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Spinning targets using the Twist constraint

From: Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

Video: Spinning targets using the Twist constraint

Another extremely useful preset in our MassFX Constraint options is the twist constraint. This can be particularly handy if we need to set up objects that spin or twist around a particular axis. As an example, we might think of the blades on a garden windmill ornament, or as we will create here, a spinning target. We are no doubt by now becoming fairly familiar with the MassFX constraints workflow, so we can just jump straight into setting this up. As you can see, we have two small knob objects that represent the central spindle around which our target panel will spin.

Spinning targets using the Twist constraint

Another extremely useful preset in our MassFX Constraint options is the twist constraint. This can be particularly handy if we need to set up objects that spin or twist around a particular axis. As an example, we might think of the blades on a garden windmill ornament, or as we will create here, a spinning target. We are no doubt by now becoming fairly familiar with the MassFX constraints workflow, so we can just jump straight into setting this up. As you can see, we have two small knob objects that represent the central spindle around which our target panel will spin.

Now, we could constrain the panel to just one of these pieces of geometry and that would, in most situations, work just fine. In this case though, we are going to assume that we need to use both, which will give us the opportunity to walk through the process for setting that up. The first thing we want to do is attach our two pieces of spindle geometry together. So, let's select one of them, right-click on it, and choose the Attach command from the Quad menu. Then of course, we can click on the second spindle object, which will attach or join them together as a single piece of geometry.

Don't forget to then right-click so as to exit Attach mode. We have already mentioned the importance of pivot point placement. Generally speaking, it is a good idea for us to check that the current location of our pivot points will work for the type of constraints we are wanting to add. Naturally, we want to do this before we add any constraints. We can do that now by adding the target panel to our selection by holding down the Ctrl key and clicking on it. Next, we can right-click in the viewport and use the Isolate Selection command.

To reliably check the placement of pivots, we will want to work in an orthographic view, so let's switch over to a front view by using the F key on the keyboard. Then we can just use the Zoom Extents Selected tool to get a close-up view. From here, we can select each of the objects in turn and visually check the alignment of our pivots. From this view, things look as if they should be okay. Even though the pivots are not in the same location, things appear to line up along the currently all-important vertical axes.

However, if we just hit the T key on our keyboard to switch to our top view and again use Zoom Extents Selected and perform the same check, you can see we do have a definite misalignment. The fact that this exists as we look down what will be our spin axes means that our objects will have a slight tilt to them as they spin instead of being perfectly upright. If we want everything to work correctly here, we do have a little bit of work to do. First of all, let's select the panel geometry, come over to the Hierarchy tab, and click the Effect Pivot Only option.

As we ideally want the panel's pivot to be in the same location from this view as our spindles, let's go up to the main toolbar and select the Align tool. Now, we can click the spindle object and align the pivots along the X and Y axes. This gives us a precise rotational center around which our target panel can spin. With that done, we can of course exit the Pivot Only and Isolation modes. We can also use the C key to get back to our target close-up camera. Then we can use Ctrl+Click to select our spindle and panel and then add a twist constraint from the MassFX toolbar.

Again, of course, we need to apply the rigid body modifiers and size our constraint helper appropriately for our scene. We are going to need our spindle geometry to remain fixed in place, so again, let's go and set the Rigid Body Modifier Type to Kinematic. If we run the simulation at this point, we can see that things are working pretty well. Finally, if we just select our constraint helper and come over to the Command panel, we can see that the default settings for the twist constraint have swing Y and Z locked, whilst the twist action is set to run free.

This of course is pretty much what we want. We do, however, need to restrict the spinning motion of our panel a little. Otherwise, it will just continue to turn perpetually. To do that, let's set the Spring to Resting Twist Damping value to something as low as 0.025. One final test shows that our damping is having quite an obvious effect. Hopefully, by now we have discerned that setting up a wide range of dynamic motions can be handled very easily inside the MassFX constraint system.

Not that we've finished yet. We can now use everything that we've looked at so far in this chapter to set up what I will call a crazy target, one that will give us a much wider range of motions than the fixed presets that we've looked at so far.

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Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

51 video lessons · 2477 viewers

Brian Bradley
Author

 
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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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