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Improve your 3ds Max workflow: Organic placement using MassFx

By Paul Hatton
Web: Open Site
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Date Added: 22nd September 2014
Software used:
3ds Max

Play the simulation

In your first simulation you will probably find that it doesn't run as you were hoping! This is understandable because we've just used the default parameters for everything and these sort of things rarely work straight out the box. We need to fine tune our parameters so that they work for our specific project. We'll do this in the next steps.

1923_tid_paul-hatton---3d-total---an-introduction-to-massfx---step-7.jpg
As you can see this hasn't worked out entirely properly with some of the corks escaping from the bottle

Fine tune the bottle

Let's adjust the settings for the rigid body of the bottle. You'll remember that we previously set it to concave and then generated the mesh. Now we're going to adjust the Physical Mesh parameters and re-generate. Firstly, increase the Mesh Detail so that it's nearer 100, something like 98 will probably work well. Then reduce the Min. Hull Size to around 0.1 or 0.05. And finally increase the Max. Verts per Hull to 256 or 512. Clicking on Generate again will recreate the mesh based on your improved settings.

1923_tid_paul-hatton---3d-total---an-introduction-to-massfx---step-8.jpg
Here we adjust some of the parameters of the physical mesh of the bottle

Fine tune the cork

With our bottle set up, let's move on to the cork. Go to the Physical Material Properties rollout and notice the 5 properties that you can adjust to make your cork respond in the way you want. Every object is going to be different here so it may take a while to get the settings correct. I will often find that the bounciness especially is too high for most objects but it depends on what you're simulating. Make the necessary adjustments and re-run the simulation.

1923_tid_paul-hatton---3d-total---an-introduction-to-massfx---step-9.jpg
Here we adjust some of the parameters of the physical mesh of the cork

Play the simulation again

With everything fine-tuned, try playing the simulation again. Hopefully this responds in the way you were expecting. If not, study the parameters and get used to what has an impact on what. As you get used to the tools you'll get quicker at setting everything up so that the number of times you have to run the simulation before you get it right is less and less. Now try it yourself!

1923_tid_paul-hatton---3d-total---an-introduction-to-massfx---step-10.jpg
Fine-tuning the settings will hopefully get you the required result. You may need to reposition some of the objects but MassFX saves you a lot of time

Top tip : Simplify your static object

If your simulation is struggling or taking too long then you can use a simplified version of the bottle for the simulations. Then for rendering just hide the simplified one and unhide the high quality version. You'll need to make sure that the objects don't incorrectly intersect once you've unhidden the high-poly bottle.

1923_tid_paul-hatton---3d-total---an-introduction-to-massfx---top-tip.jpg
Speed up the simulation by simplifying your static mesh

Improving your 3ds Max workflow – previous chapters:
Top 10 interface secrets
Better modeling workflow
Handling massive scenes
3ds Max animation tools

Related links

Check out Paul Hatton's personal site
Are you a 3ds Max user, or looking to start? You could try our collection of 3ds Max eBooks or purchase our books, 3ds Max Projects and Photoshop for 3D Artists



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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
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(ID: 299623, pid: 0) Ic3berg on Mon, 22 September 2014 2:00pm
I gotta ask: can you do a lightning tutorial of this scene, because it looks just too amazing?
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