Join David Andrade for an in-depth discussion in this video Particle armies, part of Blender: Tips, Tricks, & Techniques.
- [Instructor] Let's say you wanted to make an army of multiple monkey heads, some had, say, bigger eyes or bigger ears, how would you do this? Well in this week's Blenders Tips and Tricks, I'm going to show you just how. First, you want to delete your default cube, so let's delete that guy. Go to Cycles Render, Shift + C to center your scene, and Shift + A to add a monkey. Zoom into this little dude. Shift + D to duplicate him a few times.
And let's select the first one. Go into Edit mode, you can also hit Tab. I'm going to use proportional editing here, just so that everything kind of deforms nicely. And I'm going to make a big head. In this case I'm going to hit C, make some big eyes. And finally, I'm going to select this little guy's ears by hitting B to draw a box and hitting S to scale and make out some big ears. Now the next thing that's important is to name all of these guys. So let's go to object.
Let's call this one Big Ears. Let's call this little guy Big Eyes. And finally, Big Head. Select them all and hit Ctrl + G, and call this little group Monkey Group. Great. Okay, now hit Shift + C, to center your scene, zoom out a little bit, Shift + A and let's make a plane and scale it up just a little bit.
Now go to the Modifier tab and subdivide it a few times, I'm going to say five. And make sure it's simple subdivision, that way we can maintain this little square here. All right, next go to the Particles tab and make a new particle system. And now this is where the fun begins. First, let's start at negative one and zero. That way all of our particles spawn instantly the scene starts. Next let's set the lifetime to something really high, so that way all of our particles stay in the scene without disappearing.
And finally, let's turn off physics, because if I don't, all of my particles are going to fall. All right, now let's go to group. Click on this little group icon, and select Monkey Group. And look at that, I have an army of tiny, little disorganized monkey heads. Don't worry, we can fix this. First, let's scale them up. I'm just going to say about point five here. Next I'm going to go up to Faces, and I'm going to switch it to grid.
Now this way, all of my monkeys kind of face in one direction, and a little bit more organized. And I can turn up the resolution so I have more monkeys in my scene. And finally, I'm going to go back down to Render, and I'm going to turn off Omitter, so that way my plane doesn't render when I go into Rendered mode. And now look at that, I have an army of crazy monkey heads. Okay, now let's go back down into Solid mode, and let's go to Use Count.
Now this is where naming everything comes in handy, because I can say maybe I want more Big Ears, or maybe I want more Big Heads, and some more Big Eyes, and only one Big Ear. Well, how this little Use Count works is it takes a relative amount, based on however many you have here, so it's not actually an absolute amount, but it's really handy, it lets you kind of define maybe I want three Big Heads for every one Big Eye, for every two Big Ears.
And Blender will maintain all of those relationships. Pretty cool, huh? Now there's one more crazy thing that we can do with monkeys, and that is to make them wave. But in order to do that, we're going to have to go back up here and switch to Verts, Modifier Stack. Now a few things are probably scaring you right now. First, what happened to all my monkeys? They are all disorganized again. Don't worry. First, let's turn off Random, so they all spawn in more or less an even position, and second you're going to have to turn up the number of vertice spawning monkeys here.
That way there is an equal amount. For every vertice there's at least one monkey. So I'm just going to guess and say it's about 11 hundred, or so. All right, so here are all of our monkeys waiting for our commands. So I'm going to go to modifiers. I'm going to apply my Subsurf, and I'm going to make a wave. Let's push this wave up here, and oh my, look at that. I now have a wave of monkeys.
Now you're probably noticing that this scene is really chugging. If you go into wireframe, it'll be a little bit easier, and if you go back into particle systems, you can go down to display and display less children. This is really, really important because particles can be really heavy on Blender, and slow your system down. But don't worry, even though I've set my display to ten, and even though in Rendered mode only a few appear, when I go into my camera, so let's pull out my little camera here, and go into Render Image, all of my rendered monkeys do appear.
I just want to point that out, because sometimes people freak out when they see display of ten percent and even in Rendered mode they only see ten percent of them, but don't worry, the final rendered image will actually have all of your monkeys, and it'll make your scene run a lot faster. This is just the beginning of particles, though. I want you to get in there and really play with it and see what other crazy, large swathes of armies you can make. Have fun.
Skill Level Intermediate
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