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Animated Scale of the Universe
show user profile  cbflex
I am interested in making an animation of the scale of the Universe and I'd like any advice I can get for the project before I start it.
I want to start at the Plank Scale, and zoom out all the way, where we are now in a living human cell. And keep zooming out, to where we see the Humans Face or Eye... And keep zooming out, till we pass through Earths Atmosphere, and beyond to the biggest Stars, the biggest Galaxies, And eventually to my artistic interpretation of the edge of the Universe.

I was thinking of taking it further like past the edge where we enter different dimensions but that might get crazy.

I'd like to get all this done in 3Ds Max using Vray, and get everything to be as photo-realistic as possible.
I remeber not long ago, I tried an experiment in 3ds Max, where I tried to model our Solar System to scale. I'm always oblivious to how far away and how big the sun is in refference to the Earth. It did in fact work, but was not fun to work with, and I was actually reaching the technical limits of 3ds Max
Any suggestions?
read 847 times
8/29/2014 5:15:43 PM (last edit: 8/29/2014 5:15:43 PM)
show user profile  9krausec
I'd use google maps images in after effects for part of this. Actually...
http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorial/earth_zoom/




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read 840 times
8/29/2014 5:48:48 PM (last edit: 8/29/2014 5:48:48 PM)
show user profile  debodeebs
cg cookies do a good human cells tutorial too using 3ds max and vray
read 835 times
8/29/2014 7:07:53 PM (last edit: 8/29/2014 7:07:53 PM)
show user profile  3Ddeath
I made a real world scale of the solar system in 3dsmax aswell, the fly thru from pluto to the sun, it was so boring... 5mins of nothing and than 3 frames of planet, than repeat...

Because of this you'll need to throw in warp drive here and there, this allows you to use effect effects or nuke magic in those transitions.

Personally I would just move the camera back, place planets / galaxies at various points than the inbetween time u do some warp drive mechanic and nobody knows the distance isn't realistic.

Also this might help http://en.spaceengine.org/

3d universe program.


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read 831 times
8/29/2014 8:00:03 PM (last edit: 8/29/2014 8:00:03 PM)
show user profile  Error404
yea, you're gonna have to fake alot of things to actually get it to work and look good. You're talking about distances and scales that are enormous.

www.DanielBuck.net - www.DNSFail.com

read 825 times
8/29/2014 8:58:32 PM (last edit: 8/29/2014 8:58:32 PM)
show user profile  cbflex
That's an excellent video. I had thought about doing something like that in After Effects...
My only issue with After Effects, is that it's not really 3D.
I do realize that for such a project that changes the POV's scale to just extreme levels would probably require a bunch of different 3Ds Max Scenes, that I would then composite together in After Effects.

One issue for me was always creating realistic clouds in 3D.
I've been doing a lot of studying on how light affects clouds and my own experimentation at trying this with just 3ds max and vray with no plugins.
I tried a variety of things.
First I tried actually modelling the clouds, and then applying different textures to make them use subsurface scattering or sorts.
So I tried the Fast SSS and Fast SSS2 maps. Didn't look good at all.
Next I tried using Vray Mtl and playing with the opacity maps, refraction maps and even the translucency...
Nothing that I was doing was working. It seemed to me that I was either looking at clouds the wrong way or that I was pushing the limits of Vray.

So then I decided to try to create the clouds with Vray Environment Fog. I created a sphere around and Earth, and disabled it from being renderable. I applied the noise map to the fog density and color map slots and it looked pretty cool honestly. However if we're talking about the clouds of earth where you could see storm formations and all sorts of different clouds everywhere based on wind direction and eveyrthing else, it looks much different than what the noise map has to offer.
I was looking at all the other available maps to see if I could create an interesting chain of maps that worked together to form a close representation of earths clouds, but it didn't end up working out.

The last thing I tried was taking a high def image of earth's clouds and applying it to a displacement modifier on an extremely high polygonal sphere. Next I tried extruding it out and creating a boolean out of it so we had a 3D representation of just the cloud layer.
After smoothing it out and playing with it, it honestly didn't look too bad.
Then I applied the vray environmental fog to the displaced boolean, and it still looked like crap.
Idk if I'm doing something wrong, but I think that there must be some more properties about clouds that vray isn't calculating correctly. Perhaps, the difference in the composition of the cloud, how much water it has in it comparing to other greenhouse gases.

The only real solution for clouds and planetary clouds for vray that I've found is to use Vue Xstream.
read 823 times
8/29/2014 9:18:59 PM (last edit: 8/29/2014 9:18:59 PM)
show user profile  ScotlandDave
I don`t mean to whizzle on your fizzle manizzle but what you are talking about is rather ambitious tbh, especially if you are going to the detail of clouds etc. I think wayyyy before you start thinking about volumetrics, sss and how to make a cloud you should be making decisions about the bigger picture and how you plan on presenting the entire thing, which details to show and which not, how to represent different objects and how to represent scale in a reasonable way etc etc..

