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    By David Gate 

    With the 2016 suites 3DS Max 2016 is included again. Now in the past it has been called 3DS Max Design, they have combined both 3DS Max and 3DS Max Design into just simply 3DS Max. 

    One of the exciting new features for 3DS Max 2016 is the ability to import in Inventor models and bring across the Joint or Constraint as baked keyframe animations. This is similar functionality to what we have had in Showcase but with the added ability to pick Joints and also mix and match the way the assembly is built using Joints and Constraints. Showcase really only works well with an assembly fully made up with Constraints. 

    To get our model into 3DS Max with an animation unfortunately you have to do this in 3DS Max, you cannot do this from within Inventor using the Suite Workflows. 

    First fire up 3DS Max. You will get a choice of standard templates. These are also new to 2016. For now the standard one is ok, we can merge our imported model later on.

    Once into 3DS Max we want to use the import option to bring in our Inventor assembly. If you switch the UI to Design Standard there are some nicer menus to work with (almost ribbon like).

    We can then easily pick the Import option.

    One thing to make sure is that your Inventor assembly is saved in a 2016 format, otherwise we cannot bring through any animations.

    You may get some warnings about 3DS Max not able to find some files.

    3DS Max just needs a search path to your Inventor project location.

    Pick browse and add your top level workspace to the search paths and sub paths.

    Then on the import dialog pick the constraint or joint to import.

    Only joints and constraints that have been “Driven” in Inventor will be listed. Also make sure you get your Vertical axis in the correct direction.

    Once the model has imported we can drag the keyframe along the timeline to see the animation. This can then be used when the render output is set to video.

    Save this model and then start a new file using your desired scene template. Then use the merge command to bring your animated inventor model into this new scene. These templates have a lot of the lighting and environment variables preset for you making your render life alittle easier.

    There is also a useful video in the help files to get you started.

    http://help.autodesk.com/view/3DSMAX/2016/ENU/?caas=caas/screencast/Main/Details/d31998c9-0432-40fd-b26b-2989bdc07844.html

    Also check out Dennis’s blog on useful shortcuts and tips.

    https://www.cadlinecommunity.co.uk/hc/en-us/articles/201910441-Occasional-3ds-Max-User-