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How to Use MadCar 3 Plugin for 3ds Max to Create Realistic Vehicle Animations
MadCar 3 is a plugin for 3ds Max that allows you to quickly rig and animate wheeled vehicles of any type and number of wheels, including motorcycles and trailers. You can simulate the vehicle's motion and control it with keyboard, joystick, game controller or steering wheel. You can also create realistic tire marks on the ground with a procedural map that works with V-Ray.
In this article, we will show you how to use MadCar 3 plugin for 3ds Max to create realistic vehicle animations. We will cover the following topics:
How to install and register MadCar 3 plugin
How to create a vehicle with chassis, suspension and wheels
How to adjust the parameters and behavior of the vehicle
How to animate the vehicle with different modes of control
How to render the vehicle and the tire marks
Let's get started!
How to Install and Register MadCar 3 Plugin
To install MadCar 3 plugin, you need to download the latest version from here and run the MadCar.exe file. You need to have 3ds Max version 2009 or higher, and V-Ray if you want to use the tire marks feature. You also need to have Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package installed on your system.
To register MadCar 3 plugin, you need to activate it with a license file that you can obtain from iCube R&D Group after purchasing the plugin. You can activate it either as a workstation or as a render node. Workstation mode allows you to access all the features of MadCar 3 plugin, while render node mode only allows you to open and render files created with MadCar 3 workstation. You can activate MadCar 3 plugin either as a node-locked or as a floating/server license. Node-locked license binds MadCar 3 plugin to a specific computer, while floating/server license allows you to use MadCar 3 plugin on any computer connected to a license server.
To activate MadCar 3 plugin as a workstation, you need to copy the license file to your plugins folder in your 3ds Max installation directory. To activate MadCar 3 plugin as a render node, you don't need to do anything as it will automatically switch to render node mode if it doesn't find a license file. To activate MadCar 3 plugin as a floating/server license, you need to install and run the license server on one computer and copy the license file to the plugins folder on all other computers that will use MadCar 3 plugin. You also need to set up the environment variable MADCAR_SERVER with the IP address of the license server computer.
How to Create a Vehicle with Chassis, Suspension and Wheels
To create a vehicle with MadCar 3 plugin, you need to use four types of objects: chassis, suspension, wheel and MadCar. Chassis is for the car frame, suspension is for the damper, wheel is for the car wheel and MadCar is for managing the skin and animation of the vehicle.
To create a chassis object, go to Create > Helpers > MadCar and click on Chassis button. Then click and drag in the viewport to create a box that represents the size and position of your car frame. You can adjust the length, width and height of the chassis object in its parameters panel.
To create a suspension object, go to Create > Helpers > MadCar and click on Suspension button. Then click on one of the corners of the chassis object and drag in the viewport to create a line that represents the direction and length of your damper. You can adjust the length, stiffness, damping and other settings of the suspension object in its parameters panel.
To create a wheel object, go to Create > Helpers > MadCar and click on Wheel button. Then click on one of the ends of the suspension object and drag in the viewport to create a circle that represents the size and position of your wheel. You can adjust the radius, width, mass, friction and other settings of the wheel object in its parameters panel.