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X-PARTICLES: millions of particles, fast render times

Build an Abstract Animation Layer by Layer with Thinking Particles, Metaballs and Mograph 118 Comments


In this lesson, Simon explores how to combine Thinking Particles with the Mograph-module, metaball, and deformers to animated objects. This technique can be used to add different layers of animation on top of each other and give you a greater control over your animations/simulations.

Example

Download the Project File

About Simon
Simon Homedal is a motion designer/3d artist at Man vs Machine before that he was a student at hyper island in Sweden. You can see his work on his site simonholmedal.com.

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Light Kit Pro

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This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

118 Comments

  1. casperfc

    Awesome! Haven’t watched the whole tut, but I will :)

    Always wondered how to make those organic/slimy-ish effects.

    Great stuff!

    Reply
  2. Trevor Williams

    Looks great! looking forward to building off of this! Amazing stuff.

    Reply
  3. Skipr

    Amazing! I always wanted a tutorial on this subject.
    I will try to incorporate this in new techniques, possibly :) .

    Reply
  4. Ryan Rumbolt

    This is probably the best Thinking Particle tutorial I’ve seen, I mean…. without confusing the hell out of me. Most TP tutorials tend to make me feel dumb.

    Thanks Simon and Greyscale Gorilla.

    Reply
  5. i love simon tuts, pleace keep them coming, i am wating one for creating a moving body with particles!!

    Reply
  6. You are very good, but for me is too fast this tutorial. I need to improve my knowledge about expresso, I know. Is my limit.. and I know: this one is not so complicated . I repeat, FOR ME is a fast way to explain all steps :) You are very cool, maybe I’m tired like you today and I don’t understand anything, ahah.

    Reply
  7. love these tp tuts too
    id like to see how the background vebeen made.
    i know its AE but my tries are too amateurish

    Reply
  8. Are those in uterus’isch Particels TP as well? Or is that after effects post production?

    Any tutorial on this topic?

    Thanks for the tutorial

    Reply
  9. Plmrph

    Very, very good! Learnt alot. Simon is a really talented guy.
    Cheers

    Reply
  10. Thanks everybody. Im glad you enjoyed the tutorial. As far as the lighting and dust-particles is quite simple really. its a fully reflective surface so it wont really generate shadows and such, only reflections and specular highlights. so it was quite simple setup and the dust is just particular in AE, the grading is mostly done with adjustment-layers with curves and some lensflares just outside the shot to bring in some more colours to the composite. thats it really. /S

    Reply
    • Skipr

      May I ask what the material on the meta-ball (?) is made of? It looks like a displacement but that would need it to make the object editable and then it wouldn’t be animatible. Please help me out :) . (I’m talking about the example video)

      Love the tutorial.

      Reply
  11. Alexander Lufi

    how did he do the little particles?

    i am pretty certain that it was done in after effects, but how?
    a post process tutorial on this would be amazing! (:

    Reply
    • Yeah is all AE(particular). You just export a AE file from cinema then is just a matter of birthing the particles and adding some turbulence movement. I try to put togather some sort of AE tutorial in the near future. Thanks !

      Reply
      • Alexander Lufi

        thanks, Simon! Great tutorial, my friend! keep it up (:

        Reply
      • Yes,
        I hope to watch another tutorial about how you use AE. It could be so interesting!
        I like those ‘fireflies’ effects (or maybe I have to write ‘lightning bugs’ ?) added to your render… If you have web links about this or give us a word, it would be so nice.
        Many thanks for this great tutorial !

        Reply
      • Manny

        Hi Simon, thanks for another informative tutorial as always. Question, I know this is off the C4D subject here in would you consider of creating a tut on creating such particles in After Effects?

        Thanks again Simon!
        Cheers!

        Reply
      • Rovino

        Simon an AE tutorial on the particle workflow would be great. I assumed it was Particular but I always wondered how this was done. for example macro or medical animations as well as some “space” or underwater scenes all have these ambient little “floaties” in them..

        Reply
      • lectric

        hey simon!

        Please do an tutorial for the post in AE of this render!
        THX!

