3DSMax: Ercana Power Connectors and Sparks

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3DSMax: Ercana Power Connectors and Sparks

Postby Semjay » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:39 am

I want to create some power switches like those in Ercana. The ones where the player pushes up to connect the electricity. When the contacts touch there is a shower of sparks. It is the sparks that I’m not sure how to create. I thought I could use a particle emitter but that would squirt out sparks continuously. Can the emitter be activated and deactivated? Or is there another way?

Any thoughts?


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Re: 3DSMax: Ercana Power Connectors and Sparks

Postby Deledrius » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:54 pm

Semjay wrote:II thought I could use a particle emitter but that would squirt out sparks continuously. Can the emitter be activated and deactivated?


I haven't tried it, but it sounds like you'd want to activate the emitter, which then starts a timed callback which turns it back off again.
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Re: 3DSMax: Ercana Power Connectors and Sparks

Postby Emor D'ni Lap » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:10 pm

If you can't get the control over the 'look' you want using Particles, try experimenting with moire animation.

Make a piece of 2D art showing the thin linear or arced paths you want these sparks to take on a plane, with the lines getting thinner as the sparks would fade: start with white lines on a transparent .png or .tif BG.
Put that on the top layer of a Plasma Standard. For the bottom layer, make another similar piece of art, but with short thin lines perpendicular to the first piece. Animate this layer against the static upper layer using Alpha/Multiply/Alpha layer blending.
When you have something that starts to work, you can refine it further using UV warping, variable transparency and animating brightness and opacity.
Then, once you have one plane of sparks that works for you, duplicate and offset it in space and timing for density and dimensionality.
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Re: 3DSMax: Ercana Power Connectors and Sparks

Postby Semjay » Sun Sep 15, 2019 12:39 am

Thank you. That’s an interesting idea. I’d not thought of using an animated material. However, I’m not very adept at working with materials to that level of sophistication just yet.


Having thought about this a bit more, I suppose I could animate each spark individually (as I’d only need about six of them) and have them move along an arcing path. I could manage that!


Does anyone else have a different idea?
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