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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. 3D Studio Max
Cgi

Controlling a Propeller's Rotation and Speed with Wire Parameter in 3ds Max

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:


1. Setting Up Continuous Rotation Using Curve Editor

Step 1

Open the stand fan.max file in 3ds Max which has been provided with the tutorial. I have created a simple model just for the tutorial purpose. 

Open 3ds Max file
Open 3ds Max file

Step 2

Turn on Auto Key button. 

Turn on Auto Key
Turn on Auto Key

Step 3

With the propeller of the fan selected, go to 20th frame on the timeline and rotate the propeller in 180 degree in Y axis.

Rotate the propeller
Rotate the propeller

Step 4

Turn off Auto Key button. Right now, the propeller will rotate till 20th frame only. After that it will stop. But I want it to rotate continuously. So, I need to apply a loop expression on the rotation property.

Turn off Auto Key
Turn off Auto Key 

Step 5

With the propeller selected, go to Graph Editors > Track View – Curve Editor

Graph Editors Track View  Curve Editor
Graph Editors >Track View – Curve Editor

Step 6

It open the Track View – Curve Editor window. 

Track View  Curve Editor
Track View Curve Editor

Step 7

Select Y Rotation transform property. You will see the rotation curve inside the curve editor.

Y Rotation
Y Rotation

Step 8

Go to Edit > Controller > Out Of Range Types.

Edit  Controller  Out Of Range Types
Edit > Controller > Out Of Range Types

Step 9

It opens Param Curve Out-of-Range Types window.

Param Curve Out - Of - Range Types
Param Curve Out - Of - Range Types

Step 10

With the Loop option selected, click on OK.

Loop option
Loop option

Step 11

You will see loop in rotation property. If you play the animation, the propeller will keep rotating in loop.

Loop
Loop

Step 12

The ease in ease out tangents make the rotation a bit jerky. So, with both key frames selected, click on Set Tangents to Linear icon. It makes the propeller’s rotation smooth and constant.

Set Tangents to Linear
Set Tangents to Linear

1. Controlling the Rotation Using Wire Parameter

Step 1

With the propeller selected, go to Animation > Parameter Editor. Alternatively, you can press Alt-1 key.

Animation  Parameter Editor
Animation > Parameter Editor

Step 2

In the Parameter Editor window, select Spinner as UI Type. Change the name of parameter to Controller or anything as per your wish. Click on Add button.

Parameter Editor
Parameter Editor

Step 3

You will see that a new Controller parameter appears in the Editable Poly section of the propeller.

Controller parameter
Controller parameter

Step 4

Now, I'l apply some wire parameter work so that the speed and rotation of the propeller can be controlled by the Controller parameter. 

With the propeller selected, right click on it and select Wire Parameter in the fly out menu.

Wire Parameter
Wire Parameter 

Step 5

Go to Modified Object > TurboSmooth > Custom_Attributes > Controller.

Modified Object  TurboSmooth  Custom_Attributes  Controller
Modified Object > TurboSmooth > Custom_Attributes > Controller

Step 6

It shows a wire. Don’t lose or click the mouse button anywhere else. Drag the mouse onto the propeller and then left click on it.

Wire
Wire

Step 7

A fly out menu pops up. Go to Transform > Rotation > Y Rotation.

Transform  Rotation  Y Rotation
Transform > Rotation > Y Rotation

Step 8

It opens Parameter Wiring window. The controller parameter is at the left side and the rotation parameter is at the right side. I want controller to control the rotation.

Parameter Wiring
Parameter Wiring

Step 9

Click on the left to right control direction arrow. Click on Connect button. The parameter wiring is now done.

Parameter Wiring connection
Parameter Wiring connection

Step 10

Play with the Controller parameter’s value. You'll see it is controlling the rotation of the propeller. You can stop and start the propeller’s rotation at any frame. 

I have animated the controller’s value to get a random rotation of the propeller.

Animate the value
Animate the value

Conclusion

Wire Parameter is a great technique in 3ds Max to control the parameters or different properties. 

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