Join Andy Needham for an in-depth discussion in this video Neon data stream, part of X-Particles 3 for Cinema 4D Essential Training.
- In this project, we'll use the follow path modifier to create a stylized data stream animation. I've gone ahead and set this project up as you can see. We've got a load of splines following this path and I did that using some cloner objects with some circles. The clones just cloning onto this helix. From there, I chose to use the Current State to Object setting and that gave me all these circles for the small clones and again for the large clones.
We can use these in the follow path modifier. Let's look at the system. So, I've got two emitters already here and they're placed just right by the circular splines. If we play through, currently, they're not following the direction and, so, the follow path modifier allows us to direct our particle flow so let's set those up. In the Modifiers, we'll choose a Motion Modifier and we want to select Follow Path. I'm going to rename this because it's going to be for the small circles.
The modifier needs some objects and so I'll lock the modifier here and expand this and we'll drag in all our small circles into the path objects. So, now when we playback our particles are trying. They're trying to go through. Some of them are making but because of this Acuteness of Turn they are misbehaving slightly so we can increase this value and now they'll start to follow the path more closely.
I might increase that a little bit more just a touch and the only group I want affected will be the small group. If you look here, it gets the Acuteness of Turn from the modifier currently. There's another mode called Tag and we'll just go over that quickly. I can select any of these circle splines along the path and right click and choose the xpPathData and, if we have a look at that and unlock the modifier, what that does is it just gives you control for the Acuteness of Turn and you can slow down and speed up the particles.
You can do that on every single goal point but we don't need to that with this setup so I'll just delete that for now and we'll twirl this up. Give ourselves a bit more room and let's set one up for the large particle trail. I'll just duplicate it and, firstly, we need to remove everything from here and, also, remove the small group. I'll bring in the large group and, in the objects, we'll use the large circular splines. So, I'll lock this again.
Makes it a lot easier to select multiple objects and then just drag them in. I'll just reduce this down a touch and unlock it. We'll rename this so that we know that it's the large one. Now, if you're looking in the viewport, you can see our large particles are flowingg along as well as our small ones and they're all following the path. To visualize this a bit better, let's use some trail objects. Let's set those up quickly. We've got the trails here. We want to drag in our small Emitter and, for this one, we're going to choose no connections.
They're a bit long so we can choose to use the Length Mode and I'll make them a bit shorter with a bit of variation. We'll just make that a bit easier to see in the viewport and now we've got some trails happening. These are our small trails and we'll make another one for our large trails. We'll drag in the large Emitter and, with this one, I want to change the algorithm so that it's using the nearest by distance.
I'll make that a bit easier to see and with these let's give them a slightly different color. Now, we can see with these ones, let's change it from Nearest Only to all within a certain distance so, if I increase this, we'll get a cage that's housing our inner particles. Now we've got all this going on I'll just hide these splines and makes it a bit easier to see just focusing on the particles.
I want to create some particles which follow these larger ones. We can add a unique material to them. We can do this the Dynamic Particles Modifier and it's in the Generate Modifiers list and what this needs is an emitter to spawn from and the unique thing about this one is it can fade in and fade out the particles as and when they're needed. We're going to use it in a slightly different way but let's just set it up. I'll create a new Emitter and we'll call this Data.
We'll add it to the dynamic particles. I also want, if we just press play, I also want these dynamic particles to only affect the large group so we'll drag that in and I also want, because they're going to be related to the large group, I want them to follow the large paths as well. So, we'll actually need a group for that. So, we'll add a new group and we'll call this Data just to remove any speed and our large follow path modifier we'll add in the data.
Just give it a slightly different color. So, now we've got some particles that are following the large particles and now I want to add some Sprites onto this so we can use these materials. We'll generate using the data emitter itself. We'll generate some not Cubes but some Placards and that's just like adding a plain object really. We can leave everything set like this.
Over in the Textures, we'll add in our 0 and our 1 and we'll randomly choose from these and you can see that we've got them, if we regenerate now, you see that we've got those particles happening but they're a bit small so we can use the Particle Scale. On the data group, we'll increase the scale and add some variation and I would like to add a bit of spin to these as well so we'll use rotation.
We can maybe make them face the camera and I'll add a simple amount of spin just a touch a bit of variation as well. Now, when we play through, we're getting this unique looking data stream. We can see it in the viewport. We can't see it in the renderer and now we need to add some materials. I'll add the small trail material to the small trail and I'll add the large one to the large trail and also want these points to be visualized as well so I've got a material for that and I'll put it on the large emitter.
Now when we render getting a pretty nice result. It'll be cool if we could vary the colors that are happening inside the small Emitter so to do that we can just go to our small Emitter and, in the Groups, hold down command and create and add a group and we can create and add another group. We'll just give these a name and I'll change the colors slightly. Maybe something a bit warmer for this one and what we need to do is make sure that these new groups are going to follow the small path so we'll add those as well and now when we refresh we'll get all those new groups generated and we'll take a render there and we're getting this variety now.
We've used the Sprites generator with the dynamic particles modifier to add particles to our large data stream and we've used the follow path modifiers to direct the flow of our particles resulting in a unique highly stylized data stream animation.
- Working with the Emitter tabs
- Adjusting particles with modifiers
- Creating visible particles
- Using sprites
- Colliding, freezing, and lighting particles
- Caching in X-Particles
- Applying constraints
- Adjusting materials settings
- Sculpting particles
- Saving and loading presets