I take it you`ve seen this - http://htwins.net/scale/




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read 807 times
8/30/2014 12:17:58 AM (last edit: 8/30/2014 12:17:58 AM)
show user profile  Mr_Stabby
afaik, max uses single precision values, whatever the unit. This means you have ~7 decimals of precision to work with in one scene, the errors start appearing as soon as you hit 3 decimals but are insignificant at first, they will be unbearable after 7 decimals though, the effect visualized would be non-linear and jerky motion, some things might not move at all, etc.

8 numbers is not much, if you center your scale on 1 meter, the smallest size you'd be able to show would be 10 micrometers (the size of a white blood cell) and the largest would be 100 gigameters (the size of saturn)

You'd have to break it up but between planck length and the size of the observable universe is 61 zeros so you have you're work cut out for you.

Meanwhile, modern 3d software like say houdini use double precision which can easily fit the that kind of zooming in it 10 times over.

read 800 times
8/30/2014 4:27:18 AM (last edit: 8/30/2014 4:27:18 AM)
show user profile  Cloak
As Stabby says, you're going to have to do some magic voodoo with scale interactively, or do it in multiple passes and then composite in... After effects. So you're never going to get this to work out of the box in one go.

Take a look at a product called Universe Sandbox - a friend develops this; he has to do some crazy things to get all these variously-scaled parts - tiny comets, gas giants, nebula and galaxies - into the runtime and playing nicely - there are limitations to how far you can scale things.

read 781 times
8/31/2014 11:53:25 PM (last edit: 8/31/2014 11:53:25 PM)
show user profile  Nik Clark
I made a scale model of the solar system in Max a while back. As soon as you've done a "zoom extents", you can't see anything at all. It's all so small and far apart.


Click here to send me an emailClick here to visit my websiteClick here to visit my photo gallery on Flickr

read 778 times
9/1/2014 9:43:49 AM (last edit: 9/1/2014 9:43:49 AM)
show user profile  cbflex
I saw a video that was made with VueXstream, where the showed the camera move from Space, to earth, through the clouds, through the sky, over a forest, down to the ground.

The cool part was that they didn't use any after effects tricks such as flying through a cloud, which is really just a neat way of transitioning to the next CG scene.

Instead, when you were in space, you would see the clouds over earth moving with the atmosphere, storms forming, etc...
And as you move closer to earth, they became more and more detailed, till your right next to them. And these clouds were 3 dimensional, meaning, they weren't just an image that you fly through with motion blur, but they were actual volumetrics surrounding a rocky planet.

I am starting to understand that I might need to cope with the limitations of 3ds Max.

The following video is some of the work I've done, really pushing the limits of 3ds Max, the use of clouds, and scales of space.
https://vimeo.com/94722126
The opening shot is when I was messing around my first time with just the scale of our solar system.
Back when I was working on it, I tried making it "physically accurate" seeing as CG artists, we try to make everything as physically accurate as possible.
The problem that I encountered then was obviously the scale of our Universe...
The size of the sun, our planets, especially the sheer difference in size between Earth, the Sun, Jupiter and the moon, including how much space is in between each of the objects... it's obvious why people can't see the other celestial objects in our solar system so clearly with the naked eye.
As big as they are, they are also far away. it's actually pretty amazing and at the same time expected, that the Sun, as humungous as it is, has the power to hold onto planets SO far away...
When I first modeled the solar system to scale, using actual realistic numbers in terms of how many lumens the sun emits and such details, it actually worked (not without some bugs and slow run time)...
So I brought the planets much closer together and made an artistic representation...
And even when I did that, I kept encountering more problems.
I wanted to show an animation of us flying to Saturn's rings, where from far away they look like these amazing celestial rings, but up close are just dirty ice rocks... and that there's billions of them..
So to make that transition of scale, I did actually use 2 different 3ds max scenes and made a crossfade transition to show the increase in LOD.

The animation that follows that, I was playing with vray environment fog to make realistic clouds. I think it worked out pretty well, considering how much time I spent studying clouds and how to work with vray.

I did notice however that vray fog still has it's limitations.
It just doesn't look quite like clouds. Maybe it's due to the type of 3d maps available to apply to the fog.
And like I stated before. I tried using these methods to make clouds over an entire planet just didn't look real enough because of how many different types of cloud formatinos there are over a planet.


The example below is the LOD I want to accomplish.

Is this possible in 3ds max using vray or would I definately need compositing, and a bunch of other programs, in particular, VuaXstream?



read 698 times
9/8/2014 5:25:49 PM (last edit: 9/8/2014 5:29:18 PM)
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