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Saving Multiple Animated Objects As One Mesh

 

Introduction

A typical usage of the 3ds Max Point Cache modifier is the saving of an animated character to disk in order to reproduce the same animation multiple times using cloned objects.

A problem with this approach is that if the character in question consists of many individual objects (e.g. body, head, hands, legs, feet etc. as individual meshes rigged to the same Biped or CAT rig), each object will require its own Point Cache file and managing these can become difficult.

The XMesh Saver MX provides the ability to save multiple objects as one mesh to disk. It also saves not only the vertex animation, but the complete mesh including faces, smoothing groups, material IDs, texture coordinates and so on, so the complete character is removed from the MAX file and becomes an external reference that can be passed around between artists and departments.

Saving Biped Bones As One Mesh Video Tutorial

In the following video, a Character Studio Biped animated using the bees.bip preset is cached to disk once, then the resulting XMesh Loader is cloned multiple times and retimed using simple MAXScript to demonstrate the use of XMesh sequences to capture 30+ objects as a single mesh. 

Note that in practice, the actual skinned character driven by the Biped bones would be saved to disk and then multiplied, but for this demonstration the Biped is saved instead for simplicity.

Other than the Point Cache modifier, the XMesh system would have no problems if the topology of the saved meshes would be changing between frames - for example if adaptive optimizations or subdivisions were applied to the geometry and change over time.

 

See Also

The following related tutorial demonstrates the creation of XMesh Loader objects from the saved Biped data using a manual and an automatic approach.