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Particle Nodes Documentation

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Particle Nodes Documentation blender Phonybone has been working reworking blenders particle systems to use nodes, providing much greater flexibility in what particle systems can do. He's also been hard at work making sure there is documentation to go along with the new system once it's ready. If you're interested in how node based particles will work go and take a look at what will be possible.

Particle Nodes Documentation on PlanetBlender.org

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  • Doug Beaton

    An example is in order here. Greater flexibility? How? After skimming the document, I still have no idea of the advantages of the node system over the current system. It seems quite complex.

  • justposted

    I'm with Doug, I'm afraid. The documentation is probably brilliant for Blender geniuses, but it is a little impenetrable for the rest of us.

  • young_voter

    I would vote it in trunk before documentation. And further, maybe someone can make everything in Blender nodable. For instance, layer management and UI management should be better in nodes, although not necessary. The material node could also be able to talk to the python node, just as it can talk to a particle node.

  • encn

    Hrm. For once there's nice written documentation of a Blender feature (ahead of time!), and the only reaction is "Skimmed it, didn't understand. Please explain"? Geez:)
    I'm certainly no node or particlesystem or Blender genius, but I think the document made a pretty good job of conveying the general meaning of those scary italisized word and concepts.

    Also, with the level of control this system brings, it's suddenly much more valuable to actually learn about those words and concepts. It's not just "the technical secret behind some weird but important particle settings" anymore, that it takes serious programming skills to make use of. Suddenly any idiot (like me) can leverage weird vector outputs by some simple node noodling, if I only grasp what the numbers mean.

    My stray possibility thoughts:
    I can: Merge several particle "outflows" into the same system, to make use of the same physics setup. OK, not really new.
    I can: Split particles from a single output into different branches of the node tree, based on per-particle values like age or position. So particles can't only, for example, "die on hit", or "bump away on collide". They can "[whatever-the-heck] on [whatever-the-heck]", it's all up to some creative noodling.
    I can: Just generally, throw in math nodes to easily and visually build computations usually reserved for programmers.
    I'm not sure, but maybe I can: Use a variety of render outputs from the same particle systems. Maybe render faraway particles as sprites, close-by particles as objecs. I'm sure the "render objects" usefulness will be tremendously enhanced. Not completely sure how the "only one active output works".
    It seems possible I might be able to: Emit further particles when any particle enters state X.

    Maybe my favourite part: Things like the square/round sockets for different data types, and obvious care to build "bad connections" out of the system. It seems like this will basically be as non-Blender-genius friendly as a node based particle system can be, and I think that's a great thing.
    Writing this makes me more appreciative of Maya's "all nodes" system... but OH MY, is there ever a gap in user friendliness.

  • kike sanz

    I’m with Doug too. a video would really help understand advantage .

  • kram1032

    One big advantage will be getting rid of the reliance on start- or end-frames, or fixed particle numbers.
    That emit node emits certain amounts of particles per second. To get the same effect that one node does, you currently need to carefully think through how long your simulation will be and then plug in a desired amount of particles.
    If for what ever reason your simulation turns out to be too long or too short, but the particle density is crucial, you gotta potentially change all three values again.

    With that emit node, you simply change a single number, that's also controlable based on previous nodes, to get a desired density. Changing the length of the simulation wont affect the appearance of the system at all.
    That on its own is already a huge plus and only the start of what nodes could simplify over the current system.

  • kram1032

    http://phonybone.planetblender.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/nparticles_mockup_simple_example5.png
    In this example, for instance, you have the current simulation-time - independend of the frames - which is used as input for a sine, so you get a sine-wave over time.
    that is multiplied with the current Z-location of a controller-mesh, so the Z-location of the object controls the wave's amplitude.

    This sine-wave plugs into an Emit-node to control, how many new particles should spawn per second.
    The Object's center is where the particles spawn, apparently.

    It's really not too hard to read those simple examples.

    Try to do something similar with the current system in basically just 4 simple steps.

