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Spiral Galaxy

This tutorial will demonstrate how to create a spiral galaxy using basic particle sprays and some glow effects.

Tut04Pic01.jpg (81128 bytes)

1.    By now you should know that you need max to be loaded in order to begin.
2.    In the front view create a particle spray.  You can find it in the Create Create.jpg (6023 bytes) panel under objects and select Particles Systems from the pull down menu just bellow the object button.  Make sure that the pivot point is in the very center.  Click on Move Move.jpg (6203 bytes) button and while having the spray selected right click on the button.  In the window that pops up set all values to 0.
3.    In the Modify Modifier.jpg (6306 bytes) panel set the values for the spray as follows:  Viewpoint Count: 100, Render Count: 1000, Drop Size: 15, Speed: 2, Variation: 0, Render: Tetrahedron, Start: -200, Life: 200, Constant, Emitter Width: 30, Length: 10.  The drop size may be changed if the particles are too big or too small.   We set the start to -200 because we are going to make our galaxy spin and we need the spiral effect.
4.    Click the Animate Animate.jpg (6986 bytes) button and set the value of frames to 100.  That would be the end of you animation assuming that you started with 100 frames.  Now in the Top View port rotate Rotate.jpg (6393 bytes) the spray 90 degrees.  Turn off the animation button.  Now you have your first spiral.
5.    Right click with your mouse on the spray or it's particles and select properties from the menu.  Set the Object Channel to 1.   This will identify the particles when we want to apply a glow to it.  Your image should look like the one bellow.
Tut04Pic02.jpg (30096 bytes)
6.    Now for the complicated part.  Open Track View TrackView.jpg (6438 bytes) and locate the spray.  We are going to move the transform track to the left.   That will make it begin the animation before the first frame so that when you render the first frame it will look like a spiral rather then a line of particles.  Move the black line to the left so that it's last point is just before the first frame and that it is entirely in the dark gray area.  The image bellow should help.
Tut04Pic03.jpg (52685 bytes)
7.    Select the Rotation Track and change the Curve Out-of-Range LoopCon.jpg (6326 bytes) to Relative Repeat.  That will make it continue to spin in a circle forever so you can adjust the number of frames of your animation and it will not stop spinning.  Neat ey?
8.    Now we're going to array it.  Select the spray and rotate it 60 degrees while holding shift in the Top View port.  Set the number of copies to 5.  It should look like the image bellow.
Tut04Pic04.jpg (45634 bytes)
9.    Select one of the sprays and clone it, but don't move it.  Just select Clone from Edit menu.  In the Modify panel just set the Width of the Emitter to 100 and the Render Count to 500.  That will make it look more natural.  I mean stars aren't aligned in a single row.
10.    Array the spray 5 times by 60 degrees like in step 8.  You should be getting an image like bellow.
Tut04Pic05.jpg (55419 bytes)
11.    Most galaxies have a dense center so we are going to create a yellow center.  In the top view port create a PCloud and position it in the center.  Set the parameters as follows:  Particle Formation: Sphere Emitter,  Rad/Len: 55,  Use Rate: 600,  Display Until & Life: "the length of you animation,"  Size: 2.  Leave everything else as it is.
12.    In the Front View port scale down the emitter along the y axis using a Non-Uniform Scale NonUniformScale.jpg (6182 bytes).  It should look like the image bellow.  Also right click on the emitter and select properties.  Set the Object Channel to 2.
Tut04Pic06.jpg (35597 bytes)
13.    Open Material Editor MaterialEditor.jpg (6806 bytes) and change the defuse color to light blue such as: R = 0, G = 126, B = 255.  Set the Shininess and Shin Strength to 0 and the Self-Illumination to 100.  Create another materiel exactly the same, but set the defuse color to light orange-yellow such as: R = 255, G = 207, B = 0.  Apply ApplyMat.jpg (6528 bytes) the blue material to all the sprays and apply the other material to the PCloud.
14.    Create a camera and position it so that it faces the galaxy.  When you render the image it should look like the one bellow.
Tut04Pic07.jpg (21386 bytes)
16.    Open up Video Post from the Render menu.  Click on Add Scene Event AddScene.jpg (6263 bytes) button and select the camera which you just created from the pull down menu.  Now click on Add Image Filter ImageFilter.jpg (6443 bytes) and select Lens Effects Glow.  This is a Max 2.5 or higher plug-in, but you still can achieve a glow effect with other plug-ins.  Click on Setup and set the following: Object ID: 1, Filter: Perimeter Alpha, Size: 3, Intensity: 50.  Click the Ok button.  Create another Lens Effects Glow filter with the following settings: Object ID: 2, Filter: All, Size: 4, Color: User: R: 255, G: 199, B: 0, Intensity: 45.
17.    Create a starfield with the following settings: Dimmest Star: 140, Star Size: 1, Motion Blur: Off,   Count: 60000.  Render the image at 400x300 resolution and you're done.
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