Planet Collision Animation Help, (Multiple queries)

Well, yesterday out of boredom, I began looking through my textures folder, and found a map of Mars. So, I decided to make an animation of an asteroid hitting the planet. I began by making Mars of course. I decided to use halos for the atmosphere, and that looks fine, except there are gaps between the halos, (The sphere has a modest amount of vertices). This is a simple problem, and I’m sure I can figure it out by using volumes or something.
My second problem is deforming the planet when the asteroid hits it. Now, the asteroid that I’m using is so large that it’d likely decimate the entire planet, and that’s kind of what I’m looking for. Currently, I just have an armature that contracts on the specific frame.
My third, and biggest problem, is the particles. I feel I’ve got the asteroid trail right, (Although the giant flaming trail is a bit cliche), but I’m unsure on how to go about having particles act as if they are effected by the planets orbit. For instance, when the asteroid hits, I want a blast of particles to come out, and spread outwards. I’ve tried latices, and they don’t seem to be quite flexible enough, and give too much of a linear look to the particles. I’ve also tried each effector, (Force effects with an empty), and they don’t seem to work either, although I may be missing something. What I want is an effect much like you’d see if particles were trying to escape, but get pulled back into orbit around the sphere. I’m open to suggestions on this one.
Another smaller, but still quite important, gripe I have with the particles, is my lack of getting them to look right. Currently I’m using halo materials each of the particle effects, and while this looks quite well on the asteroid trail, it looks downright wrong on the impact debris. I’m wondering if I should go for a combination of instanced object particles and a smokey effect, or some other method that would be better.
And, my final problem is motion blur. I’m currently looking into vector blur, and it seems quite straightforward, but I’d still like to know if there’s anything I could do to make the animation look more action-y.

Thanks for the help if any, I’d greatly appreciate it. Here’s the most current render of the project:
http://i49.tinypic.com/ie1idu.png

I’ve left out the debris effect since they’re currently terrible looking. Thanks for the help again! :smiley:

I would recommend that you watch FoxDogs #10 video here:
http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=177224

About half way through he covers one of the new features of the 2.5 particle system. He shows how to get actual thick chunks out of the particle system. In your situation, you could assign a vertex group to half your planet, use his technique to explode it by making the particle system emit from the vertex group.

Just a thought…

Thanks for the response, I’ll be sure to look at that. I have been looking at using the explode modified on the asteroid mesh, but that’s not very flexible, and as far as I know doesn’t have a setting to start at a certain frame.

I was unaware of that limitation. But I think the explosion modifier is driven off the particle system which can be started at a different point in time.

Attachments

25_planet_explode.blend (371 KB)