Creating Water Ripple Effects in 3ds Max - Part 3 - Leveraging the Flex Modifier

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Industry
  • Film & VFX
  • Games
  • Design Visualization
Subject
  • Animation
  • Dynamics
  • 2014
  • Simulation and Effects
  • Workflow
Products
  • 3ds Max
Skill Level
  • Intermediate
Duration
6 min

Creating Water Ripple Effects in 3ds Max - Part 3 - Leveraging the Flex Modifier

In this tutorial, you create a ripple effect animation leveraging the Flex Modifier. The Flex modifier uses a dynamic simulation, which is easier than manually animating ripples using other options like the Ripple modifier.


Notes
  • Recorded in: 3ds Max 2014
  • This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2014 or higher.

Transcript

00:00:07 --> 00:00:15
Continue working on your scene or open the file named flex-ripples.max to continue where the last movie left off.

00:00:15 --> 00:00:20
In this part 3 movie, you create the ripple effect using the Flex modifier.

00:00:21 --> 00:00:25
The Flex modifier uses a dynamic simulation to create the ripple effect.

00:00:25 --> 00:00:33
This is easier to set up and is more accurate than say, manually animating ripple effects using the Ripple modifier.

00:00:33 --> 00:00:42
Either way, to create convincing ripples, you first need to subdivide the water surface geometry, otherwise, the effect would be quite poor.

00:00:43 --> 00:00:49
Select the Water surface and make sure the viewport grid is disabled (G hotkey).

00:00:50 --> 00:00:56
Go to the Modify panel. At this time, the plane has the default 4x4 sub-divisions.

00:00:57 --> 00:01:01
You will need substantially more than that. Try 60x60 instead.

00:01:02 --> 00:01:10
This looks better. The more divisions you have the better the solution, but also the longer it would take to process and render.

00:01:10 --> 00:01:17
Ultimately, you can add a TurboSmooth modifier to smooth the effect further, but we'll get to that later.

00:01:17 --> 00:01:21
For now, 60x60 divisions should be fairly adequate.

00:01:22 --> 00:01:25
Add a Flex modifier to the object.

00:01:25 --> 00:01:30
Before you change any of the parameters, consider the Deflectors section.

00:01:31 --> 00:01:35
This is where you define collision objects that will affect the surface.

00:01:37 --> 00:01:46
However, you can only define Deflector "spacewarp" objects in this list, so in order to use the sphere as a deflector, here's what you do:

00:01:47 --> 00:01:51
From the Create panel, choose Space Warps.

00:01:52 --> 00:01:56
In the Drop-Down menu choose Deflectors.

00:01:56 --> 00:02:04
Select the UDeflector and click and drag anywhere in the top view to create an icon. The size of the icon is not important.

00:02:04 --> 00:02:14
UDeflector stands for Universal Deflector and that means you can select any scene object to act as a deflector, in this case the sphere named Stone.

00:02:17 --> 00:02:27
At this point, you can select the water surface again and this time, use the Deflector Add button and select the icon you just created in the scene.

00:02:27 --> 00:02:33
Since UDeflector001 represents the sphere, the sphere is now a collision object.

00:02:34 --> 00:02:42
The next step is to adjust the Flex values. This is the hardest part as it's an intuitive process that requires quite a bit of trial and error.

00:02:42 --> 00:02:50
For the ripples in the trailer and for this scene, reduce the Strength and Sway values to simulate liquid.

00:02:50 --> 00:02:54
Try 0.2 and 0.4 respectively.

00:02:56 --> 00:03:01
Leave the Stretch value to 5 and set the Stiffness value also to 5.

00:03:02 --> 00:03:10
These parameters are explained in 3ds Max's help file but I find that trial and error is often necessary as each scene is different.

00:03:10 --> 00:03:18
One last step to do before running the simulation, expand the Flex modifier and select Weights & Springs.

00:03:19 --> 00:03:27
Press Ctrl+A to select all the vertices that make the water surface and then enable Absolute Weight with a value of 0.1

00:03:27 --> 00:03:33
This ensures all vertices are weighed the same way and that there is no falloff in the effect.

00:03:33 --> 00:03:35
Exit Sub-Object mode.

00:03:36 --> 00:03:42
Go to frame 0 and run the simulation by clicking Create Simple Soft Body.

00:03:43 --> 00:03:47
One major hurdle you will get at this point is real-time playback.

00:03:47 --> 00:03:52
The type of calculation is so complex that it will bring any computer to a crawl.

00:03:57 --> 00:04:05
To overcome that, make sure you are at frame 0 and add a Point Cache modifier to the list.

00:04:07 --> 00:04:16
Click the New button to save a new Point Cache file. Choose a folder and name the file: myRipples.

00:04:21 --> 00:04:27
Click the Record button to capture the vertex animation data and save it to the cache file on disk.

00:04:29 --> 00:04:38
When it's done, disable the Flex modifier in the stack. You don't need it anymore as the animation is saved down to each individual vertex.

00:04:39 --> 00:04:43
You can do this directly or by clicking the Disable Modifiers Below button.

00:04:45 --> 00:04:49
Now you can scrub or playback the animation in real-time.

00:04:50 --> 00:04:56
The beauty of the Point Cache modifier is that it can be used to enhance the effect without re-running the simulation.

00:04:57 --> 00:05:00
Try boosting the Strength effect and see the end-result.

00:05:00 --> 00:05:03
A value of 2 should be fine for this example.

00:05:14 --> 00:05:18
Add a TurboSmooth modifier to smooth the ripples a bit more.

00:05:22 --> 00:05:29
This takes care of the animation part of the scene, but what makes this scene stand out is proper materials and lighting.

00:05:29 --> 00:05:33
In the next movie, you create materials that bring the scene to life.
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Tags
  • 3ds Max
  • Animation
  • Dynamics
  • 2014
  • Simulation and Effects
  • Workflow
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