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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 our mParticle system in place, omitting and colliding nicely with our scene geometry, we can focus now on creating the gloopy fluid effect that really is the point and purpose of our simulation. To make a gloopy substance, we will of course need to glue our particles together. This step, as you could probably guess, will be a big contributing factor to the overall look of our final effect. Let's grab a MassFX glue operator and drag it into our flow, setting it in between our MassFX Collision and World operators.
We can then select it and in the Parameters area, set its Binding Type to Distance and the Timing to Continuous. So we have set Continuous in this instance so that as particles move and collide in the simulation they are able to break existing bonds, but then re-grouped to the same or other particles in the simulation. This functionality will add quite a bit to the stodgy look and slow gloopy motion that we want from our particles. We will want to set a fairly small bind distance for our glue here; 200 mm should do nicely.
Again this will allow the particles to break apart, but it also means that they don't have to be right on top of one another before they are able to reglue. We can also enable Allow Binding Penetration and also up the max amount of binds per particle value to 8. To really make this effect work, we will for sure need to turn on Breakability. But this time rather then using Breakable By Force, we need to scroll down and instead use this Breakable By Overstretch option.
In here, we also want to set the relative percentage value to 150. In fact, if we just back up a little, we also want to set the maximum distance limit to a relative percentage value of 150 also. Now, if we play the simulation, you can see our particles pool in a manner that does feel somewhat like a thick running substance, even sliding over the edge of the stand as it is reached. However, if we feel that they are not flowing quite as freely across the surface as we might like, we could lower our friction values for both the particles and the collision mesh.
To do this, let's first of all select the MassFX Shape operator in our flow and in the Bounce And Friction controls we can set both Static and Dynamic options to a value of 0.2. Then of course we can select our stand geometry and set its friction values to 0.2 also. We do still need to finalize the look of our gloop effect, so let's come into the Create tab on our Command panel and in the Geometry section, access to dropdown list and choose Compound Objects.
From here, we can choose the BlobMesh option, enable AutoGrid, and then just left-click once in the viewport to create a BlobMesh. Then we can right-click and exit creation mode. Keeping the BlobMesh selected, we can access its parameters in the Command panel and come down to the Blob Object section. Here we can click the Add button. In the Add Blob dialog that appears, we can type PF into the find area and then of course select the particle flow source that appears in our list.
Clicking the Add Blobs button will then turn our particles into a blog mesh. If we just run the simulation now, we can see that this is the case--kind of. Obviously we want to try and make things look a little more fluid-like in the simulation here before we can say we are happy. So still a now a BlobMesh parameters, let's set the size to 304 mm, the tension value we can set to 0.6, and the Render or Viewport Coarseness we can set to 15.
The final step here is to put a check in the Relative Coarseness checkbox. Now as you can see we are definitely getting an effect that is much more convincing. To add a finishing touch, let's come into the Modifier List and add a Relax modifier onto our BlobMesh. We can leave the Relax value at 0.5, but let's apply Iterations of 4. As you can see in the viewport this just smoothes our surface out that little bit more. If we now run the simulation one last time, you can see that things are looking pretty nice.
Our gloopy fluid even slides over the edge of the stand once it is reached. Whilst mParticles aren't going to convince anyone that they are a serious fluid simulator capable of producing realistic oceans or floating valleys, they can nevertheless produce some very nice fluid-type simulation effects that may be just what the doctor ordered.
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