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P3D v4 Easier Way to Animate Landing Gear with Dummy Nodes

I have learned (from Gibbage) a new way to animate landing gear and other various 'layered' multiple hierarchy assemblies. One uses Dummy's as your principal 'animation' parts.

For those that do not know, sometimes your parts tend to not wish to be animated, doing all sorts of goofy things. This gets around that. Scaling issues and things go away.

The way it works is you use lots of 'Dummy' parts (found in 3ds Max, squares that have no mass, no polygons, no vertices, no issues). These are then used to animate with. You assign the Dummy's with the animation tags via Animation Manager, then attach the 'parts' (mesh objects) to the Dummy nodes. The Dummy nodes are attached (in Hierarchy) to each other.

Example:
Code:
Dummy main
    Dummy
       part
       part
       Dummy
            part
            part
            Dummy
                   part

Lastly, something I found interesting, is how to reset your animation so it doesnt have a wild 'whooopi' in it, no fancy arc'ing going on. A couple of my animations started doing this and I did some searching online for the remedy. I had heard of this before and tried to adjust it, but didnt work. This is how its done.
* Go to your Animations Tab (where you can add and delete Animation Keys) and go into your Rotation settings, select the line (important) and click the button above it that is your 'Assign Controller' button and select TCB as your 'Rotation Controller'. Euler XYZ is your 'standard' automatic selection. You want TCB as it has 'no fancy dancing' animations.

Hope this helps. I have had so many nightmares doing animations on terribly sophisticated landing gear. This made things go by so dang fast.

I used the edges of the boxes to align them to the mesh of the parts objects, then slid the boxes (Dummy's) to the middle of the cylinders, and then join through Hierarchy and animate. Its an extra several steps but I think the work saved me days of headaches.

According to Gibbage, this is the way it was taught for FSX developers when FSX first came out. I never knew about this. sigh....

er[pgke[rger.JPG


Quite a few parts with crazy angles on this complex landing gear assembly. I made the Dummy's in several sizes per 'importance of hierarchy' (big ones for main parts, etc). Went quite fast.

peotpeotgje35r.JPG


This is 'key', pardon the pun. So glad I found out about this.
You must select the 'Rotation' string to be able to assign the Controller. (Also key... ).

Thanks to the person online that had this issue. I was so glad to find this setting. I am sure its been posted here and I just lost track of where it was.
 
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n4gix

Resource contributor
Hm, I've always used Linear for Rotation, Scale, and Position. But then that's always applied to actual mesh objects, not Dummies which may well need TCB instead.

I've also always been anal-retentive enough to reset scales on all scaled objects before animating them.

I'll make a note to try out this suggestion one day. :scratchch
 
That has become a major habit for me as well, and also resetting the X-Form (Gizmo in relation to the world).
I always make a habit of saving before using the "reset Xform" tool because sometimes it flips the object so that its local axis aligns with the world (no idea why...) I find it much easier to just create a primitive with a "world" orientation and attach the other object to it, then delete the primitive. Never had a problem doing it this way.

Never tried TCB either but I'll give it a shot. I get those "whoopi" rotations sometimes on mirrored parts when using the Linear controller...didn't know that TCB was compatible with the exporter.
 
I too agree you should x-form those parts unless you make some parts at scale first before you convert to poly. So if you make a bolt and you adjust the size from the parameter settings and not the scale tool the object does not need to be x-formed or reset scale.

Reset x-form resets the scale and pivot to world. So it better to go to the hierarchy tab then under adjust transform / reset there is transform and scale button. Transform is like x-form and will reset the scale and pivot. So i use the scale which only resets the scale back to 100%. So instead of selecting every part you make and reset x-form or worse (add the x-form modifier and then convert back to poly) just select all objects (must be un-grouped) and then use reset scale button.

You should always use position XYZ and TCB rotation by setting these as the default. That way you never have set it this for each object or worry later in the project that some animated rotation objects were not using TCB and this will cause an undesired result. :teacher:
 
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Odd, I long ago set my defaults to use Linear for all three: position, rotation and scale. Never have had a problem with that.
I have never used linear but it sounds good too. I read online about TCB for rotation. So i am sure both work for rotation. It's the Euler XYZ for rotation that will give you gimbal lock. Gimbal lock is when 2 surfaces rotate on the same plane that are linked together.

I updated my post above talking about x-form. I once mentioned to Bill (n4gix) about the turbosquid inspector script. He said he never used it before. This will check for bad tapology and other issues. I select the checkmate pro since this one checks for scale. That way you can do 1 final check at the end of the project to see if any objects got missed. And again don't use x-form or transform so the pivot does not get updated. Just use the reset scale button and all of your objects can be reset at once. This is a huge time saver. Checkmate pro takes a while on large scenes so find something to do when you run it. Give it a try Bill it's very handy.

UPDATE:
But then i run the inspector again and the child objects that are linked will not be fixed. I posted a tutorial in post #10 below on how to fix those.


 
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n4gix

Resource contributor
Just use the reset scale button and all of your objects can be reset at once. This is a huge time saver. Checkmate pro takes a while on large scenes so find something to do when you run it. Give it a try Bill it's very handy.
I've found that linked objects that needed re-scaling will not react well to a global "reset scale". They tend to explode with the parent object being re-scaled to the desired size, but the re-scaled objects (such as buttons on a GPS) will loose their re-scaling and revert to their prior size!

