Dreams come true (Part 1 of 2)

A 3ds max to .dream tutorial

Saturday, March 31, 2007 by GH33DA | Discussion: Tutorials

Dreams come true (Part 1 of 2)
A 3ds max to .dream tutorial
Part 1 - Concept to AVI

This tutorial will go though the creation and conversion of a dream created in 3ds max.

Needed Software:
3ds max (Part 1)
SUPER (Part 2)

The concept for this dream is to create a loop of the effect of the stable wormhole event horizon in a stargate, in other words, the "watery" part of the stargate. The first thing I like to do before I even open up 3ds max is examine the object I'm going to model. This lets me plan thing better and spent less time guessing.

Doing a google image search for "stargate" and words like "open", "wormhole", and "liquid" produced the best results for me. But I suspect your google-fu may be stronger than mine. The main things to look for in an reference image are the object's reactions to light, shape details, and enviroment.

In all the images I found of the stargate, the "watery" part did not change at all due to the environment. Realistic? Maybe not. But, I'm not one to break tradition. As far as the shape, the surface is mainly flat except for the tiny variations in height that move in a non-uniform water ripples motion. Finally, the reaction to light looks to be two fold. The first reaction is the effect created when an object goes from light to dark. This is similar to almost any single lit surface with a fading source of light. However, the extremes of the darkest and lightest parts are a bit different than most. The color change is slightly different. The darker color is close to a royal blue and the lighter color is close to a sky blue. The second reaction is the bright highlights. Normally these are caused by reflective surfaces like water or car paint gloss. But, since they are the same in any environment, they can't reflections. So they must be a reaction to the light.

3ds max:

After finding the references, it's time to apply what you know. In the front viewport create a 1280x720 (Width x Length) plane. It's that size because that will be the size of the final image. Since we're talking about it, pull up the render dialog (F10) and select HDTV from output size. Then, select the 1280x720 button.

Now let's set up the camera. Create a new free camera in the front viewport. Then, right click the word Perspective in the lower right viewport. Under views select Camera01. While Camera01 is still selected, right click on the move tool. In the Type-In dialog, type in 0 for X, -1500 for Y and 0 for Z. (right clicking the bottom arrow in any max dialog sets it to 0) Right click the word Camera01 in the lower right viewport. Check Show Safe Frame by clicking on it. Your lower left viewport and camera are now set for the scene.

The only things left to do are to make that flat object look like the reference images and animate it. In the Camera01 viewport, click on the plane. Let's increase the Length Segs to 72 and the Width Segs to 128. Now, let's apply a Ripple modifier from the Modifier List. Set Amplitude 1 to -1 and Amplitude 2 to 1. Also, set the Wave Length to 125. It's good that we have this effect. But, we're going to need to make it move. You'll notice there's a numbered timeline at the bottom going from 0 to 100. And there's current a bar above that says 0/100. That's your current frame.

Click the Time Configuration dialog in the lower right corner of the 3ds max window. Set the End Tine to 120 and click OK. The bar from before should now say 0/120. Click the Auto Key Button. The time line will turn red. Drag the timeline bar until it says 20/200. In other word go to frame 20. In the Ripple Modifier, change phase to 1. Now drag it to frame 90 and change phase to -1. Now go to frame 120 and change phase to 0. Then turn off Auto Key and move back to frame 0. If you press the play button you can see that you just animated your ripple effect. But, make sure you go back to frame 0 when you're done.

It's time to make the texture look the "watery" part. But since the texture is light dependant, we'll need to set up the light first. Create a Free Direct Light in the front view port. Next, right click on the Move too. set the X to 0, the Y to -1600, and the Z to 0. Under the Modify tab, click the Directional Parameters. Set the Hotspot to 40 and the Falloff to 900.

Ok, you've done a lot and it's still not close yet. The next few steps will get it a lot closer. I saved these until last as they can become a bit confusing. Select the plane. Open up the Material Editor. (M) Assign the material in slot one (the first one) to the plane by clicking the Assign Material to Selection button. Set the Specular Level to 250 and Glossiness 80. Then, click the Maps rollout. Check the box next to Bump and set it from 30 to 50. Next, click the box next to the 50 that says None. Double click Noise.

We're going to use this to create the variations in the ripple. Set the Size to 75. Turn on Auto Key. Move to frame 30 and set the phase in the Noise Parameters to 1. Move to frame 90 and set the phase to -1. Then move to frame 120 and set the phase to 0. Turn off Auto Key. Look familiar? It's so the variations in the ripple will match movements in the actual Ripple modifier.

Let's go up a level in the material, or Go to Parent. (Up Arrow) Click the box that says None next to Diffuse Color in the Maps rollout. Double click Falloff. Set the Fall off type to Shadow/Light. Set the color on top (by clicking on it) to Red: 0, Green: 0 and Blue: 255. Set the bottom color to Red: 181, Green: 227 and Blue: 255.

Make sure the Camera Viewport is selected. Go to the Render dialog. (F10) Press the render button in the lower right of the dialog. you should see something like this:

Save this as a jpg by clicking the disk icon and setting the save as type to JPEG File. Give it whatever file name you choose.

Time to make a movie out of this! Bring up the Render dialog again. Click the Range radio button and make sure it goes from 0 to 119. You don't need frame 120 because we are looping and frame 120 should be the same as frame 0. Further down the Render dialog, under Render Output, Click the Files… button. Give it a name and set the Save as type to AVI File. Set the Compressor to uncompressed and click OK. Before you press the Render button make sure you have a few minutes and you have the file saved. As this may take awhile and cancelling during rendering may cause the program to crash. Remember where you saved your AVI to as you will need to go there to run the converter in part 2. Also, the file may be around 500MB so make sure you have the free space on your hard drive. When you're ready press enter.

Whew! But we're not done yet, we need to do one more render. in the front view port create another Free Camera. Right click the Move tool and set the X to 0, Y to -800, and Z to 0. Change the view in the lower right view port from Camera01 to Camera02. Now bring up the Render dialog and change the output size to custom. Set the width and height both to 300. Click Files… and set the file name to something different. Do not set the file name to the same name as your last render. Then, when you're ready, click the Render button.

When you're done you should have two renders. One that's 1280x720 and one that's 300x300. In the next part we'll convert these to mpeg and swf formats.

Reply #1 Monday, May 16, 2011 11:15 AM

to have

please no  4 waking a old post 

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