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"Smokin 3" - Advanced 3dsmax Particles
Added on: Sat Dec 09 2000
Page: 1 2 3 4 6 

Controlling Particles

Using wind and other space warps efficiently to control the motion of your particles is essential. When Using particle systems you have to realise that everything is based upon real world physics, so you have to base your scenes on the same world settings. So gravity will always be something in the seen. Secondly wind will always be there, and sometimes from different directions, and turbulence.

Simulating real wind isn't just a spacewarp but usually several, you will need to animate values of each and move them around making some have negative values to suck particles towards them whilst others blow them way, being able to push and pull and tame your particles is the target of all of these practices.

Learn to use turbulence correctly and never overdo it, most of your animation is going to be through a few different spacewarps controlling the whole scene, placing a particle system with decay values and negative values under the actual particle system helping to pull it down and also slow down it's vertical motion whilst two wind spacewaraps pull the particle system in two different horizontal directions give it the chaos that it needs to give it realism.

Primarily you have to play long and hard with all of your spacewarps in the scene to make the motion correct, but having the understanding before hand can save a lot of time. Below I am going to go through three of the main particle spacewarps that come with max and explain what each one does.

Wind: Of course wind can blow things around to simulate wind, but also it can be used to blow stuff up, and with negative values it can suck things up. Given the right decay values and the correct strength values it can be a really powerful tool for controlling particle systems.

Gravity: Gravity essentially I use for applying gravity to the scene, I rarely use it for more than that, applying this maybe with decay values can make objects drop to the ground ect. It works, and can be useful.

Motor: Motor basically turns things, very cool for making basic twisters.

Secondary particle systems

For some effects using just one particle system by itself isn't going to pull the effect off. The advantage of using more than one particle system is you can assign various spacewarps to individual systems so each one does it's own thing. A perfect example would be a twister, one or two systems for the main body of the twister, and one for the bottom layer of the particle system showing dirt spewing around the bottom of the twister, and perhaps one based for debris that travels around and through the whole twister.

Another would be fire, with a smoke particle system emitting large billowing smoke as the fire burns away at something. Using particle systems togeather to complete tasks is a very powerful thing and makes things easier, so don't always think that one particle system has to do everything. Use fifty if you want to pull the effects you want off.

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