Atomic Particles need gravy... gravity even.

MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
Here's something I made in After Effects CS4 (no plugins) but there are some tricks used.
The basic effect is achieved using a layer decomposition - which I would have loved to have done in HFU but I can't (drat) as the Atomic Particle effect doesn't have the necessary gravitational adjustment (or support forces in general).
Please? '-)


  • NullUnitNullUnit Website User Posts: 791 Just Starting Out
    edited March 2014
    Check out this tutorial:
    In atomic particles the forces are done a bit differently. The flow controls will effect which way the particles go. You can also change the textures in atomic particles and use a cloud or smoke texture. 
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    Thanks null.

    I've doodled with it, sure, but the effect I was looking for was falling dust as the letters are rubbed away. Andrew Kramer did the opposite effect with a decomposition where the particles lifted away like a gas. Been a year or more since I watched that tut so I may be imagining it.

    I can't get the particles to move they way I went them to in the Y axis at all.
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    I think you are over thinking it.  From that first video... have an expanding mask with a strong feather and a particle simulator with gravity on it and mobile emitters.  You can come up with a way to have the particles activate and then die with a layer moves over them.
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Yeah, that looks more like a particle simulator job than an atomic particles job. What did you use in CS4 to do it? I don't believe AE includes an array particle effect like Atomic.
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    Morning guys (is it still morning?) typically British weather here in Smoggy so it's hard to tell.
    Here's a less distracting comparison using Hitfilm and AE with the blurs removed and the complexity reduced. I haven't done anything with Atomic save for animating the dispersal.
    In AE there are two moving masks - one wipes the text and the other provides a window that the effect uses.
    The normal particle system can't (easily that I can see or even at all) decompose a layer like this: this exercise started as me trying to see how fast Hitfilm was in comparison to AE with a large particle effect. Particle Playground, from what I can tell, actually ran out of RAM when the effect became too complex. The machine certainly gave up and had to be re-started which is highly unusual for a Mac. This is why I was forced to use that ugly blur to simulate a large field of tiny particles.
    Particle Playground is a very complicated (confusing) and little used effect and it's 2D only so most people dismiss it out of hand. But it is actually the most powerful particle effect that stock AE (up to CS4) had. Plug ins like Particular and Plexus have taken centre stage but my limited budget (and respect for copyright) leaves me with very few choices.
    Hence (back on point) why I figured that Atomic could use a force effect to drive particles one way or another as the layer comes apart. It's probably a niche effect, but a neat one all the same.
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Atomic particles work extremely differently to normal particles, so having them interact with forces would certainly be non-trivial.
    Perhaps a better enhancement to consider for the future would be enabling more emitter options for the particle sim, so that a line of text (for example) could be used as the particle emitter.
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    I'm not sure you'd need strict physical forces (a la the Particle Simulator) just some way to direct the particles produced on the X and/or Y axes, Simon.
    Atomic is already doing this anyway.
    Adding simple "gravity" to a particle is something we've been doing since I was a "lad" playing games like Williams' Defender   :P  and we wrote similar effects (on a per-pixel basis) with hundreds of pixel-particles following private trajectories influenced by gravity. I did it in 6502 assembler on a BBC Micro - so if I can do it...
    The tut Michael mentions above suggests using gradients and that would be an easy way to do it I would imagine.
    It's not a criticism, just a thought to improve Atomic in the future.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,212 Ambassador
    edited March 2014
    But, as has been said before (by FxHome staff) no less, this isn't a job for Atomic. Atomic works via mathematical (fractal) distortion of a particle array, using black and white images or audio frequencies as dynamic modifiers. Atomic is best suited for organic flowing shapes or "Flocking" behavior and free floating effects. The particle simulator is physics based, and is the tool you want.
    Animate a wipe across your text to remove it.
    Add a particle simulator. Create sphere emitters for each line of text. Make the spheres' radii about the height of a line. Heck, scale the X down to make an oblong. Create a 3D point that follows the wipe. Parent emitters to this point. Adjust trajectory to "Cone" and rotate to the direction you want. Create a global force for your gravity. Now adjust particle appearance, etc as you would in AE. The built in Ember textures might work for particles of chalk. You'll have to fine-tune speed vs gravity to get good dynamics. Keyframe the "Active" property of each emitter so it only spews particles while crossing chalk. You could keyframe the height of the emitter as you cross tall and short characters if you feel extra-stylish. You could even make deflectors for the blackboard and shelf and change trajectory to random for more interaction with environment.
    You just can't do that with Atomic.
    You COULD use the method shown in Majahr's tutorial to combine an atomic dispersion wipe (of the chalk layer) with a partice physics sim as well.
    Btw Simon, forces, and deflectors would be great to add to atomic. Conversely being able to use layer alpha to define an emitter shape in the particle sim would be great (there's your "line of text emitter". Also, a "Randomness" setting for particle emitters would be great--0 randomness would spawn particles in a grid array, 1 Randomness would be the current defaul seeding. Maybe 2 could be an inverse modifier to push a seed further?
    *EDIT* I see I missed a conversation while laboriously composing on a phone.
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    @-)I do that all the bloody time trying to compose on a phone, Michael; same on the tablet. You just can't beat working on a computer.
    I should also mention that, as a programmer (retired) I'm fairly well aware of what can and can't be done. Most people don't believe that AE even has this capability in Particle Playground (which is, on the face of it, bloody awful) yet it does and a lot more besides.
    Atomic does the layer "exploder" extremely well.
    This technique works well (as I have mentioned) for disintegrating a character (rotoed or green screened) and with the direction reversed, having the particles fly away  - or blow away like sand in .... I think Bellasario did it some time back for one of his idents.
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    I could be missing something (Quite normal) 
    But why not just wipe a shatter across the text ?
    Should give you the exact effect that the AE demo above had, but in very few clicks ;)

