Particle Blazing Fire In 3DSMAX
The many steps of this tutorial have been explained in a way suitable for those who have experience in using 3ds Max - even for those who may have had some time away from using Max and have decided to go back to it! The tutorial will guide you step by step through how to cheat a particle fire that behaves like a real one. So if you haven't started your Max up yet, do so now!
From Geometry > Particle Systems > Super Spray, drag and draw a super spray emitter, as shown in Fig.01
We need now to adjust some attributes so the particles behave like fire:
From Viewport Display, choose Mesh. From Particle Quantity choose Use Total and enter 470. Under Particle Motion enter 3 for the Speed. Under Particle Timing enter -30 for Emit Start, 200 for Emit Stop, and 200 for Display Until. Under Particle Size enter 20 (Fig.02).
Still in Particle Size, enter 0 for Grow For, and enter 25 for Fade. Under Particle Type > Standard Particles, choose Facing. You will have now a similar emitter to the one shown in Fig.03.
Before we have the emitter ready to apply a material, we need to define the spread of the particles. So go to Particle Formation, and in the upper two spinners enter 9 for the Spread (Fig.04)
Now we are ready to play with materials, so open your Material Editor.
Do not alter the default material, which in this example is Blinn. Make sure the Particle Emitter is selected, and then press the Assign Material to Selection button. Under Shader Basic Parameters choose Face Map - every particle should have its own unique map. Under Blinn Basic Parameters, press the blank slot beside Opacity, so as to choose a map for the basic opacity material for the emitter. From the Material/Map Browser, double-click on Smoke (Fig.05
In the Smoke Map Panel, under Smoke Parameters, enter 12.9 in Size, Iteration 1, Exponent 0.201, and press the Swap button. Then press Color 1 slot and enter Red 23, Green 23, Blue 23, Hue 0, Sat 0, and Value 23 (Fig.06).
Now Press Quick Render; you should have a similar image to the shown in Fig.07. This is our basic shape for the fire. The smoke map gives the advantage of being applied as one continuous image on the particles, as if the particles were a single plane, and at the same time you have the option of Face Map toggled on for the use of other maps! Still, the edges of the particles are harsh and need to be smoothed, so let's move onto the next step..
Press the Smoke map button in the upper right corner; from the Material/Map Browser double-click on Mask. Choose Keep old map as sub-map, then press OK (Fig.08).
The mask map we will apply will omit the harsh edges of every particle; the black colour that the mask map will draw around a single particle will be regarded by Max as zero opacity, and thus we will have a smoothed particle with the map shown only on the white part of the mask. An explanation is shown in Fig.09.
Under Mask Parameters Press None (beside Mask); in the Material/Map Browser double-click Gradient (Fig.10).
In the Gradient map panel, under Gradient Parameters > Gradient Type, choose Radial. Click on the Color 2 slot and change to full white; click on the Color 3 slot and change to Red 128, Green 128, Blue 128, Hue 0, Sat 0, Value 128 (Fig.11). Press Quick Render; you should have an image similar to the one shown in Fig.12 - notice how the edges are now becoming smooth!
Now go back up two levels until you are in the Default Blinn Material Panel; under Blinn Basic Parameters press the color slot besides one of the shaders - either Ambient or Diffuse if they are locked, if not just press the lock button beside them - and change to a fierier colour. Let it be orange, with Red 244, Green 176, Blue 30, Hue 29, Sat 224, Value 244 (Fig.13).
Now press Quick Render and you should have a similar image to the one shown in Fig.14.
Now we're getting to the exciting part! Our fire needs strong flames to sound realistic, so let's do it ... With a small trick our fire will blaze without even applying a glowing effect (so stay tuned for the next step!).
Still in the default Blinn material panel, press the blank button next to Diffuse Color; in the Material/Map Browser, double-click Gradient (Fig.15).
Now in the Gradient panel, under Gradient Parameters, change Color 1 to full black, Color 2 to full black, and in Color 3 enter Red 255, Green 231, Blue 80, Hue 37, Sat 175, Value 255. In Color 2 Position, enter 1 (Fig.16).
Now, if you hit Enter you will have a similar image to the one shown in Fig.17.
Now the magical trick is to play with the Output Amount, so under Output, in the Output Amount spinner, reduce it to -7.28 (Fig.18).
This negative value will make our fire glow, so what are you waiting for? Do it, and then Press Quick Render!And voila! A nice glowing, flaming fire (Fig.19)!
This second part of the tutorial will deal with animation, so our tutorial will become a realistic, live, blazing fire!
If you are still in the Gradient map panel, go up one level to the default Blinn material, press the opacity map button again to enter the Mask map panel, and then press on the Smoke map. We are going now to move the flames up so it will give the illusion of a live fire. Away from the Material Editor, down in the viewport, press the Auto Key Button to activate animation mode. A little further down, to the right of the Auto Key button, press and hold the Default In/Out Tangents for New Keys button and choose linear mode. Drag the animation bar to frame 100. Now return to the Material Editor and under Coordinates > Offset in Z axis spinner, reduce the amount to -500 (Fig.20).
Again, go back to the viewport and toggle off the animation Auto Key, then slide the animation bar back to zero. Minimize the Material Editor window. In the viewport, in the upper main menu, press Rendering > Render, or make sure the F-lock is toggled on, on your keyboard, and then press F10. The Rendering menu will appear (Fig.21). In the Rendering menu, under Common Parameters and under Time Output, choose Active Time Segment: 0 to 100, so as to render the full animation. Down under the Render Output, press the Files button, and in the Render Output File window, in the blank space for the File Name, write a name for your animation file. Below, in the Save As Type, choose AVI format. Before hitting the save button, up in the blank space for History, make sure you remember the direction to where you have saved your file (or from the Save In blank space, choose another preferable destination). Press save. In the AVI File Compression Setup window, press OK. Hit Render (Fig.22).
Be patient while Max renders the animation ... After the rendering is finished, in the render window that still appears, press the Save Bitmap button in the most upper left corner of the window; in the Browse Images for Output window, in the most down left corner of the window, press the View button and enjoy your animation!
View the final animation here: http://ladokar.googlepages.com/tutorial_01.avi
Now you may go back to your scene and play around with the parameters to achieve the result you want ... enjoy it and have fun!