View Full Version : need help creating a photo mosaic animation

03 March 2008, 11:31 PM

I'm creating a photo mosiac and I need some help animating the particles correctly. I'm using a birth script to lock the particles to the vertices of a mesh and it works fine. (I implemented this before I found out about "Position Object+".

I basically want to achieve this exact look: (I made this with After Effects) (

... except I want to do it in Max so I can add some lighting effects. So I need to move the particles from point A to point B and maintain their relative position. I also want to get that spherical effect, (like in the example), where the center particles slow down a little earlier than the rest (it'd be nice if you could govern speed with a gradient map or something).

I tried to use "Find Target" but it screwed with my material mapping. I don't have PFT#1 so I had to use the mapping method found here:

which involves using the mesher mod, and laying an unwrap uvw over a UVW Map. When I used "Find Target" the UV's would spaz out as soon as the first particle snapped to the new target, (no idea why).

If anyone knows a good way to animate this, or has a script that can help I'm all ears.

03 March 2008, 09:14 AM
Can you provide your scene or is it under NDA?

03 March 2008, 03:50 PM
The source files are all here: (

I've left the scene as it is using the "Find Target" approach with the UV's going nuts. Do a quick render and you'll see what I mean.

What's NDA stand for?

03 March 2008, 06:26 PM
Thas easly done if you have PFlow Tool Box1, theres a mapping operator that u can use to project the bitmap onto your particles.

03 March 2008, 06:37 PM
yeah... I realize that... I'm doing this for work and this project is not high enough priority to give it any kind of a budget whatsoever, So I have to find a way to get by without it. The main thing I want to achieve here is to get particles to animate properly. The UV's stay put and all is well if I don't use "Find Target". So if anyone knows a way to do this without using "Find Target" that'd be great.

03 March 2008, 07:13 PM
Hmm, took a quick look at it and I think this can be done pretty simple. (Either that, or I don't understand what you want :P )

This is what I had in mind (had, cause my pc is still busy renaming all the 1600 objects :S ):
- make a plane/box for every little frame you see in the .mov posted earlier
- apply the mapping
- use a script that spawns 1 particle per mesh (remember to center the pivotpoint and do reset XForm them)
- animate your planes/boxes using either the Speed or Force operator

Again; this is what I had in mind, haven't tried it yet. Will do so in the morning :)

03 March 2008, 10:12 PM
I tried using the speed operator and it worked well enough until I tried to get that bubble effect at the very end of the animation. I don't think forces will work because the x and y coordinates of the particles have to remain constant throughout the animation.

I tried deforming a mesh into a bubble shaped plane and converted it to a deflector. I then added a collision event to alter the speed of the incoming particles. I succeeded in altering the z values of the particles in order to get the bubble effect, but was unable to get the particles to smoothly flatten out to form a plane again.

Is there a way to constrain the X and Y coordinates of the particles and leave the z coords open for business?

03 March 2008, 10:09 AM
the attached file is not exactly what u asked for but maybe u get the idea of texturing and instancing particles. the scene was not assembled by me but posted some time ago around here. so i canīt claim any credits for it :)

I can highly recommend to buy the particle flow toolbox#1 from which has a mapping object operator doing exactly what you might want to achieve:

Mapping Object

Lets you derive particle mapping from a reference object or objects on an instantaneous or ongoing basis. You can also transition from the original particle mapping to that of the reference object(s) over time or distance.

so just set up your cards with regular geometry > attach em together > use this as position and mapping object > your set > start giving the effect some flavour

with kind regards,

03 March 2008, 02:19 PM
I couldn't open that file, (prob cause I'm using max7). I looked at PFT#1 and it looks great. I will prob buy it for my home setup, but there's nothing I can do about it here at work.

The clock ran out on me and I had to go ahead and use the version I did in AE. I created a glow and volume light effect in Max and then composited it over the Photo Mosaic animation. It turned out fine, but I still want to figure out how to do this with Max, (without PFT#1). You can view my finished product here: (

I read a "tutorial" in 3D World about this and they mentioned setting the final position of the particles via MaxScript. I have no idea how to do this... the "tutorial" didn't help at all.

If anyone knows how to do this lemme know... otherwise... thanks for all your help everybody. Your input is much appreciated.

03 March 2008, 02:48 PM
This may b a silly question...but have you tried doing the setup backwards? Having the particles start as a musiac and then blow then towards the camera, then just reverse the sequence in AF..

03 March 2008, 03:18 PM
wow... that's a great idea. I wish I had thought of that last week. Way to think outside the box!

04 April 2008, 11:10 AM
wow... that's a great idea. I wish I had thought of that last week. Way to think outside the box!
:sad: I actually posted it last week, but somehow the post wasnt created.

04 April 2008, 01:25 AM
yeah... for some reason CGtalk was in shambles last week... I noticed they disabled their forum search... that sucks.

04 April 2008, 11:49 AM
I read a "tutorial" in 3D World about this and they mentioned setting the final position of the particles via MaxScript. I have no idea how to do this... the "tutorial" didn't help at all.

check this tutorial ( on Allan's Website ;)

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