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The particle flow works differently than all of 3ds Max's other particle systems. It's referred to as an event driven particle effect, meaning that certain events over the course of the system's life trigger different things to happen as to the particle systems look and behavior. Those changes could be in the particle shape, its color, whether it spends or may be whether it breaks off an even more particles. So there are all kinds of things that can be programmed into an event, and the number of events a particle flow can take on are endless, meaning a flow particle could go through dozens of different states or conditions over the course of an animation.
Let me give you an example of how an event driven system might work. Maybe you have a project that calls for a change in the weather. Using a particle flow you could create a cloud formation positioned over your scene. Those clouds are originally looking wispy and white. At a later point in the animation as the weather begins to change, your skies all of a sudden turn cold and gray, signaling to your audience that there's a storm just ahead. Moments later the clouds open up, sending rain falling to the ground. Those changing weather conditions could be easily controlled within the particle flow merely by the way you create, wire together, and test your flow events.
It'll make more sense once you put a few flows together for yourself. The big thing to understand at this point is that a Pflow is driven by the events that you program into it. Each event being able to change the behavior of what flows into that event. Now does that make sense? It's pretty neat how it works. Now obviously with all those possible changes comes a much longer list of different parameters and settings that may need to be adjusted. So in as much as a particle flow is more versatile than it's non-event driven counterparts, it's definitely also more comprehensive and time-consuming in its setup.
With a particle flow, no doubt about it, you dance to the beat of a different drummer. Why don't we go ahead and move into the next video where we'll start putting things together?
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