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3D Studio Max 2 Effects Magic
- 3 -
by Kim Lee
This complex effect combines elements of the meandering brook's clear refraction
and animated noise maps with particle systems to re-create the white frothy motion
of water falling down over rocks. Again, the scale of the effect is smaller than
that of a brook, but it is visually faster and in places quite chaotic. There will
be a much more noticeable change in elevation of both the landscape and the brook
itself from the point in the frame where the brook enters to the point where it exits.
Because the topography of this effect varies significantly from almost level to
almost vertical at various points, you will create three separate brook objects.
This will give you the flexibility to customize different variants of the flowing
water material and allow for areas of faster and slower moving water.
All position and rotational information is based on absolute world coordinates.
When positioning objects in your scene, always use the Transform Type-In dialog box
located in the Tools menu. This ensures proper object orientation. Most objects are
created in the Top viewport.
Leave any settings that are not listed in the example at the MAX default values.
Creating the Brook Objects
The first thing you need to do is create the geometry for the parts of our brook
that flow more horizontally than vertically.
- 1. In the Top viewport, create a Quad Patch: Length = 500 Width
= 180 Length Segments = 2
2. Rename the Quad Patch Brook01.
- FIGURE 1 Creating a Quad Patch.
3. Create two more objects with the following settings: Brook02:
Length = 780, Width = 180, Length Segments = 2 Brook03: Length = 650, Width
= 180, Length Segments = 2
4. Add an edit patch modifier to the modifier stack and deselect the Sub-Object
button: Steps = 30
5. Repeat step 4 for all three objects.
6. Place an Edit Mesh modifier to the stack and deselect the Sub-Object button.
Repeat this step for each Brook object.
7. Add a Displace modifier to the stack: Strength = 10 Planar
FIGURE 2 Adding a Displace modifier.
8. Repeat step 7 for the remaining two objects.
9. Select Brook01 in the Image section of the Displace parameters, click None
under the label MAP and choose a Noise map.
10. Open the Material Editor and click and drag the button now labeled Map
#1 (noise) from the command column to the first material sample slot. Select Instance
and then select OK.
11. Rename the Material in slot 1 Displacement1. Repeat steps 9 through
11 for Brook02 but use slot 2 and name the material Displacement2. You will
use Displacement1 for both Brook01 and Brook03.
12. In the Material Editor, set the following for both materials: Noise
Type = Fractal Size = 32
13. Turn Animate on and go to Frame 100.
14. For the Displacement1 material set the following: Y Offset = -1000
Phase = 5
15. For the Displacement2 material, set the following: Y Offset = -700
Phase = 5
16. Close the Material Editor and turn off Animate.
FIGURE 3 Creating a spline line.
17. In the Top viewport, I've created a spline line in the shape of a
curvy wave like the one shown above. You should draw from top to bottom as the vertex
order will become important in later steps. Apply an edit spline modifier to this
line to get the shape you want. Remember to change the elevation of the spline in
the Left viewport.
18. Select the Brook01 object and add a PathDeform modifier to its stack.
19. Click Pick Path and select the line01 shape. Repeat steps 18 and 19 for
Brook02 and Brook03.
20. For each Brook object, click Move to Path and select a Path Deform Axis
of Y. Use the following settings for the three objects: Brook01: Percent =
11.5, Rotation = 90 Brook02: Percent = 45.5, Rotation = 90, Twist = -24 Brook03:
Percent = 84.0, Rotation = 77You should now have three Quad Patches deformed end
to end along a single spline shape. It should resemble a winding brook.
FIGURE 4 Three deformed Quad Patches.
Next, create the land around our brook geometry.
- 1. In the Top viewport, create a Quad Patch with the following parameters:
Length = 1500 Width = 1500 Length Segments = 4 Width Segments
2. Name the object Land.
3. Reposition the Quad Patch so that it is centered on the brook object.
4. Add an Edit Patch modifier to the stack and deselect the Sub-Object button:
Steps = 20
5. Select Sub-Object and edit the patch vertices up and down to roughly conform
to the brook object's elevation changes. Deselect the Sub-Object button when finished.
