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BUBBLES by Erik Borzi

If you ever need to create bubbles for an animation, and would like to do it without spending a fortune on a plug-in that will animate hundreds of spheres that are texture mapped - then this tutorial will be a sound solution. 3D Studio Max has many powerful tools, that when used correctly will give surprising results. For this tutorial, I'll show you how to use the snow particle generator and a simple texture map to create convincing bubbles.

Image-maybe corrupt I am assuming that you know how to use particles, space warp modifiers, and the material editor. Lets begin by creating a Snow particle emitter. It would be best for this example to copy the settings from the settings in (fig 1). Set the emitter at the center of the world and point it upwards. Note that the "Render:" is set to "Facing" instead of the default "Six Point." Facing particles work best when rendered with a Camera, or a Perspective viewport.

Make a copy of this emitter by shift+left clicking on it - rotate it from the top viewport about 45°. This is so that we can get a random set of particles without changing the parameters too drastically. The only settings you need to change are the render count (change 300 to 400), flake size (change 3.0 to 1.5), the speed (change 2.0 to 2.3), variation (5.0 to 7.0), and leave all the other settings the same. Notice that the timing is set to: Start = -200, Life = 200 at constant, this will create a looping cycle for the particles. Now we need to create our texture for the particles. Facing particles are basically a square shaped polygon. I created a 200 x 200 spherical bubble map using a paint program. It's important that you have an alpha channel so that the edges are invisible when the texture is rendered, that way, all you see is the bubble. See (fig 2) for the texture map, and the mask. Once you have created the texture, go into the material editor and place the texture into Diffuse using a bitmap browser. Copy this into Opacity by dragging and dropping into the Opacity box. Be sure to set the mono-channel output to Alpha. This will ensure the edges are invisible.


Figure 1



Figure 2



Figure 3

Next we need to throw some life into these bubbles so that when they move, they will wobble. With a fancy and expensive particle generator we could apply a noise, wave, or ripple space warp modifier to the sphere and get similar results. Apply Noise to Bump, and set the value for the noise Size to 30, set it from Regular to Turbulence, and animate the Phase from 0 to 1.0 over 100 frames.

Finally, all we need to do now is to add a Wind space warp modifier so that the particles will swirl, and wander about as if they were raising through turbulent water. See (fig 3) for positioning of the wind space warp modifier. Using Bind to Space Warp, link the Wind space warp to both particle generators, one at a time. The settings for the Wind space warp should be: strength 1.0, decay 0, planar, turbulence 0.44, frequency 0.43, scale 1.0. Experiment with the Wind space warp modifier by animating it from left to right gradually to get varied motion.

Now you are almost ready to render. For a finishing touch, I added a gradient background using similar color values from the bubble. At this point you can do what you would like so that the bubbles merge in with your scene. You may want to use motion blur, which adds realism to the motion of the bubbles. Render away...

All rights reserved. No part of this tutorial may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from CELEFEX ANIMATION, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review with credit to CELEFEX ANIMATION, and respective authors. © 1998 CELEFEX


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