Wire Dialogue" window will appear. This is similar to the one mentioned in the other method, yet it has one clear difference. This only has the objects which you just selected and their
parameters, and it has selected the parameters which you chose when using the Wire Parameters option. That is the genius of using this method.
Once in the "Parameter Wire Dialogue" with the right objects and their parameters selected, click the "Two way connection" button as seen in the image below. This defines the wiring connection you are making
as two way, therfore when you change the parameter of one, the other will change and vice versa.
With the connection direction button pressed ("Two way") it is time to make the connection, make sure to have the Master switch on the left side as you will be using
the slider to control the morph target manipulation, and click connect.
When the connection is made the colours of the parameters in the "Parameter Wire Dialogue" change to accomodate for the new link created. In each
window (left/right) the parameter depending apon direction changes to a red or green, which enables easy finding of linked paramaters when wanting to remove, or edit them.
The expression textboxes define how the connection is made in a codeable sort of way. For example, if you wanted the morph target value to increase doubly as much as the slider, then
in the right hand expression textbox you could change it from simply saying "value" to "value * 2". Simple example i know, but it explains how it works. If you know any language, then working this will be a breeze.
Now, go ahead and create the links for the rest of the sliders and their corresponding morph targets the same way as shown here.
Once you have completed that, then it is time to make use of the sliders, to do this, click the "select and manipulate" tool.
As shown in the image seen below, when enabled, the select and manipulate tool turns all objects which can be manipulated to a light green, making it even easier to notice them!
Now select the little Triangles on the underside of the slider bars, and move them left to right. Notice how the "Base" object morphs just as if you were
adjusting the values of the morph targets in the morpher modifier.
Animating Sliders and their parameters is the same as animating morph targets, all you need to do is turn on the "Animate" button and then play with the sliders
on the intended keyframes.
This covers all the basics you need to know about morphing, sliders and wire parameters. I hope you learnt some new things from these tutorials.
Good Luck, and Happy Animating!
Completed Version of Tutorial