Cheating a Particle Blazing Fire in 3DS MAX !

By Ghassan Lafi   




Many steps in this tutorial are explained in a way suitable for those who have faced a stranding period away from Max, then they decided to go back.


This tutorial will guide you step by step to cheat a particle fire that behaves like a real one, so if you haven't started your Max it's better to do now !





Part 1


1.      From Geometry – Particle Systems – Super Spray , drag and draw a super spray emitter like the picture below.









We need now to adjust some attributes so the particles behave like fire:


2.      From Viewport Display, choose Mesh. From Particle Quantity choose Use Total and enter 470, Under Particle Motion, enter 3 in Speed. Under Particle Timing, enter -30 in Emit Start, 200 in Emit Stop, and 200 in Display Until. Under Particle Size enter 20.









3.      Still in Particle Size, in Grow For enter 0, in Fade For enter 25. Now under Particle Type – Standard Particles, choose Facing. You will have now a similar emitter to the one shown in the picture below.








4.      Before we have the emitter ready to apply material, we need to define the spread of the particles. So go up to Particle Formation, in the upper two spinners, enter 9 in Spread.










Now we are ready to play with materials, so open your Material Editor.



5.      Do not alter the default material which is in our example Blinn. Make sure the Particle Emitter is selected, then press the Assign Material to Selection button. Under Shader Basic Parameters choose Face Map, so every particle should have it's unique map. Under Blinn Basic Parameters, press the blank slot beside Opacity, so to choose a map for the basic opacity material for the emitter. From the Material /Map Browser double click on Smoke.










6.      In Smoke Map Panel, under Smoke Parameters, enter 12.9 in Size, Iteration 1, Exponent 0.201, and press Swap button. Then press Color 1 slot, and enter Red 23, Green 23, Blue 23, Hue 0, Sat 0, and Value 23.










- Now Press Quick Render, you should have a similar image to the one below. This is our basic shape of the fire. The smoke map gives the advantage of being applied as a one continuous image on the particles, as if the particles where a single plane,  and in 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 move to next step.










7.      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.










- The mask map we will apply will omit the harsh edges of every particle, the black color 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 mask. An explanation is drawn bellow.








8.      Under Mask Parameters Press the None button beside Mask, in the Material/ Map Browser double click Gradient.











9.      In the Gradient map panel, under Gradient Parameters – Gradient Type, choose Radial. Press on Color 2 slot and change to full white, press on Color 3 slot and change to Red 128, Green 128, Blue 128, Hue 0, Sat 0, Value 128.











- Press Quick Render, you shoud have an image similar to the one below, notice how the edges are now becoming smooth.









10.   Now go back two levels up until you are on the Default Blinn Material Panel, under Blinn Basic Parameters, press the color slot beside 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 more fiery color, let it be orange with Red 244, Green 176, Blue 30, Hue 29, Sat 224, Value 244.











- Now press Quick Render you should have a similar image to the one below.










-          Now we get to the exciting part, our fire needs strong flames to sound realistic, so let's do it… By a small trick our fire will blaze without even applying glow effect, so stay tuned for the next step !


11.  Still on the default Blinn material panel, press the blank button next to Diffuse Color, in the Material\ Map Browser double click Gradient.










12.  Now in the Gradient panel, under Gradient Parameters, change Color1 to full black, Color2 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.










-          Now if you hit enter you will have a similar image to the one below.










13.  Now the magical trick is to play with the Output Amount, so under Output, in the Output Amount spinner reduce to -7.28

This negative value will glow up the fire, so what are you waiting for ! Do it, then Press quick render!










Vwala !

A glowing nice flaming fire !












Part 2


-          This part will deal with animation, so our tutorial will end into a realistic live blazing fire !



1.      If you are still on the Gradient map panel, go up one level to the default Blinn material, then press again the opacity map button to enter the Mask map panel, then press on 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 Auto Key Button to activate animation mode. A little bit down to the right of the Auto Key button, press hold (Default In/Out Tangents For New Keys) button, and choose linear mode. drag the animation bar until frame 100. Now return to Material Editor, Under Coordinates – Offset in Z axis spinner reduce to -500.










2.      Again back to the viewport 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 menus press Rendering – Render, or make sure the F-lock is toggled on on your keyboard, then press F10. The Rendering menu will appear.











3.      In the Rendering menu, under Common Parameters, under Time Output, choose (Active Time Segment :  0  To 100), so to render the full animation. Down under Render Output press Files button, in the Render Output File window, in the white blank for File Name, write a name for your animation file. Below in the Save as Type, choose AVI format. Before hitting save button, up in History white blank, make sure to remember the direction to which you have saved your file, or from Save In white blank choose another preferable destination. Press save. In the AVI File Compression Setup window press OK. Hit Render.











4.      Be patient while Max renders the animation…now 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 View button, and enjoy your animation !





                                                                  Download the final animation.



-          Now you may go back to your scene and play around with the parameters, to achieve the result you want…enjoy that, and have fun !