View Full Version : Particle Flow Discussion

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06 June 2004, 06:35 AM
Hi Allan, I possibly should have PM'd this to you but I just wanted to say thanks for your great video tutorials on Particle Flow!

I'm a Maya person but for a current project I'm on I have to use Max instead. Your tutorials got me up to speed on Particle Flow really quickly, which is very helpful.

It's nice hearing an Aussie voice in a tutorial for once too!!

A friend of mine actually worked on that Scion commercial with you (well maybe not directly with you), his name's Phil Wittmer and he did mostly texturing I think.

Anyway thanks again, I'll be keeping an eye on your site.


06 June 2004, 04:50 PM
Hey Jozvex, wow small world! Phil's my boy! :) He's over at Animal Logic causing lots of havoc. I caught up with him, Wiro and a bunch of other AL artists just before I flew out to LA in March.
Yeah Scion was the last maya project I worked on, hoping to get back into maya a little bit, but it's funny how much work there is in max over in the states.

I'm going to start doing a few maya tuts soon so keep an eye out, as I'm sure they'll be quite helpful as well ;)
where abouts are you working? Ambience or some other max house?
Up the aussies! ;)

On a seperate note: Kind of pointless R&D although was scripting some stuff to get pflow to work with cloth, kinda interesting, although not too useful in this scenario but might be helpful with a bit of improvement.

Chris Thomas
06 June 2004, 10:30 PM
off topic, but hey :)

Bobo, if you read this, could you get in contact with me please?


Chris Thomas

06 June 2004, 12:07 AM
hehe, that was pretty cool allen. What did you do? Link the corner vertcies and the middle vertex to those spheres then just... move the spheres with a few space warps?

I think its about time I stopped critising other peoples work and released my own. On Saturday I will have my effects piece finished and will *finally* be able to release it!!! WOOHOO!!!! Then its time for a nice Uni break. Just thought I'd self-promote myself there, hehe :cool:

06 June 2004, 12:43 AM
oh it was just a test to see what would happen.
I scripted several objects to link themselves to my particles which move around, and then obviously told the cloth to link to the objects. As there's no way to get particles to directly effect cloth (I wish it were as simple as maya as softbodies in maya ARE particles).

but just one of those what if things that you'll do and have no use for then down the line saves you days of R&D when you need particles to effect something physical in one way or another ;)

cool can't wait to see your work!

July 2nd you'll get to see some of my stuff in the blade 3 trailer before spiderman 2 ;)

06 June 2004, 11:45 PM
Hi guys,

There's an option in Pflow to controll particle density by material.
This got me thinking...what if the material could controll other attributes of the particles? for example shape_instance scale and variation etc...

what I have in mind is an extension of Bobo's "hairy-teapot" particle hair that can adjust the size (or direction/rotation/color etc...) of the instanced hair depending on a texture map.

the only reason that I even think this is possible is because I was tooling around with maxscript and I think it might be possible to access the <Position_Object>.Density_By_Emitter_Material and somehow tweek it to return it's value to the instance_size parameter?

am I anywhere near reality here?

I'm not a programmer, and I've only been (seriously) using maxscript for a few months.

is this possible? it would seriously Kick ass if it is!

any help is HUGELY appreciated

06 June 2004, 11:45 PM
Hi guys,

There's an option in Pflow to controll particle density by material.
This got me thinking...what if the material could controll other attributes of the particles? for example shape_instance scale and variation etc...

what I have in mind is an extension of Bobo's "hairy-teapot" particle hair that can adjust the size (or direction/rotation/color etc...) of the instanced hair depending on a texture map.

the only reason that I even think this is possible is because I was tooling around with maxscript and I think it might be possible to access the <Position_Object>.Density_By_Emitter_Material and somehow tweek it to return it's value to the instance_size parameter?

am I anywhere near reality here?

I'm not a programmer, and I've only been (seriously) using maxscript for a few months.

is this possible? it would seriously Kick ass if it is!

any help is HUGELY appreciated

06 June 2004, 04:30 PM
yeah you can.. or I'm pretty sure you'll be able to do this by reading the colour values and that threshhold feeds back and can read in geometry etc.

there'll be something for max coming out soon for pflow that can do this by default for you though just if you want to saveyourself the stress ;)
wrote a few operators over the weekend and threw up some other misc trash whilst there if anyone wans a look.

06 June 2004, 05:46 PM
pretty nice allan...I like that fire did you do that??
but it is all really cool

06 June 2004, 05:53 PM
ah the fires afterburn, it's of a fireball I'm doing for a side project
it's just explode daemon and some fancy noise levels to get the shape and feel of fire.
it's nothing that fancy

06 June 2004, 06:02 PM
thanks ... unfortunately I don't have afterburn:cry: I have to find a way around without it....can you give me some tips to do it without afterburn.....I'm trying it with spheres and rob's shader at the moment....
the cracking teapot is really awesome, nice work there

06 June 2004, 06:15 PM
the cracking ground is the main thing I wanted to put up. the way it's set up is really intuitive, few lines of code and it gives complete ease to animating that kind of thing.

honestly, CG fireballs (and I mean fireballs, as in thick dense bodies of fire opposed to tendril based fire) I wouldn't achieve without fluids unless forced to.

You can get some interesting results with afterburn and other voxel based (raymarcher shaders more specifically) applications although the motion and information is still based around 'dumb' particles - so the feel isn't ever going to be that great.

I'd say in max you might try displacement and a really complex falloff shader to get some kind of fire, although that's teh only real way to go about it.

Hope that at least points you in the right direction. Get the demo of AB off turbo squids site!

06 June 2004, 06:23 PM
I take a look at the demo but I've heared that the explode daemon is I can't get the effect...which apps can achieve better results for that...maya or houdini??

06 June 2004, 06:40 PM
Honestly I'd say hold off a tiny bit longer as max's market is about to be flooded with fluids plugins last count I counted at least five which are going to hit the market soon.
All of them are looking great.

Houdini's base voxels are cool but nothing spectacular.
Maya has some great fluids although afterburn can achieve cooler 'shader' results with a lot more ease than maya's, although obviously at this stage isn't fluid based. Maya can fairly easily do some great smoke sims as well as basic fuel explosions although nothing too spectacular. Although can out of the box with a lot of battering around get some really nice fluids explosions, although before you think that that's doing good explosions 'out of the box' keep in mind this is maya limited, even max 6 and ab togeather I 'think is cheaper than maya incomplete or limited from what I recall.

You can still do a lot of cool stuff with dumb particle sims although I'm just wanting to take the next step with interaction with objects and heat distribution information etc. as then you can get a lot more cooler results. But you can still ge tsome cool fireball results within pflow etc.
But to answer your Q Maya probably has the best out of the box (even though it's out of the bigger more expensive box of the boxes).

PS. I'm not maya bashing just making sure when people take preference to 'out of the box' solutions they realize it's not necessarily any cheaper or practical some of the time ;)


06 June 2004, 08:48 AM
I am really interested about your method for the the cracktest.

I can remember something similar in Mission to Mars at the end when the "face" collapse itself or X-files the movie ending craked Ice (but for that one,I think that was not CG ...)

the question is how to position the geometrik chunks correctly with particles?? in other do u do that ?

[] interesting cg cracking method for maya

06 June 2004, 10:30 AM

here is my quick test. my chunks are interpenetrated because of the random placement.
the reactor Fracture solution takes too many time to prepare.
so , any pure PF solution?

06 June 2004, 11:25 AM
that's pretty cool there loran...nice work:applause:

06 June 2004, 04:35 PM
We did some really cool fracture stuff for blade which is kind of similiar although not as advanced as the stuff DD did for alias of a breaking window shattering. Although all of that stuff is purely TP based - Although obviously I wanted to do this in pflow as I'm building a bunch of material to do a presentation at siggraph.

I had originally built this test which is scripting controlling pieces of geometry. I tried to up that to a more advanced level on Saturday as right now I was manually assigning what particle effects what piece and such. So I wanted to try and improve on that, so I set it up to read off of arrays and in a way 'thought for itself'.
In the end I've written a birthscript which reads geometry and position info amongst a few other things and mimics the prefractured geometry in. I could have it fracture the geometry itself although the talk's on pflow and not coding so I wrote the fracture script as a seperate piece. If anyone's interested I'll upload the fracture script sometime, although there's a dozen of them already out there ;)
I'd upload the scene but have to keep this material 'exclusive' although it's nothing too fancy. But will have plenty of new material up soon along with a new site. Been busy in the spare bit of time that I have ;)

by the way cool video you made looks great :) Put dust emitting off of it and it'll cover up the intersections ;)

06 June 2004, 04:51 PM
Ah, finally finished school, so now I can play with particles again too. Had to do a dynamic ground test myself and this is the first test :

Doesnt look nearly as fancy as yours tho.. hehe.. But I will build upon it and see what I can come up with. I really want each piece to fit the other so It would look its best but have no idea on how to do that.

06 June 2004, 05:16 PM
the one I've built is kept pretty simple as I want it to be built for tutorial purposes. Although ideally if I was to do one for production I'd probably like to still make it effect geometry, and basically juse use the particles to send out animation curves to the geometry opposed to actually animating the pieces for me. As if I were to do something like the main street in san fran being torn up when the hulks moving underneath it in the hulk or something.

Ideally there's a lot of stress and fracture R&D I want to do I've written notes on although is a little beyond me at this point to tackle - but don't think it'd be very particle related ;)

downloading.. cool scene deetee nice! And great to see schools over ;)

06 June 2004, 06:44 PM
The fracture stuff looks really nice, would love to be able to get the fracture script you mentioned Alan. I was checking some Maya stuff and found this , It looks quite intresting.

Alan, you talked about those fluid plugins. Do you mean that there will be particle like fluid tools, or fluid simulators with theyr own systems like AURA. Could you tell anything more on this subject?

And you mentioned the particle pixel renderer i while ago, do you know if anything like that will be released to the public?

And i cant wait to see the new tutorials you're working on, they are priceless!


06 June 2004, 07:46 PM
yeah saw that glass shatter stuff this morning, very nice!

I'm not aware of any point renderers being commercially released unfortunately as I think they're all being kept quite tightly to their makers at this stage (ie. blizzard and a few other studios who are making them).

there's a bunch of voxel fluids and a bunch of fluid dynamics plugins in development. my lips are zipped as to who's making what and what is coming out or when - but ones that people know about are of course glu3d and aura etc. although there's other way coller stuff like flood (frantic films) which was used on scooby doo 2 for the tar monster etc. (anyone see that?) and a few really cool ones which nobody knows about :)

Yeah the fracture script is just one that'll break stuff up into objects, it's not the particle side. Will put it up soon, making a new site which'll hopefully have a lot of cool new content, scripts, scenes, tutorials and what not.
Just in time for the DVD's release which 'hopefully' will be June 18th through turbosquid... or at least that's what I'm told ;)

06 June 2004, 09:38 PM
Yeah, the maya thing looks real nice, but i quess it will be a quite slow process calculating those simulations.

Nice to hear about those fluid things, but is there anything in development which would bring "fluid" like particles with heat and the usual stuff to Particle Flow?

And real nice if I you can put the shatter script online, would love to test it. And i cant wait to buy the DVD, because I've bought a DVD drive because of it. :D

06 June 2004, 10:04 PM
well last time I spoke to jesus pedrosa he mentioned they were talking to discreet/oleg about ways to get glu3d to talk directly to pflow so all of that information would go directly in there. So that would be interesting.
Plus another well known particle system is about to try out fluids too so everythings going fluids now. As that's the most logical step.

Yeah DVD seems to be getting some good feedback - it's a bit ghetto but I'm happy with what it covers. And be happy to finally see it out :) June 18 is what I heard, I'll let everyone know as soon as I hear anything new.

In regard to fracture simulations, stress fracture and brittle based sims can be real time, HL2 is using very basic forms of this. Although actual brittle based fracture sims aren't necessarily too complex in terms of calculation time. Once again I know of at least one particle system which is R&D'ing this to evolve up from away from basic 'fragmenting' technology that most systems today use (thinking particles 1.0, particle studio, parray etc. (tp/ps at least have tesselation based fragmenting).

06 June 2004, 02:31 AM
I've been following this thread for a while but this is my first attempt at getting involved in some of the discussions. I would like to first say that I think this is one of the best threads I've ever read. I've learned so much from those that have contributed and I'd like to thank everyone. It's been an invaluable resource for learning. I especially want to thank Allan and Bobo for the generous contributions of their knowledge and expertise.

