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Professional Papervision3D by Michael Lively

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Chapter 6. Working with Particle Systems

No 3D animation is complete without a particle system. Fire, smoke, water, a swarm of bees, or flock of birds can all be created using particles. Particles add an element of interactive realism. If you're on a star quest mission and your ship gets hit with a plasma beam, your CGI (computer generated imagery) is using particles to create the plasma. Each particle has its own set of physical parameters such as position, velocity, and acceleration, which requires that PV3D incorporate physics into its classes.

PV3D's particle system, at present, isn't very robust. In this chapter you bring it up a notch using a few new OOP principles and a little bit of Newtonian physics. You'll build a 3D particle system from scratch; learn how to create particles in PV3D, and create a particle glowworm in Flash CS4. You get your particles interacting with video, and exploding. And finally, you find out how to use bill-boarding to create large particle systems; how to create a scanning particle system, and how to incorporate the FLINT particle system into PV3D.

So, what's a particle system anyway?

Particle Systems in PV3D

A particle system is a large collection of similar particles acting in a similar way, like rain drops, smoke, and bees to name a few. PV3D itself can be thought of as a particle system (where the display objects are treated as particles). Also, like a particle system, PV3D keeps track of many points in space (vertices for example) and updates ...

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