Starling Swarm

Hi : )

First of all, sorry for my english… I’m learning!

I’m sharing here my recent work done in Blender. The original work was composited with AfterEffects not by me, my work was only the simulations, modeling, animations, lighting and render in Blender.
But now I decided to remake the compositions In Blender.
I dived in google, blenderartists… And I found very interesting tips about boid particles, SPH or Fluid particles (I don’t know)… and so on…
I used Fluid particles to simulate the “swarm” effect, because boids are very random at the edges, leading to a formless shape… I can’t draw forms with boids (at least not defined shapes).
With Fluid particles the edges of the global shape are more defined, so we can draw very interesting forms combined with animated forces, and the fluid like motion is very useful in this case…
I’ve mixed a lot of tips here, so if someone want to take a look into my .blend to see the settings that I used just ask int the comments… I will try to upload them, they’re heavy…
I used the “sapling” add-on to make and animate the trees, really nice tool!!! Because the animation system from the sapling add-on leads to a heavy computation time on complex trees like this one… for the animation of the big tree I used the cage modifier, using a “low poly cage” deformed by displace and simple forms modifiers… just to simplify.
I attached a pdf trying to explain the large tree setup…

This version was done entirely in Blender.

This video was my reference:

The first scene (Big tree) was an attempt to reproduce a take from the reference video at 1:47 : )
This “starling swarm” phenomenon is really awesome! One of the greatest things I’ve ever seen. During one of my biblical reading I read the verse of the end of the video…
I don’t want to start a religious discussion here… just want to say this because it was my main motivation on doing this! I really believe that God created everything! And when I saw this phenomenon for the first time I thought “how powerful and amazing is God!”


The links to the .blend files:


BigTreeScene.pdf (1.46 MB)


Very cool. Never thought about using fluid particles to simulate flocking, awesome idea and looks like it worked out quite well.

Interesting method. And the result is stunning, even for an atheist like me :slight_smile:

Thank you! Nice to know!

Even if I do not share your believes, I utterly respect them, and appreciate that you state them in so polite a way.
That said, my compliments for your work and your technical skills.

Truly amazing

welldone! amazin job :slight_smile:

…very nice result, seems like I can cancel the whole boids idea for a swarm and use this instead!

Stunning results! Completely naturalistic. I wouldn’t have guessed it was CGI.

Thank you all!

Nice Job, but I´m asking me, which hardware was used to do this animation?, and how much time for rendering was used?

very nice! I would never have thought to use fluid particles for birds! very well done!

Model Name: Mac Pro
Model Identifier: MacPro4,1
Processor Name: Quad-Core Intel Xeon
Processor Speed: 2.26 GHz
Number Of Processors: 2
Total Number Of Cores: 8
L2 Cache (per core): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per processor): 8 MB
Memory: 8 GB
Processor Interconnect Speed: 5.86 GT/s
The render was very simple. I will upload some .blends tonight, tomorrow I will post the links here… So you can look with more details…

Here they are, as promised…

These are the complete final projects, including the simulations settings, all set with trees, grass, bushes… compositing…
Who have interest can take a closer look…
Use this image as sky:

Great job! really great parabéns!

That’s really impressive. I’ve not tried myself, but a few friends have been looking for a method to create realistic flocking effects. I’ll send them here.

Awesome job.

I don’t agree with your sentiment, but got to respect your way of presenting it.

Nice! I liked your way of presenting your opinion too… Thank’s for the respect!

Thank you! Feel free to share!

Thank you. And your welcome.