syllabus | schedule | projects | class notes | resources | students | Digital Arts website
Software Rendered Particles
You have to have a light in the scene; you have to apply a material to the particles.

Blobby - Called metaballs - is attracted to meld with nearby particles
      Radius - size of sphere
      Threshold - how attracted it is to the nearby particles;
            1 = maximum attraction; 0 = none
      May need to increase Radius as you increase Threshold

Clouds - Already has the defaultParticle Shader attached, also a metaball
      Better Illumination - increases self shadowing
      Radius - size
      Surface Shading - 0 = cloudier effect; 1 = more distinct clouds
      Threshold - how much they melt together

Tube - can be tapered, must have a volumetric shader like particle cloud on it.
      Radius0 - starting radius
      Radius1 - end radius
      Tail Size - length of tube (is multiplied by velocity) faster = longer tail

Rendering Tip: To render without particles, select particles -> Attribute Editor under Render
Stats: Turn Primary Visibility OFF

Lighting Tip: Cloud, Tube, and Blobby need lights in the scene. Point, Multipoint, Streak, and Multistreak can also use the lights in a scene - all others do not.
Maya Effects Menu - Fire

Brandon Moore and David Baldridge

Maya Effects Menu - Smoke

How to Create Smoke
by Joe Damazyn and Dan Smith

First Create a New scene and create an object i.e. sphere, cube, etc.

Make sure the Dynamics tab is selected at the top

Select your object and go to Effects > Create Smoke > Option Box

You want to name your sprite image so Maya knows where to grab the images from in this case we can just use smoke for the default Maya smoke.

You want to make sure these images are in your source images folder for your project.

You can leave the particle name blank if you want Maya will name it something for you.

Maya smoke images are labeled 0-50 and the emitters will cycle through them while producing it as long as the cycle images box is checked.

Smoke Sprite lifespan - works just like particle lifespans it puts a time frame on how long the sprites will last.

Smoke Threshold and opacity - This changes how thick the smoke will be.

Emission Attributes
These are exactly like the emitter attributes we have seen previously, except you can only use a directional emitter for the smoke.

Emission Rate - affects how many sprites are produced per second.
Direction - Which axis do you want it to travel along X,Y, or Z

Spread - how wide it will spread out the farther it gets from the emitter

Speed - how fast the Sprites will come out.

You can create a turbulence field by Checking the box and this will create some interesting effects. The default settings are there but you can play with them.
Magnitude - how much the effect will apply to the particles
Frequency - how often

You can create your own sprite images for the smoke if you would like.

Maya Effects Menu - Fireworks

Fireworks Tutorial
Tyler Bertrand and Jacob Pierzchala

Make sure your top menu is set to Dynamics.
Click Effects > Fireworks.

Fireworks is an emitter, so it works by itself, and doesn't need to be connected to an object, BUT IT CAN BE.

In the Attribute Editor, go to the bottom and click Extra Attributes.

Max Burst Speed: How fast the explosion happens and fades away.
Min/Max Sparks Count: The minimum/maximum amount of sparks in the explosion.
Sparks Color Spread: Add/Subtract color variation in each individual explosion.
Very large numbers will crash Maya. We tried 400, and it didn't work.

*By default, The rocket will always explode after the same amount of time.
Rocket Gravity: Change in the distance the rocket travels before exploding. It basically makes the rocket
lighter or heavier. The rocket and the trail have separate gravity fields which are both
influenced by this.

Trail Emit Rate: Changes the amount of particles in the rocket's trail before explosion.
Trail Emit Speed: Changes the speed of the rocket's trail.
Trail Emit Spread: Changes the spread of the rocket's trail.
Trail Min/Max Tail Size: Minimum/Maximum size of particles in rocket's trail.
Trail Glow: Makes trail glow.
Trail Incandescence: Shifts rocket trail color closer to white.

Rest of Attributes are similar, but for Sparks instead of trails.

