Create an explosion with the particles system and a spritesheet
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Create an explosion with the particles system and a spritesheet

by Vincent Le Moigne on June 28, 2016.

Length: 1min-10min

Level: Beginner

Smode version: Smode Synth / Studio / Station

In this tutorial you will learn to do a very simple particle system with a spritesheet.

We will review the full chain of particles system creation :

-Generator : Create and change basic attributes of a partcle system (rate / life / etc.)

-Modifiers : How to change particle size / opacity / etc. over it's age (and position/velocity)

-Fields : How to put turbulences / Friction / etc. Fields

-Renderers : How to use a sprite sheet or any media inside particles system

Download texture files associated to this tutorial

All the textures you'll need for this tutorial are already in the smode's standard pack :

(To add new images or files, see Making your own compositions)

Create a new composition and a simple particles system

Select your current project and create a new comp (File>New Standalone Compo) or Ctrl+N. In the dialog box, check Create Camera and Create Timeline. Your composition will automatically been seen as "Untitled compo" and placed under "Unsaved Documents", use File>Save or Ctrl+S to save your composition where you want.

Now we can start.

Create a particle system with 3D Layers>Points>Particles.

Now that the newly particles system is created, you can expand it. Particle system is made of a particle generator in which you can find every initial particles values (such as rate/speed/etc.), some modifiers (to change size/color/rotationsetc. over time, space or anything else) and a renderer (here, sprites points).

Now let's change the particles Speed and Life time by selecting the generator (note: to write 2 seconds faster you can type only "2." inside the life time, "2.."for 2 minutes and "2..." for 2 hours, and at last only "2" for 2 frames).

And change the emitter (red arrow) and change it from point emitter to sphere emitter. You can change that last parameter either in the parameter's editor or in the smode tree. How wonderful is that ?

Now let's change sphere emiter size by selecting it and put it's radius to 1 m :

Modifier's time

There already is a modifier embedded with the particles system creation, the "Point Attributes" modifier .This modifier allow you to modify every attributes of a particle in the same time.

By default it is it's selector type is set as "Age" (blue arrow on the screenshot below) wich mean that every parameter will act accordingly to the age of the particle.

When you select the modifier, the Functions editor will appear below the viewport, here you can set every parameters with keyframes.

Let's change the scale of the particles over their age. To do so in this modifier, put the cursor (green circle) over the last value in 100% intensity, on the left of the editor the current value will be displayed (red circle) and the keyframe column will show you whether or not a key is put on the track in the current time. Let's turn the scale to "2".

Now it means that a particle will have a scale of 1 at it's birth and 2 when it die.

The second way to modify a particle parameter is to put another modifier. Let's choose this one so particles will die quietly :

Right Click->Modifiers->Attributes->Opacity->ease out

 

This is actually a preset of the opacity modifier, it mean that particle opacity over it's age will act accordingly to the displayed curve.

Note that almost every modifier you have in the modifier menu can be applied to particles. If it does not work, a little red cross will appear next to it and tell you why.

Let's add force fields

Add a Turbulence field with Right Click -> Fields -> Turbulence

And set it up with a position strength of 3 and press play on the Transport.

Note that as on modifiers, every kind of mask can be applied over a Field

Put a sprite sheet

- Now take the "Explosion 20x1.png" from the standard pack and drag and drop it inside the Sprite Points renderer, you can delete the "Dot WHite b.png" in the same time.

This spritesheet consist of 20 images on one row. So 20 sprites per row and 1 sprite per column.

- Let's configure the sprites points renderer like that by selecting it and modifying theses values inside the parameters editor for the spritesheet to be animated in function of the age of the particle (red arrow on the screenshot below) . Note that in this example every sprite will be displayed in function of particles Age but the "sprites selector" can be set in many different ways.

- And to adjust, in this example I changed the base size of the sprites from 0.1 to 0.5m

- Now you can change the blending mode of the Sprite Points renderer, In this example I put it in Screen :

Conclusion

Yeah, here is the basic, not very pretty but at least now you know how particle system work, you can try everything by yourself. The example already embedded in Smode examples compositions is a little bit more advanced but made from the same root.