Atomic Perception

To get the plugin, download the Mesh Foot Windows installer. Aprox. 2.9Mb

The Poser To Max Remedy

Mesh Foot is a 3DS Max plugin that allows you to seamlessly integrate exported .3DS or .OBJ mesh sequences into existing scenes without re-animating, re-boning, or re-skinning anything.

This unique concept allows you to treat an imported mesh sequence as if it were video footage, simplifying the integration of Poser mesh exports into 3DS Max. Each Mesh Foot object has it's own Out-Of-Range Setting, Scale and Time Stretch updating within the scene as you scrub the timeline.

Elephant Tour

The first thing I do when I want to work with a mesh sequence is to figure out what distance along a path looks natural for the sequence.

In this example, I animated the Casual Male model using Poser's walk designer. I choose 60 frames as my loop length inside Poser. I exported the 60 frame sequence as a .3DS. I chose .3DS over .OBJ, in this case, because I knew I was not going to do any texturing and wanted to inherit the colors of the Casual Man directly from Poser.

I created a Mesh Foot Parent then created a locator by browsing to the Casual Male footage. I drew a simple line from the origin to 100 Z position in the top viewport. I set the line as renderable and gave it some thickness so it would show up in my render. I attached the locator to the line using a path constraint to the newly drawn line. At this point I used the Mesh Foot Parent to Replicate the locator. Now the Mesh Foot replication system is smart enough to replicate and attached paths as well, so I had five copies of the Casual Male in my scene, all with renderable paths. I edited each of the locators so they had the same Frame Offset and a Time Multiplier of 1.0. Next I stretched each of the paths by 50 units in the Z direction. So each Casual Male is walking down a path of a different length. The orange numbers above each figure represent the length of the path that figure is walking down. Render the output and watch the movie.

You can view the finished animation here:

lo-res mpeg-1 (1.4mb) most compatible

hi-res xvid (1.2mb) better quality

So I can tell by my quick mock up that the best look for my exported walk cycle is probably 150-200 units for every 240 frames, which was the length of the test movie. So we can see there is a relationship between the distance you need to cover in a scene and the number of frames that you want that distance covered in. I would probably settle on 180 for my path length because it is a multiple of 60 which is the number of frames in my exported mesh sequence. So to get 100 seconds of footage out of my 60 frame sequence I would need a 3,000 frame animation. Divide this by 240 frames that we have now. That gives us 12.5 loops of 240. Each 240 loop needs to cover 180 units on the 3DS Max grid. So for our walk to look good for 100 seconds, we would need a path length of 2,250 units or (12.5 * 180).

It does not take too long to figure out the best walk length for any footage and it is time well spent. Once you have created a test scene, you can simply use the Browse button in the locator to pick different mesh sequences reusing this master scene for any footage you have created.