Maya Effects Menu - Lightning

From Maya 2010 Help:
by Stephanie Luettke and Rebecca Long

The Lightning clip effect creates a bolt of lightning between two or more objects or locators.

The lightning bolt is made up of soft body curves with extruded surfaces, which are rendered. The motion of the lightning is derived from an expression on the particles that make up the soft body curve.

            Choose 2+ Items that the lightning will go through
Effects > Create Lightning > Options:


*To Select Lightning - Grab Red and Black Selection Handle*

Channel Box:


To Position:
            Grab the Tangent Manipulator on whatever end you want to move
            Use Move Tool

Maya Effects Menu - Shatter

Shatter Tutorial by: Wes Lauka and Chris Carter

1. Open Maya and create a plane or surface to have an object shatter on.

2. Create a balll (sphere) which will be the object to be shattered

3. Make sure the Dynamics is tab selected,
-select your surface plane object, click Soft/Rigid Bodies > Create Passive Rigid Body

4. With the Plane surface selected, open the Channel Box/Layer Editor changE Collision Layer to -1.

5. Select the sphere and create a Gravity Field. (Fields > Gravity)

6. Edit > Delete by Type> History

7. With the sphere still selected, select Effects > Shatter (square for options)
-Surface shatter name: Whatever you want to name it
-Shard count: choose the number of shards you wish to have
-Extrude shards: default = 0, you can change to extrude the shard after impact.
-Seed value: 0
-Post operation: rigid bodies with collisions off
-Original Surface: Link to shards

8. With the sphere selected, open the outliner and select the specific shards linked to the sphere and select the gravity field.

9. Fields > Affect Selected Object(s)

10. Reverse your timeline to frame 1 and play your animation from the beginning to end.

Keeping the form of the Sphere before shatter

Although the shatter works with the collision of the surface plane, the sphere has lost its roundness and smoothness in geometry. We must key the shatter effect to switch from on to off in the timeline from before the shatter takes place, to after.

1. With you key frame on 1 (or the beginning) , select the sphere and open up the
channel box/layer editor.

2. Select Shatter: change to off or 0.

3. Right click on shatter and Key selected

4. Switch to Side view of your scene and move your timeline to the point of where the sphere would crack on the plane surface

5. Select the sphere again, and open up the channel box, right click on shatter attribute and turn it On or 1.

6. Right click and Key selected.

7. Reverse playback and play the animation

Maya Effects Menu - Curve Flow

How To use Maya Curve Flow
by Cory Scheerer and Cat Schubert


Make sure your in Dynamics

1. Create an EP Curve

2. Go to Effects then Curve Flow Options
change options to fit animation but defaults work.

3. Your curve will change getting rings around it. If you hit Play you will notice particles following the line.
You can click on the particles and change the there properties. Emission rate is Keyable.

4. The circles around the curve are how far the particles will spread. Just scale them up to change the size.

Under Particles Instancer (Replacement) you can swap the particles with geometry.
To have lots of the shape follow the curve.(make sure the geometry is small)

Click the particales and shift-click the shape then click Instancer Replacement.

Maya Fluid 2D Container

Maya fluid dynamics (Voxel-based)

- First, change the main menu to Dynamics (Not nDynamics. That's different).

- Make sure that your timeline is set to play every frame. (In the playback section of the time slider preferences).

- Most menu items that you'll need are in the "Fluid Effects" menu.

- You can create 2D or 3D containers. These containers are broken up in to smaller sections called voxels. The simulation takes place by calculating interactions throughout the voxel system.

- If you want to change the contents of a container, select the container, then go in the Fluid Effects menu and select Add/Edit contents.

- You can create a container and emitter with a single click by selecting the appropriate options from this menu. This is equivalent to creating an empty emitter, and then going to Add/Edit contents and selecting emitter.

- If you want the fluid simulation to be more precise-looking, this is most easily done by increasing the number of voxels (near the top of the container's attributes).

- If you want to change how the fluid behaves, a significant portion of its attributes are inside the "content details" section.