Craft AnimationsCraft Director Studio



Craft 4-Wheeler Extended

›› Using Craft 4-Wheeler Extended
› Autonomous mode
› Brake Rigging
› Suspension Rigging
› Chassis Relocator
›› Input Settings
›› Configure
› Gauges (Read only)
› General Modes
› Autonomous Mode
› Steering Parameters
› Suspension Parameters
› General Parameters
› Wheel Ground Release Properties
› Ray Cast Parameters
› Input Parameters

Craft 4-Wheeler Extended is a simulator for 4-wheel vehicles. This animation tool makes it easy for the user to create realistic simulations for vehicles in motion. The vehicle is controlled with an input device directly through 3ds Max or Maya. The user links the model that will be rendered to Craft 4-Wheeler Extended for it to inherit its movement. Steering, braking, boosting, skidding, etc. is performed in real-time with a DirectX input device (gamepad, joystick steering wheel), keyboard, 3dxmouse or by the use of a spline. All Craft 4-Wheeler parameters can be altered in real time and may create some very peculiar car shape changes during recording.

The surface on which Craft 4-Wheeler Extended drives can take any shape, be upside down or twist oddly. Surfaces can even be animated during recording with Craft 4-Wheeler Extended.

Craft 4-Wheeler Extended can also be combined with other products from Craft Director Studio. For example: it is possible to use Craft Extra Wheel and Craft Trailer together with Craft 4-Wheeler Extended to create a truck.

Craft 4-Wheeler Extended

Using Craft 4-Wheeler Extended

Warning Optimizing the scene
It's wise to optimize the scene before starting to record the animation. The scene is optimized by decreasing the amount of polygons shown during the recording. This is achieved by hiding objects not crucial to the part of the scene that you are currently animating. Another tip is to use Craft Bounding Poly, which temporary lowers the amount of polygons for selected objects and allows for a smoother recording.
  1. Create a Craft 4-Wheeler Extended.

    Creation of Craft 4-Wheeler Extended
  2. Align Craft 4-Wheeler Extended's chassis (4WheelerExt_01_CarBodyMesh) at the same position as the high poly model's chassis. It might be wise to use wireframe mode so that only the outlines are visible. Keyboard shortcut for wireframe in 3ds Max is F3, CINEMA4D: N~G and 4 for Maya.

    mount1

  3. Move and rescale Craft 4-Wheeler Extended's chassis so that it is placed in the same position and has the same size as the high poly model's chassis.

    mount1

  4. Align Craft 4-Wheeler's wheels to the wheels on the high poly model. Make sure that they are centered in the middle of the high poly model's wheels.

    mount1

  5. Rescale Craft 4-Wheeler Extended's wheels so that they're the same size as the high poly model's wheels.

    mount1

  6. Link/Parent (Maya hotkey: P) the high poly model's chassis to Craft 4-Wheeler Extended's ChassisRelocatorMesh.

    mount1

  7. Link/Parent (Maya hotkey: P) the high poly model's wheels to each of Craft 4-Wheeler Extended's respective wheel.

    mount

  8. To make sure that the recording runs a smooth as possible, hide all the high poly model's parts (Toggle hig poly).
  9. Link/Parent (Maya hotkey: P) the red arrow (4WheelerExt_01_GravityDirectionMesh) to the surface. The vehicle will then follow this surface.
    Craft 4-Wheeler Extended can interact with multiple surfaces. To achive this, make the surfaces children to 4WheelerExt_01_GravityDirectionMesh in the scene hierarchy.
    Hierarchy
    Please note: Use Fast Ray Cast must be disabled in order for multiple surfaces to work.
    aaa

    mount1
  10. Configure the controls for Craft 4-Wheeler Extended (using an analog input device is recommended).

    Select the Craft 4-Wheeler Extended in the tool tree list and click on the Input settings button in the tool bar. This will open the input settings window for Craft 4-Wheeler Extended.
    Read more about Input settings >>.

