Booleans for modeling are not new, but using animated booleans is an innovative and easy way to create object reveals. In this video, see this technique at work using the newly rewritten 3ds Max Boolean tool. Combine multiple objects to create complex reveals and 3D object wipes directly in the scene.
- [Instructor] The Boolean technique isn't new to 3ds Max, but what is new is the Boolean tool. In the past several versions it's been completely reworked and is much more stable and flexible. It has some capability and functionality that really make it useful as a creative tool for doing interesting animations. Let's jump in and take a look at some creative ways to use the new Boolean tool. So if you haven't done so already, let's go ahead and open up the Exercise File that we're going to be using for this sequence.
Go File, Open, we're looking for 02_04_boolean_BEGIN. So go ahead and open up that file, if you haven't done so already. Additionally, I'm going to be showing you a rendered clip of what it is that we're actually going to be doing using the RAM Player. It can be found at the bottom of the Rendering drop down menu and it's called Compare Media in RAM Player. So we'll go ahead and choose Channel A and we'll load the BooleanWindows into Channel A.
Now that it's loaded I'm just going to go ahead and press play and you can see what we're doing. We're going to be animating the Booleans after we've actually Booleaned the openings. And you can see what it is that we're going to try to accomplish here. We're going to be Booleaning out window openings and then we're going to be morphing the shape of the Boolean using the Morpher modifier, and we're also going to insert animated window frames using a similar technique. So let's go ahead and see how that's done. I'm going to go ahead and close the RAM Player and I'm going to hit the P key to get out of my Camera view.
You can see our room is pretty straightforward, it's a room, sofa, couple pieces of furniture, and a nice big blank wall where those windows are going to go. You'll also notice in the background we have a bunch of things here that we're going to be using to actually create this effect. These are different types of geometry that we're going to be using as Boolean cutters and as morphs. Let's go ahead and break it down, so that we can see what it is that we need to do. The first two objects that we need to pay attention to are the Master Objects.
The Master Objects are the things that we're going to be cutting out and morphing at the same time. We have a Master Object that's basically just big window cutter and we have a Master Object that is a window frame. Below the Master Objects you'll see we have the Cutter Morphs. Now these are all of the different morph shapes that we're going to be using on our cutter object when we set up the Morpher modifier. We're going to do that in just one second. Below them are the Window Frame Morphs. These are all of the different shapes of windows that we're going to create or morph using the Morpher modifier.
These are the shapes that get inserted into the openings of the window. So let's go ahead and set up the Morpher modifier for the Master Objects. Now if you've used the Morpher modifier before you know that there's one big rule that goes along with using the Morpher modifier, and that is any morph targets that you're using must share the same topology. And so all of the Cutter Morphs do that. They are all the same vertex order and face count of the Master Object.
In fact, all of the shapes of the Morphs were derived from this main object. So let's go ahead and create the Morpher modifier for the Master Object. So I have the master window cutter selected here. I'm going to go ahead in the drop down menu and just find the Morpher modifier. And you can see I have a bunch of empty slots right here. And I can either do these one at a time, or I can load by multiple targets. So I'm just going to choose Load Multiple Targets and you can see that the window morphs come up.
So I'm just going to say Load all of them. And now they're all in each one of their channels. So if I zoom in here and I start to adjust these you can see that the cutter object will begin to take the shape of all of the different types of windows that I have in the scene. You'll notice that the first Morpher is a square. I actually want to have an original shape in there, so that I can return the Morpher to that shape at any time. But other than that all of the other Morphs are present.
I'm going to go ahead and do the exact same thing with the Window Frame Master. So I'm going to choose from the drop down menu on the Modify command panel, the Morpher modifier, choose Load Multiple Targets, and you can see there are all of the targets for my window frame. And they all load and I can see, just running through a couple of them here, that they all change shape as I would expect. Great. So a couple of things before we start cutting.
You may have noticed that the window frames are not the same vertex count as the cutter, that's OK. I'm only going to be using the Cutter Morphs to cut out the shapes in the wall itself. The window frames are going to merely be inserted into the openings and then morphed accordingly. So these two objects do not have to have the same vertex count. So one last little tip and trick I thought you might be interested in is how did I get such a perfect circular shape for this window? Just a little modeling tip, totally unrelated to what it is that we're talking about, but I thought you might be interested, I used the doughnut shape with a little bit of thickness and I aligned it perfectly behind that object and modeled to that, so I was able to ensure that my round window would really look round.
