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Adjusting substeps and solver iterations

From: Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

Video: Adjusting substeps and solver iterations

Depending on the complexity, of and/or the level of realism required, for our MassFX simulations, accuracy may be an extremely important aspect of the simulation that we want or need to have control over. In this video we will consider two global options that will have a significant impact on the accuracy of our rigid body simulations. Do keep in mind that as a general rule, to increase the accuracy of a simulation, the number of collision calculations used to compute it also need to be increased.

Adjusting substeps and solver iterations

Depending on the complexity, of and/or the level of realism required, for our MassFX simulations, accuracy may be an extremely important aspect of the simulation that we want or need to have control over. In this video we will consider two global options that will have a significant impact on the accuracy of our rigid body simulations. Do keep in mind that as a general rule, to increase the accuracy of a simulation, the number of collision calculations used to compute it also need to be increased.

As the computational requirements for the calculations increase, so, too, does the overall simulation time. In simulations, as in rendering, cost versus benefit will be an ongoing balancing act that we need to look at. We have already in this course discussed the importance of understanding the relationship between the animation frame rate settings in our scene and the number of collision calculations taken for every second of simulation time. If, as is the case in the scene, we are working with a frames-per-second setting of 24, MassFX will take 24 collision calculations, or steps, per second itself.

If however, we were to increase the substep value in our MassFX Tools dialog up to 1, well, MassFX would now make 48 collision calculations per second instead of the original 24. The result of the increased computation is of course a more accurate simulation. This increase in both the number of calculations per second and simulation accuracy continues as we add more subframe sampling, or substeps, to the process.

No,w our natural inclination given these facts might be to start our simulations with a high substep value. This, however, would be a mistake for two reasons. Firstly, as we have mentioned, the cost of increased accuracy is increased simulation time. In a production environment, this would also equate to increased cost, which obviously is bad for everyone expect maybe our electricity provider. The second reason is that a more accurate simulation does not always mean a better-looking one.

We need to remember that as technical artists our goal is to produce a simulation that fits the needs off our current project, one that looks good, not a simulation that is more mathematically correct. If it fits the bill using only a limited number, of or maybe even no sub steps at all, then we should be happy about that and move on to the next task at hand. Another global setting that can improve the final quality or final accuracy of our simulations is this Solver Iterations values. Rather than affecting the dynamic rigid bodies themselves, this option controls the number of times a constraint solver enforces collisions in constraints during a simulation.

In some instances higher values than default may be necessary, such as when a simulation is making use of a large number of constraints, or when the tolerance for joint errors needs to be very low, such as may be the case when working with a ragdoll. Again just to be clear: this value works on constraints in the simulation not the dynamic rigid bodies themselves, as has sometimes erroneously been stated. In our next video, we are going to give consideration to a third option that can help with accuracy in rigid body simulations, this being the Generate Shape Per Element control.

We will also look at an extremely useful tool with which we can visually debug our simulations--this being the aptly named MassFX Visualizer.

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This video is part of

Image for Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max
Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

51 video lessons · 2674 viewers

Brian Bradley
Author

 
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  1. 3m 27s
    1. Welcome
      58s
    2. Working with the exercise files
      46s
    3. Setting up the 3ds Max project structure
      1m 43s
  2. 39m 20s
    1. Why simulate and not animate?
      3m 38s
    2. A look at gravity and drag
      3m 55s
    3. Understanding volume, mass, and density
      3m 45s
    4. What are Newton's laws of motion?
      3m 20s
    5. Finding believable frames per second and substeps
      3m 5s
    6. Understanding the difference between rigid and soft bodies
      3m 28s
    7. More about rigid body types
      3m 32s
    8. How collisions are calculated
      4m 35s
    9. Learning the difference between concave and convex meshes
      6m 24s
    10. What is a constraint and how do we use it?
      3m 38s
  3. 24m 20s
    1. A look at the MassFX and the 3ds Max user interfaces
      5m 52s
    2. Exploring the MassFX workflow
      5m 14s
    3. Discovering ground collision and gravity
      4m 49s
    4. Adjusting substeps and solver iterations
      3m 43s
    5. Using the Multi-Editor and the MassFX Visualizer
      4m 42s
  4. 44m 11s
    1. Breaking down the shot
      4m 51s
    2. Setting up the launchers
      3m 59s
    3. Setting up the drop system
      4m 30s
    4. Prepping the cans
      3m 33s
    5. Refining the simulation on the launchers
      5m 9s
    6. Refining the simulation on the colliders
      6m 5s
    7. Baking out the simulation for rendering
      5m 37s
    8. Reviewing the simulation with an animation sequence
      5m 3s
    9. Adding an animation override
      5m 24s
  5. 33m 32s
    1. Adding a rigid constraint and creating breakability
      8m 3s
    2. Creating a moving target with the Slide constraint
      4m 47s
    3. Creating springy targets with the Hinge constraint
      5m 59s
    4. Spinning targets using the Twist constraint
      4m 57s
    5. Creating crazy targets with the Ball & Socket constraint
      4m 58s
    6. Constructing a MassFX Ragdoll
      4m 48s
  6. 36m 51s
    1. Applying the mCloth modifier and pinning the hammock
      5m 55s
    2. Setting up the hammock's physical properties
      5m 39s
    3. Working with the mCloth interaction controls
      6m 14s
    4. Attaching the hammock to animated objects
      4m 5s
    5. Putting a rip in mCloth
      6m 14s
    6. Using mCloth to create a rope object
      4m 53s
    7. Creating a soft body object
      3m 51s
  7. 14m 47s
    1. Adding forces to a simulation
      5m 27s
    2. Putting forces to practical use
      5m 33s
    3. Using forces with mCloth
      3m 47s
  8. 35m 27s
    1. Walking through mParticles
      4m 38s
    2. Using fracture geometry
      6m 0s
    3. Creating breakable glue: Part 1
      4m 19s
    4. Creating breakable glue: Part 2
      5m 19s
    5. Creating a gloopy fluid: Part 1
      4m 14s
    6. Creating a gloopy fluid: Part 2
      4m 41s
    7. Adding forces to mParticles
      6m 16s
  9. 1m 5s
    1. What's next?
      1m 5s

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