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Blinking Lights

In this tutorial I'll show you how to make lights struggle to stay on.   I assume that you know some basic knowledge of 3D Studio Max 2.5 which is the one I'm using.

Tut02Pic1.gif (344086 bytes)

1.    Lets load a new scene in max.  I created couple of boxes with some building lights textures, a level ground and a lamp for this tutorial.  I hope you can do that much else you should find another hobby if not a job.
2.    As the light bulb, I used a Capsule from the Extended Primitives option with a materiel Material Editor.jpg (6806 bytes) as follows:  Defuse Color = white, Shininess and Shin. Strength = 0 and Self Illumination = 100.
3.    Create a Target Spot light below the Capsule we just created and direct it towards the ground.  At least for this tutorial you're going to do this.
4.    Now that we have created the scene we'll make the light blink.   Open up the Track View TrackView.jpg (6438 bytes) and find the spot light's Multiplier track under the Object (Target Spot).
5.    Assign a Noise Float Controller by clicking on Assign Controller AssignCon.jpg (6258 bytes) while the Multiplier track is selected and selecting Noise Float. 
6.    Right click on Multiplier track and select Properties from the pop up menu.  There set the Strength to about 1.8 and check the box next to >0.  The Strength will randomly create a value for the Multiplier of the light which is the intensity of the light.  The checked box confines it to the positive value so that there would be some light instead of it shining black light like a black hole or something.
7.    You may also play around with the Frequency and Fractal Noise Roughness.  I chouse 0.5 for the Frequency and 0 for the Roughness with the Fractal Noise box checked.  These values should be played around with since it depends on what you're trying to create.
8.    To see what your getting while playing around without having to rendering the animation click on the Function Curves Curve.jpg (6278 bytes) to see the values for any frame.  At whatever frame the point of the curve is located that is the value of the Multiplier.
9.    Now if you render your professional animation you'll notice that the light blinks, but not the light bulb.   Select the Multiplier and Copy the Controller CopyCon.jpg (6241 bytes).  Scroll around till you find the Capsule's Self-Illum. under the Material #1.  Select the Self-Illum. and Paste the Controller PasteCon.jpg (6479 bytes).
10.    Right click on it and select Properties.  Set the Strength to about 185, but leave everything else the way it is since it should act the same way as the light.  Now you can render your animation and see what comes out.

Note1:  Play around with the values to get what you want.  The values I gave may not work well for you since each scene is different and the results may be different as well.

Note2:    Just in case you're wondering the Ramp In and Ramp Out values are used to create a ramp for the noise where the values increase to their maximum or minimum.  Well just set one of them and see what happens to your spiky curve, then you'll know what I mean.

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