    Tried shatter, couldn't get it to work like this: AE has Shatter with almost exactly the same function (Hitfilm is faster I think) but doesn't work either.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,212 Ambassador
    Yeah, shatter may be able to give a similar effect, but chalk is fine particles, and I think you'd have to make a very detailed shatter map. Maybe noise and a threshold for hard black and white? I don't know if Hitfilm would resolve the geometry finely enough for the desired effect. A simple gradient would be thie timing map...

    Hmmm... I haven't really played with shatter much. Maybe once I finish my "z-pass" experiments...
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,212 Ambassador
    Nicely done, Win!
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    Hah! Nice work. It's very close. ;-)
    I'll have a look-see later on.
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37

    Yeah - that's a very good alternative.
    Part of the reason for using a particle system (a la Atomic) is speed. My machine is very middle of the road (i5, 3.2Ghz) and shatter is slooooww. Agonisingly so in this case; Atomic is way, way faster even with a complex layer map.
    Shatter is creating (faux?) 3D pieces which take much longer to render than simple textures. 
    Crucially, the point of the OP is not IF this can be done by different method (and Shatter certainly delivers the goods) but that Atomic could be improved by giving the designer more control over what happens to the generated particles - even just in X-Y space - ironically, using a similar technique to what Win has done here with Shatter.
    This Shatter example would work brilliantly on a "demonic" person having them blow apart into little chunks - which I think was done in a B-movie about a Djin the name of which escapes me.