        Reply
    • Ryan Rumbolt

      Hey Guys,

      Check out Andrew Kramer’s tutorials at http://www.videocopilot.com, he has tons of tutorials that will get you started in AE. Also his teaching style is like Greyscale Gorillas, not boring.

      Reply
      • Manny

        Hi Ryan,

        Thanks for the info, I am aware of Andrew’s site and tutorials. Thought it might of been cool to see someone else’s way of creating such an effect.

        Thanks again!

        Reply
  12. Andrew

    Almost 15 min,real simple and nice.You should open a blog already dude..

    Reply
  13. bichinl

    Men, I will going to sleep too!! I mean, I had said already, your tutorials are very boring!! Try a more dynamic way. And about your coffe’s comments, $#*T!, be more creative, dont just copy Nick’s frases. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Don’t be a dick, Bichinl. Simon is doing great tutorials to help the community. If you don’t like him, don’t watch.

      Reply
      • Alexander Lufi

        Seriously, why waste your time commenting on something if you aren’t going to appreciate people taking the time to share what they do best? Both Simon and Nick are great at what they do and they both enjoy sharing what they know, if you don’t like what you see then simply don’t watch.

        Reply
      • bichinl

        Come on you guys, you can’t always get just roses in your comments, you need to be open to a constructive critique, cause if not, you’ll never know the issue you need to resolve and the stuff you need to improve. I mean, Nick, I have nothing bad to say about your tutorials and stuff’s, and come on Simon, you have potential and I know you can do it better, don be mad on me, cheers!

        Reply
        • constructive critique, yes, i’m sure they would appreciate that allot. random troll, no. Just think you don’t have enough imagination to do something with Simon’s tutorials.

          so far for not feeding the troll.

          Still had a question not sure if this is the right post to ask it. I added a displacement map on a metaball with a few spheres inside it. im my own renderscreen it renders out in 15 sec or so.

          Moment i want to make the final render the preparing phases takes so long; at least 40 min before even rendering the first frame.

          i admit the displacement doe have allot of hight in it. But like i said the preview itself was quick.

          am i missing something obvious?

          Reply
      • jake allen

        Could you make a tutorial on the lighting and texture used in the example video ?

        Reply
    • Nick Please Answer, Do you think there’s a chance you might do a cinema 4d to real flow tutorial? Or can you atleast link us to some awesome tutorials weekly that is not yours but still might help us? Like top 5 Tuts of the week? (But wich all of them still has connection with C4D and AE)

      Ow and, Bichinl stop hating…once again good job Simon and Nick…

      Please answer tho

      Reply
      • JeNgFX

        Hey Mario, I’ve used realflow for some projects of mine but I’ve always used it with 3dsmax, I will try it this week with c4d and then post a vid on vimeo or something just let me know if you are looking to learn something specific.

        Nick & Simon you guys rule man keep up the awesome tutorials coming!

        Reply
      • Joshua deLorimier

        there are a bunch of real flow and c4d tutorials online….if you know particles its enough to do some cool stuff….just search thats what I did.

        Reply
    • my god, he drinks liquids too?

      this is one of the best sites for tutorials pro bono. hell, I have spent good money on stuff that isn’t half as good!

      congratulations guys, i know maxon must give you an incentive here and there but you are raising the bar on quality and accessibility.

      Reply
    • bichinl, if you want to have fun, go to a fucking amusement park.
      Simon, keep up with the good work. Very systematic and concise. As always.

      Reply
  14. andyweak

    Great tutorial Simon! This kind of work is what makes me love motion design. Reminds me of BrightPhoton(Gkaster) style work. Really inspiring stuff going on.

    thanks!

    Reply
  15. very interesting! i have one question: where can i find the palette where you selected the tp layer? thanks for the cool introduction to thinking particles.

    Reply
    • sorry i should have mentioned that. if you are running r12 is under simulation -> thinking particles -> Thinking Particles settings . if you are running r11 is under the Objects menu -> Thinking Particles – > Thinking Particles Settings.

      Reply
      • Kelly Burns

        Love your tuts Simon! Really great stuff.
        Can anyone tell me how to add the Group in the TP window (mentioned at the beginning of the video)? I’ve been looking around, but can’t find it! Please help.
        Thanks!

