Particles following splines


Howdy peeps… Quick question - Is there a custom Particle Flow operator that moves particles along a spline path? It seems it would be such an unbeleivably useful operator since the good old “path follow” space warp doesn’t work… unless I’m being incredibly stupid (and that has been known to have happened)

Otherwise, huge “find target” trees end up being created which ends up becoming really messy.

Oh, to be able to know maxscript…


I am truly stupid.

edit… ‘although speed by icon’ and speed by surface still don’t seem to be the neatest way of doing it… but some would say that about my my house


i use speed by icon and link it to a spline using the path contraint quite often
using this in conjuction with blur’s cylinder script or ghost trails, you can produce some pretty cool looking stuff


Do you know of a way to have particles birth on a spline and have them shoot out from all directions based on a face normal to the spline, even if there is not a face to have it go off of. In short, particles emitting from a spline.




BigRanS123, the best way I can think of would be to reference the spline. Add a renderable spline modifier. Hide it from render and emit from that. Otherwise you would probably have to script it.



You need to give it a normal alignment first ;). Select all the verticies on your spline and apply a uvw map. to the stack. Not enough emmitters? Refine your spline segments. Just got a sweet idea for a set of whips from this post for NWN. Thanks :slight_smile:


I’ve been playing with this for a few minutes. You don’t need to select the vert sub-objects you can just apply them to the spline. But in your birth operator you still need to emmit from selected verts. It then spaces the particles along the spline evenly between the verts. So vert placement is a concern. Might want to use beziers, to get the correct curve and vert placement.


Im not able to get the P-flow to select the spline while its in the spline form/ are you doing something special?


Guess I’ll make you a mini tutorial. I need to get used to the Max/Camtasia workflow anyway. Hopefully my webhost will be up today so I can post it for you.


Hey all,

I was wondering if anybody ever came up with a solution to the whole particles following a spline path problem. I have been searching and tinmkering for days in disbelief that there is not a simple way to do this.

All I want is to be able to make a spline or helix type spiral and have my particles travel along that path.
Am I missing something quite obvious?

Every 2d/2.5d program I have ever used had the ability to move particles along a spline.
Is it like this in all 3d packages?

I am using Max7, has anything improved in PF in ver8 and ver0?


havfe you guys tried speed by icon from the toolbox #1 if anyone has?


Speed By Icon is a standard Particle Flow operator.

And there is no difference in standard Particle Flow in max6, 7, 8, or 9 - you can just add Particle Flow Tools Boxes to any of these versions to extend its capabilities.

Oleg B.


sorry, misspelled this… :frowning: ment speed by icon OR tool box…RDG from the maxscript forum wrote a script that takes care of that issue! i´ll tell him about this thread :wink:

kind regards



thank you anselm!

I was reading the post this morning, but wasn’t sure what the problem/task really is …

If it is about ‘Particles Following one or more paths’ I’d like to redirect you to my thread:
multiple paths and static materials
The inital problem was solved easily with help from anselm and some interesting pflows were delvopeed.

You find there a birth script to attach particles to multiple splines that don’t have the same origin. And a tool to setup a pFlow where the particles follow multiple splines - this time they should have the same origin. But I think both can be combined …

the same Origin means: All splines have their first vertex at the same position …

Maybe this helps.



Hey, thanks for all the replies.

Georg, I am going to checkout that maxscript you linked me to.
Thanks for that.
I will check back with any progress I make.


Huh? What’s the big problem here? Since when speed by icon is not enough for the particle-by-spline stuff? Somebody needs to read the ref :smiley:


This issue I’ve been having is somewhat relevant to this thread. I’m using a spline as a path constraint for the emitter to generate the original particles but after those particles are emitted I want them to “stick” to the spline as the spline animates.

here is a preview - you can see the problem:

I’m open to any alternate methods, thanks in advance for any help.


You can do this with the Lock/bond operator in Particle Flow Tools Box #1. Check out at :wink:


Great & thanks - I’ll check it out.


Enable it in viewport and render. Then after you add the UVW modifier you can pick it. It’s been a while since I needed to emit from a spline. Sorry it took so long to answer.