View Full Version : Creating and Animating Sand?

04 April 2003, 09:06 AM
I'm trying to create a realistic sand landscape, which dont have to be big, enough to fill 720x480. Then words would start appearing on the sand as if someone is writing it. Then have the wind blows to cover up the writing.

I was thinking about using particles although it might be a mad solution plus I have never used particles before. After searching the forums, people did mention sand blaster plus that's pretty much what I got after a google search.

at school they have both max and maya so I dont really care which one I use, although I am more familiar with Max. Also I thought about using after effects instead.

Could someone help me out please?

04 April 2003, 07:11 PM
It would be maya sure;) Max isn't able to work with serious dynamics!

04 April 2003, 09:46 PM
it would be a breeze to do this with sandblaster in max :thumbsup:

04 April 2003, 12:02 AM
if you had a decent still photo, very high quality you could do this all in any compositing app without the use of 3d particles.

duplicate the photo or footage, on the top layer use a displacement operator/filter with the source of the displacement being an animated black and white "write on" of your text, then you could have the appearance of the letters being wiped off by simply using an animated gradient as a track matte or stencil layer for the top layer, which would in turn reveal the clean plate underneath. You could probably also distort the "letters" to make them appear more realistic as they "blow" off. (if you are using combustion or have the wondertouch particle library plugin, then you could use some 2d particles as well to create some soft blowing sand as a final touch, actually I think digital fusion also comes with particles.) Ideally you can do this effect very realisticaly without 3rd party plugins or 3d software, and it will render so much faster than having your computer crunch out a heavy duty dynamics sequence.

So maybe do a quick search on the web and see if you can find a nice photo to do this with.

Just an idea by the way, not saying this is any better than anything anyone else has suggested, just an alternate route you can take.

I hope this helps.

04 April 2003, 04:42 PM
thanks sooo much for the help. I have tried to make sand with 3d programs but it wasnt working very well. I think I'll try the composition thing. I am trying it out with Psusami, an after effects plugin that makes water scenes, to create the dune effect. Which is kinda coming out but I still need to tweak a lot. Would "combustion" give out better quality? I have always wanted to try the program out but never really had a chance or a reason to use it. Should I try it out in combustion? Is there a tutorial I can follow that's similar to my topic?

OPnce again, thanks, now back to work.
:thumbsup: :beer:

04 April 2003, 09:09 PM
you could use psunami in combination with the particle system in combustion - that should do the trick

05 May 2003, 04:09 AM
You're best off to do a majority of the effect with shaders and particles be the secondary effect.

In max, make a blend material set up a mask and animate a noise or gradient ramp to blend between the sand and the text to reveal the text. Then use volume select and plug the mask into the particle system so it emits particles from the sandy areas as it disipates. Although you're probably better off and more conventional just making start emitter around the area and using heaps of particles, the key is fine whispy bits with turbulence and low density. Maybe some bigger faint puffs as well to give it body.

In maya, same deal but make it a nurbs surface and plug it into the rate down the bottom of the emitter node and make sure parentUV's is ticked on. Also make the shader a mix texture or else a layered shader/textre with a mask and do it that way. Although like I said, you can just use a volume emitter instead if you want oposed to getting too tricky. The particles would be small facets or streaks with moblur and render them out in the hardware render buffer.

Eitherway it's better to make it as simple as it can be but use lots of particles and make them really fine. Using shaders for a majority of the effect is best. and don't forget turbulence, and particle age opacity map ect.

Nicool: Yeah I know! max is utter crap, why can't the world all just use maya and live in peace and harmony... right...

Hope that helps

Allan McKay

05 May 2003, 10:35 PM
once again thanks for the help guys. Although I have decided to film the whole thing. I will use particles for blowing sand but for the dune it self, I'm gonna film it. Like "ooga" was saying I'll film the shot with a high res cam.

I'll have one shot of plain sand, and another with the text drawn out (using stencils) then animate the masks with aftereffects. My prof is really gonna have a go at me. It's already a week late:shame:.

Thanks :beer:
lo-tech is good too

amckay, maya is too complicated :eek: :p

12 December 2005, 05:38 PM
hi ,

i guess u are looking forward to make a sand landscape...

u can do this very easily using maya fluids

if u check in maya visor u will come across a preset
under fluid examples =>miscellaneous=> blowing surfaces snow

u can just import this example

change colors to get a sandy feel

play around with the opacity curve also

if u want to get into details...

u can turn on texture color,tex incandescence,texture opacity etc...
inflection invert would be useful too..dont forget to play around with
the shaders.

i would say take off ...the snow dome and the terrain they have given in preset

the best thing about using this visor is that its already animated ...
it also has the windy feel that u would like in ur scene.. u can change almost all keys

for any doubts on this ..

u can mail me at

ENJOY :beer:

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