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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.
The Cloth modifier gives you a handful of helpful settings that allow you to control the behavior of a cloth surface--whether that be a blanket draped over the back of a couch or a living room curtain like we are working with in our project here. Using the Cloth CurtainsO2 file that we saved at the end of our previous video, let's see what we can do about the way our curtains stretch and fold as they gather up to the sides of our glass sliding door. To begin, let's temporarily turn off the map that we have assigned to both curtains. That will eliminate the scintillation that we have been getting in our previews, in addition to allowing us to better review and evaluate our curtain geometry.
When opening up the Material Editor, you'll find the curtain material on the top row, far left. We can simply drop down do its map section, turning off the check mark to the left of the Diffuse Color slot. Why don't we now focus our attention on the right-hand-side curtain? We will select that, then head over to the Modify column in the Command panel. Okay, on the Cloth Modifier, let's right away turn on a setting a little further down called Avoid Self-Intersections. This will make sure that when the curtain geometry starts bunching together that nothing crosses over unrealistically.
Once you have made that change, go ahead back up to the top of settings. To take some of the stretchiness out of the curtain, in the Force model section, we can experiment with the Stiffness value-- a higher number making the cloth surface stiffen up. Let's see what a number like 0.5 would do. Now currently, we are running both of our curtains through our simulation. In the view, let's select the cloth collection and remove the left-hand curtain from the simulation.
Now, we can go ahead and run our preview. So, that tightens things up a little. Reselecting the curtain, then back to the controls on the right, the Damping setting can also help with the stretch. Officially, Max's reference manual will tell you that Damping controls how fast or slow the so-called energy that makes a soft surface change dissipates, or fades away.
More simply put, a higher Damping value will force our curtain surface back to its original shape quicker. Let's see what changing that number to 0.5 would do. After typing things in, we will run another preview. On review, that seems to have helped a bit. Now, we probably need to make our curtain just a little bit stiffer, so let's take that stiffness to let's say 0.8.
And we will run our simulation through another preview. So, that's a little better still. Now, there are a couple of other settings that you might want to experiment with. Air Resistance is another setting that deals with the way an object loses energy as it moves. A higher number would allow the curtain movement to die down a little better once it's been pulled open.
Let's plug in a value of 0.8 there. Friction deals with how smoothly a cloth would move once it came into contact with something else, while relative density pertains more to the buoyancy of a cloth when floating. Neither of those really have much impact here. So, I am going to be happy with the way things currently look on the right-hand-side curtain. Now, we can plug those same values into the curtain on the left. We will set the Air Resistance to 0.8, the Stiffness value will also go to 0.8, and the Damping will be set at 0.5.
Now, make sure you also turn on the Avoid Self-Intersections check mark a little further down. That should get us rolling. Now, there is one last thing we ought to do, and that's to see if we can get our curtains to start our animation in a more relaxed-type state. Right now, when the action in our scene starts, both curtains appears stiff as a board. To loosen that look up a little, Max offers an option in its preview window called Update Max. What the option does is it takes the position and look of an object during a simulation and transfers, or updates, that condition or state back into the actual Max scene prior to creating any keys, and that's what we need to do here.
Now before we do that though, let's make sure that both of our curtains are being included inside our sim. We'll go back and select the cloth collection in the scene, then on the right, add backend or left-hand curtain. Okay, let's now go ahead and open up that Preview window. What we are going to do here is start the preview, then stop it right at the point where we have our curtains in a little bit more of a relaxed position. That should happen just moments into our sim. Let's see what we can do. We will type P, then stop the play once our curtain has made its initial drop down.
Once we've done that, up at the top of our preview window, we will go to the Max pulldown. In there, we will then choose Update Max. Now the actual update back to our scene won't happen until we close the Preview window, so let's go ahead and do that. Taking your Camera view back to being full screen, we can now see that both pieces of our curtain geometry have a not-quite-so-iron-flat look. The curtain deformations stored in the update Max command now reflect back on our scene. Pretty cool how that works.
Why don't we now reactivate the map that we have on our current material, and we will render things up to see how things look. The more relaxed look for our curtains, even though subtle, definitely looks better. That will pretty much do it in preparation for creating our permanent keys.
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