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Previewing a simulation

From: Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max

Video: Previewing a simulation

One of the advantages that Reactor has over many of the other dynamic simulators on the market today is the speed in which it generates its previews. During the normal workflow process, it's not at all unusual for a simulation to take a healthy amount of time to plow through all the calculations necessary in order to create an automatically generated series of movements. Unfortunately, the longer you have to wait for your results, the less interactive the process feels. In this video, we're going to take a look at how Reactor has done away with those lengthy waits.

Previewing a simulation

One of the advantages that Reactor has over many of the other dynamic simulators on the market today is the speed in which it generates its previews. During the normal workflow process, it's not at all unusual for a simulation to take a healthy amount of time to plow through all the calculations necessary in order to create an automatically generated series of movements. Unfortunately, the longer you have to wait for your results, the less interactive the process feels. In this video, we're going to take a look at how Reactor has done away with those lengthy waits.

I'm using a file named Simulation Preview to demonstrate how a preview in Reactor is performed. Once a simulation has been set up and the evaluation process is set to commence, you can access Reactor's Preview window in one of several ways. Using the Animation pulldown menu at the top of the screen, you can drop to the bottom, choosing Reactor, then the command Preview & Animation. You could also access the Preview Command using the keyboard/mouse shortcut of Alt+Shift+Right-clicking, heading to the lower right-hand side of the menu when the dialog opens.

Another option would be to head over to the Utilities tab in the Command panel, opening up the Reactor commands, then sliding into the section entitled Preview Animation. From there, you'd simply click on Preview in Window. Or as a fourth option, using the Reactor toolbar which we've positioned over in the left-hand side of our screen, you could go to the bottom of the commands, then choose the second icon up. After a moment then once the calculations for your simulation have been made, if no errors are found, the Preview window will open. The window allows you to view and interact with your simulation in real time.

By default, simulated objects display using either the Perspective or Camera view from your scene as the orientation for the Preview window. Your left mouse button can now be used to rotate the view. The middle mouse button, when held down, will allow you to pan. If held down and rolled back and forth, will give you the opportunity to zoom in and out of your view. To start the simulation playback, a couple of different options. In the Simulation pulldown at the top- left corner of the window, you could choose Pause/Play, or you can simply press the P key on your keyboard.

Let's go ahead and play things through. To stop the preview, you simply want to press the P key again. When wanting to reset the animation, type R. So, P to play and R to reset. If there is something in your scene that needs changing, you can easily do that and then run the preview again. Now in order to make those scene changes, you'll first have to close the Preview window. I am going to take the yellow cylinder on the left-hand of my screen and move it up just a tad.

Then I'll go back in and run another preview. Up at the top of the Preview window, there is another couple options to be aware of. Under Display, you can change the way the Preview window appears visually, choosing between things like Shaded or Wireframe, and how the preview was lit. In the Performance category, Reactor gives you controls for both your simulation's accuracy and preview playback speed. The substeps setting determines just how many calculations are made in generating what you see. The higher the number of substeps, the more accurate the playback.

That higher number though does come at the expense of a longer calculation time for your preview. Under the Max pulldown, Update Max comes into play when you have any objects in your simulation that over a period of time assume a resting position. In a situation like that, you'd allow your preview to run to the frame where the objects are resting, or in a relaxed state--like a piece of cloth--then you'd click Update Max. We'll be looking at how all that works when we get into a few of our projects. So that's pretty much what's happening in creating Reactor previews. Now, a preview is not permanent.

It in no way creates keyframes for your simulation. For the actual baking-in of your keys, once happy with your preview, you'll move on to a new command. We'll take a look at how you go about creating those keys in our next video.

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This video is part of

Image for Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max
Getting Started with Reactor in 3ds Max

39 video lessons · 4160 viewers

Steve Nelle
Author

 
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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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