  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    I'm confused Win. How is Atomic not a particle "system"? (I'm assuming every particle has something tracking it's X and Y position otherwise you couldn't animate them. That's what happened when I wrote this sort of stuff 30-odd years back.) Although in those days we didn't have accelerated 2D let alone accelerated 3D! ;-)
    AE has Shatter and I've used it before (not for this effect of course) and it works very much like the one in Hitfilm producing little extruded bits.
    The AE effect is a particle system of sorts - it simply breaks the layer into small pieces (the smallest I can get away with is 4px before it croaks)
    Perhaps I don't understand how Atomic works - it would help if Simon could ask the devs to explain. It might be relying in an GPU effect that I'm not familiar with.
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
  • OrangePekoeOrangePekoe Website User Posts: 478
    edited March 2014
    As Triem mentions, this can and is totally suited to the particle simulator:
    It's similar to the opening title I used for the Particle Warfare Breakdown video however the mask reveal would need to be reversed with a mask removal and adjusting the particle textures to better simulate dust.
    - Create Text
    - Keyframe Mask Removal
    - Create a Particle System with the Particle Sim
    - Add a directional force to simulate gravity
    - Keyframe the emitter to follow the keyframes of the mask removal
    - Adjust your texture to dust
    Actually here's a better example since it essentially wipes away the object into particles...
    Edit: Okay Youtube's not letting me adjust it to show the video at a specific time so use the above video and go to 1:57
    Since you're trying to simulate a light weight particle in the air - play around with the particle speed (both in the lifetime panel and the particle simulator) - the % of the directional force as well as possibly setting up another force to give it a more airy feel that works slightly opposite to the directional (gravity force) either through turbulence or another directional force. 
    Between the forces and the two speeds you'll have control over how quickly the particles fall as well as how quickly the particles move once their born until they die off. 
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    I already did the effect. In AE. Weeks ago.
    Seems that everyone missed the point. Don't want to do it again in Shatter. Have other effects that I want to do with something that works like what I'm familiar with and Atomic is very, very close.
    Which bit about that isn't clear to everyone?
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    I would have thought that was clear from the OP and everything else I wrote and I didn't even know about there is a feature request thread. I'm surprise Simon didm't point that out.
    I'm a long-time AE user and only just getting into Hitfilm but I'm also a former programmer so when people tell me something I have already coded, in this case decades ago, can't be done or is non-trivial I wonder why.
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Bear in mind people generally enjoy discussing HitFilm techniques in the 'HitFilm techniques' forum, so it was fairly inevitable. :) It's not necessarily solely about helping the OP, but about exchanging ideas and tips from which everybody can potentially learn/improve. I don't think it's that people didn't understand you, more that they've been enjoying the discussion and conversation.
    My point about forces being non-trivial is that atomic is fundamentally a grid of dots which get warped about. There's no 'physics' involved in their positioning. This is in contrast to the particle simulator, whereby each individual particle is a separate entity with its own forces and influences. That's not to say you can't do it (the spherical settings in atomic are a bit like a force, conceptually at least), more that it's not something you can just bolt onto the current setup.
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,212 Ambassador
    [quote name="Triem23" post="40701" timestamp="1395922618"] Atomic works via mathematical (fractal) distortion, of a grid array using black and white images or audio frequencies as dynamic modifiers. Atomic is best suited for organic flowing shapes or "Flocking" behavior and free floating effects. .[/quote]