6. Add a Mesh Select modifier to the stack and deselect the Sub-Object button.
- FIGURE 5 Creating a Quad Patch.
- FIGURE 6 Editing the patch vertices.
7. Create a Displacement Bitmap for the land object that matches the contours
of the brook object. Begin by clicking the Render Scene button, set the Output Size
to 500x500, and choose Close.
8. Right-click the viewport label and select Show Safe Frame. Zoom and pan
the Top view so that your objects fall squarely within the outer yellow safe frame
9. Render this view and save the image.You would now normally save your MAX2
scene file and open a bitmap-based editing program, such as Photoshop or Painter,
where you would use the saved bitmap as a guide to paint a displacement map. I have
already created one called Land3_Disp.tga, which you will use for this example. (Make
sure to set output size back to 640x480.)
Creating a Terrain with a Displacement Map
Now you will complete the land by using a Bitmap to actually deform the geometry.
- 1. In the Top viewport, turn off Show Safe Frame and click the Zoom Extents
2. Select the Land object, and in the Modifiers tab add a Displace modifier
to the stack.
3. In the Image section of the displace parameters, select the None button
under Bitmap and select Land3_Disp.tga from the file selection box: Strength
4. Switch to a Perspective view in Smooth+Highlights mode: Reference
Coordinate System = view
5. Select the Land object and move it up and down, constraining to the z-axis,
until it looks similar to the following image.
In this section, you create the lighting effects for the scene.
- 1. Create an omni light in the Top viewport beyond the upper-right corner
of the land object at x = 461.122, y = 1465.266, z = 1373.448. Set the following:
R = 255, G = 255, B = 255 Cast Shadows = on
2. Create a second omni light in the Top viewport and place it below the Land
object. Set the following: R = 180, G = 180, B = 180
- FIGURE 7 Moving the Land object.
Setting the Environment Map and Camera
- 1. From the Rendering drop-down menu, select Environment.
2. Click the None button under environment map and select Bitmap from the
list. Click OK. The button now reads Map#1(Bitmap).
3. In the Material Editor, drag and drop the Map#1(Bitmap) button from the
Environment dialog box to an empty sample slot as an Instance.
4. In the Material Editor, change the name of the material to Backdrop and
set the following: Environ Mapping = screen Bitmap = checked
5. Select sky.jpg and click OK.
6. Create a free camera and place it at x = -272.498, y = -1039.241, z = 723.169.
You might want to set the absolute world rotation or the camera to x = 57.532, y
= 0, z = -15.504.
7. Make adjustments to the spline shape used as a path for the brook objects
to assure that the two objects are well integrated. At this point you have all of
our geometry built as well as lighting and camera setup.
Now you need to create particle systems for the parts of our brook that fall down
over rocks and drops. Essentially, anywhere the water will be traveling more vertically
will be created with particles.
- 1. In the Front viewport, create 3 Quad Patches: Length = 7 Width
= 95 Length Segments = 1 Width Segments = 1
2. Rename the Quad Patches Emitter01, Emitter02, and Emitter03.
3. Position each emitter object at the top of a steep vertical drop along
4. Add an Edit Patch modifier to each emitter and edit each to conform to
the width of the visible brook. (Remember that you might not be able to see the entire
width of the brook objects because of their intersection with the land object.)
- FIGURE 8 Adding an Edit Patch modifier.
5. In the Top viewport, create a Particle Array anywhere off to the side
of our land object. Under Basic Parameters, click the Pick Object button and select
The settings used in the following steps are specific to the example file (Brook.max).
Depending on the differences between your brook model and the one used here, you
might have to adjust these parameters accordingly.
