Animating Particle Effects

Just like you can attach a material object to a geometric object to define optical and other properties, you can attach 'post effect' objects to particles to render the otherwise primitive particles as more interesting objects.

If you have read the previous animation tutorials, you should already know how to animate geometric properties of any kind of objects, including particles. In this tutorial we will examine how to animate the actual particle effects.

Tutorial level: Beginner

Example project: 'tutorprojects\animation\particles\animated lens flares'

Let us create some 1D particles, which are rendered using an animated lens flare effect. You can create spinning lens flares, star filters, and many other fancy effects this way.

1. Use the particle tool to create some particles. If you haven't used the particle tool yet, the workflow goes as follows: Go to the Particle tab in the toolbar. Activate the particle tool, left click and drag the mouse across the view and select Accept.

2. Select the Lens flare effect from the Select window's Post Particle Effects tab and open the property window.

3. Move the time slider to the last frame. As usual, activate the animation recording mode and modify various lens flare attributes to create key frames for them.

Lens flare properties
The initial state of lens flares

4. Reset animation recording and play with the animation slider to verify how the modified lens flare attributes change with time.

5. Now, map the lens flare object to the created particle object (you can do this by selecting the particle object and then drag and dropping the lens flare effect into the view window).

The final state of flares