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Blender is a powerful open-source tool for 2D and 3D graphics, full-on animation, compositing, and post-production. It is used to create movies and special effects, even in HD. In Blender Essential Training, Roger Wickes offers new Blender users a thorough explanation of its interface, tools, and features. He also demonstrates practical techniques and shows how to access the online and openndash;content resources of this amazing tool. Specific 3D techniques covered include navigating in 3D space, using cameras and lights, and rendering. Roger demonstrates how to rig, animate, and composite a character over live action. Exercise files accompany the course.
The particle system on Blender recently got a complete rewrite, and it's just an amazing thing to work with. I can go on probably for hours on this thing, but it was used to create all of the hair on all of the creatures in Big Buck Bunny. It has been used to simulate smoke and fire and ash and all sorts of things, and we are going to touch on the basic essentials of using the particle system in Blender. What we have here is this box that we recorded dropping and it's not the part of the game engine anymore, but it does have the Ipo that recorded and assigned to it.
So that's what's causing it to fall. But what we have done over here is access the particle systems. Let's run through it real quick. There is six major panels of controls for the basic particle system. So let me just click the X here to delete this particle system, so we can start New. There are a couple of rules to using the particle system. Number one is you have to start at the beginning, you can't jump into the middle of a particle system, because it has to start at the beginning and work its way forward based on what it knows, and where everything is, and then where each particle is, and then advance to the next frame and compute there those particle should be on that frame.
So you can't jump into frame 10, because it doesn't have a frame 9. So when you're first are recording and setting up the physics thing, be sure not to use the Up and Down arrow when you are jumping through your animation, otherwise, the physics system is going to give up, and you are not going to see any particles, and you are going to think it's broken, but it's not really broken, you just have to advance frame by frame. So we select the box and we are going to go Add New. Now over here we see a bunch of controls that come up to play when we first just click on a particle system, and add new particle system.
Each object can have many particle systems. So I could have this thing smoking, burning, spitting off sparks, casting-off energy balls and collapsing into one big flaming heap, if I wanted to, each of those would be a different particle system. What we are going over in this video is the emitter particle system, and that's the system that emits particles. Here we setup the number of particles that are going to be emitted in total.
When we want the particles to start emitting, we could have this thing not catch on fire until let's say frame 1000 of the animation. So we would set that to 1000. When we want it to stop emitting particles, and then how long each particle should last before it kind of fades off, into nothingness. So in this case, we have 1000 particles. So on average, over 100 frames, we are going to have about 10 particles emitted each frame. So if I just right arrow once to frame 2 here, you can see that about 10 particles have started.
These particles right here are going to be individually tracked and they are going to stay alive for 50 frames, and so then at 51, wherever they are, they are just going to drop off of the face of the earth. Now notice that they are all emitting from one plain. When I go to the next frame, then all of these particles are being emitted in a fairly uniform manner; you may or may not want that. You can click Random here, and then they will be randomly generated. Notice now I have to go back to frame 1 showing down here in the lower-right-hand-corner, I've got to go back to frame 1 whenever I make a change, and then restart again.
Now the particles are emitted from random places across the whole surface of the box, and that's because I have Faces selected here. I can emit from just the corners if I want, or wherever the vertices are. Now by default the particles don't go anywhere. Usually, they don't want to be spewing out from the box. So in that case, we want to eject them and give them a little bit of a normal speed. Again, normal as in perpendicular to the face of the object.
So now I'm just going to give it like 1, so we can really see what happens. So we go back to frame 1, and now as we advance out, you can see the particles spewing outwards. And then they will continue to spew outwards until they are affected by some other dynamic that's going on in the world. If we want to simulate that these things are hot, we can accelerate them up into the Z direction, and we can come back here, and now they are actually flying up off the screen.
So now that simulates smoke. Now I'm visualizing this as points, but we can visualize them as little crosses, we can -- let's say go back here. So now you can see that they are crosses, or if you want to go little bit of an accurate representation. If you are doing smoke, of course, you want to use circles to simulate a little puffball. When we are drawing them, we can draw the velocity. And the size. And each particle has in fact, an individual number, so we can even look at each individual particle to see where it's at and control how we visualize the particles in the 3D space.
Next, each particle can have some actions that when it hits something, like if it hit this box, it could die to simulate being absorbed by the other material. That can also stick to the other material. So if you have like a foaming glue, then once it hits that other object, it would actually stick to it, and finally particles can actually have children. So you can have particles spewing out other particles as well, and that's kind of an easy way to get a lot of particles going on, and here we have ten particles for every major particle.
It gives a lot more of a full simulation when you are trying to simulate a lot of smoke, and dust, and things like that. Notice how fast this thing is. It's amazingly efficient. So you can crank this up to 10,000, 100 ,000, 50,000 million particles and be able to run realistic simulations. Of course, as you get more, it's going to get more dense, which you may or may not want. I was watching some movies over the weekend, and the dust effect was pretty light. Most smokes and mists and other kinds of particle effects, you can actually see through them.
So you don't really need a ton of particles to be absolutely 100% convincing. Finally then, after you are all done and you have set it up and you really like the way it is, you can save a lot of time by baking the simulation for a certain frame range, and once you do that, Blender will kind of take over computer and compute that and lock in the positions of these particles. If I change this box over to here, well, the Ipo is going to overwrite I. But if the box is over here, just sitting in the corner smoldering, each time I advance through the frames, Blender would recalculate the particles from there.
Once I bake those particle positions are locked into the place, just like we locked in the position of this box, we would lock-in the position of the particles, and then it takes a lot less compute time, the next time that we run the simulation, because Blender can just pull from that baking. That covers the major panels in the emitter particle system in Blender.
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