particle Illusion 3
There are secrets in Hollywood that many visual effects houses don't want you to know. I'm going to let you in on one of them, particleIllusion 3.0 . Chances are you've seen
the results of this application in many films but didn't even know it. Many companies don't want you to see that a very simple intuitive application, which cost them, less than $400.00 was
behind that super expensive shot you just paid for. Heck if an application that anyone can afford, and learn to use is this powerful no wonder they are afraid to let you in on the truth, it
might have an effect on their bottom line.
If you have used the particle engine inside of Discreet’s Combustion software then you are already familiar with particleIllusion’s capabilities, however there are several major differences
you will want to keep in mind. First the particle engine inside of Combustion is from particleIllusion 2.0 as opposed to the newer more powerful version 3.0. Second particleIllusion 3.0 as a
stand-alone application is far more responsive and usable than it is in its current implementation within Combustion. The reason for this is the way Combustion uses memory and caches frames.
Your results will very depending on several issues such as your video card, and the resolution of your composites. particleIllusion 3 adds several new features you won't find in Combustion.
Some of these features include Forces and a new library manager. Area emitters can now be masked with images, and there are many new color options, such as “get color from layer” which allows
the simulation of displacement effects. Another new feature is the Super Emitter. This is an emitter that emits other emitters instead of particles which can be used to create some very
realistic and complex effects. Check out the wondertouch website for a full list of new features.
You will find if you are working at 2K and or higher resolutions, using particles inside of Combustion requires patience,
particularly when you need to use more than one emitter. This leads me to how I was introduced to particleIllusion 3.0.
I was approached to do the
effects on a half hour film “Sabine and the Two Headed Baby ”. Many of the shots involved adding a flame to the end of a torch. At the resolution of the show, which was 2K
cinemascope, the particle engine inside of my preferred compositing application (Combustion) just wasn't up to the task. So I took a look elsewhere and discovered that particleIllusion 3.0
was a viable alternative. Here is a quick look at the process involved:
The first step I took was to look at the various emitter libraries available of which there are many. After sifting through these I studied real torch flames in an attempt to keep the shots
as realistic as possible. After playing around with the standard torch flames provided in the particleIllusion libraries I made a couple of sample torch effect renders against black for the
director. In the end the director decided against realism and went for a much bigger flame similar in shape to a flame thrower. Such is the life of a Visual Effects Artist, as realism isn't
always the top of everyone’s list; the point is however that particleIllusion is capable of doing the whole spectrum from fantastic to realistic. Figure 1(to the left) shows the particle
library holding the various torch emitters I created for the show. In the upper black area you see the real torch flame which was created by shooting a real torch then generating a grey scale
bit map of several frames.
Once the director settled on a flame look it was time start animating and tracking the torch. Figure 2 (below) shows the flame style the director liked best. In this image you can see that I
am using a force to change the direction of particles at the tip of the flame. This is great for simulating wind or the flicker of movement. The tip of the torch was tracked in Combustion and
the tracking data was imported into PI3. Even though particleIllusion 3.0 is a stand alone application you can import tracking data from Combustion or After Effects. Once the flame appeared
to move naturally, I rendered the shot with an alpha channel and then used combustion to comp it into my shot.
allows for importing background image sequences of virtually any size or resolution. However it only supports 8 bits of color depth. So if you're doing work at film resolution you will need
to composite your shots in another program like Combustion or else take a hit on color depth. There is also no support for the cineon file format at this time. I've found working with proxy
files as backgrounds to see how my particles look compared to their surroundings a way to get good results when doing 2K work.
The cons: Particle Illusion 3.0 only has support for 8bit color depth, and no support for the cineon file format. If you are working with cineon files you will need to render your
particle layers separately and composite them inside of another application, to avoid loosing color depth when you render the final. particleIllusion 3.0 is a 2d application only, this can be
a problem or not depending on the particular shot you are dealing with. You may find yourself looking for ways to cheat z-depth perspective.
The Pros: particleIllusion 3.0 is extremely fast and makes it very easy to create your own particles, emitters and libraries. This application is compatible with most OpenGL video
cards. This application has one of the fastest email support response times of any product I have ever purchased. Wondertouch is extremely dedicated to helping end users get the most out of
their product. You cannot beat the price, ease of use or the results. By the time you read this wondertouch should be announcing a price break for Discreet Combustion owners, to purchase the
stand alone Particle Illusion 3 software at nearly half price. This is a great deal. particleIllusion 3 cost $399.00 for the CD version and $389.00 for the download version, but Combustion
Owners can purchase the competitive upgrade for $179.00. That's a great deal.
If you found this page from a direct link, please visit our forums or read other articles at CreativeCOW.net
|Related Articles / Tutorials:|
|Igniting a Soccer Ball, part two|
In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Jeff Bellune demonstrates how to use the tools available in particleIllusion and After Effects to get a particle emitter source to track an element in a video clip. Part Two concerns the animation of the emitter itself so that it accurately tracks the video element.
Tutorial, Video Tutorial
|Igniting a Soccer Ball, part one|
In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Jeff Bellune demonstrates how to use the tools available in particleIllusion and After Effects to get a particle emitter source to track an element in a video clip. Part One details how to animate the Layer Offset in particleIllusion to eliminate motion in the clip that is caused by movement of the camera that filmed the scene.
Tutorial, Video Tutorial
particleIllusion Logo Hold Technique
In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Aharon Rabinowitz answers the common question: How do I make my logo stay up longer in particleIllusion? If youve ever had trouble making youre logo stay on screen when using a pIllusion emitter preset, this will show you how to do that in just a few simple steps.
Tutorial, Video Tutorial
|Professional Emitter Libraries: Pyro and Hearts|
In this article, CreativeCOW's Bill O'Neil takes a look at the new wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries. In this set are two Pyro libraries and one Heart set which is a collection of beautiful heart themed designs and backgrounds.
wondertouch particleIllusion Professional Emitter Libraries
In this article, CreativeCOW's Bill O'Neil takes a look at the new wondertouch Professional Emitter Libraries. Bill says he's never been a fan of of 'presets' because he feels like he's stealing someone else's work, but in this case, he finds that ''...Tom's work is inspiring. Dive into the settings of his emitters and learn. It is obvious that he has spent a lot of time in creating these deep, complex images. If nothing else, this collection can replace a few stock background libraries you might have. They are that good.''
Relighting an Actor
Have you ever created an effect in which your actor is throwing a fireball? Pretty cool effect, right? But somethings wrong. It doesnt quite look real. In this video tutorial, Creative Cow Leader Elvis Deane demonstrates relighting an actor thats throwing a fireball which will add realism to the effect.
Tutorial, Video Tutorial