Creating Water Ripple Effects in 3ds Max - Part 4 - Adding Materials
In this tutorial, bring your scene to life by adding materials to the objects creating light reflections and refractions to give the impression of a natural-setting.
- 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 or open the scene flex-materials.max if you need to catch up.
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If you're using the flex-materials.max scene, chances are your working folder is different from the system used to record this movie.
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This means you will probably need to reload the appropriate cache file you downloaded along with the scene.
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Simply select the water surface and click the Point Cache modifier.
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Click the Load button and load the file: Ripples.xml
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As in the trailer, you will use mental ray materials as they work best with the mental ray renderer.
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You will start with the arrow. Go to about frame 30 or 45 to get a better look at it.
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As mentioned before, each arrow animation in the trailer is actually made of two narrow arrows traveling on two adjacent paths.
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For simplicity purposes, you are dealing here with only one arrow.
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You can still give it a two-color look by adjusting the material accordingly.
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The render in the trailer makes use of a white and blue material. Here, we'll use white and red.
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Go to the Slate Material Editor.
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Drag in an Arch & Design mental ray material. This is the most common type you use with the mental ray renderer.
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Double-click the new material to see its properties.
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Name it Arrowhead.
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In the Template list, choose the Matte or Pearl options. Let's not make the arrow particularly shiny.
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Drag the output socket and drop it on the arrow to apply the newly created material.
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To change the default dull gray into a mix or red and white, you will use a Gradient Ramp map.
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Drag out the Diffuse Color Map In-Socket and choose to add a Standard > Gradient Ramp map.
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Double-click its node so you can edit its properties.
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To see the effect in the viewport, enable Show Shaded Material in Viewport.
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At this time it's a little hard to see. Double-click and change the two colors at the edges of the gradient ramp to red and blue.
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This is only temporary so you can make out how the gradient is affecting the object.
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This gives you a better idea about how the map is applied.
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Even better, select and isolate the arrow.
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Go to the Modify panel and turn off the Path Deform and Taper modifiers to take a look at the basic box.
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The gradient is a bit more predictable but the edges still seem to have a slight bleed problem.
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Make sure the base Box entry is selected in the Modifier Stack and apply a UVW Map modifier.
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By default the mapping is equal in size to the box.
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Make the Mapping Width a bit bigger to ensure there are no more color bleeds.
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Also, you want the gradient to run in the other direction, along with the arrow trajectory.
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Set the W Angle value to 90 to get that result.
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Now you can change the red and blue colors to your liking. In this demo, I'll use a dark red color at both edges of the gradient.
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Once you set one flag color, you can copy it to another.
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You can also add more flags to fine-tune the gradient look.
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This will do for now as far as material color is concerned.
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A closer look at the trailer shows a certain amount of fade in the tail of the arrows.
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This can be achieved with another gradient assigned as a cutout map.
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Drag out the Cutout Map In-Socket and choose Standard > Gradient Ramp yet again.
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Enable Show Shaded Material in Viewport to see how this map is affecting the object.
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A cutout map works mostly with grayscale values. If the pixel is white, the object is opaque. If the pixel is black, the object is transparent.
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Anywhere in between will have a degree of transparency.
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Double-click the new map node to edit the gradient.
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Adjust the gradient so you have more white towards the front and more black towards the tail of the arrow.
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When you're done, re-enable the modifiers and exit Isolate mode.
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Test-render the scene to see the results and how the arrow tail fades out.
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Next you work on the water surface.
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Drag a new Arch & Design material into the viewer.
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Double-click its node and name it: Water.
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Apply it to the water surface.
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Although there are templates for water in the Arch & Design material, you will adjust this material from scratch.
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This is not ocean water you're dealing with, just a bit of water in a shallow pool.
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Set the Reflectivity all the way up to 1. You want the water surface to be reflective.
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Also set the Transparency all the way up to 1. You want the water to be clear, transparent and refractive.
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Next set the Diffuse color to black. Water color comes from reflective and refractive color filters.
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Set the Reflective and Refractive colors to shades of aqua blue.
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Finally, set the BRDF controls to work in IOR or Index of Refraction mode.
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By adjusting the IOR value in the refraction group, you can control the amount of distortion you get looking through the water.
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A render at this time would certainly not look good.
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One reason is the lack of convincing lights in the scene, the other is even simpler to understand:
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The water is fully transparent and there's nothing to see behind it except a black background.
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You need another surface underneath the water.
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In the top view, create another plane object, slightly bigger that the water surface. About 2.5x2.5 meters should do.
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It doesn't need to be too detailed, 4x4 divisions should be fine. If you experience render artifacts later on, you can increase the segments.
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Move it down a little bit so that it's underneath the water surface.
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Create an Arch and Design material for it.
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Make it a Matte finish and name it: Pool Floor.
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Apply the material to the new object.
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Render again. Now you can see something although it doesn't look great just yet.
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This will look much better with proper lighting but we're not done with materials just yet.
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The trailer uses a caustic effect to account for shallow waters. Here, you will use a bitmap to simulate the pool floor.
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In the Diffuse Color Map slot, assign a bitmap and use the file Mosaic.jpg you downloaded for this tutorial.
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Set the tiling to about 6x6 and render again.
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It's starting to look better and you can see the effect of refractive distortion.
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You can adjust the distortion by playing with the IOR value.
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A value of 1 offers no distortion.
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The higher the value above 1, the greater the distortion.
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Let's use 1.5 in this demo.
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You're done with the materials but the scene still doesn't look convincing at render time.
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You still need to define the lights that will make the ripples stand out.
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This is what you do in the next movie.