particles to surface


Hello everyone. I have a scene where particles are emitted off screen and travel towards a sphere surface. The particles are moving slowly and are pointing towards their destination. I need the particles as they arrive at the sphere to orient themselves to the surface normals and land onto the surface. I have thought about hand animating the objects landing on the surface, but the shot requires a lot of them to land. I was wondering if pflow can handle something like this. Thanks everyone. i’ve attached an image to help explain.


If I understand you right, you can do this via a quite simple script. Have a look at this tutorial by Allan McKay. You might have to tweak it a bit to fit your needs.


Thank you for your reply. I have watched this great tutorial but I’m afraid it doesn’t help answer the orientation of the particles before they land on the surface. the particles are shaped in a Y shape with a trunk that fits into the sphere. I will post an image to help explain better as soon as I have privilege to attach an image. Thanks


here is an image to help explain


You can also let the Particles be emitted by the sphere and travel off screen, and then reverse the animation after rendering.


great idea Piflik. i wanted to try something like that but the camera is animated panning left to right, which i could also reverse correct? what worries me most is getting the particles to rotate in reverse as they go back off screen. I’m gonna try it out and let you know what happens. Thank you once again for replying. most appreciated!


thats a tricky one, it can be done through a bit of scripting, or box set 3
but out of the box in max (with the go to rotation plugin, which I believe is part of the free addition to pflow tools I believe?) you can probably do something
I only spent 5 mins on this, I’m in a major crunch - but it probably will at least put you in the right direction. I have two sets of the same orientation, which probably isnt necessary,b ut basically I have it as a find target, like you set up (based on the napkin sketch) and they orientate once they get to the target, so I just copied and pasted that into the main event so they begin to align before they get there.

So its messier than it needs to be but hopefully helps a little.


PS. Darkknight - thats a cool idea with doing something like that aligning to the camera, same thing you use a speed by surface, its based on the normals, so you can then use a reference object (a sphere or whatever) and go about it that way.


Thank you amckay for your example. it really helps alot and I think it is a solution that will work for this shot. i am thinking of having several already attached on the sphere, and landing only particles on the faces of the sphere that are pointing at the camera. again thank you for your time.

your work and tutorials rock man


say a particle has already landed in a certain position and another incoming particle lands in the same position or very close to that position, is there a way to tell the particles not to land in the same place/proximate area? i’m interested to know if this is too much for pflow? thanks


sure you can use the keep apart operator to tell them to avoid eachother


Thanks! veyr much


did that once for a commercial:

Go To Rotation might save us A$$…

preview movie:

max 9 file:


Thank you Silence! Your example is awesome. Go to rotation works a wonder, however I wonder if they can begin their rotations earlier rather than hit their target then spin on the surface to the final rotation. As if the particles are anticipating their landing like a rocket on the moon or similar. The motion on your particles is fantastic. That last little particle adds some flare. nice.


they sure can! check out th collision operator :slight_smile:

it has an option that says “Will Collide” where u can set the frames the Test should test true already prior to the actual collision with the deflector/col.obj.



AWESOME!!! thanks thats exactly what I need. I think this is gonna work…fingers crossed


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