6. In the Particle Generation rollout, set the following: Use Rate
= 30 Speed = 7 Emit Start = -15 Emit Stop = 100 Display Until
= 120 Life = 20 Particle Size = 7.5 Grow For = 10 Fade For
= 5 Particle Type = standard Tetra = selected
7. In the Particle Rotation rollout, set the following: Direction of Travel/Mblur
= selected Stretch = 1
8. Create a Gravity space warp in the Top viewport. Set the following: Strength
9. Bind the PArray icon to the space warp.
10. Create a Deflector in the Top viewport and position it under the surface
of the brook object where the particles are falling through the brook. In my scene,
this was at x = 10.351, y = -3.742, z = 19.661. Set the following: Bounce
Depending on the angle of the drop, you might need separate Gravity space warps
for each PArray.
11. Bind the PArray to the Deflector.
12. With the PArray icon selected, right-click it and select Properties from
the pop-up menu: Motion Blur = Image Multiplier = 1
13. Repeat steps 5 through 12 for each emitter object.
14. For PArray02, set the following in the Particle Generation rollout: Use
Rate = 30 Speed = 7 Emit Start = -30 Emit stop
= 100 Display Until = 120 Life = 28 Variation = 2
Size = 7.5 Grow For = 10 Fade For = 5
15. For PArray03, set the following in the Particle Generation rollout: Use
Rate = 30 Speed = 8 Variation = 25% Emit Start
= -30 Emit Stop = 100 Display Until = 120 Life
= 30 Variation = 2 Size = 7.5 Variation = 25% Grow For
= 10 Fade For = 5
16. Bind the two new PArrays to their respective Gravity and Deflector space
Using my file as an example, notice that I was able to use one of the Gravity
space warps for two of the PArrays. Also note that the angle of rotation and the
positions of the other deflectors are totally dependent on the topography of the
brook. Following are the PArray settings used in the example file. Note that Particle
Type and Particle Rotation settings are the same in all three.
Now you should have our entire effect built with particles acting like mini waterfalls.
Now for the last phase--the creation of materials.
- 1. In the Material Editor, select an empty sample slot and set the following:
Ambient (R = 208, G = 208, B = 208) Diffuse (R = 247, G = 247, B = 247)
Specular (R = 255, G = 255, B = 255) Shininess = 25 Shin. Strength
= 94 Self-Illumination = 50 Opacity = 100
- 2. Name the material White Water and apply it to all three PArray
3. In the Material Editor, choose an empty sample slot, name it Brook1,
and apply it to the brook object. Set the following: Ambient = (R = 44, G
= 55, B = 68) Diffuse = (R = 123, G = 113, B = 94) Specular = (R =
255, G = 255, B = 255) Filter Color = (R = 41, G = 25, B = 12) Shininess
= 62 Shin. Strength = 100 Opacity = 30
4. Click the Bump slot and set the Map Type to Noise. Set the Noise Parameters:
UVW1 = selected V Tiling = 4.0 Noise Type = Regular Size
5. Go to Frame 100 and turn Animate on. Set the V Offset to -6.5 and the Phase
to 10. Turn Animate off.
6. Click the Refraction map slot and set the Map Type to Thin Wall Refraction.
Set the following: Select every Nth Frame and set to 1 Thickness Offset =
0.5 Bump Map Effect = 2.0
7. Click the Reflection map slot and set the Map Type to Reflect/Refract.
Set the following: Automatic = Source Use Environment Map = on
8. At the parent level of the Brook material, open the Extended Parameters
rollout and set the following: Falloff Amt. = 0 Refract Map/RayTrace IOR
= 1.3 Falloff = IN Type = Filter
9. Apply the Brook1 material to the Brook01 and Brook03 objects.
10. Copy the Brook1 material into an empty sample slot and rename the copy
Brook2. Click the Bump map channel, turn on the Animate button and go to Frame
100. Change the V Offset to -3 and turn off the Animate button.
11. Apply this new Brook2 material to the Brook02 object.
FIGURE 9 Creating the Brook1 material.
Notice that the addition of particle systems has created a very convincing effect.
As I did not include any props (such as trees trunks or plants), it may be difficult
to picture this as a small brook only about a foot or two wide. Depending on the
scale of the effect, you can use this technique to simulate everything from small
brooks flowing down over rocks to full blown waterfalls.
By combining this with the texture mapping techniques used on both the Stream
and River effects, almost any body of water can be simulated convincingly.