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PCloud

From: Particle Effects in 3ds Max

Video: PCloud

Max's PCloud or particle cloud particle system works by forming particles in a couple of different ways. They can be dispersed and delivered in all directions, in a single direction that you can define, or its particles can be restricted or confined to the shape and size of the systems emitting icon. And that gives the PCloud system an extra edge up in some instances over its other particle system brothers and sisters. Creating cloud formations, space nebula, even soldiers marching in tandem or a school of fish can all be recreated with the use of the PCloud.

PCloud

Max's PCloud or particle cloud particle system works by forming particles in a couple of different ways. They can be dispersed and delivered in all directions, in a single direction that you can define, or its particles can be restricted or confined to the shape and size of the systems emitting icon. And that gives the PCloud system an extra edge up in some instances over its other particle system brothers and sisters. Creating cloud formations, space nebula, even soldiers marching in tandem or a school of fish can all be recreated with the use of the PCloud.

If we create a PCloud in the Top view, it could be drawn out like a box. In other words, a three dimensional shape that has an inside volume. Now once in view, let's take our Perspective view full screen. In the right-hand side controls, you can change the shape of the particle emitter, using either a sphere, cylinder, or an object that you pick from the scene. In each instance, your particles can be configured to remain or stick within that viewport icon. Using an object-based emitter can come in particularly handy.

I am going to create a cone to the left-hand side of the emitter icon. Reselecting the PCloud Emitter, I can now pick that cone as my 3D container. If we now change our Viewport Display to Wireframe by typing F3, we can now see how the particles are now being contained inside the cone. Now to get a better look at this, on the PCloud, let's change our Use Rate, the number of particles per frame, to 2000. Now once you do that, you will more easily see how the particles are indeed contained inside the cone.

Now, a couple of different examples on where you could use this. Let's say we have a crystal ball that we would like to fill up with smoke or maybe we have some kind of fluid effect that we would like to confine to a bottle or other similar type of vessel. Now to continue on, let's select the cone and delete it from our scene. This automatically takes us back to using a boxed shape emitter. We can now center that emitter on the screen by simply typing Z key. For a few more settings let's reselect the PCloud, getting back to the right-hand column. We might also want to lower our Use Rate. Why don't we take that down to about 50.

Now in the Particle Generation category, under Particle Timing, we will take the Emit Start time to 30 and the Emit Stop to 90. If we now scrub the timeline, we will see that currently our particles are now forming over two seconds. Let's reduce the number of particles being displayed a little further, taking our Particle Quantity back to a Use Rate of 10. By scrubbing the timeline, you will see the particles are still being confined to the Emitter icon. We are simply now using a fewer number of particles. Now, I am going to Hold right here.

If you run into a situation where you want all your particles to be there from the first frame on, you would simply want to set both your Start and Stop times to zero. Let's try that. We would probably at this point also want to crank up the number of particles. So under Particle Generation, we will switch over to Use Total and we will change that value to 1000. This sets the total number of particles over the entire course of the animation to 1000, which will serve to more aggressively populate our confined area.

If you scrub the timeline, you will see that now the particles are just there, not specifically forming over a specified period of time. Now a setup like this would work perfectly in the case of let's say forming a star field or maybe an underwater scene where you wanted to have some particulate matter floating in the water. In each of those instances, we would have a set number of particles confined to a specific space. Now I am going to return back to where I was originally working by fetching my scene. Scrubbing the timeline, you will see our Particle Timing is back to a Start time of 30 and a Stop time of 90.

By giving the particles a speed, we can now have them break away from their confined space. Under Particle Generation let's change our Speed value to 2. Now when you play things back, watch the way things now look different. So now the particles still form over those two seconds between Frames 30 and 90 but now they are no longer confined to the space inside the actual Emitter icon. How would things look if we change the speed instead to let's say 5? Now, here you can see the particles are breaking away in a more rapid fashion.

Let's take our speed back to two. You can even restrict the direction of your particles. In the Particle Motion section, we will change the Direction Vector. This would come in handy for maybe a school of fish or let's say a flock of birds. Leaving the Vector setting of 1 in the X- direction, let's go ahead and scrub our timeline. If we took X to zero and Y to 1, you will see that simply now moves our particles in a different direction. I am going to change that back to the particles moving across my screen left to right.

Now what could do in a situation like this is to build let's say a fish or bird using it as instance geometry. If you then animated your instance fish, swinging its tail from side to side, or maybe your instance bird, flapping its wings up and down, you would then be able to create either a school or flock, either way, on its way to their next destination. It would be that easy. So that's the PCloud. Think of it as a volume or container of particles that can either stay restricted to a confined space or have the flexibility to shoot out in one or all directions.

