Linghtning with 3DS MAX
Tutorial part
Making some lightning can be usefull for simulate storm, electric arc,... Shure you can also add some spark, smoke, rain and a lot of things for a more ralistic effet.

For make this lightning you'll need the Lightning Digimation Plug in and the glow Video post plug in.

With association of these two plug in we can create this picture.

You can see a short GIF loop animation if you click on the picture (126 Kb).

Lightning and rain

Creation of the lightning

Where it is

1 - The lightning is a real polygon shape that you can see in your viewport, so it's cool to see the knid of shape and movement it does. Start by creat two small cubes, they will define the emiter and the receptor of the lightling, this feature is very nice because it let you place exactely where you want your lightning.

You'll find the lightning plug in in the usual shape creation place, the icon is just a schematic lighning and work as the particules.

In the viewport

2 - . Just click where you want to place the lighning icon, the place you choose isn't important at all and won't affect the picture.

At the top of the parameters choose the "pick object" mode creation, then go on "Source" and "Target" button and each cube, so , sure it's better to name these cubes "Emitter" and "Target" this is more usefull when you work with MAX for hide display and all others stuff about the names of objects.

At this time you should be able to see one lighning as in this picture beside.

Lightning Setting

3 - At the top, here is my parameters. Click also the "fork" button just under these setting.

The "Bolt Thickness" parameter is very important, the value depend of the distance between the lightning and the camera. It's important here to make a few setting and render the scene, don't render the scene in a lower resolution than your final animation.

As in all old IPAS and actual plug ins the "Seed" button isn't usefull at all, it's just a random value for the shape of the lightning, anyway the lightning will move during the animation so if you'v time to loose you can spend all the night to click on this button you'll get each time a different lightning.

Segments 4 - In the "Arc Chaos" value of X, Y, Z set 50,0 for each axe.

The "icon size" is just for working in the workspace. "Viewport activation" and "Render activation" are the thing to click on for unable or disable the lightning during the animation, it's better to set the both together at the same time, this way the feedback of the wireframe will be near you rendering. The lightning icon will stay visible.

The number of segments depend of want you want, I personnaly prefer with a low number and find it more realistic, in fact that depend of the kind of lightning of the scene, it's probably better to increase this value for an electric arc effect.

Bitmap displacement

5 - The next setting depend of your personnal preferences, and you can change them and see the result in real time.

At the end, I check the "Display Subforks" option, a "start angle" of "0" and a "range" of "72" for the "Circular sweep".

For "circular descend" : "Start angle = 10" and "Range = 27".

2 pictures animated

2 pictures animated

7 - At this time we get something like this picture beside.

So for a better effet it is necessary to add one glow on the lightnig.

Go to the Video Post and add the scene and the glow effet with these icon: 2 pictures animatedYou shoul get the right order if you want to save you animation (or picture) with the glow effect, this order tend to confuse. So here is it:

2 pictures animatedThe material of the lighning is a white 100% self illumination on the Canal 1

The glow parameters are: "Canal Effect material= 1" "Color on user" Color= R=87, G=97, B=229, Size=8

The size of the glow is an important parameter and depend of the resolution of the rendering.

So the lighting is now ready.

I've just add a background and two particles system for the rain.

This picture is the front viewport and the blue object is the camera. You can see the red and green particles which have differents sizes and materials for a better result

Textures to The Max

Renaud DELCUZE ©Alliance Production 1999       Rhino/Max 3D House
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