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Thread: Flocking particles?

  1. #31
    Lightwave junkie stevecullum's Avatar
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    I only use cloth FX to scan my MDD's. Then I use Dponts nodes to control them - far more flexible and reliable.
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  2. #32
    Hello!

    This is a recurring problem! I once stumbled upon a possible solution and keep that scene since then! Don't know if you still need it or if it helps in your particular situation, but I am attaching it anyway.

    In short, what I found was that:
    -the attractor radius has to be big enough to include all the particles. If it's too small, any particle that leaves the collision radius will be left behind
    -the boundiness factor (?) is the key in here, going over 100%... but 102% is already too much! I liked 101%, but you can increase the influence to 101.5% or something like that. The best is to control with the other parameters and the emitter motion path itself.

    Hope it helps!

    PS: You have to Calculate it, or you will not see anything special :-)
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  3. #33
    Almost newbie Cageman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Rid View Post
    Thats good to know.

    The particular PFX example has a static noise pattern moving thru it, and looks like what can be done in LW.
    Ah..yes... the intention with the pfx was just to show that it is possible to transfer Maya particles to LW, because the rendered version (the fish) is all rendered in Maya mr and the particleanimation was created by Radek.

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  4. #34
    Almost newbie Cageman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildr3d View Post
    Thanks for uploading your pfx, I will need to do this soon and I've been really impressed with Maya-particles. Do you know how long it took to make this sim?
    Well... a couple of hours, maybe... I can track down the content I have and do another conversion and clock it this time. I hope to get back with the info sometime during this weekend.



    EDIT: I will point Lernie Ang to this thread as well. He is the author of Maya2LW2, and he may be able to find another way of converting Maya particles to PFX-files that are alot faster (the current tool is a MEL-script, if I remember correctly).
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by VirtualFM View Post
    Hello!

    This is a recurring problem! I once stumbled upon a possible solution and keep that scene since then! Don't know if you still need it or if it helps in your particular situation, but I am attaching it anyway.

    In short, what I found was that:
    -the attractor radius has to be big enough to include all the particles. If it's too small, any particle that leaves the collision radius will be left behind
    -the boundiness factor (?) is the key in here, going over 100%... but 102% is already too much! I liked 101%, but you can increase the influence to 101.5% or something like that. The best is to control with the other parameters and the emitter motion path itself.
    This seems to work the way you would expect an attractor to work. The problem is that it's such a non-standard way of doing it, the documentation says nothing about keeping the radius large enough to include the particles you want to swarm, maybe this was explained at one time but this is what's so frustrating about the current particle system. At one point there was a very useful set of scenes (v5.0?) on a content cd that showed just about every type of effect you could do with particles, but never made it to current versions of Lightwave content. Anyway, thanks for keeping that scene!

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Rid View Post
    Ugh, I dont like that- so I am Kahn, and LW is Captain Kirk? "
    Ok, that was a bad reference, no offense.

    "He tasks me. He tasks me, and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Newtek, and 'round the Autodesk maelstrom, and 'round Houdini's flames, before I give him up!"

    Priceless.

  7. #37
    Almost newbie Cageman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildr3d View Post
    Do you know how long it took to make this sim?
    The actual simulation in Maya was pretty much realtime (I just asked Radek about it). It is the conversion from Mayas particlecache to pfx that is timeconsuming (not for you, but for the computer).

    But, alas, being able to use Maya for the sim and LW for rendering can become a timesaver. Just the fact that you have to write a somewhat complex expression to randomize the size of the sprites attached to the particles is just ridicilous. I havn't even dared to get my head around doing something like having randomized sizes as well as being able to controll the overall size depending on the distance from an item. I just see tons of code... :/

    There ARE things with hypervoxels that is damn neat and easy to do, compared to how Maya handles it.

    Oh well...

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  8. #38
    Electron wrangler jwiede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Rid View Post
    Why does it seem like I am the only person that runs into this stuff every hour of the day?
    If you asked around and could get honest answers, I suspect you'd discover that your "problem incidence" is not unusual, but most others stop trying to make it work in LW much sooner, and instead switch to a different tool/platform.

