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

Finding believable frames per second and substeps


From:

Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

with Brian Bradley

Video: Finding believable frames per second and substeps

Along with the important concepts we've discussed so far in this chapter, the production of dynamic simulations that fulfill the needs of our projects will also require that we understand some basic concepts regarding the way our physics simulator is working. One particularly essential piece of information is that, like moving pictures, animated sequences, and the like, the production of a dynamic simulation--or, more specifically, the collision calculations in the simulation--will be dependent on a frames-per-second setting.
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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

Finding believable frames per second and substeps

Along with the important concepts we've discussed so far in this chapter, the production of dynamic simulations that fulfill the needs of our projects will also require that we understand some basic concepts regarding the way our physics simulator is working. One particularly essential piece of information is that, like moving pictures, animated sequences, and the like, the production of a dynamic simulation--or, more specifically, the collision calculations in the simulation--will be dependent on a frames-per-second setting.

This and related settings will greatly influence the final outcome of the quality of any dynamic simulation we produce. To explain: if for instance, we are working in our 3Ds Max scene with an animation frame rate of 30 frames per second set, then our simulation engine will take 30 collision calculations, or simulation steps, per second. If, however, we were to work at 24 frames per second, well, our collision calculation rate would also drop down to 24 per second.

This means our simulation would naturally be faster due to the reduced number of calculations per second required, but also less accurate than the previous 30- frames-per-second example. Now, if with this were the only method of controlling collision accuracy in our simulation engine available, well, we could find ourselves in a little bit of trouble. Thankfully, in any good simulation engine, we have other options available to us, such as enabling subframe calculations. This will allow the physics engine to essentially subdivide each frame of animation playback time into a smaller chunk.

So, if at an animation playback rate of 24 frames per second, we were to introduce a single subframe or substep calculation into the simulation-- assuming of course that this option is available in our physics engine, which it is in MassFX-- well, in this situation, our engine would now be able to take 48 collision calculations per second instead of the original 24, which would naturally result in a much more accurate simulation. This increase in both the number of calculations per second and simulation accuracy will continue as we add more subframe sampling, or substeps to the process.

At 2 substeps, we would be taking 72 calculations per second. At 3, we would be getting 96, and so it goes on. Of course, we do need to keep in mind that these extra calculations and the resulting increase in accuracy will come at the cost of extra time required to complete the calculation process. Understanding how this division of time and calculation steps works really is extremely important when it comes to effectively managing the quality and completion times of our simulations.

In our next video, we'll move on to a consideration of the different object types we can work with in our dynamics simulations, specifically the difference between rigid and soft body object types.

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