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Vizfizz
05-01-2006, 11:49 PM
Please register for this team by responding below.

tjs61822
05-02-2006, 04:51 AM
Count me in. Any hint on the type of projects involved?

Tim

Vizfizz
05-02-2006, 06:38 AM
Working on that as we speak. A general outline will be up soon.

richardjoly
05-02-2006, 05:18 PM
This plugin has been daunting me for years. Time to learn. Count me in.

sacslacker
05-03-2006, 06:38 AM
I'm in... free training and an excuse to use cool particle effects. What more can a nerd (me) ask for?!

EDIT: you'd think english is a second language to me

NorthernLights
05-03-2006, 02:46 PM
I'm listening if anyone has questions.

schristy
05-04-2006, 08:53 AM
Are you kidding? An opportunity to learn Dante with Brian leading the expedition, and Blair looking over our shoulders? Sign me up.

Steve

percy06
05-04-2006, 01:09 PM
well i finish my film in 6 day's so i'll have a crack at all even if i need to buy dante

Igors
05-04-2006, 08:58 PM
Hi, gentlemen

Sorry for OT, but we've a question: what is a "particle system"?

Our opinion is absolute not objective. We never liked particles, all our plug-ins started from remove that "defective facets" from source data of plug-in's child groups, same as non-planar geometry. Really, what a point/line is usable for? Fire/Smoke? We are sure that absolute not. Water? We think only as a part of water plug-in (as maximum). Hair/Fur? Now (2006) it's fully clear that not. Looks like paricles system does all overview, but nothing concrete. So, maybe a "particle system" is just obsolete idea/term from times of CG cradle yet?

sacslacker
05-04-2006, 09:44 PM
In my humble opinion, "particle systems" are quite useful for effects work. My experience with particles has mainly been with Maya. Maya has a rich particle system that allows you to emit many different types of particles including: sprites, blobby particles, streak, multistreak, spheres and geometry instances. These particles can be influenced by "fields" such as vortex, gravity, etc which results in an endless amount of possibilities.

Uses for particles are quite numerous as well (in my opinion). With geometry instancing via particles you can make a flock of butterfies, a makeshift crowd simulation. You can make sprite based smoke, fire, even attach Maya fluid containers to particles to generate some very nice self shadowed smoke, tornadoes, you name it. Having the ability to script the particle system via mel gives the user even more power.

To be honest I've never used EI's particles. I did pick up Dante and I've just started to use it. Being that I'm such a noob with EI, I can only provide my view of particles from a Maya perspective.

I think it would be awesome to be able to emit instanced geometry from EI's particles or sprites. I'm not sure if that's possible at this point but I'd think it would be handy to have.

I hope I'm understanding you correctly. I'd sum it up as - I think particle systems are quite valuable to have if they are fairly robust.

Vizfizz
05-04-2006, 10:11 PM
Coming from Maya's particle system as well, I plan to compare the two. Not to berate Northern Lights or Triple D, but I hope to shed some light on how we could potentially enhance EI's offerings and maybe give Blair and Triple D some ideas on how to expand their products.

Dante, from my observations, can only deliver about 1/3 to 1/2 the capabilities of Maya's system. However, what Dante does offer, is pretty good.

Vizfizz
05-04-2006, 10:14 PM
Hi, gentlemen

Sorry for OT, but we've a question: what is a "particle system"?

Our opinion is absolute not objective. We never liked particles, all our plug-ins started from remove that "defective facets" from source data of plug-in's child groups, same as non-planar geometry. Really, what a point/line is usable for? Fire/Smoke? We are sure that absolute not. Water? We think only as a part of water plug-in (as maximum). Hair/Fur? Now (2006) it's fully clear that not. Looks like paricles system does all overview, but nothing concrete. So, maybe a "particle system" is just obsolete idea/term from times of CG cradle yet?

Particles are our friends! I use them constantly in Maya and they are invaluable. Igors...I hope you plan to follow these threads because they might spark some interesting ideas.

Igors
05-04-2006, 10:33 PM
Hi, Brian S.

