Animating Nodes


Creating an animated Furniture or Room product is actually pretty straightforward. When you wish some element of your product to animate you are really animating a Node and weighting a Mesh to that animating Node.

In this video example, you will see four elements: A Root Node, an Animation Node, a Mesh for the base of the candle mobile, and the animating central core or propeller of the candle mobile. The Root is no different than a typical Furniture Node, or Room Skeleton Node and it remains static.

The non-moving candle base is Weighted to the Root Node, while the animating central core is weighted to the Animation Node. The Animation Node is Linked to the Root Node, so you should end up with a hierarchy for your model that looks something like this:

After you have exported your Skeleton (.xsf), Meshes (.xmf), and Materials (.xrf), you can now safely export your Animation file. To do so, make sure to select the Root Node and export as an animation file (.xaf).

You only need to export those nodes that actually animate. When exporting make sure that only those nodes that are animating are checked, all others should remain unchecked.

More information on how to export animations in the Export Animations tutorial.

Animating Tutorial Videos


Above is a two part tutorial on how to create, animate, and export animation Nodes when building a simple Furniture product in 3D Max. For the best viewing we recommend you change the view to the HD setting.


Skeletal Animation

The longer your animation, the larger your exported animation file will be and therefore the overall size of your Furniture will be higher. The same holds true for morph animation with the additional concern of the more morph targets you have in your exported file, the larger your file will be. Although you should not feel too contrained, it is always good to keep an eye on the final size of your model file, as a large file will effect the experience for those members that use your product.

Although the example used in this tutorial shows the animating node aligned with the Root node, neither the avatar master root nor the seat node *need* to be aligned with the Root node of your Room or Furniture product. They *can* be but do not *need* to be. You can have hundreds of seats spread throughout your Room or Furniture product.

Updated on July 21, 2023

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