A very disappointing direction for Blender to take in the area of effects animation! No upgrade should downgrade performance or capabilities … A sugg for the developers would be to remove unused buttons that no longer do anything (the buttons referred to for children particles that are still in the particle effects panel). :<
Here’s a wonderful alternative to create kick-ass particle effects in post: Trapcode’s Particular, a killer 3D particle system for After Effects v.6.0+ (goes for $299 USD – I’d highly recommend this plug to users looking for a robust solution to Blender’s particle system shortfall) . This particle system generator has exceptional capabilities (smoke, sparks, organic lines, particle coloring, opacity and sizing over lifetime, etc. – as well as a comprehensive physics system and the ability to spawn child particles). I used to use Particular exclusively in conjunction with Maya/LW, and will continue to do so with Blender, too. Will still incorporate Blender’s static particles for fur and grass, but must honestly say that Blender needs some serious improvement with particle development for future releases.
For those interested in checking out Particular, here’s the link:
Here’s a small sample of Particular in action (put this together in about 20 minutes – kept the smoke pretty opaque so you can see the detail…):
And a sample using child particles spawning from sparks: