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Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max
Illustration by John Hersey
Watching:

Breaking down the shot


From:

Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

with Brian Bradley

Video: Breaking down the shot

As with all aspects of CG work, the effort we put into the preproduction and planning stages of a simulation projects can either make or break the shot or shots that we're working on. Ideally, once we receive the scene with which we will be working--be that the final version or indeed a low-res stand- in--we will want to examine the script or brief and the scene itself so as to determine what simulation effects are going to be required or maybe even possible. During this part of the process it would probably be a good idea for us to be making as many notes as possible, including of course noting down some ideas regarding the tools we could possibly use to accomplish the desired end result.
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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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Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max
3h 53m Intermediate Feb 26, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Setting up your 3ds Max project
  • Understanding volume, mass, and density
  • Learning the difference between concave and convex meshes
  • Discovering Ground Collision and Gravity
  • Baking out a simulation for rendering
  • Adding an animation override
  • Adding Rigid constraints and creating breakability
  • Creating springy targets with the Hinge constraint
  • Spinning targets with Twist
  • Working with mCloth
  • Putting a rip in mCloth
  • Adding forces to a simulation
  • Using fracture geometry in mParticles
Subjects:
3D + Animation Particles Visual Effects
Software:
3ds Max
Author:
Brian Bradley

Breaking down the shot

As with all aspects of CG work, the effort we put into the preproduction and planning stages of a simulation projects can either make or break the shot or shots that we're working on. Ideally, once we receive the scene with which we will be working--be that the final version or indeed a low-res stand- in--we will want to examine the script or brief and the scene itself so as to determine what simulation effects are going to be required or maybe even possible. During this part of the process it would probably be a good idea for us to be making as many notes as possible, including of course noting down some ideas regarding the tools we could possibly use to accomplish the desired end result.

In our case, as you can see, we have a fairly well-developed version of a scene that could easily be brought up to final render standard. So we're in fact ready now to plan out, maybe even start to previz, the specific effects required for our shot. Let's imagine the premise here is that our biped customer has come to watch our ball launchers knock down the stacks of cans. What we need to do now is figure out which objects in the scene will need to be a part of the simulation, so we'll need rigid body modifiers adding to them, as well as perhaps noting down which rigid body type we think will work best in each instance.

The first thing we want to do is just hit the C key on our keyboard to bring up our Select Camera dialog. Once we have that, we can switch over to our Launches camera for a closer view of the launcher geometry. Now, if I just press play down in our animation controls, you can see we have a very simple animation on the launcher geometry. The idea is that these animated discs will propel each of the colored spheres out of the launcher tubes, across the open space, and into our waiting stacks of cans.

With an understanding of what is required then, it seems pretty clear that our animated discs, the spheres in the holding rack, the holding rack itself, and of course the launcher geometry will all need to be a part of the simulation, so we'll need rigid body modifiers applying to them. Which rigid body type should we use? Well, as our launcher tubes really only need to hold our shoot or cannonballs before they're launched, we can safely assume that these really only need to be set up as static rigid bodies.

As noted in chapter 1, static rigid bodies can have dynamic objects such as our spheres bump into and bounce off them, but the static rigid body itself won't react in any way. That makes it perfect for what we need here. In fact, the static rigid body type could also be used for our holding racks as well, so let's makes a note of those facts. The balls or sphere themselves of course are going to be doing the both of the interesting work inside the simulation, as they're going to be launched into the air and hopefully collide with our stacks of cans.

This means they really will need to be set up as dynamic objects within the simulation-- that is, ones they can collide with and affect and be affected by other dynamic rigid bodies in the scene. We also have the animated discs. Now the fact that these are animated pieces of geometry means we only really have one rigid body choice available to us, which would be to set these up as kinematic rigid bodies. This means they will be able to interact with and affect the dynamic objects in the simulation, but without actually being affected in any way themselves. Of course, we will also need to devise some method for dropping each of the balls into the launcher tubes.

Probably the best thing here would be to use a feature of the kinematic rigid body type that allows us to specify a frame in the animation at which a kinematic rigid body becomes a dynamic one. This would mean we could very specifically time each of the ball drops into the launcher tubes. So with our launcher assemblies taken care of, let's once again use the C keyboard shortcut and bring up over Select Camera dialog, and this time we'll choose Target camera option. From here we can get a good view of where our launched objects are our launched phase will be traveling to in the scene.

As we want our balls to collide with and knock our stacks of cans over and because of course we want the cans to interact with one another, it doesn't take much to work out that once again we'll need to make use of the dynamic rigid body type for our can stacks. Once the cans have been knocked down of course we'll want those and the launch spheres to collide with the shelves, the concession stand body itself, and probably even a ground object. So once again, making use off the static rigid body option would seem sensible.

Having taken then the time to figure out what we need in terms of setup so as to create the desired simulation effects in our shot, we are ready to move on in our next video to setting up or applying the rigid body modifier to our geometry and then setting up some of the basic parameters that our simulation objects will need.

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