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In Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max, Steve Nelle shows how to create realistic dynamic simulations that have objects recognize, collide and react to coming into contact with each other in 3ds Max animation projects. This course includes a detailed explanation of both rigid and soft body dynamics, reactor's various collection types, using constraints and soft body modifiers, and how to adjust and control a dynamic simulation's accuracy. Four start-to-finish projects are also included in the course, which show practical techniques for breaking objects apart, creating cloth simulations, adding rippling water effects to a scene, and more. Exercise files accompany the course.
With our Water Helper now in our scene, we can turn our attention to making a few adjustments to add to the realism of our effect. We'll do that using the Rippling Water02 file that we saved up at the end of our last video. Let's select our Water Helper and head over to the settings in the Modify column. Okay, let's start with the water's density setting. The name of the control pretty much spells it out. Density sets the relative density of the liquid. In a nutshell, the number you plug in determines whether an object will sink into the water, or if it floats, just how low in the water it will go.
Let's experiment with a few different values and we'll see how things turn out. Let's begin by taking our Density to 25, and once we've done that, we'll go ahead and run a preview. Now at 25 you can see just how dense the water object is. Being curious, let's see how things would look if we crank that up to 50. Then we can run another preview. This time the ball bounces as if it is hitting a trampoline. Let's take things to the opposite end of the spectrum and take in your density to 0.5. So you can see settings things at the other end of our values makes quite a bit of difference.
Let's finalize the setting using a value of 8. Another important setting is Viscosity, which measures how difficult or easy it is for an object to move through the water, higher values dampening an object's ability to move forward. So for an example, an object traveling through motor oil would certainly feel more resistance than if that same object traveled through let's say milk. The reason being is oil has a higher viscosity level than milk. So with Reactor, the less you are wanting an object to easily move forward, the higher you are going to want to set its Viscosity value.
Let's see how this setting affects the ball on our scene. We'll activate the Viscosity value, typing in 50. Then we want to preview. Wow! That pretty much stops the ball dead in its track. Let's take the Viscosity down to let say 25. Okay, this seems much better, but the water still feels just a little bit too thick. And I'm curious here, what does the viscosity value of zero do to our preview? Let's try that. Well, now we're getting basically no grab at all, so why don't we settle in with a Viscosity value of let's say 1.5? Okay, now I think we're getting somewhere as far as creating a believable-looking effect.
Now a few other controls that you might want to experiment with. Wave Speed sets the speed at which a waves crest, or peak, would spread across the surface of your water, while minimum and maximum Ripple limits or restricts the size of the waves that are being generated in the water. Neither of these controls are going to have a major impact on the way that our water is going to move here. So I will leave it up to you to play around with those two settings in your own projects. Now one thing to know about a Water Helper: Max thinks of that object as a space warp. And if you know much about 3ds Max, you're very well aware that space warps don't render.
We can quickly see that by simply rendering our scene. Let's hit the teapot render icon on the right-hand side of our main toolbar. So there's proof positive: we got our pool frame but no visible water. So we are going to need to create an actual piece of geometry in order to simulate our water effect. That geometry needs to be flat, so we will be using a plane. Now if we activate our Snap command, making sure Snapping option is still set to Vertex, we can actually create our plane object in our current view if we're careful.
Let's see what we can do. We'll turn on the Snap control, then right-click to make sure that Vertex is what's been selected. Back on the Command panel Create column, we'll then activate the Plane command. Now, here's where we got to be careful, but let's now draw our plane directly on top of the inside extents of our pool frame, basically making at the same size as our already-in-place, water space warp. To improve the ability of our plane to now deform, let's crank up its segments to 75 and 75. And once we've done that, we're going to want to turn off out Snap. Okay, let's now move the level of our plane down to just above our water helper.
Make sure, if necessary, to beforehand changing your screen coordinates over to view. Let's also rename our plane object using the name Water. Now in order for a newly created plane to be affected or influenced by our water helper, we're going to need to bind the two together using the good old Bind to Space Warp command. We'll select the Water, then click on the Bind to Space Warp option up on the left-hand side of our toolbar. To make the binding process a little easier, let's just type H. And from the list, we can now choose the name Water001. That's going to be a Water Helper.
Once you're done that, you can go to the lower right-hand corner and click on Bind. Now in order for our ball to roll down the ramp and drop into the water-- effectively making contact with our water plane--we're going to need that ball at this point to be animated-- that animation coming through creating the keys for simulation. So, although we still have a few adjustments to make in tweaking some of our scene's believability, now is the time to create those simulation keys. Let's go ahead and do that. We'll begin by changing back to our Camera view. You can do that by simply typing C. For the next couple steps, we're going to want to get into the Utilities column in the Command panel. Let's do that.
In the Preview and Animation section, you'll notice our End Frame is set to 100. We're going to want to match that up to length of our active time segment, our time line in other words, that going to be 250. Let's type that in. Let's, we should always do before creating our keys, also hold our frame just for safety's sake. Okay. I think we're ready to rip. Back in the Utilities column, let's now click on the button that says Create Animation. When the dialog box opens on the screen, you can simply say OK. With the ball making contact with our water's surface, we can see there is a very slight amount of reaction to that collision.
Let's see if we can't amplify that effect just a bit. I think we'll be able to see your results little better if we change the wireframe color on our water to let's say light blue. Now there is setting on the water space warp that I think will help us out here. Let select the water object and see if we can't find our settings over the Modify column. The setting called Scale Strength is what I was talking about. Scale Strength basically multiplies the deformation effect in the geometry that's being affected by the water space warp. That in our situation here would be the object that we created, the plane, that's visually representing the water in our pool.
Watch how this works. Let's increase the Scale Strength to 3 and scrub through the timeline. Check out the difference that's made. Let's get going up from here and see what that does to the effect. We'll take our Scale Strength to 5 and again scrub our timeline. Now a little bit tough to see, but you'll notice that the blue geometry is indeed deforming when it comes in the contact with the ball. Let's try a value of 10 and see how that looks. Okay, now that things are little more visible, why don't we go ahead and play back our timeline? Using a higher Scale Strength value, you can really see what impact it's having on the look of our water surface.
Let's keep taken the number higher. Let's try a Scale Strength of 30 then playing things back. Those higher numbers are definitely creating a more of a dramatic effect, as far as that deformation. Now even though we're going in kind of the wrong direction here, I'm kind of curious, let's try a Scale Strength of 50, playing that back. That is really cool the way that works. Now, to make things look a little more realistic for our scene though, to finalize things, let's take our value back to around 5.
Okay, now that we have our water geometry doing what it needs to do, let's redirect our attention to making a realistic skin for that water surface. We'll do that in our next video. We're going to take this file with us, so let's save it up as Rippling Water03.
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