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X-Particle [New Plugin] Coming Soon


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#1 3DKiwi

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:12 AM

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Posted on behalf of Mike Batchelor (Slouchcorp) - 3DKiwi

X-Particles is a new particle system for Maxon’s Cinema 4D. This system:

· is more powerful than C4D’s basic particle emitter in terms of options and control

· contains its own inbuilt control system that does not use Xpresso but utilises a system of question, controller, and action objects which are used in the object manager in the same way as other objects

· contains an inbuilt sprite generator

· is compatible with the standard C4D particle modifiers and (when generating sprites or other geometry) with the C4D object deformers and Mograph effectors

· contains inbuilt functions such as flocking, target following, and particle tracing

· is compatible with C4D’s dynamics system in C4D R12 and above

:Here you can see a short into the system:


http://vimeo.com/31595435

X-Particles is currently in the beta stage of development and we hope to get it out as soon as possible. we will keep you updated.

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#2 dataflow

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 12:29 AM

pasted from CGTalk

looks good.
just one thing i noticed is that you need to add the modifier to the emitter manually.
it would be good if it was like c4d cloner where when you add an effector its added to the selected cloner(emitter) automatically.
plus i think there could be other operations that could be automatically applied (but also have an option to turn off automatic operations)


i wouldnt mind being a beta tester either if you need any


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#3 deepshade

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:31 AM

This looks very well thought out.

Its where C4D particles should have been by now. Modular, easier to use than TP, expandable, with a view to the future. If no one had said different I'd have thought it was the next generation of C4D particles, it looks so well integrated.

Edited by deepshade, 05 November 2011 - 01:31 AM.


#4 James Leaburn

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:33 AM

Looks pretty cool and it looks relatively easy to use. Roll on the price.
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#5 spedler

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 01:35 AM

Nigel, many thanks for posting this - saved me a job this morning!

@dataflow - yes, at the moment you do need to add the modifier to the emitter manually, that was done deliberately because I don't like the automatic adding of modifiers to emitters. The intention was that you would probably use multiple emitters in this system, and in that case chances are that you wouldn't want all the emitters affected by all the modifiers. So I made it so that you had to deliberately assign a modifier to whatever emitters you like but it wouldn't affect any others.

Still, that's not set in stone and depending on the beta testers responses I can alter that if need be, maybe add an option to control it as you suggest.

Steve

#6 slouchcorp

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:29 AM

I'd leave it out as Steve said in some of my systems I have 4-5 emitters so it would be easer to know what's what if you do it your self

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#7 dataflow

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 02:47 AM

what about a field on the modifier where you can drag the emitter into.
i think that would eliminate a few unnecessary clicking.
and make it easier if you had a few emitters you wanted to apply to 1 modifier.

just giving suggestion.
the plugin look good from what i seen and is already better then what we have already

Edited by dataflow, 05 November 2011 - 02:49 AM.

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#8 maat

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:04 AM

All of a sudden the thought 'Christmas Present' (to myself ) arrived.

Fill object eh? now that has got me thinking!

Inspirational!

#9 3D-Pangel

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:25 AM

Very exciting....I wish you had spent a few moments on sprites in the video. I would imagine that the sprites is limited to just generation of a billboard that faces the camera at all times. Not sure how applying images/textures to the sprite are managed - but my first guess would be through the material manager. Any options for automatic alpha or glow channel management to the sprite and/or optimized rendering because sometimes calculating alpha channels on thousands of sprites can be a real render hog.

The Controller-Question-Action features is pretty interesting, but how they were managed within the Object manager could get pretty confusing with multiple questions controlling the particles. Any thoughts to enforcing a hierarchy for it to work? For example you will always need to place a modifier as a child to the Question but there could be multiple questions under the Controller. The order of the Questions in the object manager stack under the Controller determine precedence - first in the list determines the first question and/or modifier affecting particles, second in list determines the second question and/or modifier affecting particles, etc..etc... Relative to start and stop frames, consider using frame offset - that is a value of 50 on the second question would tell the controller to initiate this action 50 frames after the start of the first question question in the stack. If the first question's action started at 20 frames, then the second questions actions would start at 70 frames. This way you avoid errors with frame start order conflicting with question order in the stack under controller (e.g. the third question says to start on frame 20 but the second question in the stack says to start on frame 30)

Relative to Cover/fill, I noticed that when cover was used, the particles would travel through the object to stick to the back side. Any way of preventing this from happening or making it an option (e.g. "Make object solid")?

Overall, great stuff and very excited to see this work with multiple events - for example, create question/action combinations with spawn commands such that you could create animations of particles hitting a wall and the wall breaking apart or emitting sparks.

Have you determined if it will also work with DPIT EFFEX, Turbulence 4D and/or Pyrocluster?

