Lets get nerdy with X-Particles.

Recently Substance reached out and asked me to help out with some particle sims for this years Nodefest titles. Scott does amazing titles, so of course I said yes.

The brief was to create two shots, one of sand falling through a hand, and the second of sand blowing away in the wind all abstract and arty like. During production I picked up the preceding shot of the sand growing up to meet the fingers.

I was provided with pretty extensive reference, and the crystal growing shot was definitely a result of scott and I bouncing a scene file between us. As with anything, the works better for collaborating. Substance lit, texture and rendered everything in Octane. With that disclaimer out the way I'll break down two of the set ups.

This was a fun rig to work out, There is an xpVertexMap acting like a proximity shader, but writing to a vertex tag.

The vertx tag dictates the emission from the floor geo.

thheeeennn we had two xpSpeed modifiers, one set to barely let the particles move, the second tied to the fields attached to the spheres. Giving the impression the particles were only growing when close to a finger tip.
Which gave us something like this.
Thing is, at the density require, this was way too heavy to work in this instance and didn't give the complete level of art direct-ability needed.

In the end we create 5 individual "trees" in x-particles. baked out the alembic of them animating over 50 frames. thrown in a cloner with effector's and fields. After Substance texture and lit the whole thing
Trick here was to create random motion with intent.

The direction is powered by a spline, dropped into the first xpFlowField, combined with a xpWind object to push the particles left to right. Two more xpFlowFileds were added. Using a noise shader to add variation to Velocity and acceleration.
Bit of turbulence in the wind and a gravity modifier to add some realism. Little Substance magic in octane and away we go.

The key here was that combining a few different modifiers with a light touch can get you much "nicer" results than leaning hard on one or two in a scene.
Thanks for reading, hopefully you found something useful. the two scene files are available to download here . If you have any questions please get in touch.
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