        Reply
  16. crazy! thats really cool, I have more respect for c4d now (i always think of it being less than max).

    please can we have higher rez screen capture next time, the blurriness does my eyes in.

    Joe, UK

    Reply
  17. The funny thing is that I’ve maid nearly the same for the “frog-perspektive” thing :-) Not the dirty look but the same technique with the meta-balls… Your’s is looking very cool! Thanks for the tutorial

    Reply
  18. Just AWESOME ! Looking for this techniques for a long time, even on FXPHD or CMIVFX, but this tutorial is blowing my mind !
    I understand that it’s so interesting to ‘tweak’ into C4D and doing great stuffs. The essential point of Simon’s technique is this is less CPU hungry than other same techniques I use to learn last year (no lags into the viewport)…
    So many many many thanks to Simon and you, Nick. I still can’t wait to watch new tutorials about the same topic !

    Reply
  19. Simon – you did Toyota IQ stuff? Were you working out of Taylor James?

    Reply
  20. are you using displacement for the surface of the objects? giving you this cloth like look

    Reply
      • im currently runinng R 11.5
        is there a possibility to run your project in r 11.5 ’cause i was really looking everywhere for this cloth look

        Reply
  21. Ryan Rumbolt

    Hey Simon

    After the particles disperse what would be the best way for them to morph onto a spline? would I use a Spline Effector or PBlurp?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • spline effector can work. or u can use a matrix and the inheritance effector and set it in morphmode. Ill show that in a upcoming tutorial. hope it works out for u

      Reply
      • Ryan Rumbolt

        Sweet dude, thanks, also, where do you get these wicked sound bites? is there some sort of creative commons licensing for them?

        Reply
        • nah. i just took a few weird bits i found in my itunes library and slowed them down and reversed with a simple timeremap.

          Reply
          • Ryan Rumbolt

            This is my result, I used a Spline Effector to morph into my initials instead of the inheritance effector. I liked your final look so i tried to replicate it in after effects, I’ve only using C4D for 2 months, so I think it turned out well. Thanks again for your tips.

            http://www.vimeo.com/23639874

  22. Hi simon! nice tut!
    but why you didn’t just applied a matrix object to a an emitter so you could control all the faorces without any expresso?

    Reply
  23. Winston

    Great tut. Thanks very much for sharing your time and creativity. Yet another question about Particular: did you use a custom particle for the dust? If so, could you give any insight as to how you created it? They really are perfect for the effect. Whenever I try to make dust it always appears to be too “clean” Almost like using CC Particle World.
    Thanks again.

    Reply
    • just used DOF in the camera and I added some dirt to the lens… kind of. Just searched the internet for something that i could create a matt out of. then used that matte to brigten up some areas to make it feel abit less “clean” but for the Particular is just the dof in the camera

      Reply
  24. João Guilherme

    Hey Simon, i did all the steps in the tutorial but at render time, the particles and and metabal appear in the viewport, but in RenderView only appears the cage of the matrix. What can be the problem? Follow link to the images.
    I hope you can help me. Thanks.

    http://www.4shared.com/file/ml8KtGb8/Archive_2.html

    Reply
  25. cheebachops

    Nice one Simon, i agree with you about the link between TP and Mograph.

    I did a test render last week that used the matrix TP on a tracer then output to realflow for the skinning. I’d tried to use metaballs, but they just don’t have enough control in C4d for my goals.

    http://vimeo.com/23378758

    No real time spent animating the camera as it was just a test(just dropped a vibrate tag on it).
    Next test will most likely involve TPBlurp, tracer and matrix.

    Reply
  26. Michael

    Hi SImon. I like your tutorials. Nick with coffee, Mike with whiskey and you with headphones … now my question. Probably simple to answer. How did you get the “Group.1″ thing in there and what exactly is its use?
    Thanks for your answer!

