3ds Max is relatively new to me and I’m very much used to the way maya does a lot of things. To get an animated texture to work in Maya, you simply make a material and assign an image sequence or movie to it. Max also does this but there is a snag.
When importing an animated texture in either package, the default is to sync the texture’s animation with the scene’s time slider. For the particular project I’m working on, I need to to have the frames of the texture controlled by a control in the rig so the animator can play with it (the texture in this case being the pupil of a cartoon eye). Max’s bitmap has no way of reconnecting the active frame of the texture. There was once a plug-in to achieve this feature, but it’s not compatible with 2008. Running out of time, I came up with a ghetto solution that still does the trick.
Instead of importing an .ifl sequence, I instead used a multi-material which is basically a material containing multiple materials. In my case, each sub-material is instead a single frame of the texture animation.
To drive it, apply a Material modifier on the object in question. The Material modifier creates an key-able attribute for changing the material ID of the multi-material. In other words, with the multi-material set up like an image sequence, the attribute created by the Material modifier is like a specifier for the active frame of the animated texture.
To make this solution a bit elegant, link the Material modifier’s attribute to a custom parameter. Thisway , limits can be specified and the animator wont have to scrounge through the modifier stack in order to animate.