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Guest Chinaski

I finally get thinking particles!

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Guest Chinaski

I just had a breakthrough. :D

 

I think I finally get Thinking Particles in Cinema 4D and how to get them to do what I need.

 

Thank 'effin god...

 

Good lord that took a long time.

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Guest SpriteMaster

I'm actually surprised - everyone says that C4D is so easy to use, so what's the deal with TP? Never tried it myself but I'm going to pretty soon, so if you could say what it was that was holding you back, and how you figured it out, it would be very helpful. Thanks!

 

- A. A.

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Guest Chinaski

what a glorious time in your life...

 

 

No, the glory is all here...

 

And Tread, you could put that in a metaball and turn those into sperms if you wanted ;)

 

 

I'm actually surprised - everyone says that C4D is so easy to use, so what's the deal with TP? Never tried it myself but I'm going to pretty soon, so if you could say what it was that was holding you back, and how you figured it out, it would be very helpful. Thanks!

 

- A. A.

 

C4D is easy to use, but the particle system relies so heavily on Xpresso (a node-based scripting tool) that it takes a great deal of time and comprehension of programming to get a handle on it. There really is nothing intuitive about it if you are not familiar with coding. By, no means is it a bad system (although it does need some improvement), but for easy tasks, it is rather complex.

 

I can't really say why I suddenly "got it." I just spent a lot of time in the last few weeks learning Xpresso, and there were some helpful discussions on CGtalk that pointed me in the right direction when I ran into problems.

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Guest Sao_Bento

I'm actually surprised - everyone says that C4D is so easy to use, so what's the deal with TP? Never tried it myself but I'm going to pretty soon, so if you could say what it was that was holding you back, and how you figured it out, it would be very helpful. Thanks!

 

- A. A.

That's kind of like saying "everyone says AE is easy to use, but what's the deal with expressions?". I've been cranking out stuff for years with C4D, but I've never found that I needed to use either TP or Xpresso to do it.

 

TP and Xpresso are specialized tools that are designed as micro building blocks and as such require an in depth understanding of how the blocks work as well as what you are trying to build. The results, are by nature, complex as they exist to solve specific complex problems.

 

Anytime you rule out any software based solely on it's implementation of a particle system, you're losing out.

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Guest Chinaski

That's kind of like saying "everyone says AE is easy to use, but what's the deal with expressions?". I've been cranking out stuff for years with C4D, but I've never found that I needed to use either TP or Xpresso to do it.

 

TP and Xpresso are specialized tools that are designed as micro building blocks and as such require an in depth understanding of how the blocks work as well as what you are trying to build. The results, are by nature, complex as they exist to solve specific complex problems.

 

Anytime you rule out any software based solely on it's implementation of a particle system, you're losing out.

 

 

Sao,

 

That is a really good analogy. Xpresso is very much like expressions in After Effects. Sure, you can do a lot with simple parenting in AE and Hierarchies in C4D, but once you understand how powerful a scripting language can be in helping animation, you really start to love it.

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Guest SpriteMaster

That's kind of like saying "everyone says AE is easy to use, but what's the deal with expressions?".

 

Well... not exactly. I had no idea (and really no reason to assume, I think) that TP is particularly tied up with expressions. XSI's particle system is pretty sophisticated, and you can definitely use expresssions all over the place with it, but you don't need to - you can get beautiful results just by using deformers, forces, goals, particle properties etc.

 

Since C4D prides itself on ease of use, I sort of assumed its particle system would be even more approachable than XSI's. If it's not, well, no big deal - I was just curious.

 

TP and Xpresso are specialized tools that are designed as micro building blocks and as such require an in depth understanding of how the blocks work as well as what you are trying to build. The results, are by nature, complex as they exist to solve specific complex problems.

 

I actually started looking into XPresso a couple of days ago, as I'm trying to learn C4D. I'm not convinced I prefer the graphic UI over plain code writing, but time will tell. Also it's a personal preference, as I have programming background - most artists don't and I can appreciate Maxon's attempt to ease the pain by replacing lines of code with a node-based system.

 

Anytime you rule out any software based solely on it's implementation of a particle system, you're losing out.

