3ds max: Running water and waterfall effect using particle systems

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  • Posted by: PiLe
  • Added on: 13 July 2004 15:21
  • Reads: 57489
  • Rating: 4.5
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3D Kingdom Knight Nukie has submited his first 3ds max tutorial which will teach you how to make Running water and waterfall effect using particle systems. Feel free to download .max file of this scene...

Running water and waterfall effect using particle systems
by Nukie (Martin Halbersma)

A while ago I was looking on the internet for a tutorial to create running water and to create waterfalls and I found it was hard to find one. I just couldn’t find anything good, and the very few I found didn’t gave me the result I wanted. So I decided to start playing around in max myself and after I found out how to create the effect I decided to write a tutorial about it.

This is my first tutorial I wrote, hope it can be in use for you.

I don’t point out every object and how to create etc. So I assume you know some of the basics.

Creating the base.

In perspective view create a box:

Length = 300
Width = 100
Height = 150

In front view create a cylinder:

Radius =30
Height = 400

Height doesn't really matter because we are going to boolean it out, so just make it bigger than the box. Make sure to use these coordinates as its going to make this tutorial a little more easier, X = 0,0, Y = 184,582, Z = 151,052.

Now put a noise modifier on the cylinder and use the parameters shown in pic1


Now select the box, and than select boolean (create>geometry>compound objects>Boolean). Click Pick Operand B and than select the cylinder. So that is where our river is going to flow. You should now have something as in pic2.


Next create a plane in your top view with Length = 300 and with = 90. Use these parameters to place: X = 0,0, Y = 0,0, Z = 143,3.

Create a second plane in your front view with Length = 40 and with = 90. Parameters are: X = 0,0, Y = -149,973, Z = 123,224.

Now create a third plane also in your top view with Length = 275 and width = 250. Parameters are X = 0,0, Y = 191,131, Z = 0,0.

Good, now you should have something like pic3. Lets move on. (the third plane you created should be larger than the one in this pic).


Creating the water material.

Go into the material editor by pressing "m".

Use the parameters as shown in pic4. The colors I used are for Ambient:

Red = 5 / Green = 119 / Blue = 88.

For Diffuse:

Red = 99 / Green = 161 / Blue = 141.

For the filter color in the Extended parameters rollout use:

Red = 0 / Green = 112 / Blue = 71.

The rest of the parameters as shown in pic4


Now for bump map select noise. Use those parameters as shown in pic5. Set the amount to 30%. Now click on the empty slot behind Reflection and use a falloff map. Keep the settings as they are, and put the amount on 40%.


Now put the material on the 3 planes and make a test render. It should look something as in pic6


Creating the river.

Now its time to give the river some motion. For this we are going to use particle systems. You can find those by create>geometry>particle systems.

We are going to use a Spray particle system which we are going to create at the end of the river (not the side where the waterfall is going to be). Create in your front view port.

Width = 60, Length = 3. Place at X = 1,193, Y = 149,345, Z = 142,156.

Because the particles now will be sprayed to the wrong direction we have to turn it 180 degrees. Easiest way to do this is to select your front view port and select the "Select and rotate" button on top of your screen, than right click it and type "180" behind the "Z". Be sure you have the spray selected.

Apply the water material that we created before to the spray.

Enter the values as shown in pic7.

If we make a test render now we will notice that we got a nasty looking river. That's because we didn’t gave the sparks of the spray any motion. To do this select the spray, right click with you mouse and select Properties. A new window will pop-up. In the left corner at the bottom you can set Motion Blur. Use the settings as in pic8.


If we now make a test render it will look much better. However we also notice that the end of the river (near the place where the waterfall will be) does not have the wanted effect. This is because the spray doesn’t reach that far. Now to cover up this issue we can do 2 things. Increasing the speed of the spray, however this isn’t the best solution here because most probably the spray will come over the edge. The best solution I find here is to create a copy of the first spray and move it to the other side of the waterfall. You can copy by selecting the first spray, press and hold the shift button and then move the pray to the other side. This will bring up a new window if you let go of the shift and asks you to create a copy. Just press ok.

Now you have to make some changes for the copy. Next thing is to move the spray to the right position. Well the X and Z axis already have the right coordinates, only for the Y axis you have to put -43,858. Also change the speed from 20 to 9,5.

Now create another spray for the water bellow. With = 250 and Length = 3. Positions are X = 0,0. Y = -54,535, Z = -1,178. Rotate It 180 degrees. Apply blur to it the same way as above. Enter the values as above, however set the Render count to 20000 and the speed to 20. Create a copy and position it X =0,0, Y = -223,552, Z = -1,178 and put the speed to 10.

If you now make a test render you would have something similar to pic9


Creating the waterfall.

Now its time to create a waterfall. First thing we do here is to create a snow particle system. (be sure to choose snow and not spray).

Create it with Length = 15 and Width = 40. Position it X = -0,671, Y = -146,82, Z = 140,07. The snow also sprays the opposite direction so rotate it 180 degrees. Use the settings as in pic10. Also give it a motion blur of 1,5 (remember you can do this in the properties menu of the snow system.)


Because we want our waterfall to fall down and not to go straight forward we bind the snow to gravity. To do this go to create>Space warps>forces>gravity. You can create the gravity where ever you want and size it the way you want. Only thing important is that the arrow is pointing down.

Now select the snow system and click this button a You can find on top of your screen. Than click the snow system, hold down the mouse button and drag it to the gravity system. That’s it.

Now give the gravity a strength of 10 and you will see the snow sparks falling down.

Now a material for the waterfall. Waterfall’s often look white, so we want to give the waterfall a white look.

Open the material editor and put these settings (pic11 and pic12) in a new slot and put it on the waterfall.


Finally we want to give it a more realistic look. We can do this by binding the waterfall to a deflector, so the water is scattered around as it should be.

You can find the deflector by create>space warps>deflectors>deflector.

Create it with Width = 250 and Length = 275. Now place it on the same position as you have done with the third plane so it will fit exactly on the plane. Use the parameters as in pic13. Be sure to bind the snow to the deflector.


So thats it. Your animation should look something like the one in pic14.

Good job. Remember that every value you enter depends on the size of the object. You can increase and decrease values to create differed effects. Just be creative and play around.

Pic14 (Animation by Sin-D)

To download this .max file, please Click Here!

This tutorial was written by 3D Kingdom Knight Nukie!

Comments Login to comment »

  • gxman06 (over 7 years ago):

    good~ thanks