    Control change
  11. To get a better view when maneuvering Craft 4-Wheeler Extended, change viewport to one of the following cameras:
    • DriverCam which is placed approximately at the height of a driver's head in an ordinary car. Its position can be changed if needed.
      Control change
    • TopCam follows the car 25 scaled units above the roof helping the driver to perform pinpoint navigation in tight spaces.
      Control change
    • FollowCam follows the car smoothly from a third person view.
      Control change
  12. Click Record in Craft Director Studio's main window to start recording. Maneuver Craft 4-Wheeler with the input settings configured earlier and drive the desired route. Craft 4-Wheeler's movement will be saved during the duration of the recording. Click Stop to stop the recording.
    • If the recording is not satisfactory drag the timeline back to any position desired and continue to rerecord from there. This way the entire recording does not have to be redone.
    • By using the Countdown feature, it's possible to grasp the input device and get ready before the recording starts (you can find the Countdown setting in the Main Configuration).
    • To make it easier to maneuver tricky parts in the animations, use the Slow-motion factor in Craft Director Studio's main window.
  13. Unhide the high poly model.
  14. Render.
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Autonomous mode

When Autonomous mode has been activated, Craft 4-Wheeler Extended will pursue 4WheelerExt_TargetMesh. This, for example, enables Craft 4-Wheeler Extended to follow a spline.
Directions for Craft 4-Wheeler Extended to follow a track (spline):

  1. Create a Craft 4-Wheeler Extended.
  2. In Craft Director Studio main window, click Configure. In the Configure window, Check Autonomous mode.
    Autonomous mode
  3. Create the track for Craft 4-Wheeler Extended to follow (NURBS CV Curve is recommended).
    • 3ds Max:
      Select 4WheelerExt_01_TargetMesh and open the menu Animation, choose Constraints and finally Path Constraints.
      Select the path created in step 2 and 4WheelerExt_01_TargetMesh will follow this track.
      3ds path constraint
    • Maya:
      Select 4WheelerExt_01_TargetMesh, hold down shift and select the path created in step 2.
      Open the Animation menu. Under Animate, choose Motion Paths and finally Attach to Motion Path.
      Animation Maya maya motion paths
  4. Press Record to make Craft 4-Wheeler Extended follow the track. You can maneuver away from the track and control Craft 4-Wheeler Extended on your own at any given time. However, as soon as the controls are released, Craft 4-Wheeler Extended will steer back towards 4WheelerExt_01_TargetMesh.
    Autonomous mode follow
  5. It is possible to change the different parameters that affect how Craft 4-Wheeler Extended will follow 4WheelerExt_01_TargetMesh. For example Autonomous mode follow strength value in the Configure window. Try loading one of "Autonomous[...]" configuration profiles.
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Brake Rigging

maya motion paths

For the rigging of a brake system there is a mesh called WheelCenterMesh on each wheel. This mesh is always centered to the wheel it belongs to. The mesh turns with the wheel but does not rotate with it. Here is how you rig a brake system.

  1. Group the tire, rim and the brake disc together.

    wheel group front wheel group rear
  2. Group parts of the brake pad together.

    brake pad group front brake pad group back
  3. Make the first group (tire, rim and brake disc) a child of the corresponding WheelMesh (blue illustration) and the brake pad a child of the corresponding WheelCenterMesh (red illustration).

    cild parent wheels

    The hierarchy of the brake system:

    brake hierarchy
  4. Redo step 1 to 3 for the rest of the wheels.
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Suspension Rigging

cild parent wheels

For the rigging of a suspension system there is a mesh called WheelCenterSuspensionMesh on each wheel. This mesh is always centered to the wheel it belongs to. The mesh does not turn with the wheel and does not rotate with it. It is also useful to use the Craft Suspension tool (freeware).

  1. Before the suspension is rigged you need to have rigged the Craft 4-Wheeler correct.

    Rigged Car

  2. Hide all the parts not needed for the suspension. Also hide the dummies for the Craft 4-Wheeler. It will be easier to rig if they are hidden.

    Hidden objects

  3. Create a Craft Suspension from the Accessory menu.

    Hidden objects

  4. Move the Craft Suspension to one of the linking arms and place it on one of the arm's sides.



  5. Move the Craft Suspension's UpperHold to the outer side of the arm.



  6. Go into the configuration for the Craft Suspension and click the Initialize button. This will connect the Lower and The UpperHold together.