I am going to go ahead and save our scene out as PCloud Particles Completed if you would like to look it over.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Particle Effects in 3ds Max
Particle Effects in 3ds Max

80 video lessons · 6371 viewers

Steve Nelle
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 28s
    1. Welcome
      1m 1s
    2. How to use this course
      1m 4s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 23s
  2. 34m 56s
    1. Understanding particle systems
      2m 23s
    2. Comparing event-driven and non-event-driven systems
      2m 58s
    3. Controlling particle timing and quantity
      4m 42s
    4. Adjusting particle size and speed
      2m 55s
    5. Making particles rotate
      2m 36s
    6. Exploring standard particle types
      2m 45s
    7. Using metaparticles for fluid-type effects
      5m 57s
    8. Using a scene object as a particle
      6m 23s
    9. Understanding rendering and viewport redrawing
      4m 17s
  3. 43m 55s
    1. Spray
      6m 4s
    2. Snow
      5m 16s
    3. Blizzard
      3m 25s
    4. PArray
      12m 43s
    5. PCloud
      7m 30s
    6. Super Spray
      8m 57s
  4. 28m 32s
    1. Understanding particle flow
      1m 58s
    2. Navigating the Particle view
      5m 47s
    3. Working with operators
      3m 43s
    4. Adding a test to an event
      4m 11s
    5. Wiring events to change a particle's behavior
      6m 13s
    6. Adjusting particle flow settings
      6m 40s
  5. 40m 34s
    1. Understanding material
      4m 50s
    2. Setting map options and particle edge blending
      5m 53s
    3. Changing particle appearance with age maps
      10m 52s
    4. Blurring moving particles with the MBlur map
      6m 13s
    5. Blurring particles
      8m 16s
    6. Outputting a render for compositing
      4m 30s
  6. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding space warps
      2m 59s
    2. Using Bind to Space Warp
      5m 43s
    3. Adding Gravity to an effect
      4m 47s
    4. Adding Wind to an effect
      4m 24s
    5. Rotating particles with Motor space warp
      4m 43s
    6. Creating swirling effects with Vortex space warp
      3m 45s
    7. Blowing things up with Bomb space warp
      4m 15s
    8. Blowing things up with PBomb space warp
      4m 42s
    9. Making particles follow a path
      4m 3s
    10. Creating wave effects
      4m 0s
    11. Creating ripples
      3m 53s
    12. Deflecting particles off surfaces
      8m 4s
    13. Spawning particles
      3m 41s
  7. 15m 38s
    1. Creating a Super Spray particle system for the smoke
      2m 52s
    2. Adding wind
      3m 9s
    3. Dampening the particle movement
      3m 25s
    4. Adjusting the wind settings for realistic smoke movement
      2m 56s
    5. Creating more realistic-looking smoke
      3m 16s
  8. 22m 7s
    1. Creating the geometry and camera
      4m 39s
    2. Adding the background
      3m 52s
    3. Creating water movement
      6m 7s
    4. Creating the animated material for the water
      7m 29s
  9. 25m 38s
    1. Creating Super Spray water particles
      9m 26s
    2. Adding gravity
      2m 24s
    3. Creating the fountain water material
      5m 30s
    4. Constructing the particle water material
      3m 1s
    5. Making final adjustments
      5m 17s
  10. 24m 43s
    1. Creating the geometry
      3m 41s
    2. Adding the mudslide particle system
      5m 46s
    3. Binding a Gravity space warp to the particles
      2m 41s
    4. Adding the Deflector space warp
      4m 7s
    5. Creating the materials for the scene
      3m 3s
    6. Making final adjustments
      5m 25s
  11. 21m 52s
    1. Scoping out the project
      59s
    2. Creating the explosive devices
      3m 11s
    3. Adjusting the explosion settings
      4m 3s
    4. Setting up the shack's visibility track
      3m 22s
    5. Creating the fire effect
      3m 27s
    6. Adding a bright explosion glow and wrapping things up
      6m 50s
  12. 32m 4s
    1. Scoping out the project
      1m 6s
    2. Creating and positioning the particle flow system
      2m 9s
    3. Reviewing the PFlow events
      2m 26s
    4. Building the water drop geometry
      2m 37s
    5. Creating the water drop material
      4m 6s
    6. Adjusting the PFlow settings
      4m 38s
    7. Adding the Collision Spawn Test and deflector
      4m 18s
    8. Turning the drops into steam
      2m 46s
    9. Creating the steam material
      3m 49s
    10. Making the final adjustments
      4m 9s
  13. 47s
    1. Goodbye
      47s

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