View Full Version : Particle forming a shape/letter

12 December 2010, 09:34 AM
hi, I've been trying to achieve something like the first effect in this video (boxes forming into letter 'M')

some buddy please help me!

12 December 2010, 03:35 PM
check out the find target test (max help)! create a geometry letter and pick it in the find target. then your particles seek for it.

12 December 2010, 04:12 AM
thanks for the reply, I've already done this but couldn't get the same effect, heres the attached max 2011 file, can you please recheck and fix my mistakes?

PS: I've changed speed and it looks good enough but the boxes are overlapping each other how can i keep them as physx shape so that does not overlap each other?

Thank you PsychoSilence for your help as always.

12 December 2010, 07:55 PM
Sorry for the late reply! Shop is closed over the holidays and im rarely at the (tool-)boxes :)

Your problem was a mix of multiple things!
1) with box2 you need a physx world operator in every event you want physx to be present, i just instanced the one from event01 over into the others.

2) When using BirthStream you dont need position object/icon or speed operators since birth stream is a Birth, a position icon and a speed operator all in one with controllable settings within. So i got rid of your position object, speed by surface and physx drag since you can control ALL that in the birth group. I simply aligned the BirthStream icon to where your plane001 was, thats why it is a separate icon ;). That did speed up the overall flow as well as a welcome side effect :)

3) When controlling particles with outside of box2 operators like find target etc. you need a physx switch to let the particles inherit an outside of the physx world influence. The switch with "speed" checked right under the find target does the trick in event02. Then all particles follow nicely but collide. I deleted the intercollision test as well as physx world takes care of that anyways. Same goes for the last event, physx switch under the lock bond makes them follow in the intended way.

4) As a last cosmetic change i put the material operator in the root event so it is applied to all events in the flow. If your material is not animated or otherwise changing I would use a Material Static operator too.


12 December 2010, 12:20 PM
This forum has always been a great help for me. PsychoSilence i cannot thank you enough for your informative reply(s). I have learned what you taught & i will definitely take care of the above steps you mentioned.

As you always been my inspiration would you like to update all your fans with 'what are you doing these days' i mean on what project are you working and when can we see your new work?

Thank you once again.

01 January 2011, 10:59 PM
Glad I could help :) Always my pleasure!

Most of my work (that is released yet) is on my vimeo page: you acn subscribe to it if you want :) Glad you liek my stuff! Appreciate it :)


01 January 2011, 08:23 AM
Most of my work (that is released yet) is on my vimeo page: you acn subscribe to it if you want :) Glad you liek my stuff! Appreciate it :)


DONE!!! :beer: few more questions, do you have any plan on making tutorials of what you do?
can you also be kind enough to mention few of the effects done in the video link given above?
this would be great favor too, just a walk through if you don't have enough time for a detailed write up :bowdown:

01 January 2011, 03:28 PM
I might actually do a second Box2 and 3 DVD with specific tasks since the first 2 where more of an extensive overview. But that is far from being planned out in detail. More of a new years resolution LOL! Until then the vimeo channel is your best bet.

Regarding the video you posted it is done by Matthias so he should be the one talking about it and not me :)


01 January 2011, 05:45 PM
Hi Ansi i would love to see another Box3# DVD i learned a lot from the first one

01 January 2011, 05:47 PM
looking forward for box tutorials, regarding mathiasm i don't think he is kind enough to share his techniques therefore i asked you if you could just give us a walk through :) by the way Thanks! :wavey:

01 January 2011, 07:06 PM
..regarding mathiasm i don't think he is kind enough to share his techniques

That is a bad assumption, Matthias is quite a kind and has shared some of his techniques. I think you might be surprised what happens when you actually ask someone. ;)

01 January 2011, 08:05 PM
That is a bad assumption, Matthias is quite a kind and has shared some of his techniques. I think you might be surprised what happens when you actually ask someone. ;)

I agree he shared more than enough we need to do our research and learn as he did.