  7. Repeat step 3-6 for the other arms connecting the wheel, the damper and the spring. For the drive axle make sure you have the LowerHold on the wheel side.



  8. Make the Upper- and LowerHolds, that are supposed to follow the car's main body, children of the Craft 4-Wheeler's ChassisRelocatorMesh.



  9. Make the Upper- and LowerHolds, that are supposed to follow the wheel's up and down movement, children of the Craft 4-Wheeler Extended's WheelCenterSuspensionMesh.



  10. Make the LowerHold of the Craft Suspension of the drive axle a child to the Craft 4-Wheeler's WheelMesh.



  11. Make the top of the high poly damper a child to the Hold that is a child of the Craft 4-Wheeler's ChassisRelocatorMesh.



  12. Make the bottom of the high poly damper a child to the Hold that is a child of the Craft 4-Wheeler's WheelCenterSuspensionMesh.



  13. Connect the high poly arms, springs to its corresponding Craft Suspension's Spring.

  14. Do the same for the rest of the wheels.
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Chassis relocator

By using the chassis relocator (see illustration, 4WheelerExt_01_ChassisRelocatorMesh), the animation can be fine-tuned after the recording has taken place. The chassis relocator can be keyframed according to specific needs.

  1. Drag the timeline to the position where the maneuver will start.
  2. Select 4WheelerExt_01_ChassisRelocatorMesh and insert a key.
  3. Drag the timeline to the new position where the maneuver will end and insert a new key.
  4. Move and keyframe the Chassis Relocator along the path the car will take between the first and last key.
  5. Link/Parent the chassis model to 4WheelerExt_01_ChassisRelocatorMesh so that it follows the created maneuver.

Maneuver example:
Chassis relocator

Input settings

Input settings

Gas Pedal (Forw/Backw)

Accelerates the vehicle forward or backward.

Steering Wheel (Right/Left)

Turns the vehicle right or left.

Booster

Gives the vehicles a boost in velocity.

ABS Brake

The vehicle will brake as much as possible without locking the wheels until it comes to a stop. If a digital input (i.e. a button) is used, you will brake with full force directly. If an analog input used, you're able to control how much force you're braking with.

Skidding

Used to control the vehicle's skid. The vehicle's rear wheels lose traction.

Skid Brake

Locks the wheels and brakes the vehicle until it comes to a stop.

Gravel Shake Amplitude

Simulates driving on gravel.

Burnout

The rear wheels spin to create a burnout.

External Force

Creates an external force on Craft 4-Wheeler Extended/4-wheeler pointing in the same direction as the 4WheelerExt_01_ExternalForceMesh. For example this can simulate a car changing gears or a car that is heavily loaded.

 

Spinner...

Spinners enables the change of parameter values with an input controller in real-time.

Configure

Gauges

Initital Velocity (% of max)
It is the first of three ways to have an initial velocity if larger than zero where it is specified as a percentage of the maximum velocity. Second is to use a keyframed initial velocity. Third is to use a non-zero input value when record is pressed.

Multiplier
This value is pre-multiplied to the 'Current Velocity' below. Eg if the system unit is meters a multiplier value of 1 yields m/s. If the multiplier is 3.6 the result is km/h.

World Space Maximum Velocity Gauge
This is a gauge outputting the maximum velocity the 4-wheeler can have (except when using booster). The value is in ((units per second)*multiplier)*(maximum gas pedal value)*(the scale of the 4-wheeler)..

Current Velocity
This is not a value you can input. The measured current velocity of the vehicle in system units per second times the 'Multiplier' above.

Current Velocity (% of max)
This is not a value you can input. The current velocity of the vehicle in percent of the maximum velocity.

World Space Acceleration Gauge (seconds from 0 to 100)
This is a gauge outputting the number of seconds it would take to acceleration the 4-wheeler from 0-100 (except when using booster). The value is in seconds = ((100/multiplier)/Acceleration)/scale.