Now I've learned to select all of the objects and Isolate them. I can then un-link the child objects, THEN do a "reset scale". Afterwards I can relink all of the children back to the parent object. Destruction avoided! :rotfl:

I've just downloaded and installed the turbosquid inspector script(s). I'll give it a whirl tomorrow when I can set aside some time.
 
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I've found that linked objects that needed re-scaling will not react well to a global "reset scale". They tend to explode with the parent object being re-scaled to the desired size, but the re-scaled objects (such as buttons on a GPS) will loose their re-scaling and revert to their prior size!
I hated when using gmax and use to transform, scale or X-Form and forget to un-link. The parent would scale extremely large while the child would get updated.
But 3DS MAX does not do that. Instead it will just not work. That was my favorite update.:eek: So maybe you remember that from Gmax and did not realize 3DS fixed that issue.

If you try to scale both at the same time as you mentioned it will NOT scale the child but only the parent. So yes for example if you have gps buttons linked to the gps panel you can just select all the buttons at once and scale. If you select all the buttons and the gps panel only the panel will reset.

So keep in mind YOU NEVER need to un-link just reset the scale for the child object without selecting the parent....:cool: Or just follow the tutorial below.

Here is how i do my procedure.
1. Make sure no objects are grouped that you plan to scale. I work with only 1 section of the aircraft at a time. I merge into a new scene and save the scene.
2. I scale all parts in the new scene.
3. Run the inspector. Come back in 2 minutes.
4. Under object tab single click an object from the inspector objects list that did not get reset. No need to find the object in the scene. Then i have a custom button i press or just use the default button and reset scale.
5. Select the next object on the list that did not get fixed. It will select the object for you so you can quickly go through the list.
6. Save scene and run the inspector again to confirm they are all indeed fixed. Not saving the scene will give you the same inspection even if you fix all of the objects.
Done!

A few more tips.
If you plan to merge objects to another scene to speed the process up when running the inspector make sure you save the scene first or the inspector will not run. I do this to keep the inspector under 2-3 minutes. If you inspect a large scene it will take 20+ minutes and any grouped objects will not get updated.
Check opts: I only use Objects.
Test type: Checkmate Pro.

Glad your trying turbosquid inspector Bill. You will thank me for pushing this on you...:stirthepo
https://resources.squid.io/tools/3ds-max-tools/
 
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n4gix

Resource contributor
I hated when using gmax and use to transform, scale or X-Form and forget to un-link. The parent would scale extremely large while the child would get updated.
But 3DS MAX does not do that. Instead it will just not work. That was my favorite update.:eek: So maybe you remember that from Gmax and did not realize 3DS fixed that issue.
I haven't had GMax installed since FSX was released. Even my current Max2018 will do what I've previously described. I had to rescale a Max object (GTN750/650 set) from a massive 10x the size of the aircraft!

All of the scene objects were selected and re-scaled to the correct dimensions, and Reset Scale applied. When converting back to polygon mode (to collapse the stacks), the bezel remained at the correct size, but all Linked objects (buttons and knobs) reverted to their H U G E size...

I had forgotten to Un-Link the children from the parent object. You probably remember that this action is "un-doable" so I had to load the source file again, un-link sub-objects, then re-scale, reset and re-link. Job done perfectly.

Since I don't run into this re-scaling issue often, I don't always remember to un-link sub-objects and wind up with the same problem of "exploding sized objects." :wave:
 
I haven't had GMax installed since FSX was released. Even my current Max2018 will do what I've previously described. I had to rescale a Max object (GTN750/650 set) from a massive 10x the size of the aircraft!.
You were right 3ds max just like gmax will explode a child object if your using the x-form modifier or the reset x-form maxscript for linked objects. But this was not the tool i want you to use or should use since this also resets the pivot orientation and has scale issues if objects are linked.

All of the scene objects were selected and re-scaled to the correct dimensions, and Reset Scale applied. When converting back to polygon mode (to collapse the stacks), the bezel remained at the correct size, but all Linked objects (buttons and knobs) reverted to their H U G E size...
We are not talking about the same reset scale button. This means your using the Reset Selected button / "reset x-form" modifier from the utilities tab. This adds a modifier to the stack. This tool was designed to add a modifier so you can scale the object while shaping. Once finished you can collapse stack. This also sets the pivot orientation to the world and scales the surrounding boundary to the world. I never use any of the x-form tools.

scale.jpg

---Hierarchy/Reset linked objects....
Transform = Resets scale and pivot.
Scale = Resets scale only. Preserves the local pivot orientation.:wizard:
NOTE: If there are linked objects and you do a mass scale update the parent objects will update and the child will not. Simply click any or all child objects without selecting the parent and then you can update the child objects.
---


---X-forming linked objects.....
Resets scale and pivot
Reset X-Form to child does nothing when you collapse stack and will not reset the scale.
Reset X-Form to parent will explode the child when you collapse stack.
NOTE: This tool is not good for resetting scale more for scaling while shaping.....There is actually a key command "Reset XForm" not "ResetXForm" (don't mix up the 2 commands) that will x-form without adding a modifier. But the issue is it also updates the pivot as well just like transform does. So again i never use any of the x-form tools.
---
Follow the tutorial i posted but use the [Hierarchy tab / adjust transform toolbox / reset: transform or scale buttons].......Use the scale button only:stirthepo
 
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n4gix

Resource contributor
Ah hah! Thanks for the additional information. I'll have to give that a whirl when I can set aside a few moments.
 
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