Sound and vision

One of the most common requests to arrive in the 3D World inbox is for tutorials explaining how to create a procedural animation driven automatically by a soundtrack. This month, that request can finally be ticked off the list. In this tutorial we'll explore how use 3ds Max to model a basic loudspeaker using spline curves, shared lathing and a touch of polygon modelling, then get the speaker cone and the diaphragm flexing in time to an audio sample. As a final touch, we'll show you how to generate 'soundwaves' emitted by the speaker, driven by a Particle Flow system.

The basic animation set-up consists of an AudioFloat controller included within a Dummy object's Position controller, so that the audio track (also loaded into the scene's main Sound track for playback) repositions the Dummy object according to the amplitude of the WAV file at each frame. Objects will then be linked directly to this Dummy using Max's standard Link tool, or by using a Linked XForm modifier so that sub-object selections can be assigned to generate the flexing motion of the rubber cone and diaphragm.

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