Chapter 39. Simulating Physics-Based Motion with reactor

When you speak of reactor in Max, you really are speaking of physics. Physics is one of the coolest arms of science because it deals with the science of matter and energy and includes laws that govern the motions and interactions between objects. For animators, this is great news because what you are trying to do is to animate the motions and interactions between objects.

So, should all animators study physics? The answer is absolutely. Understanding these laws through study and experience will sharpen your animating skills. But you can also take advantage of the work that other animators have done in understanding the laws of physics and turning them into a product that ships with Max. The other animators are a group called Havok, and the product is reactor.

The Havok physics engine included in Max is the same engine commonly used in games to simulate game-world physics such as the reactions in Value's Half Life 2.

Using reactor, you can simulate many physical properties and automatically capture keyframes as the objects interact. It's like getting a physics degree for free.

The reactor menu includes everything you need to access the reactor physics simulation engine. With reactor, you can define objects as rigid bodies like chairs or bowling balls or as soft ...

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