Join Aaron F. Ross for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the exercise files, part of Learning RealFlow.
- Premium subscribers to lynda.com can download the Exercise Files for the course. In this case, I have two versions of the Exercise Files, one for the Standard or Commercial Edition of RealFlow and another entire set of Exercise Files for the Student Edition. Download the appropriate package, unzip it and place it somewhere on your hard drive. I've got them here on my desktop. Let's open this up and investigate. You'll see there's a 3ds Max project with a couple of scenes in it.
There's also a Maya_ project with some scene files in there as well and most importantly, the RealFlow_ projects. There's a subfolder for each chapter in the course. chapter_1 is pretty simple and straightforward, we're not actually doing much simulation in there, just learning the interface. But chapters 2 through 5 needs some special attention. We need to look at these more closely because of the way that RealFlow handles projects. When we open up chapter_5 and show you that inside chapter_5 there is a subfolder for each movie in chapter_5, that's relevant.
If I open up, for example, 05_01_export_import, inside that is an FLW file or a flow file with the same name. This is the ReafFlow scene. When you first start up RealFlow, you're prompted to create a project and when you create a project you also create a scene that has the same name. When you simulate inside of RealFlow, cache files get stored out into the subfolders such as particles and meshes and so on.
That's all very straightforward and it works similarly to what you'd expect from a program like Maya or whatever. But what's different in RealFlow is that the cache files are not named or tagged according to which scene they're associated with. So I can have multiple scenes here but all those scenes will refer to the same cache files and that makes life a little bit complicated in RealFlow. The only way to work around this is to create lots and lots of projects but that gets difficult when you're versioning.
You don't really want to have ten different projects folders, one for each version of something, because that gets, kind of, unmanageable. Just be aware that the caches in RealFlow are not smart enough to know which scene file they belong to. As you create new versions in RealFlow, you want to see the result of that version, you have to simulate it because the cache may not be the correct cache for the currently open file.
Okay, I know that's, kind of, a lot to think about but you need to understand this pretty clearly, otherwise, you're going to have some unpleasant surprises. Additionally, the cache files can become pretty large. Now, if we look here under 05_04_renderkit, particles, we've got some cached documents in here, to the tune of about 360 megabytes. I've included that because we need that in order to show you how to render with the render kit plug-in.
But for the rest of these chapters, 2 through 4, I'm not including any of the cache files. That's because they would just be too massive to download, it would many gigabytes in size so we can't really do that. Because the cache files are not present here, sometimes in order to open a certain scene and see the result, you'll have to simulate it. Like, for example, down here, if I opened up 02_12_build_mesh and try to play it, there's no cache in the particles or mesh folders here and so we would get no result.
I would need to actually simulate it in RealFlow. However, that simulation can take a really long time, like maybe up to an hour. So be aware that you probably want to follow a different method to following these tutorials than you might ordinarily. Sometimes when you're working on these tutorials, you can just open up the next scene file in the sequence that's associated with that particular movie and proceed normally. However, in the case of RealFlow and its limitations around caching, we can't really do that.
If we open up 02_12 the simulation's not going to be there, we have to click Simulate and it takes an hour to calculate and that's really a waste of everyone's time. What I recommend for chapters 2 through 4 is instead of loading each scene file as you do the next movie in sequence, you just keep RealFlow open and you can keep saving out versions as you go but don't actually open these scene files because if you do, you may have to simulate for an hour.
I'm providing all the scene files in case you need them, but, again, I recommend that you just start from the first one and then proceed through, saving out versions as you go, and proceeding on to the next movie in the sequence. As we go through the course, I will provide reminders to that effect. In other words, don't open the next scene file because if you do you'll have to resimulate and it's going to take forever, so just keep what you have open and go on to the next movie in the sequence. Okay, we'll talk more about projects in RealFlow later in the course, but while we're here, we should also set our projects for Maya or 3ds Max so I'll go ahead and open up Maya.
It just got the default project currently, if I go to File, Project Window, we've got the default project. If I want to create a new project, I can do that, but since I've got the Exercise Files, I'm going to set to that project so I'll go to File, Set Project and navigate to Desktop, Exercise Files, Maya_project and click Set. Now, when I go to File, Open, I'm taken to the Exercise Files for the course.
Likewise in 3ds Max, I want to set my project, that's done from this button up here, click on that and go the Desktop, Exercise Files, 3dsMax_project and just select the top level there, don't select any of the subfolders or else you'll get a nested project built inside. So make sure you selected the top level or root there and click OK. We've got our Exercise Files sorted out for Maya, 3ds Max and RealFlow itself.
You'll learn how to create small-scale effects with standard particles, create free-flowing water effects with the Hybrido solver, and simulate open bodies of water such as oceans and ponds with RealWave. Author Aaron F. Ross also shows how to control interactions between objects and fluids with Caronte, the rigid- and soft-body physics engine included with RealFlow.
- Understanding the RealFlow pipeline
- Importing scenes from other 3D programs
- Emitting standard particles
- Caching data
- Simulating a Hybrido fluid
- Creating a Caronte rigid body
- Converting particles and fluids to mesh
- Exporting scenes
- Rendering with mental ray