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Frames in Time
Animation is the rapid display of a sequential series of still images in order to produce the illusion of movement. The still image is called a Frame.

Animations can move at a variety of rates, described as frames per second (FPS). Standard NTSC video is 30 fps, and NTSC film is 24 fps. Animations are created at a variety of frame rates depending on their final format and method of distribution.

Storyboard
Before you get started on your final project, you will have to create a storyboard for your animation. A storyboard is a sketch of your animation, showing only the key moments – kind of like a comic strip. Your storyboard should consist of your key frames – the significant events in your story.

(http://www.18thstreetfilms.com/images/storyBoard1.jpg)

Key Frames
Key Frames are the most significant frames in your animation. In traditional hand-drawn cel animation, the master artist draws the cels for the key moments, and assistants would create the cels needed to go in between these key frames; these in between frames are called “tweens” and the creation of them is a process called “tweening”. With 3ds Max, you are the master artist and the software is your assistant.

Controls
The controls used for animating in 3ds Max are found at the bottom of the screen. You will find the easily recognizable play, forward, and back buttons. Below those buttons is a box that shows you which frame you are currently on.
Note: The animation will play only in the selected viewport.

controls

The button next to that box is the Time Configuration button. Click this button to open the Time Configuration settings. These settings allow you to choose your frame rate and the number of frames needed for your animation.

timecontrols

We will use the default NTSC 30 fps. You need to make a 12 second animation. How many frames do you need?

Auto Key
Auto Key will automatically create a key frame for the frame you are at in the timeline. Click the button labeled auto key, drag the Time Slider to the desired place in your time line, and move or modify your object. The change will be saved with the automatically created key frame. The program will automatically create the tween frames.

keys

Set Key
You won’t always want the program to automatically create a key frame every time you change something. In this case, click the button labeled Set Key. When this option is selected you can move and modify objects within your scene and the movements will not create a key frame – they will not be animated. In order to have your change animated and saved as a key frame, click the large button marked with the key. Clicking this button will create a key frame. The program will automatically generate the tween frames, animating your form.

You can animate Move, Scale, and Modifiers.

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