    And keep up the great work.
    Michael

    Reply
  27. sQuiZzy

    All made ??the lesson, one when the time comes for the final render, rendered sphere alone, without the cloner and Metabal. Waiting for your help =) thanks in advance.
    Sorry for my bad English

    Reply
  28. Vodoo People

    happy happy for this new tuto!!! thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, thanks, jaja and… I say thanks?
    Do a lot more Simon…. I really want to know you but I’m in Costa Rica….

    Reply
  29. adam hedman

    I cant see how he made the group prior. the video is too blurry,

    Reply
    • make sure to click the HD icon :) and go fullscreen and im sure you wont have anyproblems. to create tp groups you just right click in the thinking settings settings. :)

      /S

      Reply
  30. brilliant it’s the best tutorials in mograph I ever see thx Simon, u r really genius.

    Reply
  31. Polo-

    Hey, great tut simon. I’m already trying to mix some of this stuff with another abstract animation that i have.
    But i have one question, maybe it’s silly, lol. How can I change the TP start time? I mean, how can i make the TPs start moving in the 20 frame?, for example.

    salutes and great tut!

    Reply
    • Polo-

      I finally made it by reducing the turbulence to 0 until the frame i want them to start moving, excellent :D .

      Reply
  32. Thomas

    Hi Simon,

    Great tutorial – but I am dying to see how you took it from the metablobby gizmo thingy to the fantastic looking organic render featured under the article. Textures, renders and post – the whole shabang :)

    Maybe a sequel for another late night :)

    Reply
  33. hi there!

    i have one question…how did you create the “underwater environment”?

    thanks
    T.

    Reply
  34. friendofp

    Hi, good tutorial, much appreciated.
    However. When I render, I don’t see anything. (in picture view), yet I do see my metaball in a rendered active view.
    When I add a cube to the scene, i only see the cube? I know its vague, but if you can… any ideas please? pretty scary stuff, never happened to me before. Even when I try this from scratch, I see absolutely nothing in my render.

    Reply
      • isotope_theory

        When you make the meta-ball mesh editable it renders in the picture viewer, but this does not help when you are trying to render the animation. It seems to have something to do with the thinking particles not referring the position to the renderer.

        Reply
  35. John Tuesday

    First of all, great Tutorial mate,
    but i wonder, is there a way to get my bubble together after a while?
    i didn’t get the trigger to handle the speed or the general animation.
    Is there a way to get them together in a sphere or something?

    Reply
  36. Hey, I was trying this out and everything worked fine up untill the point where I added the metaballs. This is only the second or third time using metaballs for me and I might have forgotten some important step, but I can’t find it, been trying for like 30 mins now.

    Right when I add the metaballs, the spheres dissapear. The only thing I did different is I added a gravity instead of wind, and animated the gravity (in sphere shape) to throw around the particles. I also have alot more particles. Any ideas?

    Reply
  37. Dennis

    I know this has been mentioned by others but the “underwater” environment with Trapcode Particular particles looks great.

    A tutorial or an indication where a similar tutorial can be found would be much appreciated.

    Reply
  38. Hello! I am looking to do something similar, but have one watery object pull apart into two objects. I need to to this ASAP. Any suggestions on tutorials? Any help would be EPIC!
    ~Dean

    Reply
  39. Richard

    Great technical tut Simon! I do have a question though.. how would we add falloff to the wind in xpresso?

    Reply
  40. Alright…
    too advanced for me :(

    But thanks anyway. It’s nice to see guest tutorials here on GSG

    Reply
  41. My question is more about the particles that look like dust or bubbles….. I have been trying to figure out how to do this and don’t know if it’s done in AE or Cinema. If AE, what is the plugin. If cinema… HOW? ;)

    Thanks guys. I used your shatter tutorial for a intro I did for a fitness company and it made the video awesome.
    http://vimeo.com/28479509

    Reply
  42. Fernando

    Great tutorial, thanks! hope you do more like this.
    from spain.

    Reply
  43. Charles Duval

    Hey I cant seem to find where the group panel is located?
    If you could let me know that would be awesome!
    thanks for the tuts this helps more than you know.

    - C

    Reply
  44. semiasty

    grate job mate :) rlly…i was looking for some explanation for looong time and i have it ;) but got issue…my wind object dont affect notting :( any ideas ?

    Reply

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Comment Rules

This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.