Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

CINEMA 4D Essentials 9: Particles and Dynamics
Illustration by Richard Downs

Explaining the Thinking Particles (TP) workflow


From:

CINEMA 4D Essentials 9: Particles and Dynamics

with Rob Garrott

Video: Explaining the Thinking Particles (TP) workflow

In the previous chapter we took a look at the Basic Particle System in CINEMA 4D. In this chapter we're going to take a look at Thinking Particles. Thinking Particles is a part of the Studio Bundle of CINEMA 4D. If you don't have the Studio Bundle, and you only have Prime, or Broadcast, or Visualize, then you'll need to get Studio Bundle in order to take advantage of Thinking Particles. What Thinking Particles is, is an Advanced Particle System that's based on XPresso. XPresso is the visual node-based language for writing scripts and establishing links between Objects in CINEMA 4D.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
CINEMA 4D Essentials 9: Particles and Dynamics
1h 27m Beginner Sep 28, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

CINEMA 4D Essentials with Rob Garrott is a graduated introduction to this complex 3D modeling, rendering, and animation program, which breaks down into installments that can be completed within 2 hours. In this installment, Rob introduces particles, a cluster of objects used to simulate effects like snow, sparks, fog, or fire, and dynamics, which allow you to define how objects interact with their environment. The course covers creating a splash effect with particles, working with more advanced Thinking Particles, and how to understand the difference between the dynamics system's rigid bodies and soft bodies.

Topics include:
  • Working with particle forces and the Emitter object
  • Using Thinking Particles with the MoGraph Tracer
  • Understanding the Dynamics engine
  • Combining Thinking Particles with Dynamics
  • Creating dangling objects with spline dynamics
Subjects:
3D + Animation Textures Video Motion Graphics Materials Visual Effects
Software:
CINEMA 4D
Author:
Rob Garrott

Explaining the Thinking Particles (TP) workflow

In the previous chapter we took a look at the Basic Particle System in CINEMA 4D. In this chapter we're going to take a look at Thinking Particles. Thinking Particles is a part of the Studio Bundle of CINEMA 4D. If you don't have the Studio Bundle, and you only have Prime, or Broadcast, or Visualize, then you'll need to get Studio Bundle in order to take advantage of Thinking Particles. What Thinking Particles is, is an Advanced Particle System that's based on XPresso. XPresso is the visual node-based language for writing scripts and establishing links between Objects in CINEMA 4D.

Because Thinking Particles is based on this scripting language, it's both incredibly complex and incredibly powerful. So the Thinking Particles workflow starts off with a Null Object. Let's add a Null to the scene, and this Null I'm going to name Emitter. It doesn't have to be called Emitter, it can be called anything you want, but I'm going to call it what it's going to be. Then we'll add an XPresso Tag to the Emitter Object. Let's right-click on the Emitter Object and go to CINEMA 4D Tags and then go to XPresso.

And in the XPresso Editor that pops up, we're going to need to do a couple of things. First off, we're going to add in the Emitter Object, let's make that a little bit larger. Now we need to add a new node, a Thinking Particles Node, and that node is going to be called PStorm. Let's go to new Node and Thinking Particles, and under TP Generator, let's add in PStorm. The PStorm Node is a Thinking Particle's Emission Node. If you look, it's got a bunch of parameters that all look like the kind of parameters that you'd see on a Particle Emitter.

Let's bring the XPresso Editor down a little bit and hit Play. You can see that our scene is in fact spitting up particles now. The problem is, is if we move the Emitter Object, the particles don't follow the Emitter, so we have no way of controlling the position of these particles, where they are emitting from. Let's undo that Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z. The way we fix that is by linking the Emitter to the PStorm by the Emitter Position. Let's go to the Emitter Outflow, click and go to Coordinates, Global Position, and adding Global Position. Then let's link the Global Position of the Emitter Null Object to the Emitter position on the PStorm.

