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Easy animation with Path Constraint in 3ds Max


This blog post is designed to show you quick ways to animate objects in 3dsmax using the path constraint tool. Today, we are showing you how fish in an aquarium are animated to give you a quick overview of what this kind of animation entails. To fully understand this tutorial, kindly download the scene file here, it is a simple scene in 3dsmax.

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Since we ensure to put some life in our animations, we found this to be a useful way to show you how you can adopt the same in your scenes even though you may not be working with architectural visualizations.


The scene

To start with, I completed the scene of a living room/dining space with an aquarium in it. After applying materials and lighting with animated camera paths, it was time to animate the fishes in the water. Please download and watch the video for the very comprehensive tutorial. The images below are only to briefly show you a few of the many tips contained in the video.

aquarium scene
The complete interior living/dining room scene with the aquarium ready for keyframing

aquarium frame
A test render of the animated scene (Single frame render)

Clone Part of Mesh
Cloning the water bubbles using the sub-object menu. See video to know how to render fast with object visibility at 0.5

noise modifier
Adding a little bit more detail to the fishes (using noise modifier and adjusting the seed and fractal settings)

set key for spinner
Animating the spinner using the ‘Set key’ button. Ensure the pivot point is centred on the object.

aquarium path constraint 2
Assigning the fishes to the paths created. Watch the video to discover how to adjust motion parameters

aquarium path constraint setting
Details of the constraint/motion parameters

I hope you enjoyed the video file. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop a comment and I will do my best to respond. Meanwhile, please take a moment to share this post.

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Comments (12)

can you please help me to get tutorial how to animate architectural building

Hello Niyi..
Thanks for dropping by. We have not made a tutorial on the above-mentioned, but you can get a lot of tips here

Hope you find them useful. We will soon post more tutorials. Stay in touch.


thanks Steve.. I am glad you liked it..

now this is just what I love to see…….keep it up guys………..and one more thing do u guys know which software I could use for 2D animations like area and the rest,im common with 3D softwares,pls if u have any suggestions,I’ll really appreciate it tnxs

HI Richie.. thanks for dropping by. We dont do 2D animations, but I know where you can get answers to your questions. Please ask the gentlemen at


There you will get a lot of mentorship and you will surely be guided..

hello Hassan, pls can have been learning 3d max by myself with the heap from you tube tutorials videos for the past two month and this are my challenges,
1. my text animations don’t have the “gold kind of feel shining” material,so i would be very pleased if you can help me with a tutorial video that has a shinning gold text feel material for 3d text.
2. can you help us with the tutorial on how you modeled the aquarium and the fishes or give us an idea on how you did it
3. how can i use two or mor camera to do an animation

HI Jerry. Thanks for dropping by. Learning 3Ds Max from You Tube would require you to practice a lot, like self help. You are brave.
Here are the answers to your questions in their order.
1. Here is a tutorial to help you with the gold material in 3Ds Max
2. The aquarium was a model I downloaded from the web (although I modified it a lot, the base, the top). I don’t model everything in my scene. Sometimes, web models help a lot. There are places you can get free models.
3. Using various cameras to do animation is easy. All you have to do is keyframe them, using the timeslider, let them capture the respective actions, and you can join them together in sequence (as your storyboard is), in a video compiling software. I hope this was easy to understand. For more information check this

thanks so much hassan, pls i try downloading the scene file on the website but it showing all black , i use, i use 3d max 2012. what are the necessary parameters to get the same aquarium like your cos i want to do do the fish animation in another style . different frm yours.
thank you once again i am so great full.

Hi Jerry. the file is working. you are probably using a version of vray that is different or you are using mental ray. you can convert the scene materials to work with your render engine. if you have difficulties, let me know what version of vray you use so I convert it.

pls where can i get free 3ds max models to download

Hi Jeff.. Please check

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