Animate a car rising through a surface



I am going to model the car in the attached photo and make an animation where it rises up from the surface beneath it. First, only the flat surface is visible, then the car starts to emerge from the surface, until it reaches the height in the photo. Modelling the car and animating it’s movement is not a problem - the tricky part is to have the car connected to the surface throughout the animation, with those little chamfers between the car and the ground.

I’m using 3ds Max 2019 and render with Corona.

Does anyone have suggestions on how to solve this?


It will probably look crap, but a subdivided plane (quads, not garment maker) with a cloth modifer that is then turbosmoothed?

Gravity will do the “attaching” as the car rises out of the cloth’s flat collision-plane. On the cloth select all the vertices where the car isn’t and create a group to attach the vertices to the collision plane.


Can your renderer do chamfered edges? You might just have to animate the car through a surface. Not sure.


Displacement map with blurred edges.


Does a bitmap offer better resolution with respect to a Jpeg for displacement maps?

I’ve put Jpegs as displacement maps before and the result was jaggard edges.


Problem will be getting the model to connect with the surface as it rises. It depends on how much detail you require - in that if you want a small edge chamfer it could be faked with a material and an edge bump / round edge.

Or you go full on particle / fluid madness and cover the car and surface in particles and mesh the lot together as it rises.


here, tweak Chamfer params. No Sims.

There could be problems with self intersections depending on the integrity of your car, ie. could have been done by some 12 yo, noone knows.

emerge.max (564 KB)


Thanks a lot for all the answers! I will be back at the office tomorrow and will try out these solutions :slight_smile:


Cool idea! I will check this out. Maybe I need to combine a standard and a spherical gravity then, to draw the cloth inwards on the side of the car, for example on the wheels.

Yes, Corona has the Round Edges map. I will try this out and see what result I get. Perhaps it will look good on the side of the car facing the camera, but not as good on those perpendicular to the camera.

Interesting solution! Could you explain in some more detail how this could be done?

I did try a similar setup, but got some nasty shading problems in the mesh while the car moved upwards and the proboolean had to update the mesh. But I will try to replicate your modifier stack and see if it will work better. Thanks for the tip!


c’mon, did you even bother to look in my file and see how it works ? if you think, oh yeah I know how works by simply looking at someone’s modifier stack, just replicate it…ok whatever…


Oh sorry, I missed that you had attached a Max file! Just saw the screenshot from the scene when I read and replied on my phone. Will look at the file today when I’m back in the office. Thanks!


Hi again! Now I have looked at your scene and it is a really nice solution. The only problem is that the chamfer varies (as seen in the attached clip) whenever an edge on the torus is close to the ground. But perhaps this is not as visible at a higher frame rate. I will try it out some more when the car model is done. Thanks again for the help!
emerge.avi (7.2 MB)


I tried Corona’s Round Edges map, and it seems to be working pretty well. Not perfect on the sides, but maybe good enough for the film I am making. Will try some more when the car model is done.