Ok, so on to the question. I've got some students that have asked me about using pflow and reactor together. I've read the previous posts concerning this and it doesn't quite do what we're looking for. Before I get into detail I just want to ask; Is it possible to have pflow drive a rigid body simulation in reactor? Any info anyone can give me will be greatly appreciated.


06 June 2004, 07:46 AM
Damn.. 52 pages worth of post on the pflow.. not bad...
Thought I would ask a question on the hair lookalike system that one could do with the help of pflow...
I doint somthing like a bearded man, now the truble is that the beard and the hair is on the same mesh.. witch means that I can't just use mesh select to select wich faces that should make the hair/beard do to the fact that they are of diffrent color and lenght, so the question is is it posible to make the pflow emit particel from a spesific material id and not the others, ie from id1 hair, from id2 beard and not anything from id nr 3-5..

(the dude looks quite funny with hair on his teeth but thats not the way I whant it...)

TNX for an exelent tread!

06 June 2004, 09:59 AM
vfxwiz, the way to drive RB with PF is a little bit brain dead :/
you have to use a PF script to drive your objects (collected in a RB collection). your driven object must be "unyelding" because they are pre-animated before the simulation and... here is the problem!
this object is like "linked" to particles, so Reactor can't see its transform key (of course, it has not). So you must use another script to collapse the transformations to keyframe for this object.
I think we use to talk about that earlier in this thread...

if anyone have a better solution... let us know

vfxwiz, tell us what you exactly wanna do

06 June 2004, 10:37 AM
The_Row, use a Position Object operator with the density By Material option. There you can also select the particle ID.

This uses a map to determine the amount of particles, so if you have grayscale selected then white parts will have the most 'hairs'.

You can also use vertex colours as a grayscale map. This way you can easily apply the colouration on your mesh.



To make use of vertex colours while at the same time not rendering them:

- Make a multi/sub material;
- use two slots, one with material ID X and one with mat. ID Y;
- put your visible material in the first slot and your 'particle mask' material in the second;
- give the second material a Vertex Colour Map in the diffuse slot, channel 0;
- use mapping with the first material as you would normally do, make sure you use ID X, but use a VertexPaint modifer for your second material (ID Y);
- start painting;
- in PFlow, make sure you use ID Y with the Pos. Surface operator.

Hope this helps.

06 June 2004, 11:00 AM
Tnx Rens, now all thats left is to render the short 200 frames animation.. the time left is.. 50 hours... damn...

06 June 2004, 02:27 PM
Thanks for the quick reply Loran, everyone on this thread is really helpful.

What my student has set up is a "cigar" box type model. Basically a box and a lid. She wants to have hundreds of moths come out of the box. She wants the moths to drive the hinged lid box lid open, meaning that they first spill out of the box as they're trying to get the box lid open. We were trying to find a way to do this by using pflow to drive the reactor simulation of the hinged box lid. So far we've been unsuccessful in that effort. The only other way we've come up with is to fake it with animated (keyframed)moths but it takes more time and doesn't look as realistic in my opinion. It does sound like it's a pretty long and painful effort to get pflow to interact with reactor. Thanks for your help.


06 June 2004, 04:36 PM
Hi vfxwiz - thanks! Honestly there's so many people who've made excelent contributions to this whole thread it's been great to jump on and participate as it shows how much enthusiasm there is towards pflow and fx in general!

To answer your q right now yes and no, I'll say at least 'currently' your best bet is to maybe make some objects and have them part of a rigid body set and unyielding, but then script them to read the position of particles, as this way they'll be recognised by reactor but controlled by particles.

like lets say you want 10 particles to hit a brick wall and knock it over.
lets make a bunch of cubes that the particles will control.

make 10 cubes...
then in pflow make a script operator like this.

in the channelisused section
pcont.useposition = true

then in proceed:
allansboxs = $box*
count = pcont.numparticles()
for i in 1 to count do
pcont.particleindex = i
allansboxs[i].position = pcont.particleposition

I 'think' that will work.
that's really basic and tragic way of doing it, but it should in 'theory' work.

06 June 2004, 04:43 PM
Ah Loran answered that already ;) cool

RE: honestly I'd personally hand animate the box lid opening, although not to say it'd be a great learning experience to do it the other way but you will get a quicker and more predictable result by hand animating it.
I'd love to say pflow is great 'simulation' system, although like with most particle systems, they're "dumb" particle systems and they haven't enough samples to always get predictability. Although you could do what we said with scripting but for every nth particle so it's not too complex'er simulation.

I could have sworn I copied the fracture script and some other goodies onto my flash drive last night... gotta remember E:\ at work isn't E:\ at home :) will bring that stuff in tomorrow! Recoreded a simple video of some cool adaptive pflow stuff.

06 June 2004, 05:52 PM
Wow, you guys are really great with the responses. I'm going to try this technique with the script Allan. Years ago I used to use lingo to do alot of director stuff but I really haven't touched scripting since then. A huge thanks goes out to you and Loran for the help. I know you've heard this a million times but count me in for getting you guys a beer at Siggraph.


06 June 2004, 08:59 PM
eeek! Lingo! Yeah I've been there man ;)
Yeah looking forward to siggraph, dunno how I'm gonna be able to do any presentations with the about of alcohol in my system ;)

06 June 2004, 03:26 PM
I've been tinkering around with the script you passed on to me Allan. Unfortunately my complete lack of knowledge in maxscript precludes me from getting any successful result. I guess it's time I finally rolled up my sleeves and delve into the basics of max scripting. Thanks again so much for your help.


06 June 2004, 04:48 PM
well here's the fracture script I promised. I assume it still works, I went to town in notepad basically
making sure john burnette gets props and I don't for it as it's just his function with my stuff overlayed over
the top.
I built this in conjunction with a bunch of other scripts to execute a few things I needed for some initial
testing I did for blade. so it wasn't meant to do much by itself.

I have written a version which has a gui but there's one or two bugs and I haven't the time to delve into fixing
them until blade's out the door. But there's a dozen other scripts out there that do what mine does so I'm in
no rush.

Just load it up, choose the object you want to fracture, and the amount of pieces and thickness.
grab the script here


I've also uploaded what I'm using it for in conjunction with my script operator for cracking up the ground.
I haven't put up the scene or anything just for the heck of it a quick demo of how the birthscript can read
in new geometry and such. so I can fracture the ground, then fracture it again and again to certain bits and it
rebuilds the system after adapting to the new bits.

check them out here:

Lastly I made a tutorial last night on doing tendril fire in pflow. pretty basic stuff, but figured might be worth doing.
you need TSCC (codec) grab it here:
and grab the tut here:

and lastly this is kinda old stuff, bit of early R&D stuff I did for paycheck I'm going back and kind of reworking and improving on,got a video here at low res (was kinda busy last night so didn't render anything higher) this is just a rolling flame nothing too special at this stage.
grab it here

erm... I think that's it for the time being.. go pflow..

-Allan McKay

PS. let me know if you have any probs with that tutorial, I recommpressed it last night to half the size, haven't tested it outside of my laptop yet.

Joel Hooks
06 June 2004, 05:29 PM
Did I miss the Birth Script? How does the fracture get read into the Pflow automagically?

06 June 2004, 05:48 PM
Like I said this was more a demo of A) how to use the fracture script for something and B) just how that pflow system I built adapts to new mesh data etc.
I couldn't really do a tut or anything on the scene as it's part of a presentation I have to do which I can't throw up online.

All it's doing is at frame 0 it reads in an array of all the "groundmesh_###" data and builds a system from scratch based on that. so nothing fancy although kind of builds itself around the new mesh data.
you can actually do all of this internally including the initial fracture stuff all within pflow although I've just gone a less technical route.

06 June 2004, 06:27 PM
Allen, I'm really glad there are people like you out there to humble the rest of us, and give us something to aspire to. Humility is not always a bad thing.


06 June 2004, 06:37 PM
hey we're all in the same boat and if we're all out there sharing tricks we pick up like everyone does in this thread then we're only going to make cooler and cooler stuff - there weren't any real resources for fx back in the day but guys like Jesse Hayes, Brandon Davis, Tojborn Olson etc. definitely helped me with my direction so it helps having such a great community as max's.

Just wish I had more time to do this kind of stuff, plus wish studios didn't these days patent and protect anything they make or you do in their time.. but that's another story ;)

Joel Hooks
06 June 2004, 07:57 PM
Originally posted by amckay

All it's doing is at frame 0 it reads in an array of all the "groundmesh_###" data and builds a system from scratch based on that. so nothing fancy although kind of builds itself around the new mesh data.
you can actually do all of this internally including the initial fracture stuff all within pflow although I've just gone a less technical route.

I used Bobo's Basic Chunk Tutorial ( in combination with your fracture script. Pretty cool stuff, I appreciate the education!

06 June 2004, 12:32 AM
now the only thing left is to write a little script that makes a flow with a birth script like bobos while keep reading the chunks transform and it would be a huge time saver.


I see you got your birth script to read the new mesh well seems like I am a step behind :)

btw: I was thinking of trying to load the mesh up using a test script or oparator that for example if the chunkes keep deform they will be snapshot at the frame of the event start by a collision or something.

think of a hand where you break it a part and you want to make it react like icein the tips so they deform till they hit something.
right now we capture the shape at frame 0 and use a script oparator to keep reading the transformation till impact but if its a part of a skin then the pivot would be wrong and all kind of other things that we must yet think about.

did I make any sense? I should realy go to sleep...

06 June 2004, 08:20 PM
yeah at this stage you can do all of the fracturing within pflow although it still does what I did externally, so no it won't fracture a deforming object.

I believe pflow tools based on what's publically been said from oleg is going to have fragmentation in it. Which means you could do what you said now.

Otherwise particle studio and thinking particles currently support this.

riddick comes out tonight, I thought it'd be ass but heard good things... should be an interesting watch.

3ds3 Yost fire ipas routine:
Can you dig it!? :)

06 June 2004, 10:38 PM
is it possible to read the shape and transform but assign a new pivot to it on the event of impact?
I want all my fragments to be skined and since their pivots stay in their origin I will get funky rotations so I am tryng to figure a way to make it centered upon release...

I am not sure I even understand my self..

06 June 2004, 11:43 PM

well to effect the pivot you just do $mesh01.pivot = [0,0,0]

so you could do something like (assuming you have an array of your objects as "mesh" like (mesh = $teapot* as array)

if pcont.particlenew == true then
mesh[pcont.particleindex].pivot = pcont.particleposition
-- end of script

or something like that thould at least place the pivot where the particle is.
theres a few ways to go about it, but that at least answers roughly your question ;)

06 June 2004, 07:34 AM
I can't watch the second fracture demo !!!
what codec is that allan??
or does anyone knows why I can't watch it??

could you also do a little tut about creating a n explosion Allan...that would be awesome...thanks very much for all your are the master

06 June 2004, 01:47 PM
ahh fractures, i was wondering when this thread would get to this subject.... so here's my contribution, posted in the gallery awhile back and got mixed crits, just a test using pflow and reactor: cup break (

i've gotta say this thread is definaltey become an invaluble resource, allan's contributions in particular. keep up the awesome work! also - seems like your site might be down allan, anxious to check out your fracture script :D

cheers! :thumbsup:

06 June 2004, 08:45 AM
hey allan,
you are quite a guy getting to answer so fast over the weekend!!

still I am not sure how to approach it since I want the chunks to use their initial speed vectors derived from the skin deformation..

try to imagine a shot where one looks at his own hand while it is freezing and shaterring all happaning while the fingers deform.

I will try your pivot approach later today anyhow!


06 June 2004, 06:12 PM
when using skin on the fragments they are not actualy moving, only their mesh deforms and so I can`t realy do collisions on them sinced their pivots are not moving and so my particles are actualy still.

06 June 2004, 06:57 PM
check you have the techsmith codec, also I guess winamps installed as I tend to compress my audio with mp3 codec.

whitnoise thanks yeah my sites up(?) maybe was down for a second whilst you were checking it.

I'll be putting up a new site very soon with lots of new stuff etc. just finding it hard to make time with Blade 3's deadline 2 weeks away, and siggraph's coming up too so lots to do to prepare for that!

you could fracture it and tell it to track the position of the actual objects to the mesh (the actual geometry linked to the particles) and sample the velocity of specific vertices to work out it's initial velocity... although orientation of the pieces to stay correct to the skin mesh whilst it's moving would make things difficult.