Thanks for sharing your opinion/knowledges. We are not noobs in EI (we hope), but we are noobs in Maya. Well, maybe not noobs at all, we constantly learning it (it always good to see how this or that is implemented in Maya, so we use it as a "big handbook" - not all should be a subject to copy IMO ;)

Ok, now is a question: several years ago our sons showed us an "intro movie" from a game they played: a flock of running rats. We were really amazed with technical implementation, and, be honest, we could not say either it was a particle system or just artist(s) animated each rat individually. How it's possible each rat has individual (not monotonous) its legs moving/motion? And each one is sticked to surface (be honest, just a plane in what we seen) ? Collisions rat <-> rat? That would be a particle system we could say only "wow" (and learn), but.. who knows, maybe it's just a work of artist(s)?

yhloon
05-05-2006, 02:06 AM
I'm in... :)

NorthernLights
05-05-2006, 02:52 PM
Flocking is sort of a fancy particle system. Basic particles have rules like gravity. "Some can be bent. Others can be broken." In the case of flocking, the simple ones are things like Maintain cruising distance from your neighbors, Align direction w/ your neighbors, etc. Massive is probably the most advanced implementation. The characters can do things like "listen" for other characters and do things based on what they "hear." Then there are all these action databases that the system can call up so characters can run, walk, climb, fight, etc. and they can transition from walking to running etc.

Craig Reynolds did some of the early work on flocking.
http://www.red3d.com/cwr/boids/

Much of this is implemented in Flock This!

Igors
05-05-2006, 05:28 PM
In past we learned the problem: particles + blobs = fountain. Our conclusions were very negative - no luck with fountain :sad: We can discuss this (of course if it's interested and in context of this thread)

sacslacker
05-05-2006, 05:40 PM
I agree, I've never been able to get blobby particles to look very good for water simulation. Now goo/ooze type stuff seems to work great. I admit though, I haven't had to do water simulations so my experiements have just been for fun.

As for particle collisions, one way I've faked that is to assign a "radial field" on a per particle basis. You can adjust the size of the field to match the needed particle size. Once you do that the radial fields collide with each other which fakes particle collisions. Also, you can use Maya's dynamics to make particles collide with geometry. It's pretty simple too. You select the geometry, then the particles and go to particle>make collide. Now the particles react with what every geometry you've connected them with. Kinda handy...

One thing that I fine very powerful with Maya is the ability to add attributes to almost any object. That allows for a lot of custom scripting possibilites that makes working with things like particles much easier and robust.

By the way, I got a full night in on Dante, that plugin is awesome. I haven't read the documentation but I was able to get things working fairly quickly. I did run into a problem where somehow I set a setting that was making my entire render an orange color. I couldn't figure out what I did but I guess thats what I get for randomly tweaking parameters. Ha!

I'll be asking questions here soon because I'd like to know the ins-and-outs but I hate asking questions before I've read the manual. Fun Stuff!

P.S. Pathfinder is great too!

sacslacker
05-07-2006, 09:04 AM
Woot... just saw the first post for the particle workshop and I'm excited to get started. Thanks for writing that up Brian, very nice that you've taken the time out of your day to put that kind of work in for the better of the EI userbase. I've already learned something!

Vizfizz
05-07-2006, 09:09 AM
No problem Brian..

Anytime you learn something.. let us know and tell us what it is.. it could spur more conversation.. The intro thread will continue....but its getting late.. lol.

bronco
05-23-2006, 08:04 AM
if it isn't to late, i join the dante club.
nice discount, blair :)
brian, i hope you find some time for more dante info soon, but right now the slow path is just right for me. :scream:

Vizfizz
05-23-2006, 08:06 AM
I'm trying to Uwe... got just a few too many irons in the fire... one of which is pretty big. Don't worry though, I will be returning to this particle class soon and you're welcome to join in.

dieGolum
05-23-2006, 03:26 PM
Hola amigos, I'm new on this forum, I'm really interested in participate in the Dante experience, please sign me up.

my English is very basic, but i can read ok. and write a little.images/icons/icon11.gif

thanks to Brian for start this forum.images/icons/icon7.gif

Diego.

sacslacker
05-23-2006, 09:33 PM
Could I ask a dumb question? It doesn't appear that sprites are supported in Dante so I was wondering if there was a way to "fake" sprites by mixing Dante with scripting. Specifically is there a way to tell the Dante Particles (lets say an emitted plane) to face a specific camera normal?

