Creating Water Ripple Effects in 3ds Max - Part 7 - Animating the Connectors
In this final tutorial, you animate connect lines for your rings with a simple workflow.
- Recorded in: 3ds Max 2014
This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2014 or higher.
00:00:06 --> 00:00:11
With the upper rings in place, you now create and animate the lines that connect them.
00:00:11 --> 00:00:17
If you need to catch up, use the scene named flex_connectors.max you downloaded for this tutorial.
00:00:18 --> 00:00:23
Make sure you reload the ripples Point Cache file that's associated with the modifier.
00:00:23 --> 00:00:26
You animate the lines by animating their vertices.
00:00:27 --> 00:00:31
There are various ways you can achieve this; and you'll learn three possible approaches.
00:00:33 --> 00:00:37
The easiest way to animate line vertices is to do just that!
00:00:38 --> 00:00:48
This means that with a line selected, you simply go to vertex sub-object mode and you animate the vertex location while in Auto Key mode.
00:00:49 --> 00:00:52
For a simple scene like we have here, this should be enough.
00:00:53 --> 00:01:01
However, when you want more control, you should rely on animation helpers since you can select them without accessing the line's vertices.
00:01:01 --> 00:01:08
Helpers are also useful if and when you need to include some advanced manipulation such as wiring and custom attributes.
00:01:09 --> 00:01:15
This is not the case here but strictly for learning purposes, here's how you can connect vertices to helpers:
00:01:16 --> 00:01:22
Say you have two point helpers in box mode and a line that goes from one to the other.
00:01:22 --> 00:01:26
You can link the line vertices to the helpers in the following way:
00:01:26 --> 00:01:37
With the line selected, add a Spline Select modifier. This enables you to select a sub-object such as a vertex and pass it over to other modifiers.
00:01:37 --> 00:01:45
As you select one of the vertices on the line, you can now add a Linked XForm modifier that will only affect that selected vertex.
00:01:46 --> 00:01:56
Using Linked XForm, you can now select a Control Object, the appropriate point helper in this case, that will only affect the previous selection.
00:01:57 --> 00:02:06
You can now repeat the procedure by adding another set of Spline Select/Linked XForm modifiers for the other vertex.
00:02:13 --> 00:02:19
Finally, add one more Spline Select modifier to give back control of the whole spline to the modifier stack.
00:02:20 --> 00:02:28
With that, you can now move the helpers around to animate the line vertices without having to access or select them.
00:02:30 --> 00:02:35
Another way to achieve the same results is to use the Skin modifier.
00:02:35 --> 00:02:40
If you're used to working with the Skin modifier, this will probably be easier to set up.
00:02:40 --> 00:02:48
With a similar scenario to earlier, with two helpers and one line connecting them, you can apply a Skin modifier to the line.
00:02:49 --> 00:02:56
Using Add Bones, you then add the two point helpers to act as control objects.
00:02:57 --> 00:02:59
This should be enough,
00:03:02 --> 00:03:09
although you can adjust the envelopes, or even better vertices for a better fit.
00:03:10 --> 00:03:17
Each vertex should have and Abs. Effect of 1 or 100% to follow the closest point helper.
00:03:26 --> 00:03:28
All three methods are valid,
00:03:29 --> 00:03:34
but since this is a fairly simple scene, you'll simply animate vertices directly.
00:03:37 --> 00:03:41
If you added any unwanted objects, delete them now.
00:03:44 --> 00:03:50
Also, hide the water surface and the pool floor. It will be easier to work without them cluttering the viewports.
00:03:52 --> 00:04:02
In the Top view, go to a frame where you can see the first two rings and draw a line between them. The line should go from one edge to another.
00:04:07 --> 00:04:17
Make sure the rendering is set in both viewport and at render time, and that the thickness of the line matches that of the rings, 0.002m in this example.
00:04:18 --> 00:04:27
Also ensure the line is moved to 0 in Y and -0.07 in Z to match the YZ coordinates of the rings.
00:04:34 --> 00:04:38
The first ring is fully built at frame 9,
00:04:41 --> 00:04:49
the second ring at frame 23. That will be the animation range for the line.
