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Create Sparks in 3ds Max using Particle Flow

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What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial you'll learn how to create a shower of sparks using 3ds Max and Particle Flow.

1. Particle Flow Setup

Step 1

First, create a Particle Flow system. Go to Create > Particle Systems > PF Source and draw out a PF Source icon in the Perspective viewport, and position it a bit above the ground grid.

Step 2

Now press 6 (or click on Particle View) to open the Particle View window.

Step 2

With the Birth Operator selected, enter a value of 0 for Emit Start, and 100 for Emit Stop and set the Amount to 2000. This means the particles will start from frame 0 and stop at frame 100 and the total amount of the particles/ frame will be 2000. You can edit the values as per your needs.

Step 4

Now with the Speed operator selected, set the values for Speed to 1500, Variation to 20 and Divergence to 50.


Step 5

With the Display operator selected, turn the Type to Geometry. Now the particles will look like cubes based on the Shape operator settings.

Step 6

The cubic shape of the particles looks quite big. So with the Shape operator selected, decrease the Size value to something quite low.

Step 7

Now go to Space Warps > Forces > Gravity and drag a Gravity icon out in the Perspective viewport.

Step 8

Back in the Particle View window, add a Force operator into the event by dragging it out of the Depot and dropping it between the Rotation and Shape operators. With the Force operator selected, click on Add and select the Gravity icon from the viewport. This will add the Gravity into the Force Space Warps list.

Step 9

The spark particles should collide with the ground and bounce a bit before dying, so we need to add a deflector into the scene. So go to Space Warps > Deflectors > Deflector and drag out a Deflector icon in the Perspective viewport.

Step 10

Add a Collision operator into the event. With the Collision operator selected, click on Add and then select the Deflector icon in the viewport. This adds the Deflector into the Deflectors list.

Step 11

You can see now that the particles collide with the deflector and bounce continuously. We don't want the particles to bounce continuously after the collision. Practically, they should bounce only twice and then adhere to the ground. So turn on Collide Multiple Times with a value of 2. We want the particles to stop after two collisions, so select Stop for the Speed.

Step 12

The particles are still bouncing a lot. So with the Deflector icon selected, decrease the Bounce value to something like 0.05 and change the rest of the parameters to match what is shown in the following image. These values may vary in your case.

Step 13

We can also place an object beneath the shower of sparks and the particles will collide with that object. For example, here I have added a Sphere beneath the particles.

Step 14

To make the particles collide with the sphere, we need to define the sphere as a collision object. So, go to Space Warps > Deflectors > UDeflector and drag out a UDeflector icon in the Perspective viewport.

Step 15

With the UDefeletor icon selected, click on the Modify tab, and then click on Pick Object and then pick the Sphere in the viewport. Now the sphere has become the collision/ deflector object. 

Step 16

Press 6 to open the Particle View once again. Here make a new event with the Delete and Display operators only. Connect the string of the Collision operator from Event 001 to the Event 002.

Step 17

With the Delete operator selected, turn on the By Particle Age option and leave it with the default values. This means all the particles which have lived for 60 frames will be deleted .

Step 18

With the Display operator selected, turn the Type into Geometry.

2. Material Setup

Step 1

Press M to open the Material Editor. Select an empty slot and click on the Diffuse channel. This opens the Material/ Map Browser window. Here select the Particle Age material and click on OK.

Step 2

In the Color#1 slot, enter the following values R: 255 ,G: 215 and B: 135 respectively.

Step 3

In the Color#2 slot, enter values of R: 255G: 125 and B50 respectively.

Step 4

In the Color#3 slot, enter these values R: 255G: 100 and B35.

Step 5

Copy the same Particle Age material from the Diffuse channel to the Self Illumination channel as an Instance.

Step 6

Here I just put a concrete texture on the sphere to make it look better, and also added an Omni light to the scene.

Step 7

Press 6 to open the Particle View window, and Insert a Material Static operator into Event 001.

Step 8

Drag and copy the Particle Age material to the Assign Material tab of the Material Static operator.

Step 9

Copy the same Material Static operator into Event 002 also.

Step 10

With the particle material slot selected, assign a Material ID of 1.This unique material ID will help the particles achieve their glowing effect.

3. Applying Effects

Step 1

Now, Right Click on the Event 002 bar and select Properties. This opens the Object Properties window. Here enable Motion Blur with Object mode.

Step 2

Go to Rendering > Effects to open the Effects window. Here add Lens Effects.



Step 3

Apply a Glow effect as well and set the values for Size to 0.01, Intensity to 145 and Source Color to 90. And then change the Radial Color to be a bit orange.

Step 4

Now click on the Options tab. Here set the Material ID to 1. This is the same material ID which has been assigned to the particle material.

Step 5

Render the scene and you will see something like this.

Conclusion

You can also animate the particle flow emitter randomly a bit, so you get different results. Play with the particle, force and deflectors values and you will really get awesome results. Hope you guys have enjoyed this tutorial!

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