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This course introduces basic physics simulation principles in Autodesk 3ds Max using MassFX, a system that makes it cost effective to animate rigid body objects, cloth, and particle systems. Author Brian Bradley introduces basic concepts such as gravity, drag, volume, and density, and how Newton's Laws of Motion can help you understand the interaction of objects with these unseen forces. Using the purpose built scene, Brian walks through the tools and features of the MassFX (PhysX) system, applying the principles discussed as he goes. Along the way, discover how to combine rigid bodies and constraints, mCloth fabrics, and mParticles geometry to create fairground-style effects.
We have already in this chapter seen how we can lock portions of an mCloth object in place by pinning a vertex subobject selection. However, because of the way that pinning works--that is, locking vertices to fixed points in world space--it would really be of no use to us with our current scene setup. If I just come down and hit the Play button on our animation controls, you can see that each of our hammock platforms are in fact animated. Maybe the term animated is a little grandiose for these simple motions, but you get the idea: the platforms are moving.
Let's take a look first of all at what would happen if we were to use the pin constraint with our current setup. To do that, let's bring up the Select Camera dialog by using the C key on the keyboard and then selecting the Target_CloseUp camera from the list. Now, if I just select the hammock geometry, you can see that it already has an mCloth modifier applied to it. And if I just come down to Vertex subobject level and scroll down a little in the options, you can also see that we've created four groups and applied a pin constraint to them, although if we select one of the groups and scroll down a little further, you can also see that these constraints are disabled.
In fact with things as they stand, let's see what happens if we exit subobject mode and then run the simulation with animation. As you probably have it guessed, the platforms do move inside the simulation and our mCloth object falls onto the stand. Let's see what happens now if we jump back into subobject mode and then switch those pin constraints on. So we do need to select one of the groups on the list and then in the Group Parameters rollout, let's put a check in the On box.
Now we do of course need to repeat this procedure for the other three groups as well. With that done, we can exit subobject mode and then again run the simulation. Now as you can see, our cloth is indeed pinned, but it obviously does not come along for the ride with the platforms. As we have noted, pin locks a vertex or group of vertices to specific points in 3D space, not to any geometry. To accomplish what we really need here, we will have to use a different kind of constraint.
Let's go back to the vertex level of our mCloth modifier and select the first group in our list. Now as we select the group, if we take a look in the viewport, you can see that this also selects the associated vertices for the group, or as in our case, a single vertex. What we can do now is come up and make use of the Delete Group button. Then, as our vertex is still selected, we can straight away just hit the Make Group button. We need to give the group a name, so I will call this Node01 and click OK.
Now we need to assign a constraint to the group. In this case we want to use the Node Constraint, so let's click that option. The next step is critical, as we now need to select the node or object in the scene that we want to constrain our vertex or group of vertices to. In this case we want to use the related support pole. Once we click that, we can see each name appear next to the group. Again, we need to repeat this process for the other three groups.
With that done, we can exit subobject mode and again run the simulation. This time our cloth does come along for the ride, and as you can clearly see, is still able to interact with any dynamic rigid body objects in the simulation. As with rigid body constraints, mCloth has a number of options available that can be used to suit a variety of scene and simulation needs. In the next video we will take a look at creating one often-requested cloth effect, one that can only be created in mCloth by making use of its constraint system.
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