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Hiding objects during animation:

This tutorial covers how to properly hide an object during an animation.

Hopefully you will learn the basics of using the Track view editor, a very powerful part of
animating in 3d studio max and learn the ever needed tool of hiding an object at certain points
during the animation. Lets begin

Start off by creating a sphere, any size, in the top viewport, i made mine with a radius of around 50.
This will be the object we will be hiding with Trackview. O.k, open up the Trackview Editor, in max 4 or later it will under the "Graph Editors" Menu, in earlier versions of max, it could be under its own menu headed "TrackView"... I can't remember This will bring up the TrackView Window, on the left side there is the list of properties, objects e.t.c which are part of your scene. Each Item under this "World "menu has its own adjustable and in most cases, animatable properties which you can adjust using key frames on the bars to the right:

Now scroll down the list on the left hand side until you come to the "Objects" menu, Expand this menu by clicking on the + sign next to it. Normally, in a bigger scene, there would be lots more objects there, but since this is a simple tutorial with only one object, there is only the one object "Sphere01", which you created at the start ( you may have named it something else ).

Select "Sphere01" by clicking on the label, and click on the eye icon/button up the top of the window.

This gives us the opportunity to change the visibility settings of the object selected. Expand the list of properties under "Sphere01" or whatever you called it, this gives us all the options possible to for changing properties for the object selected (e.g Radius, Segments e.t.c ). ok, select the Visibility label.

Now comes the choice... whether you want to gradually fade in/out the object, or turn it on/off at specific stages. If you want to know how to do it gradually, keep reading.

For the effect you are going for, we will make the animation 20 frames long, we will get it to fade out to frame 10 and fade back in to frame 20. So, make your animation 20 frames long, if you don't know how, email me and i will tell you. Ok, click on the "Add Keys" button at the top of the window: and following horizontally from the label "Visibility" on to its corresponding "Track" click on frame 1, 10 and 20 ( roughly start, middle, end ), if you don't get it exact, change the key frame number at the bottom of the window:

Ok, now right click on the key you placed at frame 10, it will bring up a new window, with the visibility settings for frame 10 of the object "Sphere01" or whatever you called it. Change the "Value" to "0.0", this will make the object totally transparent, lets say the value 0 means invisible, 1 means totaly visible, 0.5 means half visible, 0.75 means almost visible, e.t.c. but since you leave the first and last keyframes as they were, with a value of 1, this means that it will fade to transperancy at keframe 10 and back to visibility a frame 20.

ok, get out of trackview (and the little window if it is still open), you can either render the scene, or just play it in perspective viewport to see what you created:

 

This stage of the tutorial, will teach you how to hide an object instantaneously, which is very helpful
when you are using PArrays for explosions and the like.

Ok, make sure you have Trackview open, and have the "Visibilty" Label under the Sphere01 object selected Click on the "Assign Controler" button up the top of your window ( max3 users, i know it is the 3rd from the left):

Then select "On/Off" in the window that pops up, and click OKthis should make the "Track" turn blue... the blue color is the color that is on the Trackbar when the object is
Visible. Click on the "Add Keys" button, once again up the top of the window:

And place a key anywhere along the Track according to the frame number at the bottom. This will stop the blue line at that key frame, put another one 10 frames forward, and it will start off the blue line again. So basicly the ten frames in between the two blue lines is time where the object is invisible. If you were doing an explosion, which started at Frame 22, then you would put a single keyframe at frame 22:

I Hope This Tutorial has brought you some insight into how to use the Trackview Editor, and also that you understood it all.


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