    *sad face* I thought I had a good description of what Atomic does earlier in the thread.
  • MarcDracoMarcDraco Website User Posts: 37
    "As for the comment about you coding a particle array that runs on a GPU with forces, indeed coding it decades ago too, well i have a reputation for not being polite, so I am going to surprise some people and just say 'OK'"
    There's been some snarky remarks in this thread Simon and that one is really beyond the pale. 
    I'm just going to say, WTF?
    You mean this:
    "I did it in 6502 assembler on a BBC Micro - so if I can do it..."
    I clearly said I coded that effect in 6502 assembly language on a BBC micro. I can clearly remember the bug where one particle would occasionally be left behind in some cases and I spent a day tracking it down to a BNE which should have been a BCC. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
    Yes it did have simulated forces and put 255 dots on the screen in an explosive effects; later programmers made better versions on the Z80. 255 - 8-bit max (excluding the 0).
    I never, once, suggested that I can program a GPU - I'll openly say that I can't; C++ isn't my preferred tool of choice and shader languages are not really my bag. I DID mention that back in my day, we DIDN'T HAVE accelerated anything - not even 2D. Every "particle" (pixel) was rendered the the screen by moving bytes of information and often even going down to the bit level for masking as my last game actually did.
    I did some work on non-accelerated 3D particle systems for a game in Linux but I never complete it as it got just too large for a single programmer working alone.
    Perhaps the OP was badly worded. It WAS a feature request - hence the WINK with the please.
    I take your point about Atomic being warped (and this  is where my admitted lack of GPU knowledge may be confusing - something else I've been a pains to point out). It may be a GPU effect - and I come from an era when we controlled every last pixel.
  • AxelWilkinsonAxelWilkinson Staff Administrator, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 5,232 Staff
    Marc, I would like to point out that the snarky comment you mention wasn't from Simon, it was from Tooshka.  I wasn't sure from your post whether you were just mentioning the comment to Simon, or if you were thinking he was the one who made it, so i wanted to clarify just in case.
    Let's keep in mind that once you look past any attitudes, what has happened here is simply that some people tried to offer helpful suggestions when the OP wasn't actually looking for help.  This isn't a bad thing.  But let's stay friendly about it, shall we?
    By the way, Marc, the aforementioned suggestions thread is here:
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,212 Ambassador
    To clarify my own intent:
    With the Original Post, I thought this was a case of migrating to Hitfilm from AE, and trying to figure out how to recreate a similar technique in less familiar software, so... I offered my approach on how I would go about it. I intended no snark, and can see only one thing I posted that may have inadvertently come across as such (when I quoted myself).
    I also note that, despite best efforts and intentions, written language can be easily misunderstood, since we lose nuances of meaning expressed via tone, expression, cadence and body-language.
    Speaking only for myself, when I am setting out to be snarky, I try to preface this with a clear statement of intent to snark (recently in another thread there was a question asked in a monumentally stupid way--yes, I was sarcastic. Then, I noted I was done being sarcastic, and went into a detailed explanation of the question topic... On the other hand, something I wrote as a somewhat sarcastic "do some research before asking stupid questions" rant has ended up as a sticky... I think sometimes the devs appreciate my sarcasm, as, being FXhome staff, they are obliged to "play nice." But, I digress... I do that...)
    Anyhoo, I certainly have no frustration or ill will from this thread, and will continue to attempt to answer anything I perceive as a query to the best of my knowledge. :-)
  • StormyKnightStormyKnight Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,726 Ambassador
    edited March 2014
    Ehhhhhhh- the whole lot of ya pipe down! :)
    Now THAT'S snark. ;) 

    too much?
  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
    edited March 2014
    @Triem23... if there is going to be future forum brawls... i'd like to know.  That way me and Adam can go at it nice and proper.
    Unfortunately there is a level of snark that accompanies internet forums. Blackmagic design requires that you put your full name as your user name to cut down on that(because humanizing posts ideally should prevent people from having eCourage) and that doesn't really work out well.
    To the credit of the first page of posts... people were very pleasant and wrote out very detailed ways to accomplish what the original poster wanted.  I don't want people getting burnt out on helping because it is really nice that we Gang-Fu problems and situations.  They were also trying to explain that The effect that was suppose to be used was just a particle simulator.  A atomic particle effect can clearly be made to work but the #1 method is to use a particle simulator, with a force on it.  The example provided with hitfilm having the particles explode off and drift into space is pretty close but there was another couple steps to fine tune a force to make the particles fall and then you can choose if you want the particles to fall like dust or like stones.
    Sorry if the snark started coming out, its just you seemed to not be listening or fully getting the explanation.
    Now can we get back to a thread I started please?:)
  • SimonKJonesSimonKJones Moderator Website User, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 4,450 Enthusiast
    Anyway, misunderstandings aside let's all carry on as usual, shall we? With wit, intelligence and good lookin's.
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