Updated Particle system ideas

Sinan gave a great demo on particles Logik Live Episode #02 - Particles and mentioned that this system was developed in the 90’s
This is generally great for atmospherics and weather and sprinkling Christmas magic dust on our TV ads. I think we could do more with particles and animated geometry.

What are your thoughts and use case scenarios on an updated particle system?
How would you use them and what for (practically within Flame)?
What do we need to make this better?
Am looking to collate a list to send to Autodesk on the topic as I would certainly look to do more within Flame if there were less boundaries and more ease of use without remembering all those particle functions.
Do let me know.


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This is a long standing request / complaint / dream. There was even a petition at some point to port Trapcode’s Particular to flame. Particles are so useful in some many situations, yet just to have particles fade off in Flame you need to manually enter a math function. Forget about scrubbing back and forth on anything but the smallest of particle setups. just too much pain and i think not enough available resources to overhaul or implement an update. You may be better off cracking open Houdini, some of the other flame artists here use it.


Thanks for the input. Is there an intro to Houdini that’s recommended by Flame artists…? or do we think there should be a logik live intro to Houdini

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It’s funny, my only experience with particles has been Flame and combustion.

I wouldn’t say that I use them often. Once a year as an estimate.

My memory of combustion is a little cloudy but I remember them being a little more accessible than Flame.

I now have my arsenal of functions and basic understanding in Flame but it still can’t be considered terribly accessible.

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If it helps Boris are giving away Particle illusion for free as a standalone app.

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The big things are ramps to control lifetime functions and easy to use and better forces. I don’t love how I have to orient Gravity to be negative-y, for example.

Noise/turbulence functions are super important. Not the math equations we have to write out now, but big, easy operators.

And the capability to render at least as many real-time particles as something like Unity or Unreal.

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Honestly in the time being since writing an entire different particle system isn’t going to be quick or easy it would be nice if they included some more and better presets that start you off, so far starting from a square, round or pixel is just so far to where it looks good, so having more presets would be a quick fix before something bigger comes along.

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Combustion had lots of great presets and it was easy to tweak them to make them do what you wanted. And it was FAST. Even on my crappy little Sony Vaio 13" laptop that I used to use it on. Really miss that speed and functionality, which seems like a ridiculous thing to say given the power of our hardware and software now.


Combustion’s particle system was actually a third-party After Effects plug-in called Particle Illusion that Autodesk gave a more Combustion-y GUI. Particle Illusion is now part of BorisFX and, apparently, they give a stand-alone version of it away for free now.

On edit: I totally missed @johnag mentioned this earlier. Sorry for stepping on your toes John!

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That’s interesting. Might check that out.
Thanks Greg.

I think the wish list seems to be split into 2 parts.

1: A better user interface and accessibility for what’s already in the particle system
Control of ramps for lifetime colour / transparency in the interface.
Control of forces / noise fields through preset nodes with flexible parameters and a way to visualise these through the interface.
Increased speed with current hardware.

2: More functionality including creating volumes of particles.
Interacting with animated geometry for bouncers and collisions.
Collision detection for particles themselves.

… any more thoughts

more presets

Particle texture dependent on lifetime of particle.
This has been requested many times and I have an idea to implement it. So how about this, warning: lots of restirctions:

  • Works only for square particle type
  • Create a sequence for one particle texture animation. Its length needs to be a square number: 9, 16, 25, 36, 49…frames
  • Assemble them into a single image: 2048x2048, 3000x3000…
  • The particle system reads them as textures depending on the lifetime of the particle
    I know there are development hurdles here, but this would be the single most useful addition in my humble opinion.

On another note, I would like to create presets. The presets that ship with Flame are unintuitive if you want to tweak them. So I end up creating my own setup from scratch everytime.

Give me ideas for presets, I will communicate with you to create the setup. We can document it together and release them as setups. Later maybe Autodesk will pack them into presets and ship them with Flame.


I’d be happy to try and make a few presets. I’ve been reasonably successful in making confetti cannons and sparks that bounce off the floor in the past.

I should also get back onto making some lens flare presets…

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need to have the ability for the same emitter to emit different geo. currently if you want to an emitter to produce 3 different shapes of snowflakes or leaves or whatever, you need 3 different emitters.

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confetti would be great @andy_dill - that’s the kind of thing that rears it’s head easily 2-3 times a year.

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Can you dig up the requests in Flame Feedback and we’ll up vote them?

I’ve attached our requests to this Flame feedback to get some more votes and attention.

FI-01524: Particles system improvements


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Voted. Thank you @craig.higgins.

This would be a great opportunity to add particle presets to the @MikeV Logik Portal.

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