00:04:52 --> 00:05:00
Go into vertex mode. With the Move tool selected, take note of the X value position of the left vertex.
00:05:00 --> 00:05:05
Even better. Copy this value to the clipboard using Ctrl+C.
00:05:06 --> 00:05:19
Now select the right vertex and paste the X value (Ctrl+V) and then press Enter. Now the two vertices are sharing the same spot and the line doesn't render.
00:05:19 --> 00:05:29
Enable Auto Key mode and go to frame 23. Move the still selected right vertex to the left edge of the second ring.
00:05:32 --> 00:05:36
The animation runs from frame 0 to 23.
00:05:37 --> 00:05:43
Relocate the first keyframe to frame 9 to synchronize with the animation of the first ring.
00:05:50 --> 00:05:55
Exit Sub-Object mode and Auto Key mode when done.
00:05:59 --> 00:06:07
As you did with the rings, copy the line and adjust the keyframes to synchronize with every subsequent ripple.
00:06:21 --> 00:06:26
Be careful if you need to make slight adjustments to the vertex positions.
00:06:26 --> 00:06:33
In this example, the right vertex on the second line needs a small nudge to the left.
00:06:33 --> 00:06:43
Because it's an animated vertex, in this case between frames 23 and 37, make sure you are at Frame 37 and in Auto Key mode.
00:06:44 --> 00:06:49
You can now adjust the vertex position, updating the keyframe.
00:06:54 --> 00:06:58
Make sure you exit Vertex mode and Auto Key mode when done.
00:06:59 --> 00:07:04
Repeat the procedure to create a third connector between the third and fourth rings.
00:07:20 --> 00:07:24
You will also need a line after the last ring,
00:07:32 --> 00:07:36
and one before the first ring.
00:07:41 --> 00:07:47
All should be properly synchronized and adjusted, so take your time working on the finer details.
00:07:53 --> 00:07:57
Remember to rename the connectors adequately.
00:08:07 --> 00:08:13
Also make sure all rings and connectors have the same material applied to them.
00:08:21 --> 00:08:25
Unhide the water surface and the pool floor,
00:08:27 --> 00:08:31
and render a test frame around frame 55.
00:08:31 --> 00:08:40
Once you're happy with the results, make instances of all rings and connectors and place them a little below the current set.
00:08:45 --> 00:08:49
You will probably need to bring down the pool floor slightly.
00:08:51 --> 00:08:59
In the Material Editor, under options, ensure the option Propagate Material to Instances is disabled.
00:09:00 --> 00:09:06
This way, instanced objects will not automatically have the same single material applied to them.
00:09:07 --> 00:09:12
Make a copy of the Rings_Upper material you created earlier by Shift-moving it.
00:09:13 --> 00:09:17
Double-click the new material and rename it: Rings_Lower.
00:09:18 --> 00:09:28
In the Self-Illumination rollout, reduce the Luminance value to about 2 and apply the material to the lower set of rings and connectors.
00:09:38 --> 00:09:40
Render the scene again to see the effect.
00:09:41 --> 00:09:48
It looks good. The top-right edge seems a bit off where the edge of the water surface casts shadows on the pool floor.
00:09:48 --> 00:09:54
We could have made the water surface larger earlier, prior to applying Flex and Point Cache to it.
00:09:54 --> 00:09:58
Making it larger now means having to rework that simulation.
00:09:59 --> 00:10:06
Instead, you can simply create a smaller water extension and apply the water material to it.
00:10:07 --> 00:10:09
This should be enough to fix this issue.
00:10:15 --> 00:10:17
The scene is done and ready for render.
00:10:18 --> 00:10:25
As always, you have a final scene available and an animation to view if you do not wish to wait for a full render.
00:10:25 --> 00:10:29
The tutorial, as it relates to how the trailer was made is now finished.
00:10:30 --> 00:10:34
However, you may be interested in the topic of the next and last movie.
00:10:34 --> 00:10:43
In it, you learn to change the ripple effect into a wake effect, simply by changing the collision object currently represented by a bouncing sphere.