Leaves Blowing in the Wind – 3DS Max

This tutorial fakes an otherwise difficult PF workflow using 3DS Max’s Foliage object. It also covers the creation of some simple bitmap textures in Photoshop or any other image editor. The animation you’ll create will be lightning fast to render and easy to incorporate into any scene. We also provide the completed scene (see the end of the tutorial).

The Result

1/5 The Scene


First, we need to set mental ray as the default renderer. Open 3DS Max’s Render Setup {Render setup} window {“F10”}, click the common tab, scroll down to the Assign Renderer tab and set mental ray as the default production renderer.
Leaves Blowing in the Wind - mental ray
Now, for a quick lighting system, go to the Systems {Systems Icon} tab and place a Daylight system in your scene.
Leaves Blowing in the Wind - Daylight
Click the Modify tab {3DS Max Modify Tab} and set the Daylight’s Sunlight to mr Sun and the Sky to mr Sky
Leaves Blowing in the Wind - Daylight Settings

2/5 The Leaves

As we’ve stated earlier, click 3DS Max’s Geometry icon {Geometry tab}, click the drop-down and select the  AEC Extended entry. Click the Foliage entry and place a Banyan Tree.
Leaves Blowing in the Wind - Foliage
With the Banyan tree still selected, click 3DS Max’s Modify Tab {3DS Max Modify Tab} and set the:

» Height to 200
» the leaf Density to 0.015
» the Pruning to 0.3
» Un-check the Trunk, Branches and Roots boxes

Leaves Blowing in the Wind - Foliage Settings
Switch to the Top view and create a camera. Remember that we’ll be animating the leaves by draging them on the Y axis only.
Leaves Blowing in the Wind - place camera

3/5 The Textures

To get the Foliage’s texture to look somewhat decent, we’ll need to create our own texture maps for it. Since the leaves are simple planes, this will be an easy task.

Open the Material Editor {Material Editor Icon}  {“M”} and select and empty slot. Click the Standard button and scroll down to the Scene Materials tab. Double click the BasicBanyan material.
Leaves Blowing in the Wind - Banyan material
The Foliage object is set-up for easy texturing and uses 3DS Max’s Multi/Sub-Object material. Click the Leaves material (num. 5) and take a minute to understand how it works. The material couldn’t be more simple. It uses an opacity mask for the leaf shape and a green color for the texture.
Leaves Blowing in the Wind - Leaf Material

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Born from an unhealthy cross-over between a rat and a pet hamster. Likes cheese, and chewing his way through virtual cardboard walls.

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Tudor:

Programmer and 3D enthusiast. Teaches web design, builds games and maintains this site in his spare time.

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Iulian:

2D/ 3D artist. Loves game& product art.

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Vlad:

2D/ 3D artist. Works as a print designer and does 3D art in his spare time.

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