One other comment about some of these shapes that are a little bit more organic, I am using a freeform deformation four by four on there and that's totally OK, remember, as long as I keep the same geometry topology I'm all good. So now that we understand what all of our objects are going to do, let's go ahead and set up the effect. OK, so now that we have our morphs set up, let's go ahead and start cutting some Booleans. I'm going to go ahead and zoom out over here for a little bit and I'm going to turn off a lot of things that I don't need to see.
So I'm going to go to the Display command panel and turn off my Lights and my Cameras by category. That's fine, 'cause I don't need them. I'm also going to hide all of this extra stuff that's in the living room. So from a Top view I'm just going to very simply just grab everything except for the wall and choose Hide Selections. So you can see that that's gone. All I have left is the wall itself. So from a Left view I'm going to go and get our cutter objects.
So I'll select the master cutter object and I'm just going to hold down my Shift key and I'm going to make a copy of it at first and I'll just position it along the wall, like that, get it a little bit closer, so that it's penetrating the wall. Now I'll go back to my Left view and I can make a better positioning decision this way. So I'll position it there to begin with and then I'll drag it off and make another Clone. This time I'm going to choose Instance.
Now this is important. If you don't do this part now you're going to be making some work for yourself a little bit later, so you want to make sure that Instance is selected when you duplicate this or Clone it. And also do two copies, 'cause you want them both to be instances. So now I'm just repositioning a little bit, so that I can get a good spacing there. I can tell that this spacing between the windows is a little narrow, because of my rounded window, so I'm going to just move that out there.
That'll take a little bit of experimentation with whatever window shapes you decide to go with if you decide to employ this technique. OK, so now that we have them positioned let's go ahead and do some cutting. Before I do that I like to do an old school hold and fetch. In case something goes wrong I always have an instant backup available to me. So from the Edit drop down I'm going to choose Hold and what this does is this does a quick save of the scene. So let's go ahead and go to the Create command panel and I'm going to select the wall and from the drop down menu I'm going to choose Compound Objects and Boolean.
And you can see that Boolean now has a new interface. We have some nice shiny new icons that indicate the type of operations that we're going to be doing. We also have a new Operand explorer that's right here. This is nice, 'cause it shows us all of the different Operands in the scene. Now my rule of thumb for creating Booleans is something that goes like this, a Boolean modifies the first object and deletes the second object. Of course, that came about when Booleans were only doing cutaway type operations.
Now we have all kinds of different unions and subtractions and imprints and things like that. But the rule of thumb still holds true. Modifies the first, adjusts or deletes the second. So I always start with the object that I want to keep, in this case, that's the wall. So we're going to change our Operand to Subtract and we're going to go ahead and start adding Operands here, so there's the first one, there's the second one, and there's the third one. And you can see that the Operands now appear in the Operand explorer in the Boolean Parameters over on the command panel.
And everything is nice and tidy and cut out. If I go to the Modify command panel you'll see that our Boolean operation did occur, but the nice thing that's happened is that it has retained everything that's underneath the Boolean operation in the modifier stack of the original object, including the Morpher modifier. If I click on the Morpher modifier you can see that all of my morphs are still present and they're still available to me and if I want to just adjust the shape of any one of the openings all I have to do is adjust the value of that morph.
And I can think you can see the value of what it is that we're doing here, because I can very quickly change the shape of the opening using a Boolean plus a morph. Boolean, again, has gotten a lot more stable and I'm much more comfortable doing these types of operations with Boolean. So let's go ahead and reset to our original shape and let's go ahead and add the windows in. Getting the windows in is pretty straightforward. All we have to do is just pop out to our Master Objects and I'm going to go ahead and select the window Master Object.
Remember that we've already set up the Morpher modifier here, so everything is already all set. I'm just going to go ahead and make a copy of that. I like to make copies of the originals, because in case I ever have to go back and edit the original it's still there for me to do. So I'll go to a Left view. And you see me moving around pretty quickly, when I say I'm going to a Left view I'm hitting the L key and that's what enables me to do those quick moves, in case you were wondering. So I have my window here, I'm just going to go ahead and drop this right into the opening of the Boolean window.
I'll go ahead and make some copies. And again, these are going to be instances, because you don't want to create extra work for yourself. There's a little adjustment there, so that's good. Just doing a quick positioning adjustment. And now I'll go ahead and bring them into position. Oops, I don't want to make a copy, so I'm just going to Cancel that. I'm just going to move them in. That's good there. Now obviously, you can see that they're pretty thick, 'cause they were made out of the same thickness as the cutter objects.
