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A neat little trick I learned to mirror animated parts...

This had always been something that bothered me, ever since I started modeling aircraft in Max/Gmax. Especially with control surfaces, getting their pivots properly aligned and duplicating the animation on the other side always occupied way too much of my time.

But now, there's LIFE HACKS!

Say, for example, you have animated your flaps for the left wing and are ready to mirror them to the right side. Go ahead and make a copy of one flap and move it to the right side, then apply a Mirror modifier and use snaps (or the conjugate of your x-coordinate) to align it correctly.

*Now, many wise people on this forum over the years have warned to keep clear of the Mirror tool, but it is actually vital to this technique.

Go back to the original flap that you already copied and use the "Mirror" tool in Max's top toolbar, and make sure that the options are set to "Copy". It should copy the flap over its own pivot and remain in the same position.

Then, go back to the right flap that you applied a mirror MODIFIER to, open the Hierarchy tab and select "Affect Pivot Only". In that mode, click on "Align" right next to Mirror tool and choose the flap that had the Mirror tool applied to it. Check only the orientation boxes, otherwise it will move your pivot as well.

Delete the Mirror tool flap, as its normals will be flipped anyway...The Mirror tool applies a negative scaling matrix at the object level, which FS doesn't like. This is useful though because the pivot is flipped in the process, and those correctly-oriented axes are what preserves your animation. Otherwise, the mesh is only mirrored on its sub-object level.

Now your keyframes will be perfectly symmetrical! (Given that they are all linear rotation and position keys.)

Just thought I would share this in case anyone finds it useful. I may upload an illustrated guide on the wiki eventually if a text-only guide is hard to follow.
 

n4gix

Resource contributor
Very nice find and explanation. One of my best friends lives in Whiting, Indiana and aside from the glasses could be your twin! Every time I see your avatar picture I think of Dan. :laughing:
 

Paul Domingue

Resource contributor
Hey ozzman have you ever tried the Milviz_MirrorTool?
This is a handy max script that will mirror objects and minor animations such as ailerons, flaps, elevators etc. with one click. It's a constant companion when I'm modelling.
If you can't find a link for it let me know and I'll send it to you.
 

hairyspin

Resource contributor
I have the Milviz script, but when I try to run it in GMAX after selecting a part I get an error message: Struct member access requires instance: enumAxis
Tom, that's because the script was written for 3ds Max: it probably needs Max 9 or later to run. I use it in Max 2008. Sorry!
 
Hey ozzman have you ever tried the Milviz_MirrorTool?
This is a handy max script that will mirror objects and minor animations such as ailerons, flaps, elevators etc. with one click. It's a constant companion when I'm modelling.
If you can't find a link for it let me know and I'll send it to you.
I can't say I've heard of that script, but it seems extremely useful...Would you be able to link it in this thread?
 

Heretic

Resource contributor
Thanks for the mirror script, Milviz dev team!

It was useful enough to mirror the parts, but the animation they had assigned was sadly a bit too complex for it (downlock mechanism with two parts connected by a folding joint and the other ends attached by a rotating joint each - I consequently had to "bone up" the parts on bot sides and use an IK Limb Solver to make a sane and reproducable animation).
 

Paul Domingue

Resource contributor
Thanks Ozzman!




Thanks Bill!
I find it unusual that an old timer like yourself didn't know about the tool, it's been around for years. Its been so long I don't remember who turned me on to it.
I enquired about any updates in the past, there were none but we are free to improve on it should someone want to work on the script.
 
Hello, guys! While been using magnificent MilViz Mirror script i've found some strange artefacts going on . Look here:


some polygons on mirrored parts uv-mapped to single dot.
So, i've opened the script in notepad and maybe have found the culprit, but i have bad friendship with maxscript so things may get worse in the end. Could someone, please, help me?
 
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