Six Ways to Create Condensation in 3DsMax – Scatter, PArray & PFlow
In this 2-day tutorial, Christian Pop walks us through 6 different methods of creating condensation effects in 3DsMax. In this first part, we'll take a look at the Scatter compound object, the easy-to-use PArray particle system and finish up by looking at how to manually paint on the condensation using the powerful ParticleFlow particle system. Let's get started!
Additional Files/ Plugins:
- Download the Project Files for this tutorial
1. Using the Scatter compound object
Using the Scatter compound object, you can randomly place a selected object over the surface of a distribution object. Using this method, the condensation effect can be easily achieved in just a few minutes, and the result can be saved and reused in other projects.
Import "can.obj" into your scene.
Select the "can_body" object and in the "Modify Panel", add a "Poly Select" modifier to it. Select the faces where you want to distribute the condensation water drops.
Next, we need to create the "water drop", that will be used to create the condensation. Create a small "Sphere" object, convert it to an "Editable Poly", then delete the following faces.
Select the remaining element and scale it down on the 'z' axis, as shown.
With the "Water drop" object selected go to "Command panel > Create > Compound Objects > Scatter".
Once clicked the "Scatter" button, go to the "Modify" panel, to access its properties. Click the "Pick Distribution Object" button and select the "can_body" object.
In the "Source Object Parameters" group, use the "Duplicates" spinner to specify the number of duplicates and scale them down if it's necessary, using the "Base Scale" spinner.
Until now, the condensation effect isn't looking realistic at all, so you need to do some changes. In the "Distribution Object Parameter" group, enable "Use Selected Faces Only" and change the distribution method to "Area".
To create some scale variations, go to the "Transforms" rollout. In the "Scaling" group, enable "Lock Aspect Ratio" and set the "X Scaling" to '50%'.
In the "Display" rollout, enable "Hide Distribution Object". You can get different results using the "Seed" spinner, or by clicking the "New" button.
If you are satisfied with the result, you can save a preset and reuse it, whenever you want.
Below you can see my result, created with the "Scatter" compound object.
2. Using the PArray particle system
PArray is non event-driven particle system, used to distribute particles on a geometric object. It provides an easy and very efficient method for generating the condensation effect, and with the built-in MetaParticles shape, you can get realistic results.
Import the can object into your scene.
Again, select the faces where you want to distribute the condensation water drops.
It's time to create the condensation effect. Go to "Command panel > Create > Particle Systems > PArray", and create a "PArray" particle system in the viewport.
With the "PArray" icon selected, go to the "Modify" panel. In the "Basic Parameters" rollout, under "Object-Based Emitter", click the "Pick Object" button and select the "can_body" object.
We want to create condensation only over the selected faces, so in the "Particle Formation" group, enable "Use Selected SubObjects". Under "Viewport Display", change the particles display to "Mesh" and set the "Percentage of Particles" to '100%'.
In the "Particle Generation" rollout, under "Particle Quantity", choose "Use Total" and set the particle amount to "500". In the "Particle Motion" group, set the "speed" to '0'. We also want to generate all the particles on the very first frame, so in the "Particle Timing" group, set the "Emit Stop" to '0'.
The particle size can be changed by using the "Size" spinner. We also want some scale variations, so set the "Variation" to '50%'. If you play back the animation, you will see that the particles start growing from being very small to the "Size" value. To change this, just set the "Grow for" and "Fade for" values to '0'.
It's time for the particle's shapes. As you can see, I have already chosen the standard "Sphere" shape in the "Particle Type" rollout. This is a good solution when we are working with opaque objects.
For transparent objects, you need to create a "Hemisphere" shape, as you did in the previous section. Once created, in the "Particle Types" group, choose "Instanced Geometry", then click the "Pick" button, under "Instancing Parameters", and select the "water drop" object.
PArray don't have an "align to face normal" option like other particle systems. To align the "water drops" properly, go to the "Rotation and Collision" rollout, and in the "Spin Axis Controls" group, choose "Direction of Travel/MBlur". Go back to the "Particle Generation" rollout, and set the "Speed" value to '0.001' and the "Divergence" angle to '0.0' deg.
The last particle type we can use for condensation is metaparticles (blobmesh). In the "Particle Type" rollout, under "Particle Types" select "MetaParticles". To see the blobmeshes, you need to increase the particle size.
As you can see, the resolution of the blobmeshes is really low. To control the blobmeshes quality, disable "Automatic Coarseness", in the "MetaParticle Parameters" group. Once disabled, the "Evaluation Coarseness" settings become avaible. Decreasing the "Render/Viewport" values, you will get higher quality blobmeshes. Be aware, if the coarseness value is set too low, the time for generating the metaparticles can become extremely long.
Like the "Scatter" compound object, "PArray" allow you to save a preset and reuse it whenever you want.
Below is my result, created with "PArray" and "MetaParticles" as particle shape.
3. Painting condensation using Particle Flow Paint
Particle Flow is a versatile, powerful event-driven particle system for 3dsmax. It uses a special dialog called Particle View, where you can combine individual operators to create complex particle effects. The Particle Paint helper is a great tool, that allows you to paint the condensation water drops over the surface of a selected object.
Import the can object into your scene, and then select the faces where you want to paint the condensation water drops.
Again, create a "Hemisphere" shape, as you did in the first section, and name it "Water drop".
Go to the "Command panel > Create > Particle Systems > PF Source", and create a "Particle Flow" system in the viewport.
To see all the particles in the viewport, with the "PF Source" selected, go to the "Modify" panel and set the Viewport Quantity Multiplier to '100%'.
Open the Particle View window and delete the following operators.
In the Display 001 operator rollout, set the "Display Type" to "Geometry", to see the particle's shape in viewport.
Replace the "Birth" operator with a "Birth Paint" operator. In the "Birth Paint 001" rollout, set the "Emit Stop" to '0', to generate all the particles on the very first frame.
Now, we need to create a "Particle Paint" helper. To create it, go to "Command panel > Create > Helpers > Particle Paint".
With the "Particle Paint" helper selected, go to the "Modify" panel. In the "Setup" rollout, set the "Brush Radius" to '20'. You can adjust the "Particle Density" at the center and sides of the nozzle, under the "Particle Density" group. In the "Particle Flow Rate" group, you can control how many particle seeds are emitted and how fast they are emitted over the course of a single stroke.
In the "Layout" rollout, select "Paint on Objects Listed", then add the "can_body" object to de list. This option allows you to paint the particles only on listed objects. Under "Selection Filter" choose "Selected Faces Only" from the drop down list.
To prevent the particles overlapping, enable "Separation" and set the spinner to a higher value.
In the "Orientation" rollout, make sure the "Align To Surface Normal" option is selected, under the "Z-Axis" group.
To use the freehand paint tool, you must work from one of the orthographic viewports such as "Top" or "Front". You can also change the "Perspective" viewport to an "Ortigraphic" one, by pressing the 'U' key on the keyboard.
With everything in place, you can now paint the condensation water drops. Click the "FreeHand Paint" button and drag a few strokes over the "can_body" object.
In the "Editing" rollout, you can select individual particles or painted strokes, and delete them.
Once you have painted the particles, you can switch to "Perspective" viewport, by pressing the 'P' key on the keyboard. Select the "PF Source" particle system and open the Particle View window. In the "Birth Paint 001" rollout, select the "Particle Paint 001" helper.
Now we must assign the "Water drop" shape to our particles. Add a "Shape Instance" operator to "Event 001". In the "Shape Instance 001" rollout, select the "Water drop" object.
You can change the particle size and add scale variations by adding a "Scale" operator to "Event 001".
To assign a material to the particles, add a "Material Static" operator to "Event 001". Drag the material from the "Material Editor" window to the material slot, in the "Material Static 001" rollout.
Instead of using the "Water drop" object as particle shape, you can create the condensation with the "BlobMesh" compound object. First of all, disable the "Shape Instance" operator, by clicking on the operator's icon. You can also disable or delete the "Material Static" operator.
Go to the "Command panel > Create > Compound Objects > BlobMesh", and create a "BlobMesh" object in the viewport.
With the "BlobMesh" object selected, go to the "Modify" panel. Under the "Blob Objects" group, click the "Pick" button and select the "PF Source 001" system.
Feel free to experiment with the blobmesh parameters and with the particle scaling, to get a good result.
Below you can see a quick render test of my painted condensation :) .
I hope you enjoyed part one of this tutorial! Look out for part 2 coming next week...