Help and tips with animating ship?


I have a ship that I need to start rigging through parenting and drivers. I would like to create a simple but effect driver control for takeoff and landing controlling the velocity of particles. If possible, amount of particles.

Its for this ship.

A test thruster system I did is on this Youtube.

I created a super simple setup. I will check out some tutorials but I have a feeling a driver to affect the IPO for particle velocity is needed. Two bones would control the by the distance between them.

A blend is attached of what I did so far.

Any help is appreciated?



thrusterrig.blend (638 KB)

I was able to create a simple system like I mentioned but the problem is I have to be able to increase and decrease particle amounts based on the controller distance. Without that ability increasing the the particle velocity at first looks like a congested thruster exhaust.

Anyone know how that might be possible? The attached linked .Blend shows what I mean.


One of the problems with Blender’s particle system is that there is no way to change the particle count over time. Seems kind of silly, doesn’t it?

So your only recourse is to add more particle systems that start up at delayed intervals.

A single particle system won’t do it.

This is a classic example of what might be typically “fixed in post.”

Have you considered animating the particle material transparency to fake a reduction in particle count? For such a thruster effect the visual result would be very similar, I think.

Also, if particle Lifetime can be animated, perhaps progressively reducing the lifetime of the particles at the end of the thruster effect, and perhaps increasing the Random Lifetime factor, would be useful.

I wanted to try that but not sure how.

If using Z-Transparency, just animate the Alpha value. “Alpha” is a channel that controls transparency in a number of Materials contexts, including Halo materials and textures. In general, a value of 1.0 is full opacity, and zero is complete transparency. It can be keyframed the same as many other values in Blender.

The only thing I could think of was have a four particle systems and depending on levels of a slider the distance. It would influence particle systems. I’m not sure if its possible tho?

This works on the generic case.

import bpy
from import persistent
particlecounts = {}

def presave(dummy):
    if "particles" in
        text =["particles"]
        text ="particles")
    for ps in
        particlecounts[] = ps.count
        ps.count = 0

def postsave(dummy):
    for ps in
        ps.count = particlecounts[]
def postload(dummy):
    particlecounts = eval(["particles"].as_string())
    for ps in
        ps.count = particlecounts[]

I created a animation of two sequences. One has a invisible collision so its not as scattered. Since the thruster has some dividers in it the angles of some particle. I am looking for some shoots to improve it.

First Render Test

Second Render Test

I prefer the second.