Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max
Illustration by John Hersey

Building a believable water material


From:

Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max

with Steve Nelle

Video: Building a believable water material

With our ball now rolling down the ramp and realistically deforming the water when contact is made, we can shift our attention to creating a believable skin for that water surface. We'll do that using the Ripping Water03 file that we brought with us from the previous video. Now, there is quite a few different ways to create a realistic water material in 3ds Max, most of those techniques coming from taking advantage of the skins Max offers when using the mental ray rendering method. With the mental ray rendering engine currently in place, let's cruise over into our Material Editor and see what we can find.
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  1. 4m 57s
    1. Welcome
      1m 24s
    2. How to use this course
      1m 7s
    3. Using the exercise files
      2m 26s
  2. 56m 21s
    1. Understanding how Reactor works
      7m 33s
    2. Accessing the Reactor commands and controls
      4m 1s
    3. Working with Reactor's collection types
      7m 51s
    4. Working with Soft Body Modifier types
      5m 56s
    5. Using constraints to limit object movement
      7m 46s
    6. Assigning physical properties using the Property Editor
      7m 45s
    7. Previewing a simulation
      3m 56s
    8. Creating keyframes for a simulation
      4m 58s
    9. Controlling the accuracy of your simulations
      4m 30s
    10. Choosing a physics engine to run your simulations
      2m 5s
  3. 51m 46s
    1. Project overview
      56s
    2. Modeling the broken glass
      13m 17s
    3. Adding the simulation's physical properties
      1m 53s
    4. Animating the breaking object
      5m 4s
    5. Creating the Rigid Body Collection
      1m 32s
    6. Previewing the simulation
      5m 20s
    7. Adding a fracture helper to improve realism
      4m 38s
    8. Building the scene's materials
      5m 36s
    9. Creating the keyframed animation
      4m 41s
    10. Setting up the visibility track for the glass
      8m 49s
  4. 26m 53s
    1. Project overview
      1m 21s
    2. Setting up the scene's rigid bodies
      4m 3s
    3. Adding the soft bodies into the simulation
      9m 18s
    4. Working with the Soft Body Modifier settings
      8m 3s
    5. Making the final adjustments and creating the keyframes
      4m 8s
  5. 27m 39s
    1. Project overview
      1m 17s
    2. Setting up the Reactor cloth elements
      12m 34s
    3. Animating the rigid body curtain clips
      5m 41s
    4. Making adjustments to the curtain cloth modifiers
      6m 5s
    5. Creating keyframes in preparation for rendering
      2m 2s
  6. 20m 18s
    1. Adding the physical properties and collection
      3m 7s
    2. Creating the water helper
      3m 19s
    3. Adjusting the water parameters and creating the keys
      7m 43s
    4. Building a believable water material
      4m 15s
    5. Wrapping things up
      1m 54s
  7. 41s
    1. Goodbye
      41s

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Watch the Online Video Course Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max
3h 8m Beginner Mar 10, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Choosing the appropriate collection type
  • Using the Property Editor to set up an object's physical properties
  • Working with soft body modifiers
  • Accessing and using the Reactor toolbar
  • Making objects appear soft and pliable
  • Using constraints to limit object movement
  • Animating objects breaking apart
  • Creating realistic water using a reactor helper object
  • Previewing simulations
  • Controlling simulation accuracy
  • Creating keyframes for a dynamic simulation
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
3ds Max
Author:
Steve Nelle

Building a believable water material

With our ball now rolling down the ramp and realistically deforming the water when contact is made, we can shift our attention to creating a believable skin for that water surface. We'll do that using the Ripping Water03 file that we brought with us from the previous video. Now, there is quite a few different ways to create a realistic water material in 3ds Max, most of those techniques coming from taking advantage of the skins Max offers when using the mental ray rendering method. With the mental ray rendering engine currently in place, let's cruise over into our Material Editor and see what we can find.

Selecting a clean sample sphere, let's then click on the Get Material command, which you can find on the far left side of a horizontal row of icons. In the Material/Map browser, under the mental ray material selections, let's choose Autodesk Water. Once we've done that, we can drag our material down to our water object of our scene. Okay, let's now render. Now from a distance things are little bit tough to see, so let's do this. We'll change our camera view to a perspective orientation. Once we've done that, using our Navigation controls on the lower right-hand corner, we will zoom in to our pool area.

Once we've done that, we'll go ahead and render again. With the Autodesk Water, there are a couple of different variations that we can choose from. Under Type, we'll change it from Swimming Pool to Generic Reflecting Pool. Then we can render again. So we can see the actual results of the way the water will look when the ball comes in contact with it. Let's move to a later frame in time and render it again.

Okay, now we can see the rippling effect. Let's try a different variety of that Autodesk Water. Back in the Material Editor, let's change from the Reflecting Pool down to the Stream/River. As you can see, we've got quite a bit of difference there. Now the Stream/River also gives us an option to change the wave height. Using the slider, let's take that to the far right, and we can once again render things up. Let's see what we can do about finding maybe a few other material types.

I'll also position our ball a little bit more toward the middle of our pool. Okay, back on the Material Editor, using a new sample slot. This time we'll go down the right-hand side of our interface, clicking on the word Standard. This gives us a whole new set of options, being able to choose different types of materials. For this one, we'll move a little further down in our browser, looking for the Autodesk Material Library. Now even of the skins we're going to use aren't considered water, the glass materials work very nicely. Opening up the Glass category if necessary, let's choose the one named Glass Frosted-Blue.

Once we've got that loaded in, let's go and apply this one, then render. Take a look at the difference there. The Autodesk Frosted Glass comes with a setting called Reflectance. Let's take that to a value of 10. Rendering again, we can see how that turns out. This gives us a little higher level of reflectivity on our water surface. There's also material in the Autodesk Material Library called Clear Blue Glass. Let's see how that would work. Again, new sample slot. Then click on Standard.

You'll find it just a few slots up from the Frosted-Blue. Then we can apply that and render again. Okay, with the Clear Blue Glass, we can actually change the color of that glass surface. To do that, we'll click on the long blue color swatch directly to the right of the name Color. Now, what I'm going to want to do here is darken my color a little bit. Let's go down to the Value ramp on the right, taking that number to 0.4. We can then close the Color Selector and render again. So that I think looks a little bit nicer now being a darker hue. It might be a little bit too much blue though, so let's lighten that up.

Back in the Material Editor, we'll again click on that now darker blue swatch, and this time, using the saturation ramp, we will take that value to somewhere between 0.5 and 0.6. So that gives us a nice little handful of different material types that we can now choose from. Why don't we save our file up as Rippling Water04, and we'll head into our last video for this water project, where we will wrap things up.

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