Max Morpher Materials
While the current project I am working on, has some biped movements on a model inside of Max, I have been spending most of my time inside of Combustion animating the materials. I render out a sequence from Combustion and I then apply it to the model in Max using the morpher material. The morpher is a good way for me to be able to fade in and fade out from one animated material to the next.
Initially I detected a minor bug with the morpher material - every time I opened Max I had to re-bind the morpher mat to my model immediately. So it's forgetful, that isn't so bad. But, I have found an even stranger phenomenon with morpher. My morpher slots have been going back and forth between .jpgs and .mov. I have no problem with the animation lengths of the .jpgs, but .movs on the other hand have created substantial difficulties. Here is the run down of the problem. Let us say that I have a .mov that is 100 frames long, obviously I would animate my .mov material to also run 100 frames in length in morpher. Fine, no problems animating the length of the sequence. One would assume that under the "time" settings I would want to set my start at "1", which by default was my initial rational.
Unfortunately, the Max morpher never renders the .mov material at my 1........ it starts it at a completely different frame. The render would start at say (some hypothetical number here) 35. So max thinks that 35 is 1! In the end, I have to manually track down what frame Max is interpreting as 1 and try to figure out what number I should put in as 1 in the time start. I'm using a simple example here but it's not so simple when your .mov is 900 frames or there are similar animation features which make it difficult to distinguish from. There is also the fact that the frames in Max are not the same count as my .mov frames. For example, my 100 .mov frames might begin at frame 4781 in Max, so there is some calculating that has to be done there as well.
I had tried to get around this issue by using my original material base from one of the .jpgs and replacing the .jpg with the .mov, hoping that this would provide a clean memory for the .mov, but to no avail. Thanks to morpher, I have experienced many moments of sheer insanity during this project. But, I'm almost done.
When I'm finished I will send this information off to the Discreet (AutoDesk) support boards, they do take these issues seriously. The first morpher bug was written up - while I would rather not have a need to report any thing, there is some satisfaction in knowing that 3DS pays attention to their users.