I guess my real question is the particle engine open to the scripting interface? I haven't made it all the way through the documentation so if it's in there, feel free to tell me to RTFM!

=)

bronco
05-23-2006, 10:23 PM
i don't know about scripting (from the look of the accesible animation channels i think there is much you can do), but if you add a plane (or other object for that matter) look here:
Control Groups Panel -> General Settings -> lower right corner. Under Alignment you can tell the emitted Particles to look at the camera. (always the Camera that is active, i think).

i hope that is what you searched :)

Vizfizz
05-23-2006, 10:30 PM
Brian...

Dante can support a "limited" form of fake sprite...but its not as integrated as Maya's implementation of sprites in OpenGL. Simply use Ubershape to create a plane for your spirte card. Keep the resolution settings for the plane low, and size it accordingly.

Parent the ubershape plane to Dante....then you'll need to activate object emission by selecting the "plane" in the control groups window and by changing the type of emitted particle from lines to objects. Now Dante will start to emit uberplanes instead of particles points.(See my previous class about object emission).

In the control groups window, there will be a popup menu for particle object alignment. Select align to camera. Unfortunately, the alignment will only take place at render time. One of the things I planned to touch on during our Dante class is to influence Blair to integrate better sprite capabilities into Dante rather than having to use this method.
It works in a pinch though.

As for Xpressionist scripting.. any channel in Dante that can be animated can be affected by XP....however the issue here is Dante's limited ability to track and modify particles on a per particle basis...I've discussed this once before to Blair...and I think its time to mention it to him again. Per particle control, if its possible in EI, would be a great benefit.. right now, the particle cloud is seen as a single object. The good news is you can modify initial emission settings to randomize things.. but without per particle expressions, your limited in what you can do with XP and Dante.

sacslacker
05-23-2006, 11:17 PM
Thank you for the response Brian. It'd be great to add some of this stuff to Dante, I really like the plugin.

I was trying to build some sprite based clouds using Dante and I had a couple ideas to play with Xpressionist to add some control. I have a habit of thinking with a Maya thought process inside of EIAS.

I'm conisidering Blaster now too. The funny thing is, I don't have any work related to explosions at this time but I'm having fun playing with this. I mean, what's more fun than blowing stuff up? Ha!

Vizfizz
05-23-2006, 11:30 PM
Yes.. the workflow and thought process is different between the two packages... but the principles are still the same. The advantage Maya has is the particle system is integrated while Dante must contend with the plugin API. However... don't stop thinking in Maya. There are alot of Maya processes I'd like to see in EI..

If you start playing with Mr. Nitro 2 you'll get a rough idea of how Blaster can work.. although Blaster has much greater explosion control. Blaster can even act as a hard surface dynamics engine in a pinch.. though Ramjac's Rodeo will probably eclipse that by a wide margin.

Only big drawback about Blaster is you'll have to score your models and break them up in advance within your modeling package. It isn't entirely automatic...

Brian

sacslacker
05-25-2006, 06:09 AM
i don't know about scripting (from the look of the accesible animation channels i think there is much you can do), but if you add a plane (or other object for that matter) look here:
Control Groups Panel -> General Settings -> lower right corner. Under Alignment you can tell the emitted Particles to look at the camera. (always the Camera that is active, i think).

i hope that is what you searched :)

Thanks Uwe, that is exactly what I was looking for! Somehow I missed your response but I really appreciate the help!

Can I ask another question, is there an easy way to tell by looking, what animation channels are available? I'm assuming its an icon in the project window?

bronco
05-25-2006, 12:10 PM
Can I ask another question, is there an easy way to tell by looking, what animation channels are available? I'm assuming its an icon in the project window?

in the project window click on the little blueish triangle in front of your dante group (that's the main animation channels), then on the little triangle in front of sockets (that's what each plugin opens individually for you). all of this can be used in XP.

MagicEgger
06-28-2006, 08:54 PM
Hey Brian,

Im in too.

Tomas

Vizfizz
06-28-2006, 09:53 PM
Sounds good Thomas...

Its been unfortunate that this class has slipped through the cracks. I got hit from all directions for my time and I had to sacrifice something. Its my full intention to reactive this class soon.

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