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Compositing multiple particle systems

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Nick ChristoffCompositing multiple particle systems
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 7:50:07 pm

I'm working on an MOA at the moment and have created a nice flow of blood cells using Cinema 4D for the cell and Particular to simulate the flow. I've also created several different individual particles that I would like to incorporate into the blood flow. Each of these is created in a separate comp, each with a specific set-up for Particular to generate the particles for the look that I want.

My plan is to create a :60 piece showing blood flow, then freezing the flow and orbiting around the blood cells with the camera. At this point, I would like to bring in these other particles that I have created in separate comps. The key is that I would like to be able to maintain that fact that they are 3D, so that they can integrate into any camera move I make to sell the look that they are in the same space as the blood cells.

I have found that simply bringing in the separate comps of each individual particle into the main comp with the blood flow renders the individual particle flat, not 3D. I tried turning the layer into a 3D layer and turning on continuous raster, but that does not seem to work.

The only way I have found to get these individual particles into my main comp of blood flow is to copy and paste each layer that makes up the individual particles into the main blood flow comp. But this leaves me with one main comp with tons of layers making it impossible to scrub through the comp or even work inside of it, even at half or third resolution. Keep in mind that I am on a Quad-core 3Ghz Mac Pro with 8Gb Ram.

I feel like there has to be a more efficient way to composite multiple comps containing particles. Any help is greatly appreciated. I'm using Ae CS3 and Particular 2. Thanks!

Cliff's notes:
Created multiple comps containing particle system using Particular
Need to composite these comps together while maintaining their 3D-ness.


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Kevin CampRe: Compositing multiple particle systems
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 8:38:48 pm

i don't think you'll be able to really create this in ae since the particles are just 2d rendered animations...

if you freeze time, and move the camera 180 degrees to the other side of the stream/flow, since the cells are still just 2d, you will still be looking at the front (or other side) of the cells... right?

also (unless particular 2 fixes this) the particles created in a system are locked to the space of that layer. meaning they obey the layer stack order, not the 3d space of the comp... ie. if you have one particle system on a layer above another particle system on another layer, it will always be rendered on top (or in front) regardless of the z-position of the emitter or particles within the system. so you can't easily 'mix' those particles in the same 3d comp space. you can try to fake it using near and far vanish settings on duplicate layers of your particle systems and interleaving those layers -- even then, with a fly around camera move there would be limitations.

it's been a long time since i worked in c4d (v8), but i'm pretty sure that you could build the particle systems in there. and if you can't do a time freeze on the particle systems, try baking them and then moving the keyframes to leave an opening to do the camera move.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Nick ChristoffRe: Compositing multiple particle systems
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 9:01:48 pm

Thanks for the reply, Kevin. So it does seem that the only way for me to achieve the look I want is to bring all of my particles into one comp and then orbit around everything, and even then I may be limited.

I may consider rendering out each part of my project with the same camera move and then composite each piece together. While I wouldn't be able to really integrate each part into the same space, I may be able to use different blending modes to fake it.


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Walter SoykaRe: Compositing multiple particle systems
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 9:50:02 am

[Nick Christoff] "So it does seem that the only way for me to achieve the look I want is to bring all of my particles into one comp and then orbit around everything, and even then I may be limited."

Just to clarify this -- Particular would show this same behavior even if everything were in one comp.

Particular doesn't create particles in AE's 3D space. Every Particular layer has its own 3D space which the plugin, using the same camera settings as the comp, renders into a 2D plane.

As Kevin mentioned, the best solution is to use a particle system in a true 3D app to avoid this problem in the first place. As you've mentioned, you can fake it with some careful compositing. I'd also add that you can set up Obscuration Layers (under the Visibility tab), but these will only work with true 3D layers.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Kevin CampRe: Compositing multiple particle systems
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 2:15:27 pm

if you haven't used near/far vanish in particular here's a good tutorial that explains it;

http://library.creativecow.net/articles/rabinowitz_aharon/red_giant_composi...

in the tutorial, aharon only splits the particle system into 2 layers to fit a layer in between, but you can split them into as many as you need to try and achieve what you are after.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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