So I'm just going to add an XForm modifier on top of one and since it's an instance it will add that same XForm modifier to all of them. And now I can just do a very simple scale on the XForm modifier and it will allow me to retain all of the morphing settings that we have already set up, but still let me resize the window. So let's go ahead and just select all of these and position them in.
All right. So that looks pretty good. So now all we have to do to get this morphing window action going is I'm going to go back to my Camera view and all I have to do is select the windows, actually let's go ahead and select the Boolean object first. So we'll go into the Boolean object and we'll go ahead and grab the oval shaped window, and then to do the same thing there all I have to do is go into the Morpher modifier and grab the oval shaped window there, and you can see that the window shape automatically conforms to the Boolean shape.
So it's a really simple and easy effect to set up. Now it's important to understand that when you're doing this type of effect it is possible to combine different shapes together, because that's the way the Morpher modifier works. You do want to be cautious of that, because you could get some unusual window shapes. So if you're doing an animation, like I was doing, you want to make sure that you reset all of the shapes. Let's go ahead and take a look at that. So I'm going to reset the initial window frame to zero.
I'm also going to reset the Morpher frame to zero as well. So to animate this I'll just go ahead and turn on Auto Key and we're just going to keep this simple, so that you can see how this would work. I'm going to go ahead and go every 20 frames, I'm going to adjust the wall morph to a new shape. So the first 20 frames will be this one, the next 20 frames will be the next one.
It's important to reset the previous morph's value back to zero, because remember what I said about all those funky shapes. We'll scroll to the next 20 frames at 60, we'll set this morph down to zero, and we'll set this next morph up to 100. And you can kind of see what we have going on here, a nice little pattern. We'll reset this morph down to zero, and the last morph up to 100. That'll be the oval window.
And then we'll reset the oval window to zero and set the last arched window morph up to 100. So when I turn off Auto Key and I go back to the beginning we're not quite done yet, we have one more thing to fix. Because I was changing all of these individual values all the way through I didn't actually set keys all along the way. So this is really simple to fix. We're just going to turn Auto Key back on, and we're going to go to the Key Mode Toggle, and I'm going to turn that on, so I can quickly snap between the keys, so I don't have to scrub.
So I toggle over to the 20th frame and you notice, whoa, everything disappears. You'll see all of my values are animating and the only value that I want to keep is at 100. So I'm just going to pop all of these down to zero while my animate button is on and I'm actually setting a key for all of those values. I'll quickly do the next one, so you can see that that one is 100, but all of the other ones are slowly increasing. So I'm just going to reset all of those keys. And we're just going to slide through here and fix the rest of those keys very quickly.
OK, perfect. So now if I go back to the beginning and I scrub through this a little bit you can see that my animated morphs are working just fine. Now all we have to do is get the morphs for the windows going on. And that works the exact same way. I'm going to go ahead and select any one of the windows and I'll go the Morpher modifier and using the same 20 frame sequence I'm going to go ahead and turn on Auto Key and go to frame 20.
Just advance it a couple of frames there, perfect. And we'll go ahead and find the right Morpher that goes in there. OK, so let's go ahead and put the right Morpher in there, that's good, we'll grab that. We'll pop over to frame 40. We'll set this one down to there and let's find the other one here. It's oval, there we go, there's the circle. I have these out of sequence a little bit, but that's totally OK, we're not going to do all of them anyways.
We'll get that nice organic shape. Set this to zero. There's the oval shape. And finally, we will conclude with another arched window. And then the last bit of clean up is the same thing that we had to do with the wall, and that is adjust all of the intermediate frames as we go.
So we can see starting at frame zero all of those are zeroed out. I'll scroll over to this toggle here and here's the Morpher value that's at 100 and we just want to zero out anything that is above 100 and that'll be just fine. We'll pop over here. Anything that is not 100 we want to zero out. So anything that is below 100 we want to zero out. So zero this out, zero this out, and that's good.
Zero this out, that's fine. OK, good. So we'll turn off the Auto Key button and we have our animated window Booleans. Let's go ahead and bring everything back into the scene and see how it looks. I'll just do a right-click and Unhide All. So now that our room is back we can just scrub through this one more time and we can see that we have nice animated window frames and animated window openings, all using Boolean.
Now that Booleans have been greatly improved in 3ds Max they are much safer and a more reliable option for creating animated elements. We learned how to use custom cutter objects and animate them with a Morpher modifier at the operand level. We also learned how to combine this effect with a simple traditional object morph for nice animated window frame openings.
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