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Instancing particles

From: Maya Particle Effects

Video: Instancing particles

In this movie, we're going to talk about instancing geometries to particles. But we need some particles to instance these, these little geometries too. So the first thing that we're going to do is we're going open up our Particle tool and I'll call this sketch. That's the name of our particles. And let's sketch particles, let's sketch them right here. Careful to leave enough space between the particles so that the geometries when they're on the particles don't run into each other. Now, I've created some particles and I'm going to select my shapes. Open up the Particle > Instancer (Replacement). Notice that the shapes I've selected, the order I've selected them and put them in this list right here. The Cycle, I'm going to have no cycle on them at all. Position will be Position. Everything else can be the same here. And I'm going to hit Apply.

Instancing particles

In this movie, we're going to talk about instancing geometries to particles. But we need some particles to instance these, these little geometries too. So the first thing that we're going to do is we're going open up our Particle tool and I'll call this sketch. That's the name of our particles. And let's sketch particles, let's sketch them right here. Careful to leave enough space between the particles so that the geometries when they're on the particles don't run into each other. Now, I've created some particles and I'm going to select my shapes. Open up the Particle > Instancer (Replacement). Notice that the shapes I've selected, the order I've selected them and put them in this list right here. The Cycle, I'm going to have no cycle on them at all. Position will be Position. Everything else can be the same here. And I'm going to hit Apply.

And you'll notice it only took the first object in my list and put them on all the particles that I had. That's all that's happening there, which is kind of okay. So, I'm going to try something else out now. I'm going to open up my Hypergraph and get rid of that Instancer that I created which I called anim. So, I'm just going to select it and I'm going to delete it. Now, we're going to try again. So, I'm going to take the same objects. They're still on the list here. This time I'm going to make the Cycle Sequential. Position, Position and Cycle start the object on Particle ID based on Age. And these particles are going to each have a different geometry on them and they're going to cycle around the particles.

But I'll do it based on frames, but let's have them cycle every 12 frames. You'll see how this works. Particle object to instance is sketchShape. Hit Apply. Voila! Now as I play you this scene, we'll watch these particles cycle through. Every 12 frames, they're moving to another particle. The objects on the list cycle. You can see also that the first objects that we created are still there.

If I wanted to make them invisible, I could just merely select them, right, go into the Channel box and I could turn their Visibility off. And then they'd be gone and you'd just see the cycling particles. Then of course, if I applied a force to these cycling objects right now, I'm going to pick the sketch particle and I'm going to apply a field to them, little bit of a Turbulence field, not too much.

Let's apply that and let's see what happens here. So, you can see that my particles have a Turbulence force applied to them and it's also going to be affecting the things that are instanced to them, the geometries that are instanced to the particles. So now, in my Window, my Dynamic Relationship window, I'm going to take off Turbulence from them, my sketch particles, and I'll remove turbulence for now. I'm going to open up my Hypergraph again and remove this anim instance. Delete it.

So, we're back to where we started again. I'm going to select my objects again, the Outliner and make them visible, so we can see them again. Visibility on, because right now I'm going to have fun with one of them. I'm going to take this one right here and let's just animate it based on scale a bit. So, at frame 1 I'm going to keep the Scale where it is. I'm going to Key Selected.

And then at frame 12, Enter. I'm going to make it frame 8, Enter. I'm going to also scale it down a bit and then I'm going to Key Selected. Let's see what happens now. So I'm going to go back into my Particle Instancer and still Cycle : Sequential, Frames, Cycle step. I'm going to make it 8 this time, because I have eight animations and so I want to cycle it once every time completely through its animation. So, let's make that 8. Otherwise it's going to remain the same settings I had before.

But before I do that, I'm going to go into the Animation Editor > the Graph Editor. And the Scale X, Y and Z, I'm going to View > Infinity. And then I'm going to Curves > Post Infinity > Cycle, all right. So my animation is always cycling. Okay, so I'm going to play this now and you'll see my little thing is hopping up and down every 8 frames. Let's go back into my Instancer Options, make that 8 again and I'm going to hit Apply. There we go. Now let's see what happens.

And why didn't that work? Oops! I only had one thing in there. That's why that happened. So, since I only had one of my shapes in there when I instanced it, only that shape was being instanced on everything. So, in this case, I'm going to go back to my Hypergraph. Let's remove that instance again that I've made. Delete it. I'm going to add the rest of my objects. Add Selection right here to this, keep it the same. Now, I'm going to apply it again. There we go, now we can see that our shapes are rotating from particle to particle, kind of fun. And then if we go into our Window again, Relationship Editors > Dynamic Relationships. I can put that to Turbulence field.

Start from beginning, and voila! Putting some Turbulence in the whole scene at the same time. So, these are the basics of how to work with this Instancer window. So, basically you have your Cycle Steps in Seconds. You could do it in Seconds as you're units, or Frames. And the Cycle Step Size, I'm picking 8 in this case. And I'm doing it by Position and I'm starting the cycle based on the Particle ID number and the age of the particle, which in this case, they're all the same number, all the same age.

So, as you can see, this could be quite useful for creating effects like flocking. You might make a flock of birds, you might make some bugs or how about some butterflies? So, we've had fun with the Particle Instancer.

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Maya Particle Effects

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Audri Phillips
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