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Particle effects can be used to create everything from realistic smoke and light to abstract design elements. In Maya Particle Effects, Audri Phillips demonstrates the particles she has found helpful in her work creating dynamic visuals for video games,film and fine art. This course goes deeper than the basics, tackling topics like saving time by reusing MEL expressions, implementing physics to create realistic effects, and manipulating paint effects to give particles the look and feel of an envisioned design. Exercise files accompany the course.
So here we are with our particles again and we are going to add some attributes and even an expression to them. The first thing that I want to do is I want to say my particles are going to fade out over their lifespan and to do that in a very simple way we'll use a ramp and I can right-click in there again and I am going to go Edit Ramp, kind of a two step thing here, and there my ramp pops-up. So the particles at the beginning of their life, they start down here and at the end of life, they are all the way up here. This is the default ramp that you are kind of given when you do a ramp and opacity.
But that's not really what I want. I am going to click away this one and this one, I can see the number of this color here is 0.5. I like that, but I don't want it to be there. I think I want the position of it to be a little higher up. One of these particles to be half- way transparent, full opacity would be one, at about 0.730. And so the particles just don't pop- off at the end of their life, I want them to be zero value right here, okay, zero opacity. Fully transparent at the end of their lives. Remember white being one is fully opaque and black being a value of zero will be fully transparent, and 0.5 will be right in between.
Now that I have done that, however, I have to decide what is the lifespan of my particle? How long are my particles going to live? Once again, I am going to go back to my Particle Attribute Editor here. I am going to look into the Lifespan attributes of my particle. Right now, I have several choices, but I am going to take Constant and I am going to give them a Lifespan of 15, which is actually 24 times 15. A lifespan of one would be 24 frames per second. So their lifespan is 15x24. For those of you who aren't math wizards, it is 360 frames.
The next thing I want to set for my particles is how big is their radius right here. I could push Current Render Type and get a radius that's whatever value. Right now, it's one and that gives them all the same value and all the particles change the value together. However, I want to give them a per particle radius, so that there will be a variation in the size of the different particles. To do that, I am going to go down to my Per Particle (Array) Attributes, but I don't see anything for radius down here. So I am going to push the general Add Dynamic Attribute button here.
This windows pops-up. I am going to push Particle and you will see here, I am given a lot of choices of attributes I can add and here's one I want, Radius Per Particle, and I am going to go OK. There it pops right in there. So I am going to put a creation expression on it. I am going to say these particles, when they are born, this is going to be their radius. Creation Expression. And these particles will be varied because they are all being born at different times. This Expression Editor window pops up. I am going to take this here and copy it.
I am going to give it what I call a random expression. They are going to be randomly around 1.2. 1.2 will be the biggest size that they will be and I'll do Create. Now let's see what we've got. So you can see these particles are all being born at different sizes, in kind of a random range when they are born. So we have gotten this far and in the next movie we will be adding a force field to give them a different kind of motion, and we will also be playing with the rate that they are coming out of the emitter.
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