Using Particles in Blender

Blender has had an integrated particle system from its early beginnings. Over the years, though, it has grown and matured into a much more powerful system for creating particle-based effects like hair, flock/swarm behavior, and explosions. And the particle system gets more and more powerful with every release.

The controls for Blender's particle systems live in Particle Properties, as shown in Figure 13-1. Initially, this section looks pretty barren, with just a single list box. However, if you have a Mesh object selected and click the Plus (+) button to the right of the list box, a whole explosion of additional panels for controlling particle behavior appear. Adding a particle system in Particle Properties also adds a Particle System modifier to your object. Technically, you can create your new particle system from Modifiers Properties as well, but it's usually much easier to do it from Particle Properties.

Figure 13-1: Left-click the Particle Properties icon to bring up the particle control panels.


Knowing what particle systems are good for

Particle systems have a handful of good uses. Each use involves large numbers of individual objects that share some general behavior. Consequently, particle systems are ideal for groups of objects that move according to physics, such as fireworks or tennis balls being continuously shot at a wall. Particle systems ...

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