Anatomy and Art

a blog by Sara Egner

A Long Saga of Gimbal Entrapment and the Horrors of Hotfix 4

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Oh Readers,

Last night I think I broke my brain again.

It took me  a week to get that rotational issue settled.  I went from trying various gizmo alignments, to scouring tutorial after tutorial, and then basically waving my arms in the air begging for advice from the world, which lead to a focus in learning how to set up helpers and then when that didn’t work, going through every rotational instruction I could find.  In the end, I used the Euler rotations from the pull down menu and changed the settings from the standard XYZ to ZXZ.  This spins your object off in a new direction, but I readjusted the object and was  finally able to control it’s rotation again and finish the shot.  To me, this seemed like a positively insane solution.  According to the readings I must have been gimbal locked, and resetting the orientation gave me a clean slate of sorts.  At least that’s my current understanding of it.  I could be way off base.

Regardless, this was a difficult saga for me.  So what a relief to finally be through that and rendering the shots already, right?  But then the renders kept crashing, and after the third error report sent to Autodesk I get this update recommendation.  So I click to install it, and the next thing I know, my project looks like this…

So much for going to bed then right?  Now I know that the worst thing that you can do in the event of something like this is to panic, but readers I must confess, I hit panic mode last night.  It had finally been working and then just like that, boom, blackness, and my entire grad school experience flashed before me, and I didn’t know what to do.

Apparently the update was the Hotfix 4 from Autodesk, and it’s done this to a few other people as well.  Advice ranges from uninstalling 3DsMax entirely and reinstalling without the upgrade to changing the graphics drivers away from the recommended system in the preferences, or even upgrading or downgrading your computer’s drivers over all.  And well, this is the kind of talk that tends to make me feel in over my head.  This is the kind of talk that sends me tirading about the ruins of an overly technological society.

If you are reading this because you are having the same problem now, I can first tell you that going into preferences and the viewports tab and hitting the button towards the bottom of the window that says something about installing or changing drivers (it’s no longer in front of me), you can in fact change to the Open GL driver, and if you are running on 32 bit, I hear that you may want to select the Software driver (the link to where I read that here.)  Anyway, that will let you see again, but I found that my objects kept going away when I was trying to select anything in the scene in that mode.  So, while it does make you feel better that all of your hard work has not been lost somehow, it still doesn’t restore the functionality you had before the “upgrade.”

Well this morning I was able to get someone from Autodesk on the phone.  Under the student license, they don’t let you speak first hand with technical support, but the woman on the phone was nice enough to ask around herself for me and relay what she could learn.  As it turns out, you can actually uninstall the upgrade.  Get rid of it, and you can use the recommended 3D graphics driver again and get back to work already.

To do this, you go through the Start menu, the Control Panel, Programs, Then I believe it is Programs and Upgrades, and you can select the horrible mistake you made last night and simply uninstall it.  I don’t know if this is something that Windows generally offers for most upgrades, or only for some.  But it’s a great feature, and I think it makes a lot more sense than all the other workarounds.  Just remove the problem.  Yeah.

Oh, and if you’re struggling with rotations like I was earlier this week and last week, this is a good write up about how some of that stuff works.

I don’t know if this is helpful for anyone else out there, or if I’m just making myself look bad in a public forum by putting my technical problems and frustrations out there for all to see.  I suppose it wouldn’t be the first time for either of those to be the case.

Written by Sara

April 28th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

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