Particles in Maya
in Maya Tutorial for 3D animation students.
Particles in Maya take the leading part where HD quality visual effects are the requirements. You can create lots of lots of effects using these Maya Particles. The advantage of this Particles system is the complete flexibility to handle Particles movements and events to generate any kind of effect.
We can take a look at the process of creating a Particle Collision effect inside of Maya. We model a piece of geometry using the polygon modeling technique. Then what we are like to do is to crate some Particles that I want to collide with this piece of geometry. You can use any piece of geometry to follow this Particles in Maya tutorial. Here, we are going to create a real rain-fall effect in Maya using the Dynamic Particles.
Let’s go through the tutorial. To continue this Maya Particles tutorial you have to follow the steps below.
Particles in Maya - Step 1
Create a polygon model to react with the Particles in Maya
At first create a polygon Cube primitive using the menu Create > Polygon Primitives > Cube in the perspective view. Modify the polyCube1 property with Width value 11, Height value 11, Depth value 11 and Subdivisions Width value 2. Position the polyCube1 with Translate Y value 5.5. Now, create another Polygon Cube with Width value 15, Height value 1, Depth value 15 and Subdivisions Width value 2. Then position it with Translate Y value 10. Now, select the middle vertices of both the two cube objects and move them upwards to create the shape of a house like the following image.
Now is the time to generate Particles to react with the roof of the house.
Particle Maya - Step 2
Creation of a Particle Emitter
At first choose the Dynamics menu sets from the drop-down list in the Status Line. Now you can find the Particles menu in the menu bar. Create an Emitter from the Particles menu. By default the Emitter type is an Omni type. Position the Particles Emitter on top of the roof using the move tool.
Particle in Maya - Step 3
Modifying the Particles Emitter attributes
Press Ctrl+a from the keyboard to open the Attribute Editor window while the Particle emitter is selected. Under the Basic Emitter Attributes category change the Emitter type to Volume from the drop-down list. Alternatively you can change the Particle Emitter type in the Channel Box directly. So that you can increase the volume size of the emitter to get the falling rain effect. Now, change the scale size of the emitter with both Scale X and Scale Z value to 7 from the Transform Attributes category in the Attribute Editor window. Position the emitter with Translate Y value 30.
Particles in Maya - Step 4
Attach a gravity force with the Particles to fall
Now, if you play the animation button then you will find the Particles are generating and moving just outward which is not required. For this simulation the Particles should fall with gravity so that we can get the rain fall effect. To achieve this effect select the Particles either directly from the view-port or as the particle1 node from the Outliner window which you can find in the Window menu and then click on the menu Fields > Gravity. Now, if you play the animation button then you will find the Particles are falling with gravity.
Particle in Maya - Step 5
Re-modifying the Maya Particles attributes
Now, change the Playback End Time value to 1000 in the range slider so that you have lots of time in your hand to work with the simulation. Now, select the Particle emitter and press ‘Ctrl+a’ from the keyboard to open the Attribute Editor.
Particles in Maya - Step 6
Limit the Lifespan of these Maya Particles
Here, you want to limit the Lifespan of these Particles, because you don’t need longer life in this simulation. In the Attribute Editor window, go to the Particleshape1 tab and find the Lifespan Attribute category. In this category change the Lifespan Mode to Random Range (By default Live Forever is selected). Modify the Lifespan value to 3 and Lifespan Random to 0.5. Now, if you play the simulation you will notice that the Particles are dying after going through the house model.
Particle in Maya - Step 7
Also, you can notice that the Particles are going through the house model instead of colliding with the roof. So, select the Particles either directly from the perspective view-port or from the Outliner window and shift-select the roof model. Then click on the menu Particles > Make Collide. Now, the Particles are colliding on the roof.
Particle Maya - Step 8
But, a problem occurs. The Particles are bouncing on the roof. To correct it, select the Particles and open the Attribute Editor and modify some properties under the ‘geoConnector1’ tab. Change the Resilience value to 0.07 and Friction value to 0.85.
Note that the Resilience property works on the bounciness effect. With Resilience value as 1 the Particles acquired the same moving force after the collision as well as with 0 value the Particles lost their moving force completely after collide.
Friction value directly works on the friction property of the colliding surface. With Friction value 0 the Particles have no friction with the colliding surface as well as with value 1 the result is the opposite. Actually, Friction value determines the roughness of the colliding surface.
Maya Particle - Step 9
Now, change some properties in the Render Attributes section as the following. Change the Particle Render Type to MultiStreak from the drop-down list and click on the Current Render Type button. Then, modify Multi-Count value to 1. You have almost done.
Now, if you play the simulation then you will get the rain-fall effect on the roof.