You can always try thinking particles as this would probably be more appropriate for doing this... or else wait until tp has true fragmentation :)

06 June 2004, 07:31 PM
I have the techsmith codec installed and the first vid is working...I don't know why the second part isn't...but thanks for all your help Allan

06 June 2004, 08:49 PM
I used to use it in the last placed I worked for but it had a harder workflow which I can`t seem to remember now nor do I have a license here.
it did have some nasty fragmentation and other cool oparators but it seems like cebas stoped supporting us maxers and develop it solo for cinema 4d.

I am trying a new aproch where I load my fragments and instead of having the skin animate the ir mesh I use shape mark to move them with the original skined mesh..

I hope it will work..


06 June 2004, 09:02 PM
Cinema4D guys threw Cebas a lot of money and said "hey can you make TP for us?!"

I'll just say Cebas is very much still sticking with max and working on a lot of very impressive goodies which'll be anounced at siggraph.
I'm not one for software wars, although have kept pretty clear of cebas for my own personal reasons, although starting to be whored over a little bit as they are doing some pretty mind blowing things. Scanline are a great example of this, as they've built their own fluids engine within TP for use on a few of their projects.

I'll say what you want to do particle studio and TP can do. although yeah $1000 for a TP license is kinda step. maybe you could cheat it? have an animated gradient ramp mask creeping up the hand which also emits particles or plugs into a vol select to emit from the selection (right now it's faster) and have the pieces kind of emit instanced geometry aliggned to the surface from that. that could get you some interesting results?

06 June 2004, 10:14 PM
I guess you should call it privet R&D :)

I got some progress tho.. I got my particles moving with the deforming emmiter and now I am trying to read each particles rotation in frame 0 and substruct the difference made by the shape mark at frame 1 then use this value on top of the shapemark rotation for the rest of the frames.

I am doing this as a proof of concept nothing more nothing less and I realy need to get the pflow scripting expirience.

I will post more when I`ll manage to get the rotation fixed.

looking forward for cebas new stuff and I hope to see a next version of TP since version 1 seemed a bit unstable at the time (year and a half)

if you have an idea about the rotation issue please help...
thanks :)

06 June 2004, 10:19 PM
rotation issue if you were to make them prefractured objects linked to the particles that have to orientate based on a deformable mesh will be a pain.
If you're lucky you can set up some faces that you just want to orientate to the normal. otherwise you're going to have to set up a bunch of vertices in which it needs to normalize the orientation to which not to knock on pflow but to do with scripting all of this stuff especially for more than a thousand peoples would just get too slow I think.

ideally what you need is just a propper fracture system which is coming, although it's not here right now so that's why I'm recommending other stuff. ideally trying to hack a fracture system for deformable surfaces isn't really too practical. my example is a huge workaround but not the ideal method :)

06 June 2004, 10:58 PM
I am not trying to use skin on the fragments anymore.

instead I use shape mark to get my new particle fragments to stick to the surface.
the only problem is, at frame 0 we get the original fractures transform and since I centered all pivots their orientation is the same (z up).
what I did was put a shape mark using my deformin mesh (not fractures) as the object and my particles turned to rectangles which stick to the objects surface.
then I put a script op that give it back its shape.
now I am trying to calculate the base rotation then the new rotation derived by the shape mark op and apply this delta on each particle for each frame as a substraction of the shape mark state.

another way will be to shoot rays out of my objects and align the normals of the fractures to those rays but it seems complicated.

any ideas?

06 June 2004, 11:28 PM
no.. what you said sounds right. I'd rather try and read the normal of a select face ID if at all possible opposed to a 'z-ray' as they're goddamn slow.
we did something similiar a few years back for a pitch for a census TVC in Sydney at Ambience where we were doing a pin cushion type effect, and the idea was to animate a bunch of primitives, and then run a simulation which would generate a pinboard of X density and it would fire Z rays down to work out where to place the pins etc. on every frame.

Dan Kripac wrote the script which kicked butt although we litterally spent 3 days to do that sim :) and it wasn't that many pins at all. Ideally using a zdepth 'map' would have been more ideal I think, and read in normalized or clamped luminence values or render the zdepth as a float.

erm so yes that's one way to do it, although everything discussed so far sounds like it's gonna require a lotta simming time for orientation etc ;)

but sounds like a good idea
personally I'd go the simpler route, although you'll never learn anything going the easy way either so it might be worth it ;)

06 June 2004, 11:36 PM
thanks for the insight :)

I took the privilige to send you the file I am working on by email since it was 30k and we can upload 20k here and I can`t seem to remember the uploader... :(

anyway my only task now is to read the particles orientation before shape mark then have shape mark do its magic
then read the difference at frame 0
and have this delta as a substraction of the shape mark rotation since my pivots are all oriented to world cords'

thanks mate and if I make it to siggraph you got a beer from me too!!

06 June 2004, 12:35 AM
say could I clone my fracture objects and give them a new name like fracture_pivots*
then I could some how use pflow to change those new objects pivot like
pcont.particleTM = fracture_pivots[i].pivot.transform?
or orientation?
would something like this work?

if it is possible then I can then use the new objects with the corrected pivots as my fractures and they will be aligned perfectly since their pivot been edited.

tell me what you think

06 June 2004, 12:47 AM
ack kinda under the gun here so brains hurting too much to rerun that through my head but it sounds about right. I had originally created dummy's representing the original positions of my objects so that way if they were external objects they know their original positions at frame 0 etc.

if you were to assign the pivot again you'd do something like

for i in 1 to fracture_pivots.count do
pcont.particleindex = i
fracture_pivots[i].pivot = pcont.particleposition

if you wanted the pivot to follow the particle? or do you want it vice versa? eitherway yes that can work
if it's the other way around, keep in mind with scripting I think you need both particlespin and particleorientation both turned on in the channels opposed to just one or the other....

anyway hope that helps, will look at your scene tonight if there's time, otherwise sometime this week.

06 June 2004, 07:20 AM
last Q when you have the time...

I only want to change the pivots orientation so what should be the syntax for such a task?

anyway thanks again and if there is anything I can do to get that gun away just tell me!!


06 June 2004, 05:07 PM
sure, blow up newline ;)
if you mean an objects pivot it's $.pivot
if you mean a particles pivot... I don't have max in front of me right now .. but you need to set up rotation by whatever place in world space.

06 June 2004, 06:33 PM
I got some realy nice things going on but still I wasn`t able to redo the rotation of the shapemark and have it only transform my particles instead of completly re align them.

about the pivots, I wasn`t able to simply use .pivot = *.rotation so I ended up moving the particles data to point helpers and then using pflow took a clone of the fracture objects array and gave them the transformation of the particles.
I then took all my new fractures and choosed affect pivots only and align to world.
so finaly I had the fractures moving but it was the objects them selfves and when I tried to feed them into a second flow they went crazy..
maybe some sleep will do.

thanks anyway mate.:cry:

06 June 2004, 06:59 PM
you want to change the pivot of rotation right? so a particle or object could be 100 units away from 0 space and rotate around the center of world space oposed to it's center? or do you mean using the pivot for alignment? as pivots are positional information.

yeah that kind of stuff is a pain in the butt, and personally any kind of scripting for rotation stuff I try not to go anywhere near, some of the guys here understand quats but it's something I usually avoid wherever I can.

Like I said before though I think it might be going a lil overboard with the way to do it so you're certain to run into some problems :) but it's all good

06 June 2004, 09:20 PM
I find it quite hard to explain so I`ll restart...

1.I got an object took it apart to fragments using parray.
2. centered all pivots (their alignment is the same)
3. I added bend and twist for the object and animated it for 100 frames.
4. I used pflow to generate the particles out of the fragments objects aka bobo`s simple chunks.
5. I wanted to get the original object deformation so I added a shape mark op. (which takes position and rotation into concern so I got them all aligned like spikes deforming above my object.
6. what I am trying to figure is, I got my fragments at the orientation I want and they get their rotation changed by the shape mark so I want to find a way to substruct this change while keeping the shapemarks transformation only retouching it so that they all align to their origianl fragments mesh and transform acording to the object but from the original state and not the first state that the shape mark give us.

its hard to explain I`ll upload something to the uploader tommorow.


06 June 2004, 10:36 AM
Ok, i'm postin this out of desperation ... and ... first of all, i am sorry but just couldn't read all the 55 pages here ... i will when i have time ... so ... if this already was brought up, sorry again.

My question is: is there a way to make particles build on top of eachother?

Imagine a slightly downwards hill.
Now imagine a mud flood coming down and hitting a building.

Apart from some minor problems, already made it slide down the hill, and stop when hitting the building wall, while the other mud that doesn't hit the building continues to flow nicely done.

So how to make the particles mound up behing the building? Any good tip?

Thanx so much in advance for any pointers :)

p.s. : I'm makin the mud with a blobmesh, as u may already have guessed :)

EDIT: Bahh! As soon as i hit post, i instantly thought of a way of solvin this... tell me what u think please.
Couldn't i make a test for the particles speed and, if its zero or very near, make:

a) particles rise (with some warp like gravity or something), so that the next particles continue to come down the hill and hit the wall and so on and so on

b) scale, so they become bigger givvin the illusion of mud building up

06 June 2004, 04:33 PM
getting particles to interact and collide with eachother and other objects isn't really something dumb particles do by default ;) You can use a speed by surface or speed by icon to get the particles to move how you want, although they won't layer on top of eachother etc.
You can hack it to get some pretty good results, although I'd recommend checking out glu3d as it's a fluids simulator and is build specifically for what you're requesting..

hope that helps!
It's free at this stage if I remember correctly.

06 June 2004, 05:47 PM
U N B E L I V A B L E!

Damn! This Glu3d thing is awesome!

amckay, i already saw refernce to it on the starting posts of this thread, but i someehow just didn't download it ...

Thanx for the tip! It seems it will do exactly what i need, but now i have to go home ... tomorrow i'll set it up!

06 June 2004, 06:08 PM
Hi Allan what script did you use for the Birthscript in your Fracture Tutorial???
I want to set up a bullet that hits a window and shatters it and this could be very handy....or is there a better way to do this...with parray??
but I want to do this with only this possible???

06 June 2004, 08:34 PM
glu3d is a great product - wish it was a little better known as the guys have worked hard to push it out there and are doing some very interesting things. Hoping to help out with it a little bit more down the line as it definitely doesn't get the acknowledgement and fan base that it deserves.

hamu73, the birthscript was a small part of a presentation on pflow I'll be doing in august. Pflow mind you can't fracture by itself right now, parray's used just as one way to break the pieces apart and be fed into pflow.

I wrote a system for breaking glass, it's 100% code. it's not finished yet, but on it's way, just haven't hme :\ jason crosby here at DD did a kickass system with thinking particles for that alias series, where erm whatsface jumps off the building and shoots in the glass, very very cool system.

06 June 2004, 01:01 AM
Hi Allen, you do some amazing stuff ive learnt alot so far :D :D

One question, I was going to email you but I suppose heres a good as place as any.

I was wondering how you do the arrow shooting into the wall in that demo vid of yours?
It would be very cool in my scene im doing atm for College.

(Btw Im at The Computer Graphics College in Sydney, I heard you came here and did a few short lessions a while back :D)

06 June 2004, 01:30 AM
hey there darkclown - as I recall I think it was just a matter of telling it to "stop" on collision I believe, or even a position object I'm not sure. but basically on a collision event it would go to the next event, which would either have a position object.. or else it at least told it to "stop" on collision. it also secondly referenced some particle animation of it wobbling based on event age into the event, so it wobbled when it went into the new event.

it's really simple to set up.

you're in luck today as I brought my external hd into work.. lemme track down the scene file..
hah you're not in luck I just packed my HD up I just remembered, too much work to unpack it ;)
lemme check if I inc.'d on my my dvd.. (sorry thinking outloud now)

okay you're in luck.. I just built up the scene for you.. 2 things.. you probably can use a position object, I just used a standard deflector here, but you could do a position object and lock onto it in theory. secondly for animating it I used an xform as it won't read the transforms into the particle, so xform will be a sure thing.

Yeah did a short 3 day course on visual effects just before I broke into freelance and moved over to LA some few years ago. Kind of was unorganized as I ran out of time as I was stuck up at Cutting Edge finishing off a film at the time. Actually been thinking of doing a day or two doing something like that whilst back in Bris as it'd be cool to meet up with a lot of people in sydney and also do a talk on that stuff.
doing a master class this year on visual effects if anyone's going to be in LA :)

06 June 2004, 01:23 PM
Allan do you have some shattering tuts on your DVD???
That would be really I should break the object with parray and fed it into pflow??? but how do I do it that the pieces stay in place and then shatter if they were hit??? I have to assign on piece to one particle???