Are you looking for beta testers?

Great stuff - love it!!

Dave
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#10 spedler

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:28 AM

what about a field on the modifier where you can drag the emitter into.
i think that would eliminate a few unnecessary clicking.
and make it easier if you had a few emitters you wanted to apply to 1 modifier.

just giving suggestion.
the plugin look good from what i seen and is already better then what we have already


Please do carry on with the suggestions! As regards a field for the emitter, unfortunately it won't work as the C4D interface currently stands. The emitter has to know what modifiers affect it, but there is no way for an object which is in a link field to 'know' what object it is linked to. So if the emitter is in a link field in a modifier, the modifier could access the emitter but not the other way round - which is essential for modifiers to work. With the modifiers in the include list of the emitter, the emitter can access all the modifiers.

The one thing we do have to make this a little easier is that if you create an x-particles system object and then use the buttons in that object to add your modifiers to the scene, they are automatically added to the emitter. If you add the modifier from the plugins menu then you have to do it manually. Does that sound like a reasonable compromise?

Steve

#11 spedler

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 03:38 AM

Very exciting....I wish you had spent a few moments on sprites in the video. I would imagine that the sprites is limited to just generation of a billboard that faces the camera at all times. Not sure how applying images/textures to the sprite are managed - but my first guess would be through the material manager.


The sprites in this version are actually very simple geometry. They include several primitives but also a billboard and two new primitive objects. There is indeed a 'face camera' option so you can apply textures to the billboard and have it face-on to the camera at all times; texture application is vanilla C4D.

The Controller-Question-Action features is pretty interesting, but how they were managed within the Object manager could get pretty confusing with multiple questions controlling the particles. Any thoughts to enforcing a hierarchy for it to work? For example you will always need to place a modifier as a child to the Question but there could be multiple questions under the Controller. The order of the Questions in the object manager stack under the Controller determine precedence - first in the list determines the first question and/or modifier affecting particles, second in list determines the second question and/or modifier affecting particles, etc..etc... Relative to start and stop frames, consider using frame offset - that is a value of 50 on the second question would tell the controller to initiate this action 50 frames after the start of the first question question in the stack. If the first question's action started at 20 frames, then the second questions actions would start at 70 frames. This way you avoid errors with frame start order conflicting with question order in the stack under controller (e.g. the third question says to start on frame 20 but the second question in the stack says to start on frame 30)


It's difficult to explain without demonstrating but the questions aren't actually frame-based. Although you can specify an action to take place at some specific frame number, the more useful questions are things like 'does the particle speed exceed xxx' for example. So the questions aren't executed in frame order.

Relative to Cover/fill, I noticed that when cover was used, the particles would travel through the object to stick to the back side. Any way of preventing this from happening or making it an option (e.g. "Make object solid")?


It's on my list of things to do but may not make it into the first release.

Have you determined if it will also work with DPIT EFFEX, Turbulence 4D and/or Pyrocluster?


Unfortunately not because it uses its own internal data structures which aren't compatible with those systems.

Steve

#12 slouchcorp

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 04:31 AM

ill try and do some more vids tomorrow showing the sprits, shaders and many a little how too stuff

mike

#13 StCanas

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 04:58 AM

Absolutely love the look of this. I can't stand all the Xpresso cräp you have to deal with with Thinking Particles and it looks like this would do most of what I need without having to go through all that faff. Price? And, I did get distracted at one point in the vid and don't have time to go through this thread right now, but can you make objects into deflectors? Also I noticed that when you diverted a stream of particles the stream became very thin, pinched almost. Is there a way of retaining the dimension of the flow (or controlling it) after the particles are deflected?

Cheers
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#14 dataflow

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:11 AM

question about cover/fill.
can the particles that have covered/filled the object be dynamically shaken off when/if the object is moved?
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#15 3D-Pangel

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:30 AM

The sprites in this version are actually very simple geometry. They include several primitives but also a billboard and two new primitive objects. There is indeed a 'face camera' option so you can apply textures to the billboard and have it face-on to the camera at all times; texture application is vanilla C4D.


Okay -but in order for sprites to be of any use in an particle you need two controls: transparency over particle life and glow over particle life. You can't manage that within the vanilla C4D material manager.

It's difficult to explain without demonstrating but the questions aren't actually frame-based. Although you can specify an action to take place at some specific frame number, the more useful questions are things like 'does the particle speed exceed xxx' for example. So the questions aren't executed in frame order.

