boot­camp: x-par­ti­cles

Get to grips with one of the most com­pelling plug-ins for Cinema 4D

3D World - - CONTENTS - Mike Griggs Mike Griggs is a 3D and vis­ual ef­fects artist with vast ex­pe­ri­ence across the in­dus­try, as both a cre­ator and a tech­ni­cal writer. www.cre­ative­bloke.com

Ex­plore this Cinema 4D plugin

Par­ti­cle sys­tems are one of the main com­po­nents of full-fea­tured dig­i­tal con­tent cre­ation soft­ware. While Cinema 4D does have a par­ti­cle sys­tem, it is slow and does not have an in­tu­itive work­flow for any­thing other than ba­sic sim­u­la­tions. This flies in the face of one of Cinema 4D’s great­est strengths, which is its shal­low learn­ing curve com­pared to many of its com­peti­tors on the mar­ket.

Thank­fully, In­sy­dium came to the res­cue with the X-par­ti­cles plug-in, which of­fers ev­ery­thing that the Cinema 4D par­ti­cle sys­tem could be (and more). In fact, it can be ar­gued that the rea­son there has not been much de­vel­op­ment of Cinema 4D’s own in­ter­nal par­ti­cle sys­tem is that there is no need, as X-par­ti­cles does such a stel­lar job.

It is not just that X-par­ti­cles of­fers a fast and easy-to-use par­ti­cle sys­tem which works in part­ner­ship with nearly ev­ery toolset within Cinema 4D, and has an easy-to-grasp ques­tion and an­swer sys­tem for cre­at­ing com­plex sys­tems. It is the fact that X-par­ti­cles is be­com­ing a full FX suite of­fer­ing smoke, fire and fluid sim­u­la­tions with pow­er­ful mesh skin­ning ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Many artists may ac­tu­ally find that the dy­namic sys­tems within X-par­ti­cles, es­pe­cially when used with X-par­ti­cles con­straints, pro­vide an eas­ier sys­tem to get the re­sults they need than they would with us­ing Cinema 4D’s na­tive dy­nam­ics toolset.

X-par­ti­cles has a range of ge­om­e­try cre­ation tools, which can cre­ate any­thing from water to an­i­mated ten­drils. It fea­tures par­ti­cle sys­tems that can be used as driv­ers and falloff de­form­ers for other el­e­ments within a scene, along with a range of shaders, data map­ping and vi­su­al­i­sa­tion tex­tures. It may sound like a cliché, but the only limit to X-par­ti­cles is an artist’s imag­i­na­tion.

There are still a few caveats, how­ever: GPU ac­cel­er­a­tion would be good to see, as would a bet­ter liq­uid mesher. De­spite these small com­plaints, X-par­ti­cles should be the first plug-in pur­chase for any new C4D artist.

Au­thor

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