Cigarette Smokin’ Babies

Page 6 of 7

The new attribute will appear under the “Per Particle (Array) Attributes” heading of the attribute editor. In the blank slot to the right of the newly formed attribute opacityPP, he right clicks to bring up a context menu. He chooses Create Ramp and the text “<- arrayMapper1.outValuePP” appears in the slot. Another right click in that slot will allow access to the ramp by choosing Edit Ramp from the nested context menu.

The idea here is to create very thin smoke that gets thicker as it accumulates. So it’s necessary to create a ramp that is dark throughout. The darker the colors in the ramp, the more transparent these particles will render. A white color in the ramp will set the opacity value of the particle to 1, making it fully opaque. On the other hand, a black color will set the opacity to 0, making the particle entirely invisible. [an error occurred while processing this directive]
Figure 10. (Click image for larger view.)
Koosh deletes the top two colors of the default ramp (by clicking the square handles on the right hand side of the ramp display) and sets the bottom color of the ramp’s value to 0 (through the HSV section of the Color Chooser Window), so the particles will fade in as they’re born. The next color he adds at a Position of 0.035 by clicking on the ramp’s display, thereby creating a new ramp handle, and adjusting that handle’s Selected Position attribute to 0.035. With that ramp’s round handle still selected, he clicks on the Selected Color’s color swatch and sets it to a dark gray with a Value of 0.016. Since all the colors on the ramp will be so low, the ramp will appear to be black throughout. Figure 10.

He then adds the following ramp positions and colors:

Position 0.075 Value 0.074
Position 0.185 Value 0.050
Position 0.400 Value 0.025

He’s almost done. A few more little things to be done and he can go off and get himself another bottle of gin at the corner store. All the animation and particle settings have been input, everything has been setup to move and look like cigarette smoke. Now what he needs to do is render it, and make any tweaks.

Since these are Hardware Rendered particles, he cannot set them off like any other render. These particle types need to be rendered through Window>Rendering Editors>Hardware Render Buffer. This will open a window through which Maya can render via the computer’s video card, through OpenGL. All other objects (except for a few exceptions) will also render through this window, but will not have the added niceties of detailed lighting or shading maps. Since there’s nothing else in the scene, Koosh had been planning on rendering these over black to be composited into the background life action plates anyway.

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