Questions about Energy Shields

Hi folks,

I’ve been using blender for about a year now and lurking about the forum nearly as long because of it. Usually I can find whatever I’m looking for with relative ease, but I just can’t seem to find a decent tutorial for creating an energy shield effect. I’m hoping that someone out there can either give me a link to a tutorial, or be kind enough to walk me though the procedure.

I was able to do this back when I still had access to 3ds max in school, but I don’t anymore, so a Blender alternative would be awesome.

I’d prefer to have all the niceties Max had, multiple strike points at once, a gradual fading of the strike point, and for each point to be generated automatically only when specific objects collide with it. If Blender isn’t able to do all of that, the generating a strike point automatically is the only one I really care about.

I know there is a way to have your particles spawn new particles based on collision events, but I do not know the specifics. I recall seeing a video tutorial on VIMEO that was for a flame thrower. The idea was for new fires to break out as the spew of fire contacted a wall that it was being sprayed toward. You might try searching for that.

You could try and do it backwards. And by that I mean instead of having the particles initiate the effect on the shield, go ahead and make the shield generate the effect and then just time whatever attack on the shield is needed.

In that case, perhaps something like the technique in this video could be of help:

Thanks for the replies guys. I’ll go looking for tutorials for both of your suggestions.

In the mean time, when I was using 3ds max, I generated the particles, and when they hit the shield object, they would spawn a texture that would automatically orient its self onto the shield’s faces.

Now, I’ve seen some game engine demos out there spawn bullet holes on flat surfaces, so does Blender have a similar ability outside the game engine? And, if it does, will that work on complex geometry like a sphere?

@jagard: No, Blender’s particle system can not do that it is a very simple particle system. That is why I suggested the manual approach. If you are interested in getting it done, do it manually, but if you want to develop a tool to achieve the effect, start thinking about python scripting. You could extend the particle system for your needs.

I don’t know if you checked out this companion video.
The opening scene shows shuttle craft attacking a shield with lasers. I used the technique from the above video for the shield then just lined it up and timed it to the fire.

Ok, so what if we don’t use the particle system to initiate the effect? Could i put one, or several, empties into the world that would make a section of the shield glow when they got near it?

If I can’t automatically generate the effect, I’d like to have an object that allows me to get very fine control over where the effect is generated. I’d hate to have to sit there and tweak texture coordinates with sliders or something.

Yes I had, and it’s all kinds of neat. :slight_smile: Unfortunately, while I was able to get a grasp on displacement maps rather easily, I’m having trouble discovering how to make the shield object transparent, but the displaced texture visible. Is there a tutorial associated with that method somewhere that my search-fu has failed to root out?

Make the displacement map an image sequence. Make the image sequence have an alpha associated with it. Then use the offset frame start of the image sequence to control when the sequence rolls in the scene. This means you would need a new texture (but you can re-assign the same image sequence) for each impact on the shield. With each texture having a different offset start time. Make the first frame in the image sequence totally blank.

A simple animated lights on a sphere method here:

@Atom: Nice effect! Thanks for the info.


I want to thank you guys for your replies. I learned quite a bit from each of your suggestions, but just wasn’t satisfied with manually adjusting where the shield effect would appear. Thus, I’m happy to announce that I’ve figured out an imperfect solution. :slight_smile:

Click hereto see the effect
Click here to see the tutorial. Sorry about the sound issues.