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Baking out the simulation for rendering

From: Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

Video: Baking out the simulation for rendering

Once we've refined a simulation to the point where we are happy with the motion of our simulated objects, we would probably want--in fact, I would go as far as to say need--to capture the simulation as standard animation keyframe data. This process is known in MassFX is baking. Of course this is not just an arbitrary step in a production pipeline. There are a couple of very good and interconnected reasons as to why we would want, or even need, to run through the baking process, possibly several times, at this point.

Baking out the simulation for rendering

Once we've refined a simulation to the point where we are happy with the motion of our simulated objects, we would probably want--in fact, I would go as far as to say need--to capture the simulation as standard animation keyframe data. This process is known in MassFX is baking. Of course this is not just an arbitrary step in a production pipeline. There are a couple of very good and interconnected reasons as to why we would want, or even need, to run through the baking process, possibly several times, at this point.

The overriding reason is the need to test the quality, the look and feel of our simulated objects in full motion, as it were. You see, up to this point we've been relying on the speed of our computer and its ability to play back a live simulation in the 3ds Max viewport in order to gauge the motion we're getting from our simulated objects. The simple truth is though that not all computers can play back a MassFX simulation live in the viewport and give it to us at the actual frames-per- second setting that we will be rendering our work at.

In our particular case, we are currently only getting a live simulation playback of about 13-15 frames per second in our viewport. This of course is quite a bit short of the final render setting of 24 frames per second that we're using in this scene. This means that we're not seeing objects in the simulation moving at their actual speed. At this point then, we're really only guessing or estimating just what the final motion could possibly look like. Clearly, it would not be a good idea to commit our simulation to final render, which of course can conceivably take days to complete, with such a level of uncertainty hanging over the quality of our motion.

The second reason for baking our simulation is, well, in reality, one that actually makes our previous point somewhat redundant, in that we currently have no way of rendering out our simulation without actually baking it down to keyframe data first. The history-dependant nature of dynamic simulations would mean that any attempt to render a live simulation could only result in a much longer render time than necessary. For this reason, as we say, such a thing isn't actually possible in MassFX and 3ds Max.

All that having been said then, let's take a very quick at the controls available for baking out our simulation. As with other MassFX tools, these can't be accessed in a number of ways, but we will just focus on the Simulation Tools tab in our MassFX Tools dialog here. The first option available is entitled Bake All. When enabled this will run through the simulation and store transform keyframes for all dynamic objects inside the simulation, and that would include any mCloth objects that we have in there.

When the process is complete, dynamic objects are converted to kinematic ones, and an internal baked flag is applied to them basically telling the system that they can now be unbaked if that is what the user chooses. The next option, Bake Selected, is of course pretty much the same as Bake All, except the baking process is only applied to selected dynamic objects. So if we have ten dynamic rigid bodies in our scene and we select two and apply Bake Selected, then only those two will have keyframe data written for them.

The final two selections, Unbake All and Unbake Selected, do just as the name suggests: they undo or reverse the baking process, again, applying it to all or selected objects inside of the scene. A one very nice aspect of visibility to bake is MassFX is the fact that we can essentially stack up simulation effects in our scene. So, if for example we have a rather large and complex sequence of simulation events, we can break them down into smaller chucks, bake particular portions, and yet still have those newly created kinematic rigid bodies affect dynamic rigid bodies that are still live inside of the simulation.

Then result of course would be the requirements for collision calculations inside of the simulation would be greatly reduced, which can of course significantly speed up our ability to create complex simulation scenarios. Of course, the drawback would be that the newly created kinematic rigid bodies inside of the simulation could no longer themselves be affected by dynamic rigid bodies, and of course depending upon the type of simulation we're working with, that may or may not present a problem. In our case, of course we do most certainly want to create as much interaction as possible in our simulation, so we're just going to click the Bake All function here and create keyframes for every dynamic object in the simulation.

Once we've clicked the button, depending on the complexity of our simulation, 3ds Max may take quite a while to bake our keyframes out. Once it is done, however, if I just select what was one of our dynamic rigid bodies, you can see that it has been converted, or been set now, to a kinematic rigid body. In fact, with the object selected, if you just take a look down on the timeline, you can see that we now have a keyframe set for every frame of our animation. In fact, if I just hit play in our animation controls you can very plainly see that everything in the scene is now being controlled by keyframe or animation data.

So with the baking process complete, we're ready in our next video to move on to, well, really the next phase of producing our simulation, which would be to render out what we have, review the motion, and make note of any changes that may be required in order to just polish up the simulation before we would be ready to present it for final rendering.

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This video is part of

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Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

51 video lessons · 2470 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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