Complex Animations – from 3ds Max to Vizard

When exporting a 3ds Max file with the OSG Exporter, by default, only transform based animations (move, rotate, scale) will be exported correctly. In order to use more complex animations with animated meshes you can either use the OSG Sequence Helper or skin the mesh and export it as a Cal3D avatar. This article discusses the pros and cons of each method.

The OSG Sequence Helper is the faster way to export but will not work well for complicated models with high-polygon meshes. The modifier can be found by selecting "OpenSceneGraph" in the dropdown box on the Create:Helpers tab of the Command Panel.

OSG Sequence Pros:

  • Fast setup and export
  • Captures the exact animation

OSG Sequence Cons:

  • Works by storing a new copy of the entire mesh for every single frame. With dense meshes or long animations, this can cause the file size to skyrocket
  • Since a new model needs to be loaded for every frame, the animation may play back slower than intended or even skip frames.

Exporting as an avatar will take longer to setup, but the file size will be smaller, the animation playback will be easier to control, and the playback won't be jumpy like with an OSG Sequence. This can be done either by rigging the mesh with bones and remaking the animation using them, or by creating a sequence of morph targets and animating between them. Vizard loads avatars that are in the Cal3D format. For help with skinning the avatar and exporting to the Cal3D format take a look at this Cal3D Tutorial.

Exporting as Avatar Pros:

  • Small file size
  • Animation does not skip frames, and plays back at the intended rate

Exporting as Avatar Cons:

  • Longer setup time
  • Final animation may be close to original, but probably wont' be able to completely match it.