Particles in Maya - Step 10
Generate secondary Particles using Collision Event procedure
We still have some work to do with these Particles to get the real rain effect. So, change the Friction value back to 0. To get the real rain effect you have to kill the original Particles and generate secondary Particles from the previous Particles. So, select the Particles emitter in the view-port then click on the menu Particles > Particle Collision Event Editor. The Particle Collision Event Editor window appears.
In this window, go to the Event Type section. Turn on the Type to Emit and Random Particles. Modify the Num Particles value to 4 and spread value to 1. Make sure the Inherit Velocity value is 1.
In the Event Actions section, turn on the ‘Original Particles Dies’ option. Then click on the Create Event button. Here, if you want to play the simulation then you will notice that secondary Particles are coming from the primary Particles. The collision event procedure is complete.
Note that, if you want to modify any value in the Collision Event procedure then you have to select the Particles emitter and reopen the Particle Collision Event Editor window. After modifying values just close this window and play simulation to get effect.
Particles in Maya - Step 11
Working with the secondary Particles
Select the secondary Particles (particle2) from the Outliner window. Press Ctrl+a key from the keyboard to open the Attribute Editor. Go to the Lifespan Attributes section under the ‘Particleshape2’ tab. Change the lifespan properties as the following. Select Lifespan Mode to Random Range from the drop-down list. Change the Lifespan to 0.4 and Lifespan Random to 0.35.
Maya Particle - Step 12
Now, go to the Render Attributes section and select MultiStreak from the drop-down list for the Particle Render Type. Then click on the Current Render Type button to work with the properties of the MultiStreak type Particles. Some new properties appear just below the Current Render Type button. Here, turn on the Color Accum option. Change the Multi-Count value to 6 and Multi Radius value to 0.460 and Tail Size value to 2.
Particles in Maya - Step 13
Here, if you work a little with the opacity value of the secondary Particles then you will be able to get the real rain effect. So, go to the Add Dynamic Attributes section and click on the Opacity button. A new window appears named ‘Particle Opacity’. In this tiny window, turn on the ‘Add Per Particle Attribute’ option and click on the ‘Add Attribute’ button.
Maya Particle - Step 14
Now, you can see a new attribute named ‘opacityPP’ in the ‘Per Particles (Array) Attributes’ section. Just right-click on the entry field of this property and choose the ‘Create Ramp’ option from the marking menu. Now, if you play the animation then you will notice that the secondary Particles which are coming out as the result of the collision event are really natural to represent a rain-fall.
Maya Particle - Step 15
Collision setup for the secondary Particles
But, notice that the Particles intersecting the roof model. Since, you haven’t created any collision setup for the secondary Particles with the roof object. So, select the secondary Particles (particle2) from the Outliner window and shift-select the roof model and click on the menu Particles > Make Collide. Now, the movement of the secondary Particles is more natural.
Particles in Maya - Step 16
Connecting the secondary Particles with the existing gravity field
Now, if you play the animation then notice that the secondary Particles moving outward drastically from the roof surface. But, you don’t need that. The secondary Particles should also have some movement to show that they are also effecting by the gravity. So, open the Dynamic Relationships window from the menu Window > Relationship Editors > Dynamic Relationships. In this window, select secondary Particles (particle2) in the left pane. Then in the right pane of this window activate the field view and just select the ‘gravityField1’ property under the ‘particle2’ option. And you have done it. The secondary Particles are now connected with the gravity field. Just close this window and play the simulation. You are now getting the view of the real rain-fall in your Maya view-port.
It is a very easy process to setup a very complex looking projects like this rain-fall effect without any scripting involve. So really this particle collision event will help generate lots of lots of really cool effects for you without the need of getting up hard work and doing things manually.
In this Particles in Maya tutorial you have learned
- How to get Dynamics menu sets in Maya
- How to create an Particle Emitter in Maya
- How to change Particle Emitter Type with Attribute Editor in Maya
- How to apply gravity force with Particles in Maya
- How to set Lifespan of Maya Particles
- How to create Particles collision in Maya
- How to modify the bounciness and friction value of colliding Particles with a geometry in Maya
- How to Render Particles in Maya
- How to generate Particles from the colliding Particles in Maya
- How to Add Dynamic attributes with the Particles in Maya
- How to work with per particle attributes (array) in Maya
- How to handle per particle opacity value in Maya
- How to work with Dynamic Relationship window in Maya
- How to connect Particles with forces or fields in Maya
I hope you enjoyed this Particles in Maya tutorial. Try to wrok with the particle properties to get cool effects. And I think Maya is the only platform which has the flexibility to generate anything. So, keep experimenting with Maya Particles.
If you find this Maya Particles or Particles in Maya tutorial helpful then follow other Maya Tutorials along with Maya Animation tutorial.