  • http://www.enricovalenza.com EnV

    I'm with encn and kram1032, this is a huge improvement on what will be possible with particles in Blender. The documentation is already enlighting, IMO, but for sure it will be alot more clear as we have a build to experiment with.
    Go Phonybone! And thanks.

  • Andy

    This is for advanced users i think.

  • Charon

    I can see the flexibility and also complexity of this because a lot of nodes playing around, and how can we quickly access the right node is very important in this system. Or can we design some preset (group of linked nodes) which provide basic / advance particle function to shorten our learning curve? For example, after we choosing preset "Smoke", a functional nodes system for making smoke is loaded so we can play around, no need to find and connect the necessary nodes one by one from the ground zero.

    *Preset is also a good reminder too. It happens to me I cannot remember how I do some node composite effects just after a few weeks.

    (Sorry for my English)

  • chimeric

    I loved it, since I am great Houdini fan. I am very happy we will see something similar in blender. Nodes are the future!

  • chimeric

    And relax it will be as simple as node compositor. In the begging it was hard to imagine how you could work manipulating images without Photoshop type layers, when nodes started to be popular now its hard to imagine to go back to non-linear mode. So relax, guys, just give it some time and u will see how simple and intuitive it is.

  • Bmix

    Thank you Phonybone!

    More valuable than any video-tuts from some "auto-claimed" experts.

  • Amar

    Awesome! I do hope far more things become node based or node-able. flexibility is always a good thing.

  • Gryphon

    @Phonybone:
    You rock!

    @Doug Beaton:
    Yes, examples make life much quicker, simpler and more enjoyable. But don't forget, Phonybone didn't have to document anything at all; the fact that he took such trouble to write up his improvements at all is praiseworthy.

    @encn:
    +10 points for you.

  • Moolah

    @Phonybone
    Hurray, man! :))
    Soon we'll have Blenderized "Houdini" 1.0 and it makes me happy! :))

    @Everybody_who_had_to_worry... Don't need to worry! )
    You'll have tutorials, it's obvious.

    my 5 cents "about this": don't need to be a real genius to understand that it's simply the constructor of relations for particles. Like LEGO but for Blender. Need to construct an Earth physics - windy things and whatever.?.. Do it - it's not that difficult. Just a small bunch of formulae, look into the Physics (some of school course probably) and this will help you. Want to construct a Hyper Cube stuff?.. Look that film, analyze it and make it real with nodes :) Not that scary at all :D

  • http://Weber.edu/planetarium Ron Proctor

    I think it's looking great!

    Don't worry about the skeptics. Change can be challenging, but we must grow through challenge!

    You're doing good work and I can't wait to try it out!

  • levon

    Presets can be done with python already for comp nodes. see http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Extensions:2.5/Py/Scripts/Compositing/Compositing_Presets.

    Extending this to particle nodes wont require much work at all.

  • Buckaroo

    This is great news. The last remaining barrier to my using Blender instead of 3DS Max has been Max's Particle Flow, which has been essential in my work. If Blender now has an equivalent event-based particle system, I'll happily sever that last link.

  • zeauro

    I hope the fundraiser will reach Stage 3 before Mango.

    It seams to be good plans.

    I am impatiently waiting creation of git reposittory and build instructions to test this new particle system.

  • Pyroevil

    @Doug Beaton and others : You can understand how nodebased particles can be benefic to blender when you see what some artist did with XSI ICE or Houdini. For sure is more difficult to learn for new user but unlimited for advanced artist! And hope blender go with node more then just particles but for deforming and creating geometry. But they need to keep the traditionnal way too because is more faster for simple thing ( I don't want to make a huge nodetree too create a simple cube ).

    @Phonybone : Keep your good work !

  • Thomas

    W00t! Can't wait for a build faq! ;P

  • Matt

    this look amazing! I don't think I have ever seen documentation BEFORE the release of something. I cant wait.

  • illin

    It's pretty strait forward and for those who are complaining, I suggest you look at any intro to node-based, 'anything', to get a general understanding as to what is going on.

    Try fooling around with udks particle/material system and doing some of the tutorials and I'm sure this will all become clear.

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