Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

In this, the second part of the series, I’ll explain how to start working with nParticles in Maya. nParticles is an advanced particle system that uses Maya Nucleus framework.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

This is better than the traditional particle system as nParticles can collide and interact with each other, as well as other dynamic and passive collision systems, and hence you have better chances to explore and delve into this dynamic particle system.

Preview

1.Setting Up nParticles Emission

Step 1

Open Maya.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 2

Jump
in the nDynamics mode so that you get the n-dynamics menu items.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 3

Go
to nParticles > Create nParticles
> Create Emitter with Balls
option turned on. It creates an emitter in the viewport.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 4

The default timeline length is up to 24 frames
only. You need to increase the frames number on the timeline because in order
to view the particles act, you need more numbers of frames.

Go
to Window > Settings/Preferences > Preferences.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 5

In the Preferences box, go to Categories
> Settings > Time slider and set the Playback start/end and Animation
start/end from 1 to 500.

Click
theSave button.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 6

If you scrub the timeline, you will see the ball
particles coming out of the emitter icon and falling down.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 7

The ball particles are multicoloured. However you
can change it into one specific colour.

With
the nParticles selected, go to Attribute Editor > nParticleShape1 >
Shading > Color. You can see there are two main colours here- Red and Blue. These colours derive the particles colour. Just delete the blue
colour so that the particles could have only one shade.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 8

With the particles selected, go to nucleus1 > Ground Plane and turn on Use Plane option. This enables the grid
as the deflector plane and hence the falling particle balls interact with the
grid.

You
can play with the Plane Bounce and Plane Friction properties to have
different results.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

2. Accumulation of nParticles

Step 1

To accumulate the nParticle balls, you need
something to hold them. Go to Curves
> EP Curve Tool and draw the curve in the side view as shown in the
following image.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 2

With the curve selected, go to Surfaces > Revolve to create the
bowl shape in the viewport.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 3

If you scrub the timeline, you will see the balls
are passing through the bowl.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 4

With the bowl selected, go to nMesh > Create Passive Collider.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 5

To increase the ball size, go to nParticleShape1 > Particle Size and
increase the Radius value a bit.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 6

Hit the play button and you will now see the
particle balls getting accumulated in the bowl.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 7

While the bowl is getting filled with the balls,
just decrease the Rate (Particles/Sec) to 0 around 222nd frames on the timeline, so that there is no more
particle emission in the scene except the bowl particle balls.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 8

With the particle balls selected, go to nMesh > Initial State > Set From
Current.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

3. Creating interactive Animation

Step 1

Create
a plane under the bowl of particle balls.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 2

With the plane selected, go to nMesh > Create Passive Collider.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 3

With the bowl selected, go to the 50th frame on the timeline.
Go to Attribute Editor > revolveSurface1
and with the right click on the Translate,
click on Set Key. This sets the
first key frame on the 50th frame on the timeline.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 4

Go to 120th
frame on the timeline and move the bowl a bit in the X-axis as shown in the
following image. Due to Auto Key
button turned on, a key frame on the 140th
frame gets applied automatically.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 5

Go to 200th
frame on the timeline. With the right click on the Translate, click on Set Key.
This sets a blank key frame on the 200th
frame on the timeline.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 6

On the very 200th
frame on the timeline, with the right click on the Rotate, click on Set Key.
This sets the first key frame for the rotation property on the 200th frame on the timeline.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 7

Go to 240th
frame on the timeline and rotate the bowl a bit in the X-axis as shown in the
following image. Don’t worry if you see some absurd behaviour of particles in
the viewport as that would get normal automatically.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Step 8

Hit the play button to simulate the animation.
You will see the particle balls are interacting with the bowl and the ground
plane according to the motion.

Understanding Particles and Dynamics in Maya—Part 2

Conclusion

In the next part of the tutorial, I will show how to delve into more deeper in nParticles in Maya.