World Space Acceleration Gauge (seconds from 0 to 60)
This is a gauge outputting the number of seconds it would take to acceleration the 4-wheeler from 0-100 (except when using booster). The value is in seconds = ((60/multiplier)/Acceleration)/scale.

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General Modes

Re-Initialize Car Attributes
Use this button to re-initialize the car's physical attributes. This can be used if you have changed the physical appearence of the dummy model after an animation already has been recorded.

Hide Helpers
Hides the Helpers.

Hide Helpers During Recording
Hides the Helpers during recording.

Hide Follow Camera
Hides the Follow Camera.

Hide Driver Camera
Hides the Driver Camera.

Hide TopView Camera
Hides TopView Camera.

Enable Seamless Transitions
Enable Seamless Transitions requires more memory usage.

Keyframe only essential objects
Only the the body, the wheels and the gravityDirectionMesh will be keyframed.

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Autonomous Mode

Autonomous mode
Check this box to enable Autonomous mode.

Autonomous mode follow strength
This factor decides how tightly the car follows the target.

Follow Strength Response Factor
This value determines how much of the car's speed is used to follow the target. E.g. if the value is 1, 100% of the car's speed is used.

Auto-Steering Response factor
This value determines how much of the car's steering is used in order to steer towards the target. E.g. if the value is 0.3, 30% of the car's steering is used.

Reverse Max Vel Mult
When the 4-Wheeler applies a reverse force in autonomous mode this value will be applied to the maximum velocity parameter.

Ignore Sphere Radius (length relative)
Determines the size of the virtual sphere around the TargetMesh. If Craft 4-Wheeler Extended's CarBodyMesh comes into the area of the sphere it stops following the TargetMesh and will come to a stop. If Craft 4-Wheeler Extended's CarBodyMesh is outside the sphere it will start to follow the TargetMesh again.

Ignore Sphere Radius
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Steering Parameters

Maximum Steering Change Velocity
How fast the wheels can turn in rads per seconds.

Show example

 

Speed Dependent Turn Radius Reduction Factor
By this factor the turn radius will be decreased linearly with the car velocity.

Show example

 

Steering Noise
Adds noise to the steering.

Steering Wheel Rot Mult
Multiplies the steering wheel mesh rotation with this value.

Turn Base (Back Wheel Relative)
Change this value to change the vehicle's turn base. A value of 1.2 will move the turn base to the front wheels and a value of 0.6 will make the vehicle turn with all wheels (these values will not apply if you move Craft 4-Wheeler's wheels).

Show example

 
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Suspension Parameters

Front Stiffness
The Stiffness determines how much force the springs have.

Front Damping
The Damping determines how dull the dampers are.

Show example

 

Back Stiffness
The Stiffness determines how much force the springs have.

Show example

 

Back Damping
The Damping determines how dull the dampers are.

Show example

 

Tire Pressure
Can be used as a wheel air pressure parameter. The parameter may cause instability when too low. For wheel deformations a lattice/FFD is required as well as raytracing for the boundaries.

Maximum Forward Tilt Angle
The maximum angle the car body can have in the forward direction.

Maximum Side Tilt Angle
The maximum angle the car body can have sideways.

Booster Stiffness Multiplier
Increases the Stiffness by this factor times the booster value.

Show example

 

Mass Multiplier
Mass Multiplier. A greater value = a heavier vehicle.

Show example

 
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General Parameters

Fixate Wheel Center Nodes
When checked the WheelCenterMesh will not turn with the wheel yaw.

Move WheelCenterMesh to ground hit point
If checked the WheelCenterMesh will be moved to the point where the wheel meets the ground. If the wheel is in the air it will be moved to the bottom of the wheel.

Align WheelCenterMesh to ground incline
If this box is checked the WheelCenterMesh will point down - ie stand at a perpendicular angle to the ground's incline at the point where the wheel touches ground. (Hint: this can be used for snowmobiles and similar vehicles by making the wheels small and attaching the skis to the WheelCenterMesh. Otherwise the WheelCenterMeshes is useful for particle effects and suspension).

Use Reverse As ABS Brake
When this box is checked the applying a negative gas pedal value yields in an ABS brake action.