Now when we move the Emitter Object, the particles will follow with it. So let's move that over there, and then let's hit Play. You can see that these particles are just leftover, when it recycles, you'll see the correct particles. Now we've got control over where the particles are going to emit from. Next, we want to create particles to emit. Just like the regular Particle Emitter, these particles don't render. If I hit the Cmd+R or Ctrl+R on the keyboard, you can see that I've got nothing in the scene. Let's hit A to redraw.

Let's start off by adding a Cube to the scene for our particles to emit, and I'll add a Cube to the scene. Let's make it little bit smaller, so it's smaller than our Emitter. And I'll just hit the letter T on the keyboard and scale the Cube down, here we go. A crucial object in the Thinking Particles workflow is something called a Particle Geometry Object. Under the Simulate Menu, under Thinking Particles, is Particle Geometry. And the Particle Geometry Object is a Generator Object that allows you to spit out particles. Now if we drop the Cube under here, and then let's rewind back to 0 and hit Play.

You see that nothing is happening. That's because the Particle Geometry Object needs a couple of things to actually make it work. The first thing it needs, if you click on the Particle Geometry, under the Object Properties, is something called a Particle Group. Underneath the Simulate Menu, under Thinking Particles, are the Thinking Particle Settings. And the Thinking Particle Settings are where you control different Particle Groups. One of the powerful attributes of Thinking Particles is that you can divide your particles into multiple groups. So the same Emitter can spit out particles in different groups and those groups can be made to do different things.

For now though, we're just going to use one group, and that group is called All, that's the Default Group. You can always make a new group in here and call it whatever you like, but for now we're just going to use All, and we'll take that word All and drag it across into the Particle Group Field. Let's close up the Thinking Particle Settings Window. Let's rewind and hit Play again. And you can see that nothing's happened, and that's because we still have another step to do. I'm going to zoom in here just a bit, so we can see what's going on. Let's orbit around. There we go.

The step that we have to do is we have to tell Thinking Particles that this Particle Group, All, should generate particles. The way we do that is by passing the Particle Group into a PShape Node. Now that may sound like gibberish, but it's a very important step. Let's right-click in the XPresso Editor and go to New Node > Thinking Particles, and under the TP Standard, we're going to add PShape. And the PShape Node is asking for an Object. And we're going to pass all the Objects from the All Group, into the PShape Node.

And the way we do that is by using a P Pass Node. So let's right-click again, and go to new Node, let's go to Thinking Particles, and then TP Initiator, and grab P Pass. And then, you'll notice that the P Pass already has the All Group listed there. And so what we can do is take the group from the P Pass and drag it out and attach it to the PShape. And when we do that, let's rewind back to 0. Let's hit Play again, and you'll see that still nothing has happened, that's because we've still got one more step to do.

Let's go in the XPresso Editor and drag that up, and you see on the PShape Node that there's no Object there. What we need to do is take the Object that we want to have the particles emit and drag it into that Field. When we do that, now suddenly we can see those objects. Drag the XPresso Editor Window down out of the way for a moment, and hit Play. You can see, now we're spitting out Cubes. They're very tiny right now, but there they are. To make those Cubes larger we can go back to the PStorm Node, and if we select that PStorm Node, under the Parameters here is a Size, and let's go to the Size Option and change it from 10 to, say, 30. And that make our Cubes much larger.

All of these options here can be changed. We're not going to go through them now though, because this workflow that I showed you, where we build a Particle Emitter from scratch, is really, quite frankly, not necessary. I wanted to do it though to show you just how intense the Thinking Particles Workflow is. There are a lot of steps to it and it can be very intimidating. But thankfully, there are a lot of Thinking Particles presets that will allow you to jumpstart this process. In the next movie, we'll take a look at a basic preset for the Thinking Particles Emitter.

There are currently no FAQs about CINEMA 4D Essentials 9: Particles and Dynamics.

Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed CINEMA 4D Essentials 9: Particles and Dynamics.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked