3DS Max Tutorials For Beginners

3DS Max Tutorials - MassFX Modifier

by Wendy Huther

Introduction To MassFX Modifier

In this introduction tutorial we will learn how to use the MassFX modifier in to animate objects and have them settle in an other object in shape of a bowl. We will create a few objects first using a spline and standard primitives, we will apply a lathe, turbosmooth, FFD 4x4x4 modifiers, also we will add materials, a lighting setup, and a camera to complete our simulation. Enjoy!

massFX 01

Step 1.

Let's start!

Open 3ds Max, start with a new page and save it in your scenes folder.

Step 2.

Before we start this introduction tutorial, we need to set our System Unit Setup to centimeters. We can do that by going to the main toolbar

– Customize

– Units Setup

in the Units Setup dialog under Display Unit Scale – choose Metric – Centimeters, then press OK.

units setup

Step 3.

We will start by creating a simple scene, so let's go over to the Create panel

- Geometry, and choose a Sphere from Standard primitives.

Click and drag the sphere in the Top viewport. Go back to the modify panel and set the parameters to: radius = 7 cm, segments = 18. You can also change the name to Egg.

spline sphere

Step 4.

Press Z on the keyboard to zoom in. We can add a FFD 4x4x4 modifier to help us model the oval shape we are looking for. So on the modify list choose FFD 4x4x4 modifier, expand the list and choose Control Points. We can use the Select and Scale tool to scale the top and bottom rows of the Control Points, also with the Select and Move tool we can slide the rows of points up or down to create an oval shape.


Step 5.

Once we are happy with our shape we can go back to the modify list and add a TurboSmooth modifier.

turbosmooth modifier

Step 6.

Right click the sphere, and from the transform menu – Convert To: - Convert to Editable Poly.

editable poly

Step 7.

We need to set the Hierarchy of the object so we can rotate and manipulate it. Let's go to Hierarchy – Pivot, press to turn on Affect Pivot Only, then scroll down to Alignment and press Center To Object. This will position the Pivot to the center of the object. Then go back and repress Affect Pivot Only to turn it off.


Step 8.

That's all we need to do to create our egg, so let's move on and create a bowl shape. We are going to use the Front viewport, so click anywhere in the viewport to select it, then Alt W on the keyboard to maximize the view.

With the Select and Move tool, drag the egg up a little so we can draw the shape of the bowl underneath. Go over to the Create panel - Shapes – Spline – choose Line. We are going to start drawing out the shape from the center, so with the Line selected, click once to drop the first vertex, then drag the line to the side (hold the shift key down to create a straight line) clicking to drop the other vertices in the same position as the image. Right click after you place the last vertex to finish the line.

close spline

Step 9.

Go over to the Modify panel, Line – choose Vertex mode - scroll down under Geometry, we can see there are a few tools we can use to change the shape of our vertices, we will just use a simple tool to create some smooth corners.Turn on the Fillet tool and select the top two vertices, notice a small icon appears when we click on the vertices, drag the cursor slightly to the side, the original vertex disappears and we will have two vertices and a smooth curve in it's place. We wil also use the Fillet tool for the vertices at the base of the bowl. We can also smooth the other two vertices on the side, so to do that, right click on the vertex and in the menu - Tools1 choose Smooth. Feel free to use the Bevel tool if you prefer.

fillet tool

Step 10.

We can now go to the Modify list and add a Lathe modifier to our line. We can set the Parameters to: Turn on – Weld Core, Segments = 24, Direction = Y, Align = press Min. Also change the name to Bowl.

Now let's have a look at the size of our bowl, if we think it looks to big, we can go back into the modifier stack, select Line – Vertex and alter the vertices if we need to make any adjustments.

lathe modifier

Step 11.

We will now add a TurboSmooth modifier to our shape, so go back to modify list and add TurboSmooth.

turbosmooth bowl

Step 12.

Right click on the bowl and in the Transform menu - Covert to: - Choose Convert To Editable Poly

bowl finish

Step 13.

As this is only going to be a simple scene we will use a plane for the background, go to the Geometry panel – Standard Primitives – Plane. In the perspective viewport we can click and drag a plane across the grid. In the parameters Length and Width set to 1000 cm , Length and Width segs. set to 1

spline plane

Step 14.

We will need a light, so go to Lights – Standard – Skylight. In the Top viewport click to drop a Skylight in the scene. Don't worry where you place the light. Go over to the Light modifier and set the Multiplier to 1,5. Right click anywhere in your scene to turn off the light creator.


Step 15.

Click in the Perspective viewport to activate it, then go to Views in the main toolbar, and from the menu choose Create Camera From View, or just click Ctrl C. We have now created a camera view from our perspective viewport.

create camera

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