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Using mCloth to create a rope object

From: Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

Video: Using mCloth to create a rope object

We have already noted that one of the big complaints in connection with the removal of Reactor in 3ds Max was the fact that users no longer have the means to create simple rope objects that could be used in dynamic simulations. In this video, we're going to step through the process of creating a simple rope object using the mCloth modifier. Before we get started here, it is important to note that this particular option for creating a rope object, whilst potentially very useful for our background or distance objects, does have some, or at least one, very serious limitation which we will demonstrate as we move along.

Using mCloth to create a rope object

We have already noted that one of the big complaints in connection with the removal of Reactor in 3ds Max was the fact that users no longer have the means to create simple rope objects that could be used in dynamic simulations. In this video, we're going to step through the process of creating a simple rope object using the mCloth modifier. Before we get started here, it is important to note that this particular option for creating a rope object, whilst potentially very useful for our background or distance objects, does have some, or at least one, very serious limitation which we will demonstrate as we move along.

As you can see, our style scene once again consists of a number of suspended cylinders, although this time we do have something a little different in the form of an animated collider object in the scene. If I just press the Play button in our animation controls, you see our box simply travels across the screen, moving from right to left. To get started on our rope object, let's first of all select one of the cylinders and apply an mCloth modifier to it. If we straight away run the simulation without animation, you can see we do get some very strange behavior coming from our newly created cloth object.

Rather than falling down and crumpling in a heap as a piece of cloth probably should, we get this long pause and then a long, slow, very rough-looking collapse. What we are seeing is essentially a geometry problem, or to be more specific, a lack of geometry problem. If we just jump into the modifier stack and come down to the cylinder level, you can see we are working with a low level of geometric detail. We can alter this by setting our Height segment to a value of 55.

If we run the simulation again, you see that we get something much more cloth-like in behavior. However, we do also immediately see the serious drawback of mCloth for this particular use, namely its complete lack of volume preservation in the mesh. The one mCloth feature that we may instantly think about trying is the ability to set an internal pressure for a soft body object. Or, to use MassFX speak, we may try enabling the Balloon Behavior feature.

In fact, let's do this by scrolling down to the Volume Properties rollout and putting a check in the Enable Balloon Behavior checkbox. Let's then set the Pressure value to 1 and see what happens if we again run our simulation. As you can see, enabling this option doesn't appear to preserve our rope object's volume in any useful way, certainly not on this type of simulated motion. Although, if with the simulation still running, I just bump the Pressure value up to 6, you can see we do somewhat get an effect that looks a little like a hose filling with air or water maybe.

Be that as it may however, a rope object created with mCloth is clearly not suited to creating a falling rope that coils on the floor. But it can in some instances serve very well, especially as background motion in a shot, maybe as a hanging object that needs to interact with rigid bodies in the scene such as our box collider. To get our rope object to interact with this collider, we do once again need to make use of mCloth's pin constraint. Let's jump to vertex level in our mCloth modifier.

Now, if I just hit the C key and switch over to my Main_View camera, you see we're now able to select the top, or top couple, of the text rows. Then we can come over and use the Make Group function, give our group a name, and then click OK. Now, of course, we're ready to apply our pin constraint to the group. With that done, let's come out of subobject mode and switch back to our Target_CloseUp camera. Of course, the rope object won't interact with our collider just yet because we haven't set our collider up as a kinematic rigid body.

So, let's select it, and from the flyout on the MassFX toolbar, let's apply a Kinematic Rigid Body. And if we run the simulation now, you see our rope object interacts very nicely with the box, swinging to and fro in a very rope-like manner. Now while it's clearly not the highest quality, nor the most flexible option available for creating a rope object in MassFX, we hopefully can see how using mCloth could give us a very quick, easy, and usable option for certain types of shots or motions that we may be called upon to create.

Although in this particular case mCloth's Balloon Behavior feature didn't really help us out much, in our next video, we will take a look at how it can help us create a usable soft toy object for our simulations.

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This video is part of

Image for Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max
Creating Simulations in MassFX and 3ds Max

51 video lessons · 2485 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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