First let’s understand particles. Particles or particle systems are a series of commands and specifications that organize and influence a ton of objects at once, called particles. By modifying one parameter, you influence all the particles. By using particle systems you can create a very advanced animation or stillshot part that would be nigh impossible to do otherwise. This is a Pflow thingy. This is where particles will originate from. The red is where you create this, and the blue is the direction particles flow. Simple. This pink thing is a blobmesh. This is a mesh that changes shape and conforms to itself, kind of, based on the parameters of the particle system it’s plugged into. It’s a very powerful tool. This window is the particle view in the menu on the right. With this, you can control your particle system using a series of commands (in blue) which influence what particles do, and tests (in yellow) which test for conditions to be met to influence which particles are influenced and by what. With enough ingenuity and knowledge, one can do amazing things with this. This is the birth command. This decides how many particles there are to start with. This is the very first set of commands. What this particular birth setting says is that the system will start at frame 0 and end at frame 30, during this time, there will be 200 particles emitted according to the parameters below the birth bar. The position says from where the particles are being emitted on the whole emitter. Right now it’s just set to emit from throughout the emitter. The speed lets you control how fast the particles move from the emitter in regards to the timeframe. You can also set a variation of how fast it goes which will make most particles unique in their speed within a certain set. Rotation does just that, it rotates the particles. Right now it is randomly rotating the particles in any which direction. The shape tells the particles what shape they are. Right now they are cubes, as shown by the render as well. The blobmesh is just kinda there atm. Then display is unimportant to how the system works, but it is useful for previewing the system, it shows what the particles are in the viewport. Now we will do something with that blobmesh. In blobmesh, select the pick button, then click on your pflow source. Your blobmesh will disappear. What we are going to want is to assign it to one of the “Events” of the particle system. Click add under assign particle system and choose your pflow event 1. Drag your time slider out a bit and you should see little blobs coming out. First, let’s turn off the shape parameter by rightclicking and selecting turn off or delete. Then, let’s switch production to rate, and bump that up a lot. After that let’s make the speed a lot more also. About 320 or 330 will be good for the scale we are doing at the moment. Notice how the particles (the blobmesh) blobs together. That is the greatness of blobmesh in simulating nonsolids. Let’s create a simple water with some ripple to seem like the blobmesh (water in the future) is hitting. Right now, it kinda just continues to forever… we can change that. To start, go to the waves tab (space warps) in the create area and choose in the dropdown deflectors. Then, choose deflector. Drag it out like a plane to create it. Once you do that, go to your water plane and add a linked xform modifier to it. In pick control object choose the deflector. Doing this makes it so that if you choose to link an event to this using a collision test, it can stop the current event (stopping our ravenous blobs) and allowing us to start a new event. When we add our test by dragging it from the test list into our event, then select add and choose your deflector. There will be some lag, the particle system is being recalculated. Once it does, you’ll notice your blobs bouncing all over the place, let’s not do that. Here I’ve changed both the parent and offspring to continue instead of bounce, which will let the blob disappear and instead allow us to make something like bubbles. Change the offspring #5 because there are a lot more bubbles that blobs of water. Drag a new thing out that says material, this will be the material of your bubbles, we don’t need that yet, and then add a shape to it. Make this a sphere, it might be huge so reduce it. Once you do, go to the display parameter and change it to geometry so you can see your bubbles as bubbles. Add a scale to the event and change it so that the x y and z are about 60. This will change the size of bubbles randomly giving it a better effect. Next, go back to the space warp tab and in the forces dropdown, create a gravity and rotate it so that the arrow is facing up. Then, create a forces parameter in your event. Select add and choose your gravity. This will cause the bubbles to go up. Turn down the influence to 100% instead of 1000. Now we have a new proble, the bubbles are now going too far up. Now we are going to do kind of a second stage of bubbles I guess. When I was messing around this looked the best. I have done a few steps in one tutorial step on this one. First on the event we were last working on, add an age parameter. Make the age they decay be 5ish, and there is 0 variation. Add a material in a new event and link it with the age. Then, add the speed gravity and the other parameters to the new one. They are all the same as the ones we’ve used before. You can just look at your settings on the earlier bits you’ve done to get them. The new one is a plain collision. Just choose the stop in the dropdown. Next is to add bubbles on the surface. From the collision modifier that we added to stop at the surface, we will add another event. This one will change the material and introduce a new kind of speed modifier. Add your water surface as the object influencing and change the dropdown to parallel. This will cause your bubbles to move out while touching the surface. For the material, just use a basic arch and design thin geometry glass. Don’t need to change anything on it. Then, add an age test and hook it up with delete. This will “pop” the bubbles after a bit. Make the age test based on event age and make it 15 give or take 5 frames. There’s our falling water! Pretty nifty huh? Now let’s make a new one for the actual fountain, I know what you’re thinking, this was a waste of time, but I don’t think it was, since we limited the variables we needed to work with and gained an understanding of particleflow. The easy part of this is to remake the particle system. If you understand it, you should be able to tweak the values you have to fit into your fountain and goat’s mouth. The results might not look as good as what we did just now, but oh well, we won’t be viewing it up so close. Once you get one of them done, select the blobmesh, make sure your particle system is showing however many particles you want to in the render in the viewport, and convert the blobmesh to an editable poly. Now you don’t have to deal with updating systems. Then, instance your blob around your fountain and you get goats spitting water. Yay. IMPORTANT!@#!@#When you are moving your waterspouts around make sure to save in iterations often. You should do this anyways. I was lucky, one of my files got corrupted somehow to do with instancing particlesystems and undoing and such and I had just recently saved an iteration and lost no progress. I hope you have learned from this tutorial. I learned and figured out how to do particle systems very recently and have only really figured out to a good extent water dropping, but it adds a great effect too our scene, and it was worth the hassle of adding those systems.
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