06 June 2004, 01:38 PM
here is a quick Cracking geometry test .
I wanted to try to use non automatic shattering (like alan's script) to manualy draw the fragments shapes.
I create a surface, cut it in pieces using EditPoly 's cut, then I use Bobo's script to convert the fragments to Particles.

bobo's script :

know , Im tired and I will drink tequilas and beers and vomit too in L. A. tonight

PS: my L.A. is Loire Atlantique.


06 June 2004, 02:04 PM
Just before u start vomiting (hey u can take the opportunity to study fluid motion ;) ), lemme tell u that cracking scene looks really great! Really really great! Congrats and have one for me ;)
(France is pratically in the quarter-finals now, so u can have some more to celebrate lol)

06 June 2004, 04:08 PM
Alan and Bobo's script in action.
So easy to use :
just change "Sphere01" to the name of your object in alan's script and "$Box*" to "$FracPiece_*" in bobo's

thx them


here is the max file

06 June 2004, 04:36 PM
yeah I haven't gotten time to read any of bobo's stuff yet :\ I have it all saved, one of these days I'm going to go through it all though ;)

The trick is to read the original objects position I think and then add the particle to that position and then link that object to it. (if you were to physically link the object to the particle) although you can also use it as an insteaded piece by reading in the .mesh information.

Yeah I have some fracture stuff on my DVD but it's quite different to this, it's not too intuitive although it's showing how to say "when this particle goes into this event, it's psuedo linked object morphs" so you're able to not only get aparticle to fall or crack, but also morph into a more gnarled version (aka something simple like noise applied). this was more just showing ways to get pflow to break away from standard particle practices.
DVD will be out any day now heh. just got an email from Turbo Squid saying that it's taken a bit more time than anticipated to build the interface for it because there's so much stuff on there to build menu's/interface for :) So I guess that's a good thing.

Loran that's a great example nice work!

06 June 2004, 06:29 PM
that's pretty cool allan...can't wait for that DVD...
really awesome work there loran...I have to check out bobo's script...nice work

06 June 2004, 07:57 PM
I animated a shoal of fishes with ParticleFlow. Is anyone interested in a tutorial on how to do this? :shrug:

06 June 2004, 07:17 AM
That's pretty sweet!!
well if you want to do a tut about this why not

06 June 2004, 08:14 AM
Thanks alot Allan really helped me out there, one thing only though and it prob sounds really silly but what to use to get the arrows to face the direction I want? atm they are all shooting out at the angle I made them hit the ground and are not changing

06 June 2004, 08:36 AM
to make the arrows face the direction they are travelling, set the roation controller to "speed Space follow" (from the drop down list at the top).

ggrrrr, said I would show my little film 2 weeks ago. I am not a fan of compressing video. I cannot get it under 80MB's for some spastic reason.

but now I've finished Uni!!! horrah!!!! Spend much time not being able to walk in a straight line.

Glu3d: This thing looks AWESOME!!! Just downloaded it, going to spend the next long time in this thing methinks, hehehe.

Allan: Nice fire tut. I made one with a blue and green mix, looks pretty cool.

Loran: Very good looking fracture stuff there. After my trime with Glu3d, I gotta play with that. atm, the stuff you guys are saying is going over my head a bit... I am hoping that that had something to do with the alcohol, hehe.

06 June 2004, 10:30 AM
Ok, i finally wrote the tutorial. I thought its too simple first, but perhaps it helps someone who is just starting using particle flow...

06 June 2004, 11:41 AM
wonderful thread!

regards, rohit

P.S. Now, i'll receive the notification about new posts. ; - )

06 June 2004, 12:57 PM
Hi Loran...can you help me with that fracturing thing...I tried that with bobo's script and it works but I want that it starts later not at frame 0 ...well I'm not a scripter so can you help me with that one please???
thanks alot

and Allan what about your system for breaking glass...will you show us your results when your finished?? (actually can't wait to see it)

06 June 2004, 07:48 PM
I am getting confused with the new look of cgtalk :)
anyway you should be able to set it by simply changing the start frame from 0 to what ever you like.

06 June 2004, 11:50 AM
well I did that but it didn't worked, all the particles were gone when I set the start time any different than 0 so I think there has to be some scripting...I don't know, but thanks anyway

06 June 2004, 02:06 PM
Here is a fun test using Allan's "fracture" script and Bobo's PF birthscript.
the video:


the max file:



06 June 2004, 02:09 PM
sorry for the bad links...

the video:

the max file:

06 June 2004, 02:49 PM
Is there any way to snapshot a pflow system?

06 June 2004, 06:10 PM
dark clown, use xform to get it to rotate to the angle you want it to go.

JP: Excelent work mate

Hamu73: Yeah I started the glass and just haven't had time to touch it, basically I haven't had time to do any personal 3D since I got to LA really aside from one or two small things. I got up to calcing the vector directions based on impact etc. and haven't had anymore free time. Although it's kinda nifty as I calc the distance on impact based on the bullet or object hitting the glass, and then set impact radius by that and then devide the impact velocity by the distance so the area being hit blasts out but the areas sequentially aren't effected as much, but gravity is a global property. So it gives it a nice falloff impact area. Just need to set up the vector direction and also set it up to work multiple times, so you could have a several objects (like a machinegun) shoot out the glass etc.

loran nice work!

Bezerker75 I think so? check bobo's tuts I think?
Else I'll just say "coming soon" :)

06 June 2004, 06:27 PM
There is a God...Once again...thank you Allan for the info on Bobo's script, and more importantly thank you Bobo for creating the script !!!...I owe you many Beers !! you just saved me many hours of placing the objects by hand...anyway thanks!

06 June 2004, 07:42 PM
say allan,
wouldn`t it be more simple to use a second pf source that will set the transformation for array of spherical deflectors and those will be fed to the glass flow?

just a thaught but it might turn too heavy..

06 June 2004, 08:17 PM
yoni - yeah although not using deflectors for this stuff, it reads the intersection with the object and the glass, so it's a bit more true to how it reacts. It's not too tricky what I'm doing, it's just a matter of where it stands in priority on my list, so spending time on it right now isn't really feasable. After August things will quiet down a bit and I can finish that stuff off, as well as hopefully be able to do some tuts for some of the new technology coming out for max.

bezerker - cool!

06 June 2004, 09:27 PM
Yo Allan, where on TS will your DVD be? I'm eagerly waiting to see it on there, heh. Also will I be able to see you do any demos at siggy without the full conference pass? I just have the exhibitors ticket.

06 June 2004, 10:40 PM
hoy hoy
yeah I'm eagerly waiting it's release now too so I can stop worrying about when it's coming out ;)
I guess it's a good thing that it's taking so long as there's so much content it requires a lot of menu's to be built to cover it all ;) as there's a fair amount of stuff to cover. It's all out of my hands just waiting for the gui to be built and then it'll ship, although it's looking quite nice! So verrry soon hopefully this week, but I can't be sure.

Siggraph stuff will be anounced soon, I'm not sure at this stage, I'm doing some discreet master classes which will be anounced by discreet soon - although there was talk about maybe doing a presentation on the showroom floor which would be free, although it all comes down to how much time I have as right now I'm working on some other projects outside of DD which will be anounced at siggraph, but are taking up a large chunk of my time. Ideally I'd like to do some stuff on discreets stage although I don't want to overbook myself as it's hard to see how hectic things will get in August.

As soon as I hear anything about the DVD I'll make a post, from what I hear it's going to be pushed fairly hard so I don't think you'll miss any launch info ;) Was hoping we could demo some stuff of blade 3 off at Siggraph this year, although not sure whether we'll have permission at this stage to show the material off as the movie won't be out which will be a shame -

06 June 2004, 08:39 AM
Hi there,

Been fighting with one little problem.
Setting materials to certain particles.

example: set material ID 2 ---> Particle IDs 2,6,18,42 etc...

I know it can be done with scripting and I guess its done with the "setParticleMtlIndexByID" or "setParticleMtlIndex" but I really don't know how :)

So any help is very much appreciated :)



06 June 2004, 04:58 PM
Loran very nice work...I tried it my own and it seems to work....thanks for that one...that helped me alot...

06 June 2004, 12:02 PM
I need to do particles what follow the path.
There is Path Follow spacewarp but it won't work with PF.
Does anyone have any idea how to make PF particles follow the path/spline?

Sorry my bad English.

06 June 2004, 05:21 PM
use speed by icon, animate it and set it to follow based on particle age.
This is a more powerful spline follow.

pufferfish sorry haven't gotten back to you, will try to later today - your answer requires a bit of time to play around to figure it out which right now is a bit of a rarety ;)

06 June 2004, 09:30 PM
hey kids, just wanted to do my job of pimping the whole thing.
Discreet are holding several master classes at this years siggraph, thought I'd mention it as it'll be well worth attending, I'll definitely be attending some of the classes as there's a lot of pro's from the industry doing talks on various advanced subjects for max.

It's also quite affordable which is good ;)

I'll be doing a talk on visual effects in film, covering a lot of cool effects for 3dsmax's pflow as well as afterburn, some scripting etc. basically running through a bunch of film fx shots I've built etc. and showing how to go about creating these effects.

06 June 2004, 10:02 PM
well tooooo bad that I can't go to siggraph I really would like to go

06 June 2004, 11:08 PM
Dude Allan, I just might have to sign up for your class. That one would probably be most benificial to me anyway.

06 June 2004, 04:27 PM
I'll probably be checking out both of Chris Harvey's presentations (I always wanted to know how we did scooby 2...) ;) the vehicle rigging one will be a great piece of knowledge for a lot of people I think.


06 June 2004, 04:33 PM
Are the classes available to anyone, or do you have to have the full confrence pass? If so then I'm kinda screwed.:eek:

06 June 2004, 08:00 PM
read the site ; ) yeah it's available to anyone

06 June 2004, 11:53 PM
I'll probably be checking out both of Chris Harvey's presentations (I always wanted to know how we did scooby 2...) ;) the vehicle rigging one will be a great piece of knowledge for a lot of people I think.

Haha...thanks for the plug Allan...and I won't be missing your class either. And if there is anything people would like to hear about specifically regarding either of those topics speak up and I will see if I can include it.

06 June 2004, 09:13 AM
HI, all

Great thred and the uploader is a fantastic resource!
I caught onto this thred a bit late, oddly enough I found the uploader first and it led me here.

I just added 3 files demonstrating PFlow with BlobMesh to the uploader.


The text file contains a link to the video tutorial.

My 2 cents thrown in the pile.

Best Regards

06 June 2004, 08:13 AM
Harvey, This is not particles about but ...
Your Vehicle Rigging in 3ds max looks really interesting!
Any way to view an animated result online?

06 June 2004, 04:39 PM
By the way I went to this months LA siggraph chapter which Karen Goulekas did a presentation on Day after tomorrow, as well as one of the 3d guys from Hydaulx (company spawned from the death of Pixel Envy).
Very interesting to check out, was cool to see max getting mentioned frequently throughout the orphanages work, although bit of a shame that when it came to cinefex as per usual even though it was such a crucial part of the pipeline it didn't even get any real mention which is a bit of a shame.

Hey Chris! Welcome to what I hope will become the longest friggin max thread in history ;) (well I can dream).

06 June 2004, 05:22 PM
Hey Loran, sorry but unfortunatly I can't show anything online at the moment...but if I get the ok to do so anytime before Sig I will let you know.

Allan, thanks, and yah this is one heck of a long thread...been watching it for awhile but just haven't bothered to say always seem to answer the questions before I have a chance..haha. Anyway, lets keep it going....its a great thread!

06 June 2004, 09:15 AM
Been reading this thread a lot lately and done all kind of particle tests. Gotta say this has been the most helpful thread so far in CGTalk.

In my top ten list this gets position 1, closely followed by Mental Ray shaders thread :)

amckay: thanks, take your time. Time is a precious thing :)


06 June 2004, 08:12 PM
Hey all, I am just getting around to trying this Fracture stuff, but am not able to access Alan's script. Anyone else have it posted? perhaps on the Uploader?


The link I have tried is this: and is dead for me.

06 June 2004, 08:58 PM
Ah crap I might have deleted it, had to do a major cleanup on my site the other day.

give me a few days, am hoping if I have enough time this week to upload the new site - which I'll start contributing more and more tutorials to as well as files, scenes and other useful items .

06 June 2004, 03:02 PM
Wos up people

Does anyone know where I could attended a AfterBurn course within the UK, I've been looking a round but no luck, thanks in adv.