 

Goodness, I never thought to rule out anything. I'm finding time to try out C4D here and there and I mostly like what I see.

 

Thanks for the comments, both to you and Chinaski.

 

AA

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Guest the_Monkey

No, the glory is all here...

That isn't *just* TP is it? Are you using something else or are you actually creating the child particles (blue tracers) from parents as well?

 

IMHO, Xpresso is the shit. I probably do equal parts animating between the timeline and Xpresso. People think TP/XP is tedious, but it's much easier to pick up when faced with an animation that is even *more* tedious to key (like that apple ad with all the buildings constructed with cover art).

 

SpriteMaster: I still code basic shell and php these days, but nodes take the shitiest part of coding out of the process. Many syntax errors go away because it simply won't let you connect bad data types. It is also much easier to track functions down visually when working with nodes. I find I still use traditional coding habits with XP (modulo loops, case statements, logical operators).

 

If anyone has written XP off you can still get quite a lot for your buck with standard particles. But do yourself a favor and at least learn how to use the Range Mapper and Mixer nodes. They are priceless for relational animation.

 

-m

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Guest Sao_Bento

Well... not exactly. I had no idea (and really no reason to assume, I think) that TP is particularly tied up with expressions. XSI's particle system is pretty sophisticated, and you can definitely use expresssions all over the place with it, but you don't need to - you can get beautiful results just by using deformers, forces, goals, particle properties etc.

I should mention that there is a basic particle system also included with C4D, so your only choice for particles is not TP. The basic particle system can be influenced by attractors, deflectors, wind, friction, gravity, turbulence, destructors, etc. and is useful for many basic purposes. In the big picture, TP has way more flexibility and control via Xpresso, hence it's popularity amongst more advanced or more scripting oriented users.

With C4D's ability to export position/rotation data to AE, you also have the option of using Particular.

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Guest Chinaski

That isn't *just* TP is it? Are you using something else or are you actually creating the child particles (blue tracers) from parents as well?

 

IMHO, Xpresso is the shit. I probably do equal parts animating between the timeline and Xpresso. People think TP/XP is tedious, but it's much easier to pick up when faced with an animation that is even *more* tedious to key (like that apple ad with all the buildings constructed with cover art).

 

SpriteMaster: I still code basic shell and php these days, but nodes take the shitiest part of coding out of the process. Many syntax errors go away because it simply won't let you connect bad data types. It is also much easier to track functions down visually when working with nodes. I find I still use traditional coding habits with XP (modulo loops, case statements, logical operators).

 

If anyone has written XP off you can still get quite a lot for your buck with standard particles. But do yourself a favor and at least learn how to use the Range Mapper and Mixer nodes. They are priceless for relational animation.

 

-m

 

 

Yes, it is just TP. I'll post another example, too, of interparticle collisions with fragmentation. Now that is the shit.

 

tp_surface_explosion.jpg

 

I circled the user data node, because that is not a "standard" xpresso node and people looking at it may not realise it. But, the setup was pretty simple (although it looks complicated). A cone is emitting particles from its surface. Those particles are aligned to their direction of travel. Their position values are recorded and passed to another emitter, which creates the particle trails. And the whole scene is affected by gravity, wind, and drag. The time, compare, and bool nodes turn the particle creation on and off.

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Guest Tread

And Tread, you could put that in a metaball and turn those into sperms if you wanted ;)

 

haha, right on. I'll look into that for the next sperm project I have...

 

If you watch the open of my nike thing, the semen blast at the beginning was done partly with TP, although nothing as complex as what you've done here. I'm not that advanced.

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Guest Chinaski

Here is an example of interparticle collisions.

 

Kind of a complex set-up. 2 particle groups (spheres and cubes) collide with eachother. Each has different mass values, so the cubes get deflected, while the spheres, for the most part, are unyeilding (some of them do get deflected a bit, but not much). Also, on collision, half of cubes fracture, and each fractured element emits particle trails (which you would probably use pyrocluster on to create smoke trails.)

 

No gravity or wind here, although it could be added. I wasn't going for realism, just learning how to get complex interactions between particle systems.

 

*EDIT* Another Example, aligning particle spin to direction of travel for more realistic fragmenting.