Skidding Offset Value
This value is added to the input device value for 'Skidding' as an offset.

Skidding Release Value (Lateral Vel Rel)
When the car reaches this sideway velocity during a turn the car will automatically generate a 'Skidding' input device signal.

Skidding Release Response Factor
Determines how fast the car will stop skidding.

Gravel Shake Offset Value
This value is added to the input device value for 'Gravel Shake Amplitude' as an offset.

Gravel Roughness
How rough the gravel shake is.

Show example

 

External Force Offset Value
This value is added to the input device value for 'External Force' as an offset.

Skid Brake Stop Factor
Determines how fast the car should come to a stop when the skid break is released.

Show example

 

Burnout Shake
How much the car should shake during a burnout.

Show example

 

Burnout Tilting Force
How much the car chassis should be tilted during a burnout.

Show example

 

Burnout Fadeout Factor
How fast the burnout dies out.

Random Seed Adder
Adds this number to the initial random seeds to generate unique numbers.

World Avoidance Sphere
This value times the scale of the car is the radius of the sphere of outside of which the car will try to get back inside..

Wheel Radius Multiplier
This factor is multiplied internally to change the wheel radius. When smaller than 1.0 the effective radius is decreased making the tire penetrate the surface to give possibility for tire pressure buldging.

Gravity
Gravity.

Show example

 
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Wheel Ground Release Properties

Enable Wheel Ground Release
Enables the 4-Wheeler's wheels to release from the ground (formerly called Jumping Mode).

Suspension Length (Radius Relative)
The maximum distance the wheels can be extended from the initial location, wheel radius relative. Setting this value to 0 turns it off.

Maximum Wheel Extension Velocity (Radius Rel)
The maximum body relative wheel velocity (times the radius). Setting this value to 0 turns it off.

 
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Ray Cast Parameters

Ray Multiplier
Increasing the ray multiplier will increase accuracy but will increase the computation time.

Cast Rays at Wheel Edges
When checked rays will also be cast at the sides of the wheels which means the number of rays are trippled. The ray multiplier must be larger than one for this to have an effect.

Degrees Per Ray
How many degrees will be added for each extra ray forward and backwards, seen from the center of the wheel straight down. However, the maximum degree a ray is cast is 85 degrees.

Use Fast Ray Cast
If checked and interal ray caster is used yielding considerably faster calculations, but only non-animated surfaces may be used. The method also requires much more memory..

Store Ground Mesh Data
Stores the mesh data. Once checked the data will be stored, if the mesh is rebuilt you need to do a re-checking.

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Input Property Parameters

Acceleration (scale relative)
How fast the 4-wheeler can accelerate (Acceleration*((units per second)*multiplier)*(the scale of the car).

Gas Pedal (Forw/Backw) Response Factor
How fast the vehicle accelerates and decelerates.

Gas Pedal (Forw/Backw) Maximum
Maximum velocity of the vehicle.

Steering Wheel (Right/Left) Response Factor
How fast the vehicle will turn.

Steering Wheel (Right/Left) Maximum
The turn radius of the vehicle.

Booster Response Factor
How fast the vehicle accelerates when using the booster.

Booster Maximum
Maximum velocity when using the booster (value is multiplied with Gas Pedal Maximum).

ABS Brake Response Factor
How fast the vehicle will brake (is not used).

ABS Brake Maximum
How hard the vehicle will brake.

Skidding Response Factor
Response time for the vehicle to begin skidding.

Skidding Maximum
The maximum value for a skid.

Skid Brake Response Factor
Affects how much friction the vehicle has during the time the Skid brake button is used.

Skid Brake Maximum
Not used.

Gravel Shake Amplitude Response Factor
The response time for the Gravel Shake.

Gravel Shake Amplitude Maximum
Determines how hard the vehicle will shake.

Burnout Response Factor
Determines how fast the back wheels will accelerate during a burnout.

Burnout Maximum
Maximum velocity for the backwheels during a burnout.

External Force Response Factor
This value determines how fast 4-Wheeler Extended will respond to the External Force.

External Force Maximum
This value determines how much force is applied by the External Force.