06 June 2004, 09:46 PM
there's no real afterburn courses available anywhere as far as I know :\ Although I do know of one londoner who'll be releasing some material soon which contains a lot of really cool AB stuff, although I'll leave it up to him how much he wants to disclose before siggraph :)
(MR. T feel free to comment) has heaps of AB material, or at least a bit. I'll be releasing more stuff soon, basically busy 'til August after that I'll be taking on less projects and focussing on more free content again.

for those interested, blade 3 trailers out. They cut out a lot of the cool bits and put lense flares over the others, but I think 5 or 6 particles still made it into frame ;)

06 June 2004, 10:11 PM
Yeah! That looks promising. Looks like another cool Blade movie :)

06 June 2004, 10:28 PM
try this:
make a sphere.
put a fall off map in the opacity.
set type to towards away on worlds z axis
make a imple flow witht the sphere as the object for the position object op.
choose density by opacity
and observe!
the world z axis chosen is seen on the rendered sphere while the position operator reads the y axis and place the density wrong (sure we changed fall off axis and got it fixed but then it takes time to change every thing and update changes)
any ideas?

07 July 2004, 07:59 AM
Thanks Alan I'll wait for your DVD

And if Mr T is listening, are you in a position to teach at any point thankyou.

07 July 2004, 04:58 PM
Hi Guys. If i create a Pflow and want to use in another do i transfer to the other scene? I tried Xref but that didn't work.


07 July 2004, 05:01 PM
castelle, just merge it all in. Everything should work to my knowledge.

07 July 2004, 05:17 PM
You should just merge it and you 'might' need to relink the events.
to make it easier you might want to select all your nodes and choose 'save selected' and merge your saved max scene as it'll only have your pflow nodes.

I 'think' I can mention this now. PF Tools, Olegs new particle flow extension has a great feature called 'presets' this allows you to make a cool system like 'cigarette smoke' or 'nuke' or 'ash vampire' (!) and then once it's saved as a preset you can work in any scene you want, and right click and choose 'load preset' and it'll create that particle system for you in that scene, so you can quickly build a system without more than two or so clicks. This would be the most ideal for what you want to do as you can save it temporarily as a preset and put it into your new scene whenever you wnat.

Wish we had these tools back on scooby, would have made life a lot easier ;)


PS. PFtools I believe has been anounced now, should be able to find info soon on it on turbosquids site.

07 July 2004, 05:20 PM
Sweet, PFtools sounds awesome. Even though you get a bunch of presets of different particle systems, its still good to know how to build them from scratch. And your a lot more useful to people if you can do that. Thats why from your DVD Allan and Pete's book I think I'll be able to create pretty much any effect and understand why this is here and whats going on in each event. Sounds cool though.:thumbsup:

07 July 2004, 05:36 PM
cool..thanks. I will try that as soon as i get home..i think i tried save selected and it told me something about no objects but i will try again.

I am working on a animation with some lotto balls flying in the air with this as the background

but as you can see its flat..can this be recreated using particles..with the colors moving and all? if not, how can i make this dynamic using max.

My biggest problem is always to creating a background for my work.. :sad:

07 July 2004, 05:55 PM
thanks treed, yeah honestly apparently cause of the 'amount' of content turbosquid has had to take a little bit more time building the GUI for it etc. as it's several hours long opposed to teh generic 2 hours or whatever most DVD's run for ;)

But spoke to them last week and it should be hopefully finished by the end of this week, but we'll see.. eitherway very very soon. got some other goodies coming up too ;)

Will hopefully have lots of presets to ship with pftools although it comes down to just how busy I am at the moment. That fire tut I did a few weeks back was actually of a preset for 'fire' for pf tools, as I wanted there to be stuff like "light this object on fire" "make cigarette smoke" whatever types of generic effects allow for you to quickly build effects and apply them to your scene without much work.

castelle: yeah most of the time you're best off rendering out everything as seperate elements and comping together in afterfx or something like that if you want to get some cool backgrounds, as straight 3d renders usually aren't as impressive as what you can get with a bit of comping of each layer etc. it's amazing what a lot of designers can do with my work I give them in very little time.
Particles should do the trick for what you're after.

07 July 2004, 06:13 PM
here are some images that i found with a similar vibes that i want to create.

The BG would be a mixture of colors with similar feel like you see on the left side on the image (blue area)
same thing goes for the bottom portion of this image.

the only thing its would be a daylight setting..for my comp.

Any suggestions?? :shrug:

07 July 2004, 08:29 PM
a lot of that is 2d glows and gradients.
pulling up the colours in post so you get more blown out areas and blowing out the yellows (in the 2nd one) etc. plus overlaying patterns over the top etc.

just finding some good image sources to composite over the top as overlays, additives, lightens and multiplys will give you some intersting results, then playing with blurs, glows, contrast/brightness and opacity of the layers etc. is a good start. essentially this is all photoshop stuff that you do afterwards ;)

just build some nice particle elements with variation in colour (particle age etc) maybe apply glow there or else in 2D gives you the starting point to go from, although this is all design stuff rather than particle specific effects.

PS. check 3dluvr I'm sure I've done a tut or two on ab combustion, that kind of stuff will create nice nebulas which work well when glowing etc.

07 July 2004, 08:47 PM

and in the merge dialog pick all the approriate pieces parts of your PF system

07 July 2004, 09:11 PM

so will that work as an environment with camera rotating 360degrees??

I don't want it to be static..i know it can be done in photoshop but i want a 3d environment like that...

I will try the nebula thing from ur tut. and see if i get anywhere.


07 July 2004, 09:19 PM
Thanks Razzblade for the tip :thumbsup:

07 July 2004, 09:28 PM
I have a question that I asked over in the Maxscripts forum. I figured it'd probably be answered here quicker so i'll quote... Alright I have two questions.

First: I just need to know how to create a simple distance script operator for a PFlow system such that when Object A and Object B are a certain distance from each other, Object B will fire an event. For a literal example, i'm creating a totally Pflow-driven space battle scene and I want an Object B (black ship) to shoot once it's close enough to an Object A (white ship)...

Secondly. How would I script a PFlow event that would create an omni-light and automatically keyframe some intensity settings based on a Spawn event. Literal example being: When a ship shoots and it's missile detonates, I want it to create an Omni light that will light up and decrease in intensity as such with the intensity of the explosion so that I don't have to manually create and keyframe omni-lights for every PFlow-created explosion...

Hope you guys understood that and can help... Cheers!:D ...

07 July 2004, 09:55 PM
yeah should work the same, I mean ideally I'm just saying a lot of the effect you're talking about is more a 2D thing than a 3D so build lots of 3d elements with lots of variation in colour (falloff or gradients work well) and then glows/defocus/blurs/multiplay/overlays realy allow you to get the desired effect you're after.
you see a lot of this stuff in motion graphics and broadcast work.

okay kinda busy so can't really test this.. but you could build a script test which when it turns true, it tells a particle to go to the next event, then have a spawn and a "send to" event, so the particle loops back if you want, so it just triggers to spawn a particle or something (or by age).

anyway moving on. you'd want something like

objectA = $frendly_ship
objectB = $enemy_ship

then for the runtime expression:
count = pcont.numparticles()
for i in 1 to count do

if (distance objectA.position objectB.position) >= 5 then
scripttest = true

this isn't actual values, I'm nowhere near max, but basically there's only really one command in the script test (just load up the script and it'll be right in front of you). but what it does is if it's "true" then the particle will send out to the next event, which is how you trigger it based on distance.

and what the if statement is doing is just saying run the distance function and if it shoots back a value less than 5 (whatever distance you want) it'll send that particle out to the next event, which will spawn a particle(s). get me? obviously friendlyship might need to be a particle and so you might use pcont.particleposition.

hope that helps, that's just off the top of my head, but I did something similiar to that to test the bullet distance from an object at one stage..

07 July 2004, 05:20 AM
Thanks, that sounds good, but being the noob at Maxscript that I am, I don't fully understand the syntax of this code yet so let me run this code by you and see if everything is as it should be... I've named the different PFlow sources Good and Bad.
on ChannelsUsed pCont do
pCont.useTime = true
pCont.usePosition = true

on Init pCont do


on Proceed pCont do
objectA = $Good
objectB = $Bad

--then for the runtime expression:
count = pcont.numparticles()
for i in 1 to count do

if (distance objectA.position objectB.position) >= 50 then
scripttest = true


on Release pCont do

How does that look...?

07 July 2004, 06:02 AM
For allan and the rest of the particle pro's

here is a animation i just setup for show.

suppose i wanted a constant flow of particles to achieve something like this

how would i setup my flow??

here is another cool example


07 July 2004, 08:05 AM
This effects could be done using compositing softwares like in this old example :

but u can do similar in PF

Here is a quick test:
I use an instance shape plane, path follow, rotation speed follow, animated scale.
The Material :face map, opacity mask with gradiant ramps and animated noise


07 July 2004, 11:58 AM
yeah!:thumbsup: that's it right there..can you send me your test max file so i can look over. From there on i should be good.

thankx again loran!:scream:

07 July 2004, 10:15 PM
First time I use PF... trying to make some grass....

07 July 2004, 10:32 PM
CHRiTTeR - that's cool! Can you post the settings or a sample scene?

07 July 2004, 11:07 PM
No problem, its al basic stuff though... still needs work

The render wont look the same, coz I (quickly) changed the materials and rederer to default max ones so everyone can open it. The other one was using brazil.

Here's the maxfile (R6)

07 July 2004, 11:17 PM
Got a question for allan and all the particle pro's

Other than the material,
Does the particles -

-Display type

have anything to do with how the particles look?

how do you setup your flow to emit..say for example..a straight line of light..versus multiply lines

does your flow of particles have to be emit a solid object...

can someone explain

Chris Thomas
07 July 2004, 11:39 PM
Erm, I'm not sure what effect it is that your trying to acheive here Castelle, do you want to produce continuous lines of light?


07 July 2004, 11:43 PM
No..not really being specific to particular effect..just want to know if its only the material you have to take into effect when create your particles.

and that answer maybe no. so what else do you take into consideration?

does the display type ,shape, speed, scale..that sort of thing have to do with the look?

07 July 2004, 11:47 PM
display type: How it looks in the viewport
shape: what 'form' the particles have
speed: how fast they move
scale: how big they are


Seem pretty straightforward to me :shrug:

07 July 2004, 11:47 PM
ok..lets say a line..for example..scorpio from mortal combat.

when he throws his harpoon or whatever you call it you have a rope that follows, say you were to use particles to emit the rope.

you have your material for your rope already. how would you setup the flow to emit...that rope??

07 July 2004, 11:53 PM
Do u want to have it interaction with other stuff? (swirls in the wind, wraps around objects and stuff).

This i'd like to know too :)

Or just like in MK, u throw that thing and a straight rope folows, no more, no less?

Then I would make the 'spear' the emitter.
Shape: boxes
Speed: 0
Birthrate: just enough so the boxes seem to form 1 line. (a bit more, to be sure)
Rotation: direction of travel

07 July 2004, 11:56 PM
and if you apply the rope material to your material dynamics..u will have a rope right??

07 July 2004, 11:58 PM
Depends on your texture, but basicly yes....

07 July 2004, 11:59 PM
if i apply the same material to this effect that i did, will i get the same result??


07 July 2004, 12:04 AM
If u apply the ropematerial 2 those particles in your movie?

No, it wil result in peaces of rope being trown away by that stick.

To learn about realistic ropemovement and dynamics.

Press F1, press the index tab and search for rope ;)

07 July 2004, 12:08 AM
so i guess the answer to my question is Yes i have to take the


when creating certain materials...i was just trying to understand something
that is why i ask for a explanation.

I knew allen and some of those other guys could break it down pretty nicely.

but thanks:thumbsup:

07 July 2004, 12:14 AM
sorry this whole page popped up outa nowhere whilst I was in TP land ;)

yeah basically the material plays only half of the role, your shape also has a lot to do with it, as scale etc. also effects your shape so that has a role to play too.

everythings crucial as even lighting etc can change the way your materials react etc. etc.

