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Parachute dynamics in Maya tutorial

Written By Sameer T on 6/9/13 | 10:12 PM

Learn to create parachute simulation in Maya. You will learn to create a proxy setting for parachute, combining rigid body and ndynamics/ ncloth to get the stimulation. Also learn to utilize the constraints effectively.Watch the video tutorial. If you wish to read the tutorial do it.
Create a poly cube and make it centre of the grid.
Change the width, height and depth to 5.
Rename it to box.
Go to edit, delete by type and delete history. We don't need construction history for this box.
Create a polygon sphere at the centre of the grid.
Change the radius to 6.
Make 30 for both subdivision axis and height.
Rename to parachute.
Change to face selection mode and select the bottom half and delete.
Delete the history also.
Move the parachute to a considerable height.
Create a poly plane having a low width and necessary height to fit between the box and parachute.
Change the width to 0.2.
Make the height to 10.Feel free to modify these values according to your need.
Change the subdivision height to 31 and sub division width to 2.



Add it to a new group. This will fix the centre pivot at the centre of the grid.
parachuteWe need to duplicate it. Go to edit, duplicate special and change;
Number of copies to 3, rotate y = 90 degree.
Click duplicate special.
Select the resulting four planes and combine them. Go to polygon mode, mesh, combine.
Rename it to strings.
Delete the history also.
Select the parachute, box and strings and apply freeze transformations.
Change to animation menu.
Select the box, then the parachute and apply a parent constrain.
Select the box, then the strings and apply a parent constrain.
Select the box and do some rotation and transformation to check whether there is a mistake.
Select the box and transform it to a considerable height. We are going to drop the box down.
Create a poly plane and make it to the centre of the grid. This is our ground plane and the parachute will land it here safely, I hope.
Add some subdivisions and make it square.
Perfect.
Cheat Maya by renaming it to ground.
Delete the history. We are learning animation, so we don’t need to study history again and again. Just delete them!
Change to dynamics mode and turn the ground to a passive rigid body. I said dynamics, not n dynamics.
Select the box and turn it to active rigid body. If you dare change it else and make the simulation.
Add a gravity field to the box. Maya’s old dynamics menu doesn’t know there is a gravity field in earth. We need to tell her.
Play the simulation. The box will fall down and the strings and the parachute will follow the box.
The box is bouncing like a ball. We need to tell Maya again object like this will not behave like this.
Life will be very easy when Maya will do these automatically.
Hmm….then there is no need for a dynamics artist in the industry.
Select the box and reduce the bounciness to 0.1.
Select the ground and change the bounciness to 0.02.
Play again and again. Check everything is fine.
Add 0.2 damping and play again.
Select the whole parachute unit and do bake simulation. Edit, keys, bake simulation.
`Reset the settings to default. We need to bake only the y transformation. So select from channel box.
Select translate Y in channel box and click bake.
Don’t expect to get a cake. Instead you will get a lot of keys.
Check again and again. Don’t trust Maya blindly. She will cheat often especially in dynamics.
Now delete the rigid body history of box and ground. I hate history.
Delete the constraints also. We don’t need them.
Select parachute and strings, shift to n dynamics and create n cloth. This will change the selected mesh to n cloth.
It’s time for testing the simulation. Yes. Play again.
See the strings separate from the box. Stop!
We need to make them behave politely.
Select parachute and change the input mesh attract value to 2.
Play again.
Find the frame at which the box touches the ground and add a key to the input mesh attract value.
Skip some frames and decrease the value to 0 and add a key.
Play again. See now the parachute is penetrating the ground.
Make the box to passive n cloth object.
Select the string and parachute and add a component to component constraint.
Rename it to string box constraint.
Change the constraint mode to weld.
Constraint link method to within max distance.
Increase the max distance value just enough to create necessary constraint in all the four corner of the box.
No. don’t play now.
Select the string and parachute; apply a component to component constraint.
Rename to string parachute constraint.
Change the constraint mode to weld.
Constraint link method to within max distance.
Increase the max distance value just enough to create necessary constraint in all the four corner of the string.
Okay. Beautiful and perfect for another simulation.
Select the nucleus node and add a collision plane.
Play again.
See how the parachute and strings behave naturally like a cloth. No you need to tweak them.
Select the nucleus.
Change air density to 3, speed to 10.
Direction to x and z wind noise to 0.166.
Play again to see the simulation.
Comment if you have any doubts.
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