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Animating WorldBuilder with 3ds Max Characters Through Import/Export

by Liam Kemp
www.this-wonderful-life.com

The first thing I do is create the landscape in WorldBuilder, then I export this into 3ds max. This produces an incredible amount of polygons, so I strip away all the areas of the imported landscape that my character will not interact with. I then subdivide the remaining landscape mesh around the 'walking path' of the character so it's easier to place the feet accurately. This imported landscape is simply used as a guide for animating in 3ds max.

For the lighting, I begin by creating many lights mapped around a sphere with 3ds max and then export them all into WorldBuilder. One will represent the sun and the others will take their colour and brightness from corresponding areas of the sky.

For compositing, I render the characters in 3ds max, and if needed, a separate render element for the shadow beneath the character's feet (the imported WorldBuilder landscape will be converted to a Matte/Shadow object so it won't appear in the Max render). The landscape is rendered in WorldBuilder and the two are then composited in After Effects.