07 July 2004, 12:18 AM
Anyway on to another subject...i was trying to remake the ending on these 7up commercials
i know its not quite there..

any suggestions on materials and movement

here is what i did

07 July 2004, 12:24 AM
allen..the real general is here..

i got some questions about your scion TVC

about the BG..was that a sphere with procedual texture mapped to it??

the same way you have that distant sky ..or whatever you call it is the same thing i wanted to do with this BG

just like how you got the boxes flying that's how i have the balls in my animation moving around..along with the camera..but static BG:sad:

07 July 2004, 12:29 AM
By the way i watch that commercial like 50 million times today...and i am still watching..:applause:

07 July 2004, 12:30 AM
ohh man that was a long time ago back in my maya days
I believe .. actually! I did that bit in max!
I believe I made an afterburn combustion node with a 3d procedural texture I built to control it's density's.
That was for the far background stuff, although I have no idea whether it was used. I'm not sure how I got the camera info into max, I might have just tried to mimic it, or mapped it onto camera planes, or something or wrote a script..

like I said not sure if that element made it in or not, but the rest of it was all maya pclouds, I painted multiple clusters of particles and set up a custom s/w pcloud shader I built, there might have been multiple layers (eg. far, close etc.) so the camera pulls through the patches and interacts with the objects.

the afterburn combustion aspect of it I've made a tut for on 3dluvr that covers it roughly, and there's something very smiliar on my DVD which covers that technique a lot more indepth.

07 July 2004, 12:33 AM
dude,,i didn't understand a damn thing you just said:sad: ..but that's ok..ur still the man:thumbsup: . Where is your DVD selling anyway?

07 July 2004, 12:36 AM
sorry was in the middle of arguing with IT whilst writing that... basically in a nut shell I used afterburn combustion to create a nice nebula background, and it was used as the most background layer of atmosphere.

then the forground stuff was particle 'puffs', so it's all atmospheric/volumetrics opposed to being mapped geometry on a sphere or anything.

07 July 2004, 12:47 AM
Is the DVD out yet, if not much and where to buy?

07 July 2004, 12:55 AM
not out yet, out verry soon though. apparently the publisher had problems converting 13 hours of video to DVD and building the UI for it as they're used to 90 mins or something ;)

Will hopefully be out within a week or so, although it's been out of my hands for a while - so just waiting for the final tweaks on the UI of the DVD and it'll be released.

I'll make a post here for you guys as soon as I hear anything

07 July 2004, 03:59 AM
Here is my animation...everyone please feel free to comment on how i can use particles to improve the visuals and the BG.

07 July 2004, 06:28 AM
nice work! But remember what I said about compositing? Here it'll play a huge role, throw some forground elements in, add glows, peak the highlights, soft defocus and other effects all add to make it a lot more glossy overall which can really work in this situation with a lot of colours etc.

definitely getting there though, great work

Chris Thomas
07 July 2004, 08:05 AM
Ah, ok, for a rope, i'm guessing you mean a physiical non-magical kind of rope? Well for that particles aren't really suitable, they would not hold together in a rope like manner and would be next to impossible to texture as a rope.

For ropes use Reactors dynamic soft bodies. Now if by rope you mean more of a streamer of light type of effect, then yes, particles could be used possibly.

As for rendering particles, shape, scale and material are the main paramaters that effect a rendered particle. OF course you can also use Afterburn, and in that case most of the render time controlls are moved over to ABs interface.

Also some third parties have written point renderers for Pflow that simply render AA'd pixels at each pflow particle screen position. These have been used to produce renders of several million particles. This is practical as no polygons are produced at rendertime, its more akin to a paint package putting a tiny dot at each particle point in an image. Using additive or subtractive transparency, you can get some pretty nifty results with this kind of system.

07 July 2004, 01:02 PM
Hey Jmonkey, because those are not polygons, the render preparation process would take probably not soo long, right?

Where can I get (download) one of those for free?

Chris Thomas
07 July 2004, 01:55 PM
None are publicly available at the momment, at least as far as I know of.


07 July 2004, 02:17 PM
Ok here we go. here is an example of what i think is particles. i found it on the web but can't remember what site so check this link

I think they are using find target to get the movement..but u notice it's emiting lines..that is what i ment by a solid object..i just used rope as a example.

how would you setup the flow to emit lines??

Jmonkey, chritter, allen , all

07 July 2004, 02:58 PM
I think those were done in post, possibly with vectors or something.
To me they dont look like particles out of Pflow, although Ill stand to be corrected.

If you want to make something similar, add a spawn operator with the spawn rate set to a small travel distance.

07 July 2004, 03:41 PM
I am still downloading the movie at the momment, so it could be that this answer doesnt create the effect u want.

1. Or u make it emmit small particles + heavy motion blur
2. Or u make the particles spawn a trail (particles) behind them with

Downloaded the move and watched it:
Yup, this could be done like i mentioned above...
Only I would do it using tchnique 2 + some motionblur
But I also think those were done in post...
What u also would create this effect is,
Draw a few splines as paths u'd like the lines to follow
create a few cilinders and add a 'pathfollow' modifier

Or u could even use a plane (with those lines as texture) instead of cilinders and add a pathfollow to that.

07 July 2004, 04:01 PM
is it that Pflow cannot emit lines??..cus that the easiest way i see to do that, with a find target.

07 July 2004, 04:04 PM
yes it can emit lines, but they wont bent allong the path, or u use some tricks or script it. It would be more work to setup than the methodes mentioned before. And it gives the same result.

07 July 2004, 01:58 AM
A few posts back I seen someone post a file with the word "MAX" getting shot to bits. How would I do a similar effect like that. Anyone know of a tutorial?

07 July 2004, 08:03 PM
Spawn trails or motion blur can accomplish that..
(the stringy ropes thing that is)

07 July 2004, 02:36 PM
DarkVIP: you can try here

The shapemark tutorial may give you some idea.

07 July 2004, 02:37 PM so? you have any setup of that..(stringy rope thing)

07 July 2004, 08:06 PM
Hi Castelle,

Sorry bout the delay in reply,

anyways, heres a short vid, (super spray, and motion blur).. its not PF but the same thing can be done easily with PF, its also rather easy to change the number of strings, length, thinckness, opacity, etc. It's a similar effect and with some tender love and care (time and tweaking) which I didnt have, lol. you could accomplish something like the video you posted. (306kb DivX 5.11)

Heres the max file if you want to look at it. Thers not to much of interest other than partical system (a super spray, thats been contrained to path) and the MB controls in the render dialog. (Its a rather unimpressive set up =) (152kb)

Best regards

07 July 2004, 12:00 PM
I would like to create volumetric object with particles. It is no problem : Box with 3d noise as emiter. Particles generated inside. But when I animate this 3d texture particles did not folow animation /they are created on first frame/. So it looks like I woud need script. Something what automaticly update born operator on every frame an recreate volume. May be there is no practical use of such a script. I can not write scripts but If someone has done something like this please poste it / or some links /.
I would also like to know if there exist something as volumetric gradient. Becouse when I create particles inside object by volume's grayscale map, PFlow ignore all 2D maps. And Gradient map is 2D map / Or am I doing something wrong? /. Or does it exist woxel map. Map with 3 grayscale /or color/ inputs: XYZ. And on, and on...


And U are all doing a great thing with all that help and sharing.

07 July 2004, 12:16 PM
hey guys

I was just doing a little flow useing the "Split Ammount" test and something caught my attention... the split amount percentage value. I set my value to 15%

How does PFlow know how much 15% is if it hasn't been through the flow yet? Seeing as a percentage is a fractional value of the total ammount, it hasn't been to the end of the flow, so doesn't know how much the total ammount is...

Is it just making an educated guess on what has happened so far and whats to come? or does it actually know whats coming up?

07 July 2004, 01:02 PM
No, it doesn't know what's coming up.

I think it works pretty much in the same way as you see it in the PFlow schematics. The particles get passed on to the Split Amount test, then they get divided by one of methods you selected.

So it only knows what it gets and then sorts the particles. A percentage of 20 means that it'll send 2 out of 10 particles to the next event, with 8 remaining in the current event. If you have 15% you have either 1 or 2 particles out of 10 testing true, I think this is where the Unique Seed comes into play.

Hope this helps.

- Rens

07 July 2004, 07:26 PM
A few posts back I seen someone post a file with the word "MAX" getting shot to bits. How would I do a similar effect like that. Anyone know of a tutorial?
I have that .max file if you would like to look at it. There are two different pflow events in the scene. One for the gun/bullets and one for the text that is split up/fragmented on impact with the bullets. There is a birth script on the event for the fragment. Anyway, if you would like the file give me an email address or contact me on aim.

07 July 2004, 08:32 PM
just a quick note, if you turn on the tools to see how it thinks, it'll basically work out the particle count for that event at the time it samples it, and then break off the percentage into a new event from there, and keep in midn that it relies on a sequential order, so if you want the spawn particles to also be counted, best to put a split amount below any spawn tests etc.


07 July 2004, 06:49 AM
Here is a quick test about the animated splines we can see in the video

I m not sure this was done with particles but, however, PF can tweak the job :)
The test is not a replica, I had noised wind for a post motion and the loop shapes are completly different... mmm... in fact this is really completly different but, on the same bases.

07 July 2004, 11:25 AM
Loran: what happen to the .max file that i asked you about the other day?

07 July 2004, 06:48 PM
Here is a quick test about the animated splines we can see in the video

I m not sure this was done with particles but, however, PF can tweak the job :)
The test is not a replica, I had noised wind for a post motion and the loop shapes are completly different... mmm... in fact this is really completly different but, on the same bases.
After examining the video I'm going to say that the lines in the video were done in post probably using 3D Stroke or Particular from Trapcode (AfterEffects plugins). The reason I say this is that the splines are not reflected in the floor but the finished models are. I could be wrong just stating what I noticed. Now onto your attempt. That is very nice. If you could get some fall off with that I could see it working for some things like cigarette smoke and the like.

07 July 2004, 11:40 AM
Loran can you post the max file for this??? if not just say so.
I really want to see how this is done..or if anyone else has a similar max file..please! post away....

This effects could be done using compositing softwares like in this old example :

but u can do similar in PF

Here is a quick test:
I use an instance shape plane, path follow, rotation speed follow, animated scale.
The Material :face map, opacity mask with gradiant ramps and animated noise


07 July 2004, 01:57 PM
can someone explain to me what null particles are, I am doing a tutorial and don't understand what they are used for. I get the feeling they are invisible particles used to trigger off test/events etc.

07 July 2004, 03:30 PM
no problem,

I worked it out, thats what the are. Particles that sit on the emitter and trigger test and stuff, cool.

07 July 2004, 09:16 PM
Hello there I am new to CGTalk... not new to Max, just this Forum...
(Wish I had found this place a long time ago...)

Anyway, I am working in PFlow on a scene and I am having trouble with this setup.

I have an object emitter that basically mimics Alan's Pflow Attract setup, moving from the emitter through spacewarps to my end Target.

Here is the thing... I want these particles (6850 of them) to attach to the target at selected vertices... I have a mesh Select modifier on the target with the verts selected... I tried wiring in a Position Object and that made them pop into place on the target... not what I want. I can use the ease setting on the target to get them to stop... but not on the selected verts?

I assume I need to use a script vector to tell PFlow where to put the particles on the surface? But I am not a script literate person... I am trying to learn as much as I can but language is not my strong point...

any ideas or thoughts would be appreciated..



07 July 2004, 06:06 AM
Hi Jim
Would a reverse setup work for you? Using your former target as emitter with a position object operator set to Selected Vertices and the former source as new target. You could then reverse the order of your rendered images for animation.

hope that helps

07 July 2004, 01:53 PM
Yeah, I thought of that... but there is a pretty elaborate camera move on the animation... it goes on a path with the particles... the camera is inside the target object when the particles reach it and attach in rows around the camera... to reverse this with all the other animation elements in the scene would be a challenge in itself?

I can try it... but it may not be possible... I also thought about deleting the faces of the target object to make the particles stick the parts of the surface I want... this almost works... but the particles do not place themselves on the surface in any particular way... and I need each one of them to land on a seperate vert to complete the shape in points.

My goal here is an animated shape made up of individual particles that assemble, hold+animate, then colapse. The tests I am running are as simple as 200 sphere shapes coming in attaching to a box with 400 verts on the bottom and sides leaving the top open then collapse to nothing.

Since I am dealing with so many particles I have managed a fake for the animatic I am working on... I setup the particles to flow to the target and I used lighting and materials to cover a second particle animation that has the position object with selected vertices in place with a material transition setup using small deflectors to trigger the building of the shape using scale... as the deflectors animate around the surface the collisions cause the shape to be born by scaling the particles... this worked out great for now. But it looks like a cheat. I would still love to figure out how to tell the target to attach each particle to the selected vertices in the Mesh Select modifier in the stack.

