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Chapter 20. Effects: Making It Special > Creating Atmospheric Effects

Creating Atmospheric Effects

Atmospheric effects in 3ds max 7 require that you first create a Helper object called Atmospheric Apparatus, which acts as a container to hold the 3D volume effect, in this case a Fire effect, which you'll adjust to look like clouds in the scene.

Exercise 20.3: Using the Fire Effect to Simulate Clouds

Open Ch20_steam03.max from the last exercise or from the CD-ROM. Save it to your project folder with the name Ch20_steam04.max. Right-click in the Top viewport to activate it and use the middle mouse wheel to zoom out until you can see the outline of the runway.

On the Create panel, Helpers category, click the drop-down arrow beside Standard and choose Atmospheric Apparatus from the list (Figure 20.10). In the Object Type rollout, click the BoxGizmo button. In the Top viewport, click near the lower-right corner of the runway and drag up and to the right to make a large square. Release the left mouse button and click to set the height (Figure 20.11). The exact size of the Box gizmo is not important; you will set the size in the next step.

Figure 20.10. The Atmospheric Apparatus gizmo can be found in the Helpers category.

Figure 20.11. Create a Box gizmo in the Top viewport to act as a container for the clouds.

On the Modify panel, Box Gizmo Parameters rollout, enter 500 in the Length and Width fields, 50 in the Height field, and press Enter. Click the Select and Move button on the main toolbar and zoom out in the Front viewport so that you can see the Move Transform gizmo, and move the atmospheric Box gizmo with the Y-axis restrict arrow until the bottom of the Box gizmo is just above the top of the flagpole (Figure 20.12).

Figure 20.12. The bottom of the clouds will be just above the top of the flagpole in the scene.

On the Modify panel, Atmospheres & Effects rollout, click the Add button. Select Fire Effect from the list in the Add Atmosphere dialog. Highlight Fire Effect on the panel and click the Setup button at the bottom of the Atmospheres & Effects rollout to open the Environment and Effects dialog. In the Fire Effect Parameters rollout, notice that BoxGizmo01 is listed as the active gizmo (Figure 20.13). Render the Camera02 viewport. You'll see a large orange-and-white flame in the sky that needs to be adjusted to look like clouds.

Figure 20.13. You can add an effect directly to a gizmo from the Modify panel.

In the Environment and Effects dialog, Fire Effect Parameters rollout, change the Inner Color swatch to pure white and the Outer Color swatch to a light bluish-gray—the exact color is up to you. In the Shape section, enter 0.2 in the Stretch field and 0.5 in the Regularity field and press Enter. In the Characteristics section, enter 750 in the Flame Size field and 2.0 in the Density field and press Enter (Figure 20.14).

Figure 20.14. The color and the size of the Fire effect must be adjusted to provide a billowing white cloud. The Stretch and Regularity settings adjust the type of cloud, while the Density makes it thinner.

Render the Camera02 viewport, and you'll see a large white cloud spread out behind the flag and airplane (Figure 20.15). Experiment with some of the Fire Effect parameters for different cloud types. Close all windows and dialogs and save the file; it should already be called Ch20_steam04.max.

Figure 20.15. The new 3D cloud is relatively convincing and can easily be changed to represent a variety of cloud types.



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