Edited by Chinaski

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Guest carniceria

Nice work man, I could seriously use you looking over my shoulder for like the next two weeks. Intense amount of TP work coming up. Hopefully will have some stuff up in showcase up soon. I - for one - am really enjoying learning xpresso. I'm more of a visual person and I like seeing the programming in a hierachical gui presentation (rather than expressions' pure java scripty monstrosities)

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Guest govinda

I loooove me some TP. That's good stuff, Adam, and yeah, when you get it you really feel like the 'God of All Particles.' The key to a lot of TP is the PPass and PGroup stuff. Once you're past that, you're in good shape.

 

The things I can't get my head around still are:

 

1) Making particles go from spawning, to following a path, to bouncing off a wall to forming in the shape of something defined by a mesh, like for example a 1973 Dodge or a chimpanzee. It's like a 'circus dog' trick with particles. When I experiment with chaining together sequential things, everything breaks down. Monkey may have done this with his old Blue Jelloball tricks on his animation page.

 

2) Finessing particle motion based on distance to mimic ease-in curves. As you get closer, go slower, etc, but definitely reach your target. Could be simple, I'm sure. Being able to do this would mean doing a lot less keyframing.

 

I'm just opening these up for discussion. And no, I really don't mind showing off my shortcomings (see quicktime wmv export thread).

 

Hee hee Adam, I love that one PPass node that loops under other nodes to link in with all the effects like size, etc. You can almost see how your mind worked through the problem. You can save yourself those Boole nodes by using the default 'Action Timer' node that comes packaged in the app--it's just a custom coffee node that does all that in one piece.

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Guest carniceria

That's sweet advice. Does action timer come with 9? I hate compare and range mapper bleh!!

 

G, M, or C, what is the deal with having particles of the same group bounce of eachother? I know it's simple, but I'm having trouble. I figure, ppassAB set both inputs in the attributes to 'all' (i haven't set any groups) then connect them to a repulse bounce node... doesn't work. god there should be more tutorials on this!

Edited by carniceria

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Guest Chinaski

I loooove me some TP. That's good stuff, Adam, and yeah, when you get it you really feel like the 'God of All Particles.' The key to a lot of TP is the PPass and PGroup stuff. Once you're past that, you're in good shape.

 

The things I can't get my head around still are:

 

1) Making particles go from spawning, to following a path, to bouncing off a wall to forming in the shape of something defined by a mesh, like for example a 1973 Dodge or a chimpanzee. It's like a 'circus dog' trick with particles. When I experiment with chaining together sequential things, everything breaks down. Monkey may have done this with his old Blue Jelloball tricks on his animation page.

 

2) Finessing particle motion based on distance to mimic ease-in curves. As you get closer, go slower, etc, but definitely reach your target. Could be simple, I'm sure. Being able to do this would mean doing a lot less keyframing.

 

I'm just opening these up for discussion. And no, I really don't mind showing off my shortcomings (see quicktime wmv export thread).

 

Hee hee Adam, I love that one PPass node that loops under other nodes to link in with all the effects like size, etc. You can almost see how your mind worked through the problem. You can save yourself those Boole nodes by using the default 'Action Timer' node that comes packaged in the app--it's just a custom coffee node that does all that in one piece.

 

 

Hee hee... Thanks, Richard. The action timer is cool. Of, course, I kind of just realized I can keyframe the "on" port if I wanted to...

 

Hey Man, give me some TP homework, if you've got stuff you can't figure out. I'm trying to learn this stuff, so maybe I can figure it out for both of us.

 

As for #2 on your list, I would imagine that tying the friction node to a distance parameter would take care of that.

 

*EDIT* there is also a particle velocity node that may work...

 

 

G, M, or C, what is the deal with having particles of the same group bounce of eachother? I know it's simple, but I'm having trouble. I figure, ppassAB set both inputs in the attributes to 'all' (i haven't set any groups) then connect them to a repulse bounce node... doesn't work. god there should be more tutorials on this!

 

No, that should work. I'll post a file in a few minutes.