07 July 2004, 07:11 PM
good news.. few more days 'til the DVD's out. get the master tomorrow to approve, so if all's good it'll be out very soon :) (Friggin finally heh heh)

07 July 2004, 08:48 PM
he that's just to awesome news Allan
looking really forward to it

07 July 2004, 07:45 AM
Jim, you could use a Script Operator for attachting particles to your target.

This is kind of a brute force approach because you need to split up your target in 400 polys. Maybe there is an elegant scripted alternative to this. Otherwise: detach your polygons, reset the pivots, scale the polys down using pivot center. The smaler your polys are the more precise will be the "landing" of your particles. Use these polys as targets.

The script principle is described in the help topic for Find Target. You could reduce the script to something like this :

on ChannelsUsed pCont do
pCont.useInteger = true

on Proceed pCont do
count = pCont.NumParticles()

for i in 1 to count do
pCont.particleIndex = i
pCont.particleInteger = i

Place this script operator before the Find Target Op, in the Find Target Op set "Object" to "By Script Integer".


07 July 2004, 09:51 AM
I found answer on question which I asked before. It was quite easy. May by I shoud start think before I ask questions. I do not needed script for refresh on every frame, I puted just DELETE after 3 or 5 frames of age. So when particles are created they build animated volume during full lenght of animation. I need just to work on material.
I would also like to know : Has somebody ever worked with some of thous particle point renderers? How much accelerate they rendering? Is there any link to theory behind this aproach?

07 July 2004, 02:32 PM
I'm quite new here. Subscribed some months ago, but never really posted much. I will change this now, I think. :)
I'm currently working on a volcano in the ocean. It has to spit out hot ashes and lava stones which make nice splashes in the water. Also, there has to be much of realistic volcano smoke. I'm quite new to particles and afterburn, maybe some of you have some suggestions on how to make this smoke or nice trails coming from the stones.

I really would like to post a picture, but I need to have 30 posts. So maybe later. :)

P.S.: I like to read Allans posts about particles and made some of his tutorials. It's really awesome. He's the god of particles I think. :) I am also interested in his new dvd.

07 July 2004, 03:44 PM
Thanks BOA...

I will try that script... I also bought a MaxScript DVD coming in the mail this week... I guess it is time to learn scripting... I have avoided it for the last five years... looks like I might as well give in... I am sure now that I can ask questions on the Forum I will be able to work out the process...

as for this particle source... I ended up refining the flow I used for the cheat... I kept the two particle sources and made the count high enough to cover the transition from the arrival at the target animation to the reveal of the position object in place on that final frame and then once the shape animiated I blew the particles off the shape like in one of Alan's Tutorials I watched a while back using collision to trigger wind, worked like a charm and the client was happy... now I have to only learn Mental Ray this weekend to get the material look I want. :shrug:

07 July 2004, 05:48 PM
Okay well the two things to keep in mind for volcanic smoke are to make sure you have self shadowing and a shadow casting light (that's also included in afterburn). Also making the density quite high as pyroclastic clouds are completely dense as they're built up of solfer/ash and really restrict any light penetrating/scattering within it. Also keeping your noise size about half of your radius size might help give it it's irregular look.

For rock trails create your particles as rocks with instanced geometry that shoots out, and set them to spawn a trail which can either be facing_shape or else tell it not to have a shape and use the pflow afterburn node and use the octane shader within afterburn for the trails.

I hate to plug myself here, although lately I've gotten lots of emails and seens posts "how do I make a twister, volcano etc. etc." but check my DVD as it has a fairly intensive tutorial on how to build a volcano from scratch and create all of the effects for it. The DVD should go live Monday if all goes well.

Thanks for the positive feedback Butcher, hoping to be able to contribute more in terms of tuts, files and whatever I can soon. So busy until Siggraph's over, but lots of cool things ahead. If you need anymore help with the volcano let me know, it requires a bit of initial work to build it,but at least it's the kind of 3d scene that's fun to build ;)

07 July 2004, 07:58 PM
hey allen, i presume DVD will be obtainable from your site ??? r u still a busy chappy or work dying down a little now?

07 July 2004, 08:41 PM
EXTREMELY busy! But in a good way, got some really cool stuff coming up but all in due time.. Blade's almost out the door, just prepping for Sig and for pflow tools' release. So on top of some other stuff things are pretty crazy.
I just love how crucial the next few days are in time so my weekend which i wanted to devote entirely to working is now devoted entirely to getting rid of all this spyware crap that's popped up out of nowhere, verrry fun indeed.

The DVD will be on turbosquid's site, I was hoping to have my new site ready and launched by the time of it's release although just 100 other things keep popping up. But I'll have more additional information on my site soon. and i'll make sure I post something here. I had a look at the interface and it's looking pretty dang sweet. kind of suprised that they managed to get 13 or so hours onto one DVD :)

07 July 2004, 10:51 PM
Thx for this fast reply. I will try out the octane shader for the trails of the stones. Really would like to post a picture to hear some comments.

Allan: Does turbosquid or you or who ever ship your DVD to germany?

07 July 2004, 07:45 AM
That's funny. I also got the MaxScript DVD last week ...

Glad to hear that your cheat worked. Would be nice to see the animation if your client doesn't mind. The concept sounds very interesting.

I've thougt about this Find Target - Faces/Vertices thing again and found a much easier solution using the Vector Channel in a Birth script.

I used an Editable Poly named $myTarget and its face centers as target, but I'm sure you could use selected vertices as well. I've set "Target" in the Find Target operator to "Icon" and "Point" to "By Script Vector". In the Proceed part of the script after the particle is born I used:

vpos = polyOp.getSafeFaceCenter $myTarget i
pCont.particleVector = vpos
And it is necessary to make sure that the code does not try to use more faces than $myTarget has, either by abortion of particle generation when the number of faces is reached or by using faces more than once, starting with 1 again when all are used.

Scripting is real fun - especially when the script does what you expect it to do ... I hope to give my occasional attempts in scripting a better foundation with the MaxScript DVD.


P.S. In case you ever want to detach all polys as objects, make them non renderable, reset pivots to their face centers and scale them down - like it suggested in the first post - let me know. It's easy scriptable :)

07 July 2004, 12:11 PM
he allan where can we find your dvd at turbosquid??
can't wait any longer:scream:

07 July 2004, 06:21 PM
Tomorrow now, Wednesday at the absolute latest. They've just been doing some minor tweaks to push the quality a bit further etc. Thanks for your patience, like I said tomorrow or wednesday at the absolute latest so verrrrry very close :)

Hopefully new website will go online sometime this week - and I'll start putting up a lot of new stuff soon after that.
who here's coming to siggraph anyway? It'd be great to catch up with everyone for a few beers if anyone's interested.

07 July 2004, 10:11 PM
Tomorrow now, Wednesday at the absolute latest.I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. Thanks again for the contribution!!!!

07 July 2004, 10:52 PM
Great news Alan!!! Finally the DVD :buttrock:

Will check turbosquid tomorrow if it has been released... im desperate. heheheh

But awsome news!!! :bounce:

07 July 2004, 11:04 PM
I'm almost embarrassed over how long it's taken to release. I completed it in december/january but I've been so tied up with things that I didn't really get to do anything with it until recently. And TurboSquid's taken the time to build a really kick ass interface for it so I'm really pleased about that.
There's some other cool stuff coming out at Siggraph, and the class I'm doing hopefully will be quite informative on how to create a lot of cool fx for film.

But hopefully within the next day or two you'll be able to order it, so I'll make a post here and email everyone on my mailing list. I'll also be putting up a new site soon which I'll then start building more tutorials for max and maya for and really kind of make it a really strong resource for particles and visual effects.

will let you know as soon as I hear anything :)

07 July 2004, 08:50 AM
HI Allan

I get the feeling your DVD is going to sell "PRETTY WELL" understatement

07 July 2004, 06:22 PM
Just thought I'd ask this here instead of making a new thread. When I have particles with an AB effect linked to them, when the particles die the afterburn animation seems to 'pop' as a whole puff of smoke has just vanished, here ( is an example of what I mean.
Any way to get rid of this?

07 July 2004, 06:26 PM
Thanks Dell, I'm kind of suprised - I won't get into my frustrations with how long it's taken to come out from the time when I had actually completed it, but the feedback so far ha been great and those who've managed to get their hands on it early have all been extremely positive with their repsonses. Ideally I hope it meets everyone's expectations in terms of the learning content, as I'm always building new techniques on every film so I'd love to do some more down the line and obviously get them out a lil quicker :) but it all pends on whether people want them etc.
Hoping that it will go live in a few hours from now, or at least that's what I was told late last night.

On the flip side, here's a snipette from cinefex weekly on Cinderella story, which is a project I worked on at Digital Dimension last year in LA (funnily enough 12 months later and several trips around the world here I am back there again).
I'll try and find a way to post the article as it might give more insentive into how friggin complex this thing got. It's 100% cg made in max with mental ray.
My role was more behind the scenes, I did build some snow systems etc. Although I spent more time writing a few small tools for mental ray shaders, and building a lot of complex procedural modeling systems to deal with handling the integration of a lot of the scene's as they were being built into the master file.
The guys did a kick ass job on it, definitely wasn't one or two peoples baby's as everyone had a crucial role to play on it, I only put in about two weeks on the project (hence why I was more a TD than an artist on it, as there wasn't time as I had to leave the country). But turned out pretty cool in the end.

07 July 2004, 04:34 PM
AURORAE: Hi, I'm no expert in AB effects, but you can try to activate the AFC for density in the "Noise Animation Parameters"-Rollout. Leave the Low Value as you wish and type in 0.0 for the Hi Value. Your smoke will disappear now by getting more and more transparent.

Hope this helps.

07 July 2004, 09:44 PM
Hey Allan

Great to hear the DVD is going to be out soon, was wondering how to search on turbo squid to find it, what category would that be under? Perfect timing btw my birthday is tommorow this is going to make a nice present to myself.

Was thinking about attending your course at Siggraph in August. Is the information going to be exclusive to the presentation or is it eventually going to find itself in one of your online tutorials or is it already on the DVD?



07 July 2004, 08:30 AM
HI All

Just been playing around with fire effects etc, please see the images attached. I tried to attach the animation to the uploader site but its to big, even when zipped.

I used instanced geometry to create the volume and a gradient material for the shader.

Tell us what you think, thank you. ;-)

07 July 2004, 02:30 PM
2 more pic's

now I'm off to enjoy the weekend "VODKA";-)

07 July 2004, 04:42 PM
*bangs head on desk* well .. it seems this DVD just doesn't want to come out! I'll save the boring details... next week sometime it'll be out now. It's been out of my hands for the last few weeks whilst the ui was built and well.. I'm just as anxious as I'm sure some of you guys are for it to come out - so I really wish it had popped out this week. So aside from my frustrations about it - it's all looking fantastic and hopefully will be out next week.
Aside from that though this weekend I'll chuck up a lil suprise for people to sink their teeth into whilst they're waiting :)

Dell very nice pics man

Thrasher - all the discreet content will be unique as it's more stuff I've built for previous films and kind of just reitterating on the techniques used for that stuff. But the main emphysis is on Afterburn, alongside with how to make the most of it through pflow. It should be a cool talk, I'm going to be a bit of a whore this year as I'm pushing a lot of different tricks/educational content out over siggraph, although everything is quite unique. Was hoping we could do a talk at discreets booth on Blade, but now with the release date being pushed back 'til december we can't show anything unfortunately.

07 July 2004, 06:06 PM
@allan - must be cool to work on high profile films, i bet when they r released you just sit back and think ...... i did that :D
i'm lookin forward to ure dvd i think it'll be pretty sweet ;)

07 July 2004, 06:33 PM
honestly I'm pissed, I never get to see them !
First few were crap films which I passed up on
I was keen to see paycheck, but it wasn't out in Aus by the time it came out, and I flew to LA where it had 'just' finished. Then I had cast and crew ticket to scooby doo, but I arrived late due to bad directions and LA traffic so they wouldn't let me in. I'm NOT going to see cinderella story (we did the intro) I just checked blade 3, release date here in LA is december 10, I fly back to Aus for xmas December 9 (I know) and it doesn't come out there 'til jan 6 and I fly back to LA jan 2, so it'll probably have come and gone by that stage :)
Although hopefully there'll be a cast and crew session..
But basically aside from cast and crew screenings I always miss getting to see the movie - but yeah it's nice when you're at a pub at the bar and a tv commercial comes on.. or a music video, and you're like "hey I did that... back. to drinking now"

Digital Dimensions cg supervisor's bachelor party tongiht, we're renting a 18 person hummer full of booze, disco lights, playstations. if I don't make it back alive, it's been great to participate in this forum ;)

07 July 2004, 01:07 AM
Hello all, I have a question about PFlow in my 3ds max 6 scene.

This is the scoop - I have two bipeds in a scene and I have created low-poly proxy meshes that are linked to their biped’s bones. I wanted to use a PFlow system to emit a few particles and do a Collison test on about 30 geometry proxy-models. I created the character’s proxy-model myself with low segmented GeoSpheres and molded them to shape the character's final Physique skin.

