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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.
For our last look at applying forces inside a standard MassFX dynamic simulation, I just want to add some nice motion to the pendants that currently adorn the top of our stand geometry. Having them move around a bit in a virtual breeze would be a nice addition to the kind of motions that we've looked at creating so far. Let's hit the P key and switch over to a perspective view. From here we can orbit around the view a little until we have a nice clear view of the pendants attached to the top of the stand. Turning these into mCloth objects is just a matter of selecting each piece of geometry and then we can jump over into the Modifier List in the Command panel and add an mCloth modifier.
Of course, if we run the simulation at this point, our new cloth objects would simply fall to the floor, so a little pinning is in order. Because we have used Instance modifiers here, we can actually pin all of these cloth objects in one go. So with all of the pendant geometry still selected, let's click to enter vertex subobject level in our modifier. If we need to, of course, we can just rotate our view around a little more so as to get a good view of the area that we want to pin. Next we can marquee-select our vertices, click the Make Group button over on the Command panel-- I'm just going to call this group Pin-- and then of course we can apply the Pin constraint to lock everything in place.
It is probably a good idea to run the simulation at this point, so let's do that, really just to check that our pinning has worked. We don't want any nasty surprises biting us further down the line. Once we are certain that our pinning has worked, we will of course need to apply a force to our mCloth objects. The first thing I want to do though is just press the Alt and W keys to switch over to a four-view setup. This means I can create the force object in one view-- I am just going to use the front--whilst at the same time keeping an eye on its placement in the scene using the other three views.
To do that I need to come into the Create panel and to the Space Warps and Forces section. From here, we can select the Wind Space Warp and then just click and drag in the front view to place it in the scene. I am going to set up our parameters here, so let's set a Wind strength value of 0.075, the Decay we will leave set to 0, Turbulence we can set at 0.25, we can add a frequency of 0.01, and finally we'll have a scale value of 0.15.
With those setting dialed in, we can go ahead and connect our Force and mCloth together. To do that I need to select at least one of my mCloth objects and then come over to the Command panel. Right at the top of our mCloth modifier 's properties we have the ability to add forces. Once I click the Add button, I can add or select my Winds Space Warp directly in the scene or I could use the H key to bring up the Select from Scene dialog and select the force from here. Before we run the simulation, we do need to do a little repositioning of our force objects in the scene. We can do this using both the Move and Rotate tools.
Once we have our Winds Space Warp all set up, we can select our camera view and switch back to our Targets camera. We can use Alt+W to return to full screen and then run the simulation again. Now, as you can see, our cloth objects are moving very nicely in our virtual breeze. As we have hopefully demonstrated in this chapter, using forces with our MassFX objects--be they rigid bodies or mCloth--really is a very straightforward and simple process. The real challenge is coming up with creative ways to use this powerful toolset so as to genuinely enhance the final output coming from our MassFX simulations.
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