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This tutorial is dedicated to the use of hair & fur in 3ds max, a modifier that grows hair and fur over any object. Usually h&f is used to generate hair: in tufts, sparse, curly, long, short, braids, etc. ... but is rarely used for other purposes. This short tutorial will show how to create and animate sea anemones in a few clicks.

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Create a seabed modifying a plane as you like. This will be the distribution object.

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The second step is to create an anemone strand. To do so you can add a lathe modifier to a spline. Be sure to add enough subdivision to the mesh as you will have to bend it.

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Apply the h&f modifier to the plane. If needed it's possible to select single faces for the distribution. Initially hairs are oriented by the face's normals in an uniform way.

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At this point open the panel "tools" of h&f, then click in the empty box "Instance node" and pick the anemone object. Istance node allows you to use any mesh instead the default hair object. Settings like hair segments, passes, etc will be ignored. Certain qualities belongs to the mesh used as istance, so if you want more subdivisions you have to edit the original mesh.

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Now you will see the distribution of anemones on the floor, the scene is beginning to resemble a seascape. Now you need to refine some settings. Wile certain settings are ignored others are not.  Density, scale, thickness are still influencing the anemones shape. Increase the size of the hairs.

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Try to use frizz and kizz parameters, watch how they influences the anemones. If the base mesh isn't subdivided enough you'll see sharp and unrealistic corners.

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Now that you confidente with most parameters, try to set them properly. Then if you go in the rollout dinamics you can add a simulation to the anemone that will behave like hair, falling and folding. If you click on "live" button you'll see the mesh gradually deformating.

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Do not forget they will always remain "hair", so why not comb it? The toolset for hairstyling will work, so you can use it to achieve an interesting look.

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Once you are satisfied with styling you can assign a material and proceed to render, and your anemones will finally be alive!

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You can change the density or even assign a map to it. Here are some examples of what can be done.

1f

2f

3f

Now, if you really want to add life to anemones, the steps to do this are very simple. Turning on the "Live" every strand bends down. To make strands float you can rise the parameter "root hold", for high hold value the mesh becomes totally rigid. To avoid rigidity keep root hold value low, and set the gravity to negative (type -2.33) so that it will be "attracted" to the top. Now create a space warps-> forces-> Wind and put it on a side of the scene
In the panel of h&f-> add it to the dynamics rollout "external forces".

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The deformation can be stored by precomputing the simulation. Set the folder in which to save individual files for each frame and click "Run". After the calculation, we simply pass in "Precomputed" and we'll see the single anemone animated.
A video example of what can be achieved.


Hair & Fur can be used to create a wide variety of objects, from normal hair, in dreadlocks, feathers .... and why not? For anemones!!!
I hope you liked this unusual use of this tool. Bye

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