Difficulties controlling particle position


I’m doing a flying leaf animation by using a particle system and some wind force fields. It is very difficult to tweak the settings so that the leaf is passing the camera exactly where I want. Therefore I’m asking if there is any way to bake the animation now created by a particle system into a regular keyframe animation that I can tweak further? In other words can particle simulations be turned into keyframe animations? Or is there something else that might be helpful in placing my animated object more accurately in 3D space?

I don’t believe that particle systems can be converted into keyframe animations. You can bake simulation data in the game engine into F-curves, but this doesnt include particles.

My uncle actually had to do something rather similar to what you’re trying to accomplish right now. He was using feathers, and Maya, but the same principle applies. For the leaf you want the camera to track, you need an actual object. This is also the reason that particles can’t be turned into keyframes animations. They aren’t technically onbjects. The scene my uncle did has around 20 or 30 feathers, with the focal feather being hand animated. Every feather actually was hand animated. The feathers would rotate and spin on a predetermined path, and there were around three or so different animations. Theses paths were then just duplicated, rotated, and given a slight time offset, giving the perception that each feather is moving differently.

For you’re leaves, the focal one will HAVE to be hand animated if you want to make an easy job of tracking the camera to it. For the rest, I suggest making a few hand animated object leaves, and duplicating the paths and such as mentioned above, placing the copies behind the focal leaf, but not too far away. ext, set up the particle system to be the furthest away, ad have it emit the leaves in the style you want. This way you set up sort of three “layers” of leaves, the focal, nearby hand animated ones, and particle ones. with enough tweaking, they should all look like they’re part of the same cluster.

You could always use two particle system. Make one a generic particle system where the leaves just fly around (i.e background). Make the second one generate a single particle (i.e. Hero). Use the same leaf particle/texture but have it follow a curve guide. Then you can control the exact path of that one leaf through your scene and past your camera by editing the curve. Visually it will all look like one system.

Thanks for helping guys!

I actually need only a single leaf for my animation. The reason why I’m not hand animating is that I want the leaf to twist in the wind a little bit so I’m using the cloth simulation on it. Hand animating all the twists and turns in a beliavable way would be very difficult for me.

Is it possible to animate the basic path of the leaf with animation curves while controlling its rotation and twisting with cloth simulation + wind?

Here is an example of how you can move it by wind and still hand rotate it via f-curves.

Add your leaf to a group.
Make the particle system deploy the group.
Now you have a single particle that can be affected by fields.
Animate the wind strength as needed.
Select the source for the particle and rotate it as needed.


25_single_particle_wind_hand_rotateblend.blend (388 KB)