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3D Studio Max, which is now called 3ds Max, is an application for designing 3D models and animations. To make the models and animations you create with it more realistic, you can use a variety of effects that are built into the software. These effects include light flares that display on camera lenses; particle systems that can simulate snow, smoke and related materials; and cause-and-effect relationships like gravity and collisions, which are made possible by Max's "physics engine," called "reactor."
- Creating particle systems in 3ds Max begins with the same process used to create Max's other objects--clicking the "Create" menu item. This is followed by selecting "Particles," and then the "PF Source" (Particle Flow Source) item.
After selecting "PF Source," the particle emitter object is made by clicking and dragging on Max's home grid. This one action is sufficient to enable an animation of the particles emitted from the PF Source object. The animation can be viewed by manually moving Max's time slider (located at screen bottom) from left to right, or by pressing the animation toolbar's "Play" button.
- Lens flares are optical effects that occur when a bright light source directly strikes a camera's lens. 3ds Max enables creation of these effects through the tools and parameters associated with particular light objects. Creating a lens flare can be achieved by completing the following tasks in this order:
- creating the light by selecting "Create," "Lights," "Standard Lights," and "Omni"
- opening the rollout "Atmosphere & Effects," which is located under the light's modifier stack at screen right
- clicking "Add," then "Lens Effects"
- configuring the effect by selecting it, then clicking the "Setup" button
- and naming the effect, enabling the "Interactive" option, then selecting "Glow" under the "Lens Effects Parameters" rollout
The software will render the lens flare effect, which you can further refine by changing its color, intensity and other parameters.
- The "reactor" utility inside 3ds Max makes possible the effect of realistic collisions between virtual objects. Without this utility, collisions would have to be simulated by hand--a task that would become impossible for a scene containing many objects.
Collision effects begin with creating at least two objects, which can be as simple as a sphere and a box beneath the sphere, for the sphere to drop onto and roll along. The reactor toolbar is then displayed by selecting "reactor" after right-clicking on the main toolbar. All objects to be included in the collision simulation are selected, then the "Create Rigid Body Collection" button is clicked. After the "Mass" and "Elasticity" parameters of each object are set, the simulation is ready to be run, by pressing the reactor toolbar's "Preview Animation" button. Users can watch the scene's objects collide and fall. Or, they can give momentum to objects by clicking and dragging them.