I have an emitter in front of him and it sends simple sphere out. I want it to do a collision test on the proxy models I made, about 15 objects for all his bones. But I have follow out sadly that the UDeflector particle deflector can only pick one mesh object at a time!

Any suggestions to avoid making 30 of them and picking each object separately? Thanks.

PS - Allan: I can't wait for your DVD either!

07 July 2004, 03:32 AM
How about making a group out of all the proxy meshes, and using the group for the UDeflector?

Oleg B.

07 July 2004, 05:51 AM
You could group your proxies, open the group and Link Constrain or Position Constraint its members to their respective bone. Then pick the closed group as your deflector.

Hope this helps,

07 July 2004, 07:54 AM
Thanks Boa, that is a very good idea, I will remember that.

OlegB: I tried that too, but something strange was going on with the group idea, which I thought'd work also.

So what I ended up doing instead was use a Position Object operator, and chose all the proxy meshes I made, and then chose Select Faces as the emissions location.

So carefully I picked the mesh faces that'd appear best in camera shot, and have in by doing that made just the character's edges vent particles. The affect is a fast fire emission using a basic Shape Facing w/ ~60K to 90K of particles, for a thick fire. The fire on the characters is caused from a nuke-strong fireball blast (, so the flame on them had to strech and be blown by the wind.

07 July 2004, 01:13 PM

Regarding those discreet classes at Siggraph... Are they seminars that the attendees just sit and listen and watch or are they more interactive working at computer at the same time type classes. I am hoping for the later.


07 July 2004, 06:11 PM
Yeah basically it's a class but no computers, just like with any other siggraph class - the speakers are up there showing how to do cool things, but obviously not waiting for the audience to do it step by step, as we'd probably get through maybe one tutorial if that were the case :) (purely as things have to be paced a lot more slower).

Also organized with turbo squid to be giving out a license of afterburn, and there'll be other raffle stuff going on too...

07 July 2004, 08:13 PM
Sounds fun Allan hopefully I will be able to make it.

BTW any idea when the DVD will be out this week :buttrock:

07 July 2004, 11:05 PM
Did you survive the party Alan...:beer:

Btw, when will you update your site? Sorry for being such a pain in the ass... heheh

07 July 2004, 11:30 PM
Yes, I have a very solid idea of when it'll be out, I'm just not going to say anything until it's out cause I'm cursed or something :)
Will have a few cool scene files being thrown up tonight - projects that didn't make it onto the DVD, but show a lot of cool stuff etc.

RE: Webpage will be up soon - I hate saying I'm going to do this and that as at the moment things are just insane and I'm about to take on another contract which will for the next month and a bit have me working 20 hour days so that really sucks.

Eitherway after sig with the exception of this contract, things will be dying down a lot which will give me a lot more free time.. although wether I choose to spend that at my PC is yet to be seen ;)

Party went well, 18 seater hummer filled with booze and porno DVD's and a very roudy crowd. Only one of the animators got arrested, so pretty boring night :) I'm looking forward to blur's siggraph party, discreet's fronting a lot of cash for that, should be interesting... Crystal Method is performing there

07 July 2004, 11:43 PM
Hehehehhe only one arrested if it was you who was arrest i would be laughing right now. :p

Nice to hear that you survive the night, by the way why was he arrested, no belt on... hahahah

The stuff that you will upload will be at I need something to do tonight so i will be checking it from time to time.


07 July 2004, 11:55 PM
I'll post it here, won't post it on my site as I doubt I'll make any changes until the complete overhall, but will try and work on that tonight alongside having to get a lot of cool images/videos out for pflow tools release...

07 July 2004, 03:51 AM
Hey Allan,

I finally made the purchase on the DVD but I have one quick question. Does the DVD come with the scene files from each exercises because they never mentioned it on their description. Also, as far as I can recall I though there was some sort of CS, Maxscript & Pflow all intergrated together on your DVD. Maybe I'm wrong but I though you mentioned it earlier.

Well anyway I'm very anxious on the arrival of the DVD
Cheers Turbosquid finally!!!

07 July 2004, 04:10 AM
I just checked and I don't see the long awaited PFlow training DVD. I see this one:

But it was released back in April, so I don't think it's Mr. McKay's?


07 July 2004, 04:47 AM
Hey Jeff,

That's impossible. I just purchased the DVD two hours ago.

here is the link.

07 July 2004, 05:01 AM
Excellent! Thanks for the link, I tried searching for particle, PFlow, and even McKay, but nothing turned up....strange. I'll go ahead and place my order as well. Thanks again.


07 July 2004, 05:18 AM
Hi Alan,
Turbosquid takes $35 for shipping to Germany. I recently purchased the MAXScript 101 DVD. The shipping rate for that one was $3,20 ...
Do you think it is possible that you ask turbosquid to offer a lower shipping rate? I don't need the DVD to be here next day ...


07 July 2004, 05:24 AM
Well guys.. I guess you beat me to it?

Primal101 To answer your Q, yes it comes with scene files for most of the tutorials (both start and finished scenes as well as some extra additions) As well as renders and other additional material. Although it varies from topic to topic, as an intro to pflow I walk through a lot of stuff so mightn't save every single thing I built out, whereas something like a twister or volcano you'll have both the start and finished scene.

This DVD I kind of worked on whilst in crunch during scooby 2 and paycheck - so found it quite hard to polish it off and make it as clean as I wanted, although in terms of the actual training material I'm very happy with it, although since then I've learnt a lot of ways to really polish the presentation up a lot more. Besides I think I make up for it with the sheer amount of stuff I've thrown on there ;)

I've also included some misc files I wanted to release, these are just low qualty test scenes etc. I've built just during my spare time although figured I'd dump up here incase anyone wants to have a play. they're about a year old now at least, so some of them are parrays etc. opposed to pflow. But hopefully once I get back on top of things I'll start releasing more stuff again.

Anyway glad to see it's finally out, can't believe how long it's taken.. from just no time to work on it to releasing it and then other problems popping up along the way. But hopefully it meets everyone's needs in terms of pflow, afterburn, reactor, shaders, and effects all round.

Anyway enjoy ;)

PS. Boa, yeah I'll email them and see if there's an optional other way, as international orders can get expensive when they don't necessarily need to be. Let you know what I hear back.


07 July 2004, 10:26 AM
Ouch... :D

I have the same problem Alan, to Portugal for shipment i have to pay 35$ thats almost another DVD. :sad:

Can you check TurboSquid if theres another shipment rate, the 35$ is for FedEX and theres no need for that.

Thanks in advanced

07 July 2004, 11:49 AM
hey ya guys, just a 2 quick questions.

1) n e ideas of decent tornado tutorial (using pflow)
2) is there a way with pflow to make an object disintigrate into a swam of particles and reassemble later on?

chers in advance

07 July 2004, 02:27 PM
hey ya guys, just a 2 quick questions.

1) n e ideas of decent tornado tutorial (using pflow)
2) is there a way with pflow to make an object disintigrate into a swam of particles and reassemble later on?

chers in advance scorpion007 has a video tutorial there and a .max file that you can look over too.

"VI. Advanced Effects 6.2 – Tornado" - Allans dvd has one as well.

07 July 2004, 03:46 PM
Spoke to the marketting manager at Turbosquid, hopefully later today they'll add an optional way of shipping that's a lot cheaper.Right now it uses fedex which is reliable/trackable and fast, although obviously for a less steaper rate I'm hoping they'll add in a $5-$7 shipment method, let you know what happens.

gavinB without pluging myself, the DVD mentioned above has one :) other than that can't think of any offhand, although basically use vortex and turbulence is the real key.

For reassembling particle studio does that well, the new pflow tools help to make it possible too. You can use find target and then have it link out to a position although it will randomly assign the particles onto the target object which isn't too smooth.
Particle studio does it really well, TP can do it semi well.

07 July 2004, 04:34 PM
what was dvd price in UK £'s as i am real tempted, once cleared with the boss (the wife)

07 July 2004, 04:37 PM

Does your DVD go into the materials as well as the motion of the particles or do you just go over the "wireframe look"


07 July 2004, 05:06 PM
it depends on what it is I'm covering, a lot of it is more theory based effects, although there are a lot I cover the materials for them too as well as afterburn quite intensely.

future tutorials I'm wanting to focus on just single fx shots where I go from start to finish through it and focus all the time on just that one shot finessing it etc. although with this tutorial I've had such a sheer amount of content I've focussed on if I want to make foot prints in the snow, I'll make the foot prints effect, as the material isn't really important, although I might verbally explain any extra tricks you might want to apply to better the effect, but something like an explosion or fire I'd of course cover both the particles and the material etc.

GavinB it's about 32 pounds I think?

07 July 2004, 09:39 PM
Already order it with fedex shipment... :D

Its one table dance less at the local strip bar this weekend, with this shipment who cares. :twisted:

07 July 2004, 10:39 PM
Hella nice! I'm going to order mine as soon as I can. :)

07 July 2004, 03:40 AM
yeah let me know if you guys notice any addition to the shipping, I didn't realize that'd be the only option (fedex) it makes sense as it's reliable etc. although at teh same time it does put the price up a lot higher.. so hopefully there'll be an optional UPS ground or something similiar available.

I seem to be out of the loop as you guys seem to find things out before I do with this stuff ;) (eg. I didn't even know the dvd was out 'til I heard it here!) so let me know if it changes, although I have raised the issue multiple times since yesterday.

Eitherway will reply to some emails when I get home.. seems every day I want to leave early is when I get given a bucketload of work to do on my way out :) $#@

cya guys


07 July 2004, 03:29 PM

Just got the DVD and the quality is great. I haven't had much time to go through everything, but the few that I have seen are very good! Good quality, great content, LOTS of content definitely a great buy! Thanks again!!!

07 July 2004, 04:52 PM
just FYI - seems there's cheaper shipping available now I think? or at least I heard someone mention that.

anyways... who coming to siggraph this year? hopefully we can muster a team of drinkers somewhere ;)

07 July 2004, 05:17 PM
Hi Allan,

I just ordered your DVD (I'm in the states so I chose the cheapest shipping offered. UPS ground - $11.00) I anxiously awaiting the chance to dig into the content.

I will be at Siggraph as well. Definitely add me to the list of list of drinkers. I'm looking forward to it.


07 July 2004, 05:46 PM
he finally your DVD is out now...thanks alot Allan
how much is it for international (Europe) now??

well I have to get this DVD anyway :)

Edit: Allan are you planning to do some Maya stuff as well??
I'm just planning to start to use Maya in a couple of days so they could come very handy as well
...but I can't come to siggy but I would like to join your drinking list:sad:

07 July 2004, 08:38 PM
heh heh I'm too unorganized right now to form a 'list' ;) but definitely keen to down some booze - I'll be around the discreet booth a lot I'd say as well as probably turbosquid doing cartwheels around my DVD to attract attention.

no idea how much in euros.. it's about 32 pounds? I think or something like that.

I 'will' be doing some maya stuff at some point. I did a video for 3d world magazine a while back, kind of stuck in max at work these days, but will probably try and jump a bit more into other products but not as extensively as max I'd say right now.. but time will tell, until September it's hard to even think about what I have planned etc. as I'm too busy sweating about the next 2 months in front of me right now

07 July 2004, 12:37 AM
Damn $11.50 for shipping to here. I guess I'll come for your "cartwheel" show and pick up the DVD at the Siggraph booth. Hope I can see you there.

07 July 2004, 01:09 AM
I did the particle dispersion tutorial on the Allan McKay site, and I can't get the particles to render. It only renders the sphere. I notice he presses something on the keyboard early on in the tutorial that actually gets rid of the sphere so you can only see the particles. If you know what he's doing could you please tell me? Thanks guys!

07 July 2004, 01:34 AM
Yeah, I will be at Siggraph. First time. Am pretty psyched. Look forward to meeting you all.


07 July 2004, 11:18 AM
Well didn't realise that the actuall Mr McKay was on these formums! Nice!

Just wanting to know how you get to render the particles, mine just renders the sphere which I am using for the particle dispersion. Thanks mate :)