    Personally, if I start in LW, I'll usually give it three or four "cascade" failures (e.g. run into a different major problem working around a major problem), then switch to C4D or Modo. Over time, I've found the kinds of tasks I do which are prone to such "cascades", and don't even attempt them in LW anymore.
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  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cageman View Post
    The actual simulation in Maya was pretty much realtime (I just asked Radek about it). It is the conversion from Mayas particlecache to pfx that is timeconsuming (not for you, but for the computer).

    But, alas, being able to use Maya for the sim and LW for rendering can become a timesaver. Just the fact that you have to write a somewhat complex expression to randomize the size of the sprites attached to the particles is just ridicilous. I havn't even dared to get my head around doing something like having randomized sizes as well as being able to controll the overall size depending on the distance from an item. I just see tons of code... :/

    There ARE things with hypervoxels that is damn neat and easy to do, compared to how Maya handles it.

    Oh well...

    I meant the conversion to pfx, which I believe you said took a couple hours. That time for me at least would be offset with creating the particles in Maya in the first place. I know what you mean about Maya though, N particles automate some things but having so many ways to control them is intimidating. For me the thing I like most are the forces, collision detection and the interactive playback. You're right Maya does not have a good solution for rendering like hypervoxels though.

  10. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by LightFreeze View Post
    If your comfortable in Blender you can use this to export Particles from blender as a pfx file.

    Blender has Boids or flocking particles.

    The script should go in the X:\Blender\.blender\scripts folder.

    Bake the particles before exporting.

    It doesn`t handle dead particles, just places them at (0,0,0)

    Only use one particle system per object.

    Select the object with the Particle system on and in the export dialogue click on the particle system name so it is selected.
    This is great, all the way from Sunny Scotland!

    Worked first time here, no bother, now one can really get into particles in Blender. Thanks again for this wonderful script.

  11. #41
    Super Member LightFreeze's Avatar
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    your welcome but its not ideal due to the dead particle limitation
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  12. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Rid View Post
    RealFlow is for liquids and does not flock.
    with a little bit of python you can make them flock. you have full per particle control in realflow.

  13. #43
    Almost newbie Cageman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildr3d View Post
    I meant the conversion to pfx, which I believe you said took a couple hours. That time for me at least would be offset with creating the particles in Maya in the first place. I know what you mean about Maya though, N particles automate some things but having so many ways to control them is intimidating. For me the thing I like most are the forces, collision detection and the interactive playback. You're right Maya does not have a good solution for rendering like hypervoxels though.
    And this reminds me about the conversion I forgot to clock this weekend! *sigh* Total slipped my mind. I should be able to do it at work... *fingers crossed*

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  14. #44
    Almost newbie Cageman's Avatar
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    So... I've run the conversion and it has been cooking now for about an hour and it has reached 74 frames. So... not at all the fastest thing on the planet. But it is understandable, since that it, for each frame, exports information about every single particle, and there are a bunch of particles in this flow.

    My suggestion is that you fire up the conversion over night or get hold of a baking computer that can do this type of thing. The good thing is that it is dead easy and requires just a couple of mouseclicks to get the exporter running.

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  15. #45
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    Man this thread has been so helpfull!!

    I have been working on this exact problem for a long time. Creating convincing flocking particles in LW is very very hard. The last project I did I had to create two flocks of butterflies that followed the handz of a girl dancing on a line. I managed to get the flocks looking ok in LW, but not superb. (http://spinquad.com/forums/showthread.php?t=26597)

    I did this using path wind, vortex and eplotion to eplode and implode (enveloped the flock to -100 - 200%) the flock to get contract and expand.

    The project I'm working on now demands a flock of thousand of particles flocking and playing in the sky. I have spent many days now getting something that looks decent in LW, but no luck until I found this thread.

    Yesterday I spent a couple of hours to learn the basics of Blender to get my head around the super excelent Boids particles. Importing objects to and from Lightwave and exporting the baked particles from Blender to Lightwave using the excelent pfx exporting script posted earlier (Thanks a bunch to the programmer!). It works like blody h***!

    I'm really impressed by Blenders particles, they are very fast to work with, easy to get to grips with, predictable. And I can get results in to time at all. I will shurely use this workflow for a lot of particle jobs in the future.

    I made this quick OpenGL test using the butterflies from the mentioned project. 150 boid particles from boids, pfx exported to lightwave. Butterflies animated using FXLink and Relativity expressions.

    Thanks guys
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