Guys about the same video how to achieve the blend (change) shape effect in second 13 ? also the fluid effect in second 22 ?


01 January 2011, 10:56 PM
My guess:

1. Initial State Snapshot for a freeze frame
2. Visibility track on either a pWrapper or Blobmesh
3. Snapshot of wrapper mesh
4. Fractured the snapshot with RayFire Voronoi or Voronoi Fragment script.
5. Added to a new Birth Group and Emit @ time

XYZ could be skin wrapped with Particle Skinner with a internal Birth Grid culling by a clone of the XYZ with internal particles deleted and then Glued.

At least that is how I would do it :)

01 January 2011, 11:19 PM
That is a bad assumption, Matthias is quite a kind and has shared some of his techniques. I think you might be surprised what happens when you actually ask someone. ;)

i apologize for my negative assumption :rolleyes: but i just felt that because on his youtube he has strictly written that 'TUTORIAL: not yet, if i do a tutorial i will post it right here on youtube.'

btw can i have a link where he has shared some of his techniques?

01 January 2011, 12:53 AM
That to me says he is either too busy or really has no desire to write a tutorial, not everybody has time or the desire to write tutorials.

Links, specifically no, I just happen to visit the same forums he does and happen to read the questions he asks, most of his techniques are common methods if you know particle systems (he has a few that are complex too). He orchestrates, lights, and assembles them quite uniquely. Learn the tools he uses and you will see the light :) Particle Flow, Box#2 & 3, case you were wondering.

01 January 2011, 03:35 AM
Thank you Johnny

02 February 2011, 09:07 AM
WOW awesome. I have been trying to work out how that was done.Would this be done in a similar way?

When I use gravity space wrap the objects gets pulled past the gravity space warp. It never ends up docking/stopping like it does in the video.
The uploader just says: "Particle flow toolbox 2 plugin for 3dsmax + gravity space wrap (with spherical force and decay) :)"

02 February 2011, 07:07 PM
Try using a higher Strength in the Gravity. I maybe wrong but I don't think those particles are docking (in the true sense of the word docking, ie a specific location and staying there), it looks like the gravity force just happens to be strong enough that a majority of them are sticking to the most centralized location of the gravity's pull.

03 March 2011, 05:30 PM
Hello to everyone. I just try to recreate that effect with form animated shape by particles. I used Birth grid, but how can i update that birth grid every frame of my animation?

03 March 2011, 01:47 AM
AFAIK Birth Grid is only evaluated once, at the start, and if you are using a cull object, when you recalculate the volume.

What is it that you are trying to get it to do?

03 March 2011, 07:08 PM
I trying to recreate that effect: (

03 March 2011, 09:34 PM
There were two different techniques Anselm and I used. Each with there equal strengths and weaknesses.

Anselm developed the Birth Grid system and it requires Box#3 to control the visibility of a particle that lies in the bounds of an object with changing topology. I have a brief explanation on using Box#3 for visibility here ( It pitfall is that you need a grid that encompasses the bounds of the entire animation, which can lead to an excessively high particle count (particles that aren't even visible)

The second was done with a Krakatoa PRT Volume, a PRT Loader, then piped back into PFlow. It is pitfall is the particle ID channel. Since PRT Volume doesn't enumarate its particles in the sense that each particle doesn't have its own unique ID for life based on a voxel grid, you end up recreating a new particle every frame in pflow as a sanity check.

Wait another week or so and you can do this with Frost ;) It is approx. 50-70% faster performance-wise compared to the two later techniques and without either of the restrictions. :)

There are also a couple of scripts that can do this too, all of these seem to be in the same speed range though.

03 March 2011, 09:52 PM
My Box#3 DVD covers this topic as well. But John laid it out for you pretty good already :)

PRT volumes, a KCM to inherit object mapping and textures/vertex color and Frost for fast shape instances is how to do it from here on out once Frost is released.

03 March 2011, 11:03 PM
Thanks for answers. :).
You both are best :bowdown:

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