Deforming an object along a path is extremely easy but creates a broad range of artistic effects. Below we look at how this simple operation can be easily achieved within 3ds Max using the modifier stack.
1. First of all create a basic scene containing a sphere and a spline. Similar to the below.
2. Select the sphere, and load on either a ‘Pathdeform’ world space modifier (WSM) or object based modifier. (via the command panel).
3. whilst in the chosen modifier, select the ‘Pick Path’ button, and choose the spline within the viewport.
4. Now select the ‘Percent’ text box and animate the value. (Press ‘N’ and move the animation time slider to a new frame number, then change the value, as previously described.)
5. Press the animation play icon or the ‘/’ shortcut key to see the result.
6. Now change some of the other values and explore the resultant effects.
Note the pivot orientation of the spline and sphere will have an effect on the path deformation direction. To solve this, use the ‘Move to Path’ option as shown below.