Procedural Scattering with Thinking Particles
This video will show you how you can use TP as a procedural modelling tool.
The teapot in the demo is an instanced particle fully controllable in TP.
Any obj in 3d Studio Max can be turned into a particle.
Teapot is in its own setup particle grp ‘T’.
What we want to do then is to instanced some other objects onto the surface of the teapot. How do we do this?
Activate the dynamicSet and we can see instantly TP-particles have appeared on the surface of the teapot for us to create vfx.
Is this possible with any particle system software? Yes, however, it is an unusual practice to ‘glaze’ the teapot with these particles,,,so what is the deal?
Well, for TP only, user has a better option to create with this surface particles. It is unlike other particles system that uses the surface ‘position’ operator, here, in a more unusual way, we have used the ‘VolumePositional’ operator. The volPositional operator normal use is to ‘fill’ up any 3d Studio Max mesh, thickness parameter defines the volume. It allows you to either fill the ‘inside’ or the ‘outside’ of the teapot and usually the volumePosition is used to fill a teapot with whatever fluid, etc inside the container.
However, in this demo, we are going to set the thickness to ‘0’ so nothing fills. When you use the volPosition set to 0, it basically means the particles are now on the surface of the teapot.
Next, the geometric instancing so we pick our other ‘teapot’ and instantly, we see each of the particles have now turn into mini-teapots on the surface of the larger teapot.
Now, we can play around with our ‘random seed’ parameter…to adjust the surface outcome and appearance.
All this is non destructive and fully procedural modelling. You can also adjust the appearance using the Alignment operator.
We can also use the ObjtoParticle operator to trigger the ‘on’ function. Not many user know that the ‘Particle ID’ can be used as the ‘on’ trigger! enabling amazing visual effects (see D Instancer). The ID can be used with the positionBorm so that when a particle is born, the instances are created/ in this example: the 500.
You can then followup and get creative such as adjusting the motion of the mini particles on the teapot…the Alignment operator is equipped with a To:Position input and this allows you to define which direction the mini teapots are facing.
Node link-to Position
Select cube dummy helper and see the mini teapots align in unison as you move the dummy helper.
Bear in mind this is fully interactive, fully procedural. Amazing! True dynamic power of thinkingParticles! Unmatched!
Test more by changing the X- / Y- / Z-Rotation parameter and see how the mini teapots changes direction.
Okay, now select the 3d ‘palm tree’ object and see it instanced as mini palm trees all over the large teapot.
To remove overlapping instances, use the PPAssAB operator and adjust the distance between objects.
In this case, it is set to 2.6 – by increasing / decreasing the distance you can modify the amount of mini objects on the larger object.
You can also move all the particles that are too close/overlapping into another group and deleting them off. Very simple and effective.
Once your distance is set correctly, increasing particles does not result in further overlapping – that is the speed and beauty of procedural modelling with TP!
How to get this procedurally modelled object into 3d Studio Max?
Use the great tool called snapShot which ‘freezes’ particle procedural system into mesh for Max, and you can easily continue your work there, or port it to another tool as your vfx work requires.