MATERIAL EFFECTORS IN ANIMATION:MASTER '99
by
Jeff Paries

A popular and often seen effect in television and movies is that of a spaceship or some other object being hit by weapons fire, then a hole appearing and burning an opening into the object.
An effect such as this is easily created in Animation:Master '99 using material effectors. A material effector works by using a material that has been applied to an effector shape. Normally, a material effector is not visible when rendered. However, whenever the effector intersects another object, the effectors material appears on the surface of the object being intersected.

The following tutorial describes how to disintegrate a simple sphere object with a material effector.

THE MATERIAL

The material for the burn effector is the most important part of this effect. This is the material that will make the object look as though it is burning. For clarity, the actual default names of the material nodes are used (Gradient, Gradient2, etc....).

From Tools/Options, select Centimeters on the Units tab.

Begin by creating a new material in Animation:Master, then right click the Attribute node and select Change Type To > Combiner > Gradient.

Right click the Attribute node in the Gradient material and select Change Type To > Combiner > Gradient.

Right click the Gradient node and select Add Turbulence > Fractal Sum.

Right click the Gradient2 node and select Add Turbulence > Fractal Sum.

The basic structure for the material is now in place.

Select the Gradient node by clicking on it, and on the General tab of the Properties Panel, change the X Start Pos to 2.5. Enter 0 into all of the other fields on this panel.

Select the Gradient2 node by clicking on it, and on the General tab of the Properties Panel, change the X Start Pos to 5, and the X End Pos to 2.5.

Select the Attribute node by clicking on it. On the Color tab of the Properties Panel, change the Diffuse color to 255, 128, 0. Enter 100 into the Ambiance field. On the Raytrace tab, enter 100 into the Transparency field. Click in the "Override Base Attribute" and "Glowing" boxes.

Select the Attribute3 node by clicking on it. On the Color tab of the Properties Panel, change the Diffuse color to 255, 128, 0. Enter 100 into the Ambiance field. On the Raytrace tab, click in the "Override Base Attribute" and "Glowing" boxes.

Select the Fractal Sum node by clicking on it. Enter 1000 into the X, Y, Z Scale fields, and 1000 into the Amplitude field. Select the Fractal Sum tab of the Properties Panel, and enter 4 into the Octaves field.

In the material, Attribute2 is left as is. This causes this attributes settings to "drop through" and be pulled from the base attribute settings on the model. This has the effect of causing any part of a model that is intersected by this attribute on the material effector to retain it's normal surface (causing no change).

Select the Fractal Sum2 node by clicking on it. Enter 1000 into the X, Y, Z Scale fields, and 1000 into the Amplitude field. Select the Fractal Sum tab of the Properties Panel, and enter 4 into the Octaves field.

Figure1 shows the final material hierarchy upon completion. Name the material Burn and save the project.


Figure 1

THE MATERIAL EFFECT

Right click the Objects folder in the Project Workspace and select New > Material Effect.

Drag the Burn material from the Materials folder onto the newly created Material Effect object.

On the General tab of the Properties Panel, place a check in the Global Axis checkbox.

Enter 100 into the Y Aim field, and 0 into the X and Z Aim fields.

THE OBJECT

It's best to start with a simple model, until you have more of an understanding of what the effector does when used in a choreography.

Either take a moment to build a sphere, or load one from the primitives folder on the A:M99 CD.

If you so desire, any material or image maps can be applied to this model.

THE SCENE

Place the sphere object in your scene, and light it to your preference. For this example, two low intensity Sun type lights were used for the back lighting, and a single Klieg light was used as the key.

Drag and drop the Material Effector in the scene, and position it so that it partially intersects the sphere object, as shown in figure 2.


Figure 2

On frame 0, select the Shortcut to Material Effector, and enter 80 into the Distance to Falloff and 40 into the Fall-Off Softness field on the Sphere tab of the properties Panel.

On frame 120, enter 500 in the Distance to Falloff field.

Enter 0 into the Current Frame field on the Frame toolbar. Increase the intensity of the glow used in this example by clicking the "Choreography1" item in the Choreographies folder and entering 15 into the Glow Radius field, and 750 into the Glow Intensity field.

All that's left now is to render the sequence. Figure 3 shows a rendering frame 60.


Figure 3

This is a great looking effect that's easy and fast. It can be used for anything from "burning" holes in objects to an interesting cloaking effect. Experiment with it and see what kind of interesting effects you can create.


Click image to see mpeg movie of effect in action

Until next time.....

Jeff Paries is employed at Hash and is author of The Animation:Master Handbook.


The Animation:Master Handbook
by Jeff Paries