Particle / Field question

Hi, I’m just getting started with Blender particles (using the new particle system), and had a few questions. I come from a 3DS Max background, where I’ve used Particle Flow extensively, and I’m trying to evaluate Blender as an alternative / addition in my pipeline.

I also have been unable to find documentation on the new particle system; just the old one, so I apologize if these questions are covered elsewhere. If someone could point me to any documentation that might exist, I would appreciate it.

  1. I’m trying to use the “texture” field to add some smooth turbulence to a particle system. Is there any documentation for this field anywhere? I’m not sure I understand exactly what it’s doing. It seems to not update correctly until I change the falloff type. For example, I create a cloud texture, assign it to the field, and then change the size of the cloud texture, but I don’t see this update until I refresh the falloff type (change from sphere to something else and then back to sphere). I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong, or what. I’m using v2.45.17 on WinXP.

  2. Is there any way to have the particle system automatically update when you change a parameter without starting the animation over again from the beginning?

  3. How can I affect the size / shape of a particle? I can’t seem to find those options anywhere.

Thanks in advance!

Try the links on this page:

Yes, you can update the particle systems automatically: on the Physics panel press the Baking button then press Auto. Can slow things down though if you have a lot of particle systems on Auto and a slow machine.

To change particle shape, size etc, I create a mesh for the particle and animate the changes I want, then create a particle system which renders each particle as that mesh. So if my particle mesh is called Raindrop for example, I’d set up my particle system and in the Extras tab select Object from the Visualization drop-down menu. Then enter Raindrop into the Ob: field which appears. Every particle will then be rendered as a copy of the Raindrop mesh.

Sorry, just noticed: you referred to the ‘new’ particle system, so the information I gave relates to Blender 2.46 (which incorporates major changes to the particle system), and I then noticed you’re running 2.45. You might want to switch to 2.46 if you haven’t already, as it’s new particle system is much more powerful. You can still do much of what you want in 2.45 if necessary, but in my limited experience moving old particle systems into 2.46 is not always straightforward…

Thanks for the link, Clive. That will prove most useful :slight_smile:

I installed 2.46 (I think I actually had a 2.46 release candidate 5 installation before, so I’m not sure how much will be different, but just to be safe I upgraded it.)

I’m not seeing an “Auto” button in the Physics panel to allow automatic update of particles. (Although there are a lot of buttons in this app, so maybe I’m missing it somehow). I do see a “Bake” button in the particles panel, but when I click that it pre-computes all the particle positions per-frame, and then won’t let me change anything in the particle system panels.

What I’m looking for is a way to interactively change things like speed, fields, etc and see that update in real time in the viewport without having to rewind to frame 0 after each change.

Also, any documentation on the “texture” field type would be very useful as well.

Thanks again! :slight_smile: