Chapter 12. Particles and Dynamics

Animating large numbers of similar objects can be an arduous task to say the least. With hundreds, if not thousands, of individual objects and all of their animated parameters and transforms to consider, this is a task that, one object at a time, could quickly become overwhelming. Luckily, 3ds Max has several tools for animating large numbers of objects in a scene including instanced objects, externally referencing objects, instanced modifiers, the Crowd utility for characters, and particle systems for controlling any number of particles. Particles are usually small objects, often in large numbers, that can represent rain, snow, a swarm of insects, a barrage of bullets, or anything else that requires a large quantity of objects that follow a similar action or are part of a larger system of movement.

Yet another method of creating simultaneous animations for several objects is through the use of reactor, the physics engine contained within 3ds Max. Using reactor, you can calculate the interactions between many rigid and soft body objects or simulate fluids or rope dynamics.

Topics in this chapter include:

  • Understanding Particle Systems

  • Setting Up a Particle System

  • Particle Systems and Space Warps

  • Using Rigid Body Dynamics

  • Using Soft Body Dynamics

Understanding Particle Systems

Particle systems are a means to manage the infinite possibilities encountered when controlling thousands of seemingly random objects in a scene. The particles can follow a tight stream ...

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