Creating Water Ripple Effects in 3ds Max - Part 2 - Water Ripples
In this tutorial, you learn how to create a water ripple effect. To achieve this, you will create arrows travelling on a path to give the illusion of ripples. The object that is actually creating the ripples is a simple sphere that you animate to follow the same path and that you will set to be non-renderable.
- Recorded in: 3ds Max 2014
This tutorial is intended for use with 3ds Max version 2014 or higher.
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Continue working on your scene from the last movie. If you need to catch up, open the scene file named: flex-arrowhead.max
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You need to create the arrow that follows the path and that seemingly creates the water surface ripples.
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To create the arrow, start by creating a box in the top view.
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Make it about 0.05m in length, 0.6m in width and 0.015m in height. You can fine-tune these adjustments later.
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In the Hierarchy panel, go into Affect Pivot Only mode and center the pivot to the object.
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Exit this mode when done and go back to the Modify panel.
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The box has only 6 polygons at this time. In order for it to deform while following the path, you need more subdivisions.
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Set the Length Segs to 3 and the Width Segs to 50.
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Rename the box "Arrow" and change its wirecolor if you need to.
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The box doesn't look much like an arrow just yet, but you'll get to taper it in a moment.
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First, to have the box follow the path and deform along the way, add a PathDeform (WSM) modifier to it.
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Choose Pick Path and then point and select the path you adjusted earlier.
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Next, click the Move to Path button to move the box to the beginning of the path.
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You also need to specify a deformation axis which is X in this case, to align the box to the path.
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From this point forward, you can animate the Percent value to get the box to deform across the path.
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Now you need to taper the box to be shaped more like an arrowhead.
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Apply a Taper modifier to the box. As the Path Deform binding is a WSM (World-Space Modifier), the Taper is located below it.
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Set the Primary taper axis to X and the value to about -1.85.
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The box now looks more like an arrow.
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You can rework its basic parameters at any time.
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Try a Length of 0.025m, a width of 0.8m and a height of 0.007m. As always, feel free to experiment.
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You may also want to add more subdivisions, especially along the width, so that the box conforms to the path as much as possible.
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Mind you, the animated bounces are fast as all four bounces happen in under three seconds.
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This means that you will hardly have time to see any artifacts on the arrow mesh.
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Settle for 60 divisions for now.
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Next, you animate the Path Deform binding.
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Reset its Percent value to 0 so that the box relocates to the beginning of the path.
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Before you animate the arrow, you need to extend the animation length a bit so that the ripples have some time to settle.
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Go to the Time Configuration dialog and set the animation length to 150 frames. That's about 5 seconds using an NTSC signal.
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Click OK to accept the changes and dismiss the dialog.
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Make sure the arrow is selected and enable Auto Key mode.
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Go to frame 80 and animate the Percent value to go to 100.
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Exit Auto Key mode and then scrub your animation.
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The arrow is animated to follow and deform along the path for the first 80 frames or a little less than three seconds of animation.
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The arrow is a complex object now. It also has a lot of vertices to ensure it deforms nicely along the path.
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This prevents it from being an optimized object to use to create the ripples as it will take a long time to process.
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Instead, you will use a much simpler object to drive the ripples, only you will make it non-renderable to prevent it from being displayed in the final output.
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Create a simple sphere in the top view.
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Name it: "Stone" as in a game of stone skipping.
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Make its radius about 0.03m and its number of Segments 12.
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With the Sphere selected, choose Animation > Constraints > Path Constraint and point to the path.
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The sphere is now animated to follow the same path between frames 0 and 150.
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Relocate frame 150 to 80, to match the arrow travel time.
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Expand the Front view using Alt+W and press F3 to see the objects in shaded mode.
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If you need to, change their wirecolors to differentiate them.
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Scrub the animation. The two objects, the arrow and the sphere, are not perfectly in sync.
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There are a couple of reasons for that: the most important is because the two animations are interpolated differently.
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Select the Sphere and use the Quad menu to go to the Curve Editor.
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Note the straight line indicating a constant travel speed.
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Now select the arrow and expand Space Warps > Path Deform Binding.
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This curve shows acceleration and deceleration.
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Path Constraint defaults to a Linear interpolation, whereas Path deformation works in Bezier mode.
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In order to sync the two objects, you will use Linear interpolation on both.
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Select the two keys that make the path deform binding curve and set them to Linear tangents.
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Now the two objects travel in sync but the sphere needs to be relocated to the arrow head.
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Select the Sphere and take a look at its curve.
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The first keyframe, at frame 0, shows a value of 0, which indicates the beginning of the path.
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Keep the key at frame 0 but change that value so that it relocates to the arrow head. In this case, a value of about 16 should work fine.
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Now scrub the animation until the arrow head seems to reach the end of the path. This should be around frame 67.
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This is when the sphere should reach the end of the path, so that it stays with the arrowhead.
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At this time, the sphere reaches the end of the path or 100% at frame 80.
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Simply, change that frame value so that the end of the path 100% value, is reached earlier, in this case on frame 67.
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Scrub the animation; the two objects are now perfectly in sync.
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Close the Curve Editor and reset the front view to wireframe mode (F3).
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Before you move to the next movie, make sure the sphere is selected. Right-click and access its properties.
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Disable Renderable to prevent the sphere from appearing at render time.
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Save your file and move to the next movie to learn how to animate the ripples.