Edited by Chinaski

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Guest Chinaski
G, M, or C, what is the deal with having particles of the same group bounce of eachother? I know it's simple, but I'm having trouble. I figure, ppassAB set both inputs in the attributes to 'all' (i haven't set any groups) then connect them to a repulse bounce node... doesn't work. god there should be more tutorials on this!

 

Some C4D files for you...

 

Simple collisions within same particle group

 

A marble jar simulation This is almost like a fluid dynamics simulation, where marbles are being poured into a jar, colliding with the jar and with eachother.

Edited by Chinaski

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Guest Chinaski

Rain!

 

This was pretty complicated, but I think it worked pretty well. For some reason, there is a blank frame in the render, but I didn't feel like re-rendering. The secondary splatters could move faster, but the set-up works, which is the main thing I was interested in.

 

If I have nothing better to do tonight (which it seems like I don't) I'll post up a little something that I think the mograph crowd would be really interested in.

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Guest the_Monkey

So, uh... your posts make it sound like you're ready for a TP Challenge? ;)

 

-m

Edited by the_Monkey

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Guest Chinaski

So, uh... your posts make it sound like you're ready for a TP Challenge? ;)

 

-m

 

 

You calling me out, Monsieur Monkey? :)

 

I'm down for it if you are. Want to set something up?

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Guest TimC

You calling me out, Monsieur Monkey? :)

 

I'm down for it if you are. Want to set something up?

 

This sounds interesting....

 

cheers

Tim

 

1) Making particles go from spawning, to following a path, to bouncing off a wall to forming in the shape of something defined by a mesh, like for example a 1973 Dodge or a chimpanzee. It's like a 'circus dog' trick with particles. When I experiment with chaining together sequential things, everything breaks down. Monkey may have done this with his old Blue Jelloball tricks on his animation page.

 

The key to this Govinda is setting up a TP group for each action you want to perform.

 

So you'd have a a spawn group, follow path group, etc.. Then you can pass the particles from one group to the next as you want. This could be defined by particle age or by actions such as collisions etc.

 

cheers

Tim

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Guest the_Monkey

Well if we can think of something that Tim hasn't already showed the world how to do that would definitely make it more interesting for him. ;)

 

I'm up for whatever. Sadly, I haven't done any serious TP work for the last year so I would dig any excuse to come up with something new. If it's just a few of us (and I assume it will just be a few of us) we could agree on a general theme like "something about water". I feel like anybody involved would be a pro enough user to take it from there.

 

The only restriction I'd have would be no MoGraph Module (since mine *still* has not been shipped), but that may be selfish... cause if it had already arrived, I'd be dying to use it with TP. I'm open... I'd accept either way.

 

So lets do it. I consider you both worthy (if not superior) competition.

Let me know what you guys think a fair approach and a good timeline might be and we'll kick it!

 

-m

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Guest Chinaski

Well if we can think of something that Tim hasn't already showed the world how to do that would definitely make it more interesting for him. ;)

 

I'm up for whatever. Sadly, I haven't done any serious TP work for the last year so I would dig any excuse to come up with something new. If it's just a few of us (and I assume it will just be a few of us) we could agree on a general theme like "something about water". I feel like anybody involved would be a pro enough user to take it from there.

 

The only restriction I'd have would be no MoGraph Module (since mine *still* has not been shipped), but that may be selfish... cause if it had already arrived, I'd be dying to use it with TP. I'm open... I'd accept either way.

 

So lets do it. I consider you both worthy (if not superior) competition.

Let me know what you guys think a fair approach and a good timeline might be and we'll kick it!

 

-m

 

 

I would be totally down for that, although I think Tim will probably win. As for the mograph module, sadly, mine has not shipped yet, either :( I ordered it awhile ago, too.

 

I like the water theme. I'm actually working on some watery stuff right now. Let's see if anybody else chimes in...

 

As for time frame, why not give us a 2 week time frame? Seems like enough time, even though we're probably all working.

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Guest Chinaski

I'm working on a real-time spray-painting engine with drips and everything. I've got a good start so far.

 

First Test

 

This worked in real-time. Animation took 5 seconds to do, render took about 90 seconds.

 

I'm going to figure out a drip system next to add to this, so I will get realistic paint drips at random places in the spray paint path...

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