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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 only thing left to do is set up the visibility track that will have our animation seeing the solid sheet of glass in the beginning before the thrown rock hits, then the individual exploding shards of glass once the rock makes contact with the glass pane. We will set that up using the Breaking Glass08 file, saved as we wrapped up the previous video. Let's scrub our timeline around the time the glass breaks, and we'll see if we can tell at what specific frame the rock makes contact with the window.
So, it will be frame 11 where we set up the switch with what's visible and what's not. Let's go ahead and unhide our solid glass object. To do that, we will right- click, choosing Unhide by name. We named it Glass Solid. Now that we have got it in the field to play, we will go ahead and select that glass solid object. Visibility tracks are configured in the Dope Sheet. With the object selected, we will now right-click, and then from the menu at the bottom, we will choose Dope Sheet.
So we can more easily work, I will now expand that viewing area. Once we are in better position, we will see the object name, Glass Solid, at the bottom of the list on the left. On that name, open up the Plus sign to the left-hand side. Now, click directly on the text that reads Glass Solid. This is our way of telling Max what we now want to work on. The visibility tracks are added from the pulldown menu at the top.
You'll choose Tracks > Visibility Track > Add. Once that's done, you'll see an added entry now directly below Glass Solid. Click on that name. It reads Visibility. What we are now going to want to do is change the type of controller that's controlling the way the visibility track works. We are going to be using an on/off controller, which will set up our Visibility to work kind of like a light switch toggle. Our visibility will either be on or off. With that Visibility name selected, we will now go back to the pulldown menu, this time choosing the Controller category.
When we get inside, we will choose the top entry Assign. From the dialog list, we will go about three quarters the way down, double-clicking on On/Off. That gives us our On/Off controller. Now, here is the way it works. You see the blue line. Any frame on which that blue line lies, that flame will be visible within the field of action. Any time we have a frame where the blue line is not on top of it, at that point that object would be invisible. The way that you turn the visibility line on and off is by adding keys. There is a command to help you do that.
Up on the toolbar, it looks like a squiggly line with a Plus sign right above it. Go and click that button. Here is what's going to happen. We want our solid glass object to stay visible until that 11th fame. So, with Add key on, put your mouse on top of the blue line right around frame 11. When you are there, go ahead and click. Now, it doesn't have to be exact, because after the fact we can move things around. Go to the line and click. Once you've done that, look down at the bottom of Dope Sheet. Right around the middle, you'll see the frame at which you have created that newly created key.
In this case, I am a little bit off being at Frame 14. I will highlight that 14 number and instead type an 11, then press Enter. Here is what we have done here. This solid sheet of glass will remain visible over the first 11 frames of our animation. After that, you see the blue line being gone; it will then disappear. We are now going to want to do the exact opposite for all the glass shards. For that, let's minimize the Dope Sheet, and we will select those shard objects. Back in the viewport, the easiest way to go is the select by name command. So, let's type H.
From the list, we will now select all the Glass Shard objects. Once that's done, we can go ahead and maximize the Dope Sheet that we have tucked away in the lower left-hand corner. These green and red squares you see are all the keys that were created when we generated our simulation. What we will now need to do, just like we did on the original solid object, is open each of the Glass Shards. We can do that by clicking on the Plus sign to the left of each of those names. I am going to start off at the bottom of the list, working my way up.
Once I've done that, I will reposition myself so I can see all seven shard objects. Now to add the visibility tracks, we will want to select each name, holding down the Ctrl key as we make the next selection. Now, we can add each object's visibility track all at the same time. We'll hit back to the Tracks pulldown, choosing Visibility > Add. Here again, we are going to want to change over to the On/Off controller. So, select one visibility track. Then hold down the Ctrl key, getting the other six.
Back to the pulldown menu, this time using Controller, we will choose Assign. And in the dialog, we will find then double-click on On/Off. There you go. In one fell swoop, we have visibility tracks for all seven of our broken window objects. What we will now do is correctly set the visibility for one of the shard objects, then copy and pastes that information to each of the others. Let's look at the one on the top. Now, with our shards, we are going to do exactly the opposite of what we did with the solid glass.
This will start off being invisible. It won't be until the actual contact with the rock is made where these will turn on. So, to turn the visibility track off to start, using the Add key button, we will click anywhere before frame 0. As you can see, once we have clicked, the blue line has disappeared. We can now go as close as possible to frame 11 and click again. What that does is reinitiate the blue line; therefore, anything after that will then be visible. In my case, I got lucky and I hit it right at frame 11, so there's no reason to go down to the bottom and make any changes.
What I will now want to do is to activate a command on the toolbar called Select Time. You'll find it directly below the Options pulldown menu. Once you click on that, working in the visibility track, you will hold your left mouse down, dragging all the way from one side to the other of the Dope Sheet. Go ahead and do so. This simply tells Max the length of time that we are not wanting to copy from one object to another. Once you've done that, a little farther to the right on the toolbar, you will find Copy Time.
When you locate the icon, go ahead and click. This will store that information on Max's clipboard. Now, it's simply a matter of selecting all the other visibility tracks. We will click on one, then hold down the Ctrl key to make the remainder of our selection. Don't leave something out, so be extra careful that you go all the way down to the bottom of that list. Once you're done with that, directly to the right of Copy Time, you will find Paste Time.
When your mouse is in position, click on that. In the options that open, leave it set to Paste Absolute and click OK. There you go. The correct visibility track is now transferred over to all your Shard objects. Let's close the Dope Sheet and scrub the timeline and see how things look. So that turned out looking good. We have got the solid sheet of glass hanging around until frame 11, then right at the point of contact, it turning off, visibility-wise, with all the glass shard pieces than being visible.
Why don't we go and render a couple of important frames out and see how things look? So, in the beginning of our animation at frame 0, we have got the solid sheet of glass. Let's now move to frame where things should be broken apart. And here, I've rendered frame 16. You can see the solid sheet having disappeared while each shard is very much visible.
There you go. That will wrap the project up. If we now took a few minutes and rendered this baby out, our final movie would turn out looking like this. You can find the movie called Breaking Glass in the Exercise files chapter for this folder. So that's going to do it for creating a dynamic simulation that incorporates a rigid body collection. We used a pretty neat trick to break up the glass, had a chance to add a few materials into the mix, and worked a visibility track into play so we could hide one thing and unhide a whole bunch of others. I hope you enjoyed the project.
I'll save the scene out as Breaking Glass Completed, if you'd like to look it over.
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