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

Building the scene's materials


From:

Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max

with Steve Nelle

Video: Building the scene's materials

With our simulation now nearing final output, let's see what we can do about adding a few skins. I'll be working with the Breaking Glass06 scene file carried forward from the previous video. Why don't we start with our rock? I'll select that, then head into the Material Editor by typing M. With 3ds Max shipping with a ton of ready-to-go materials right off the shelf, let's activate the Get Material command on the horizontal icons and head to the Material Library. With things being listed in alphabetical order, let's drop down to the Stone Materials 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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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
Subjects:
3D + Animation Visual Effects
Software:
3ds Max
Author:
Steve Nelle

Building the scene's materials

With our simulation now nearing final output, let's see what we can do about adding a few skins. I'll be working with the Breaking Glass06 scene file carried forward from the previous video. Why don't we start with our rock? I'll select that, then head into the Material Editor by typing M. With 3ds Max shipping with a ton of ready-to-go materials right off the shelf, let's activate the Get Material command on the horizontal icons and head to the Material Library. With things being listed in alphabetical order, let's drop down to the Stone Materials and see what we can find.

Why don't we choose the one named Stones_Altaqua? To get the material from the browser back into the Editor, we'll simply double-click on the thumbnail icon. Because we've pre-selected the rock, we can now use the Assign to Selection icon you'll find on the horizontal row of icons third from the left-hand side. For the frame for our glass, why don't we see if we can't find a nice- looking dark rich wood? For that one I'll choose Wood Bubing.

This pre-made selection is designed to make it look like a wood called the Bubinga. With a clean sample slot selected, let's go ahead and double-click on that thumbnail. Once we've done that, we'll type H for the Select by name list, we'll choose the frame little more than halfway down, and we can then again use the Assign to Selection Command. As for the pieces of shard glass, the most realistic representations for glass in Max come from the terrific mental ray materials that ship with the program.

To get to them though, we are going to have to first switch rendering engines, moving from 3ds Max's default Scan Line Renderer over to the Mental Ray engine. To do that, we'll first close our browse, then hit F10-- F10 being the command to open up Render Setup dialog. Now for the changeover, we'll have to drop down to the bottom of our Settings. On arrival, you'll then open up the Assign Render tab. Then using the little button on the right-hand side that looks like three dots, you'll click directly across from Production.

From the Choose Renderer engine, we'll now simply select mental ray Renderer. That not just converts us over to a higher end way of rendering, but it also was the trick we needed to use to open up the mental ray materials. Closing that window, let's go back in the Editor, selecting new sample slide. Once done, we can drop back to the Get Material button, clicking on it. In the browser, let's go over to the top and first close the regular Material Library. Once that's been done, we can drop in the Materials category, specifically the mental ray materials.

From the selections, let's choose Arch & Design. The Arch & Design material has a bunch of really cool templates that we can take advantage of. In the entry that reads Select a template, let's open that up and from there choose Glass (Thin Geometry). Once that's been loaded, let's go back in our scene, selecting all of our glass shard pieces. We can, again, use the handy H shortcut key to make that happen. With those selected, we can then apply our material.

Now, for a little more realism in our glass surface, let's also do this. We'll head a little further down, looking for the Index Of Refraction setting. When you find that, let's type in 0.9. And to crank up the appearance of the material's believability even more, let's drop even further down, opening up a section called Advanced Rendering Options. In there, you'll find a category called Advanced Transparency Options. Where it says Glass/Translucency treat objects as, we'll change that over to Solid.

That will make sure that both sides of our surface render, as opposed to simply one. In the chapter video where we modeled our glass shard objects, you'll remember that we created a second piece of glass that was meant to remain whole. That object, too, will need this new glass material. So back in one of the views, right-click, choosing Unhide by Name. From the list, let's then choose Glass Solid. Now that it's in view, let's go ahead and select that surface.

With it selected, we'll turn our attention back to the Materials Editor, applying that newly created glass surface. Once you've done that, we'll go back in the viewports, hiding, once again, that solid glass object. With the Camera view selected, let's go ahead and render things up. Rendered up against a solid black background, it's very difficult to see any detail whatsoever in our glass shard objects. So let's do this. We are going to change the color of our background to kind of a lighter gray.

To make that change, we'll go to an icon at the top of the Rendered Frame window. It's called Environment and Effects dialog. Go ahead and click there. That color of our background is being controlled by the color swatch in the upper left-hand corner. Let's go ahead and click on that swatch. In the color selector, using the ramps on the right, we'll drop down to Value, typing in 150. Once that's in place, we'll close the window and render again. That'll do it for our materials.

Let's save our file up as Breaking Glass07, and we'll move into the next video, where we'll create the actual keyframes for our simulation.

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