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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.
With the basics of our particle system in place, we now need to introduce a way of binding the particles inside the strands together. This is where our MassFX glue operator comes in. Down in the depot, let's left-click and drag a glue operator into our flow. Now, it is important that the operator is placed below the MassFX world as it simply won't work anywhere else due to the way simulation steps are calculated in the flow. So as to be able to see how our particles are binding together in the scene, let's select the glue operator and turn on Visualize Binding.
Then we need to enable the Bind Gap option and set the Gap Distance to 2.24mm. Now if I just switch over to the Target_CloseUp camera, hopefully you can just about make out that we now have a thin blue line between each particle, indicating that they are bound or glued together. By default our Binding Type is set to Simplified, which is fine. Really though, any one of these options would work in this particular instance. The Timing option, however, is a little different.
We need to make certain that we are using On Event Entry here. This is because we only need our particles to be glued at the start of the event. If we choose Continuous, when particles from the different strands come into close proximity to one another, they would try to glue themselves together, which is not really what we want here. We can also put a check in the Allow Binding Penetration option. As our particles we'll eventually be getting knocked about quite a bit, enabling this can help prevent calculation glitches from occurring.
To add a little something extra to this effect I will also enable the Breakable By Force option. We're going to set the Torque values to 175 and then 125 respectively. Now, even though we have already added the required modifiers to our rail and stand geometry, our particle strands would not currently collide with them as we haven't yet added a MassFX collision operator into the flow. Let's drag one in from the depot and place it below our glue. Again I want to select this operator and then over in the Parameters section, click on the By List button.
Then we can add the stand and rail geometry, and of course any other collision objects we want, into the simulation. Now we're not quite finished with our strands just yet, because although they are glued together, they're still not really attached to anything in the scene. In fact, if I just hit the C key and select the Targets camera and then run the simulation from the view, you can see they simply fall down. To fix this, from our depot, let's add another MassFX glue operator and again turn on the visualize option.
To differentiate between the two glue operators I want to click the color swatch and give this one an alternative color. This will allow us to see which glue operator is currently working on which objects in the scene. For the second glue operator we need to set the binding type to distance and again make certain that our Timing option is set to On Event Entry. As before, we will check the Allow Binding Penetration option, as well as turning on Breakable By Force and setting the same Torque amounts as our first Glue operator, so 175 and 125 respectively.
In order to glue the strands to our rail geometry, we need to scroll down a little and it need to bind with section, first of all uncheck Current Event Particles. This will prevent our particles in the event being glued together a second time, and then we can put a check in the Deflectors option. This now binds our particles to a deflector in the scene. All we need to do then is add the Rail geometry to our Deflectors List; we do this by clicking the Add button and then selecting the object in the viewport. To settle our particle strands into a usable initial state for the simulation, I'm just going to click the Birth Grid operator and set the Emit Time option to -130.
This will immediately place the particles in the scene as if they had already been stimulating for 130 frames, meaning they will have settled nicely into position. If we now run the simulation, you can see our particles strands hang. We do get a little bit of motion coming from them due to the penetration off the collision meshes a little bit, but they are binding nicely together. Of course we do want to make use of the Breakable option we enabled earlier, so let's open up the 3ds Max Layer Manager and unhide the Animated Sphere layer.
I will of course need to select the sphere and then over in the Modifier List, add a PFlow Collision modifier to it. Once it is activated, we can jump over to our MassFX flow and add it to the list of our collision test operator. Now, if I press Play the sphere collides with our particle strands, breaking some of them off when the applied Torque values go beyond that was set limits. Now, although we have only had time to demonstrate a very simple setup here, hopefully you can see that the MassFX glue operator is a very powerful tool that could be employed to create all sorts of particle-binding effects.
The fact that we can make them breakable or even apply a MassFX solvent operator to them only adds to the possibilities that mParticles opens up to us.
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