Fair enough - but there still needs to be better explanations relative to the whole Controller-Question-Action construct because I did find myself getting lost in the video when you started to add more than one question. Maybe it was just me, but I can imagine that complex set-ups with multiple controllers and questions would be difficult to go back to and understand a few days/weeks after you set-up the initial scene. That is why you need to enforce some structure in the object manager - so that you can quickly understand and/or debug why the questions are or are not working as intended. In the video around the 10 minute mark look at the object manager. The hierarchy was as follows:

|-- System
....|--Turbulence
....|--Controller.1
....|...|--Action.1
....|--Question.1
....|--Direction
....|--Controller
....|...|--Action
....|--Question
....|--Emitter

So look at this hierarchy and quickly deduce which modifiers go with which questions and actions. You need to open up the questions/actions to figure that out. If you went back to this project a few weeks after you created it, I would imagine that you would be hard pressed to figure out how it was designed to work. I would have expected something along these lines:

|-- System
.....|--Emitter
.....|--Controller.1
.....|...|--Action.1
.....|...|--Question.1
.....|...|--Turbulence
.....|--Controller
.........|--Action
.........|--Question
.........|--Direction

Also, can a controller exist independently of an action? Or can multiple actions be placed under a single controller? Again, I am still trying to understand the whole controller/action/question paradigm so my apologies if some of these questions are contrary to the intended architecture. All I can tell you is that for this to be made clear (to me at least) more training is required that just focuses on how these constructs should work together.

Still excited by the whole plugin so please accept my questions in the spirit they are given. Again - outstanding work!

Dave
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#16 3D-Pangel

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:40 AM

Have you determined if it will also work with DPIT EFFEX, Turbulence 4D and/or Pyrocluster?

Unfortunately not because it uses its own internal data structures which aren't compatible with those systems.

Steve


So this can not even work with Pyrocluster which is internal to C4D? Can you bake the particles to standard C4D data structures so they can work with Pyrocluster (and possibly DPIT which also can work with TP)?

Dave

P.S. Just slap me upside the head in a private PM if my questions are bothering you. I know that you are still in beta stage and probably have a long list of "to-do" items. These are not meant as criticisms - what you have shown so far is very exciting and the potential for this package in the future staggers the imagination even more.
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#17 spedler

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 05:58 AM

question about cover/fill.
can the particles that have covered/filled the object be dynamically shaken off when/if the object is moved?


At the moment, if the object moves, the particles move with it (that was a desired feature). But I can easily make that optional so that if you move the object, the particles don't follow it and can then stay where they are or be moved somewhere else.

#18 mmVRay

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:04 AM

One thing that would make the system easier to use would be contextual help and a short indexed video tutorial on each component because people will be going through the first few times and wonder what does this option do or what does this one do. Also if you can include a set of presets that one can use immediatly and these would be useful for someone to look at to see how they were assembled. Flocking for example is very popular special effect that people want.
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#19 spedler

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:12 AM

Okay -but in order for sprites to be of any use in an particle you need two controls: transparency over particle life and glow over particle life. You can't manage that within the vanilla C4D material manager.


A shader is provided which will let you vary any material parameter over particle life (and other particle variables in fact) AS LONG AS there is a link field for a shader in the material channel. So you can vary color, alpha, transparency, etc. over particle life but not glow because there's no shader link in the glow channel.

Fair enough - but there still needs to be better explanations relative to the whole Controller-Question-Action construct because I did find myself getting lost in the video when you started to add more than one question.


Yes, I agree but it's really difficult to explain without your being able to use the system. We'll do some more vids and the docs will I hope be fairly comprehensive.

Maybe it was just me, but I can imagine that complex set-ups with multiple controllers and questions would be difficult to go back to and understand a few days/weeks after you set-up the initial scene.


You really do need to name the various objects as you go along so you know what they do, I know from my own use that if you don't it can be difficult to sort out what they all do. If you do that it's much easier but I know we all forget to do it in when developing a scene!


Also, can a controller exist independently of an action? Or can multiple actions be placed under a single controller?


The workflow we were aiming for is that you can use the same questions and actions on mulitple emitters. If you have more than one emitter in the scene you don't want to have to duplicate the question objects for each emitter, unless the questions are different, of course. Likewise, we wanted the same actions to be reusable on multiple questions. The system currently is very flexible in allowing this. To answer your question, a controller is really a glorified null object. The reason for its existence is that multiple actions can be placed under one controller, which is then linked to a question. So if you want one queston to carry out 10 actions at once, you can do that with one controller. And that controller can be reused for more than one question.

Steve

#20 spedler

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Posted 05 November 2011 - 06:16 AM

So this can not even work with Pyrocluster which is internal to C4D? Can you bake the particles to standard C4D data structures so they can work with Pyrocluster (and possibly DPIT which also can work with TP)?


I'm still looking at this but after contact with MAXON through Plugin Cafe it appears that Pyrocluster specifically looks for a standard C4D emitter or TP. This is really annoying if true since it would have been so easy to give PC a standard interface to any particle system.

I haven't given up hope entirely but right now I would have to say that it isn't working with PC.




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