Particle Simulator question - Sandstorm

I have been working on this tutorial for Blender and he uses After Effects to composite and I've replaced that with Hitfilm Pro 4, but I am sorely lacking in the particle simulator department (Which he doesn't mention in the tut, but his finished product has one.)  How can I make a simulator that runs along the bottom edge of this sandstorm cloud and helps to "sell" the idea that the storm is kicking up dust as it advances?  Thanks all for any suggestions.



  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Export your scene with your camera and a null following the front edge of the sandstorm as an .ma file, and use Import Camera Data in Hitfilm.

    If you have accurate camera and null, you're halfway there.

    Not really.

    Create a quad emitter, parent the Emitter to your null (now a point). Parent the emitter NOT the layer. Rotate the emitter to match the ground plane, and set trajectory to "Cone." Rotate trajectory so particles fire up. 

    In particle system General turn off deflectors and forces.

    In Appearance, pick a smoky texture you like. Set it's color to match the dust. Blend normal. In Appearance and Appearance variation turn up texture angle (a lot) and texture angle/sec (40 for both is a good start).

      In Movement set a good speed, but make these particles nice and big.

    Go into the Lifetime Graph and fade in the Alpha. Keep peak alpha pretty low and fade back out at the end. Set scale so the particles get larger.

    Duplicate this particle system. Change the seed. Lower scale and life by about half, but raise speed so the particles travel about 3/4 far as the first particle system. Raise particles per second to fill in.

    Duplicate and repeat. Smaller, faster, shorter life, more particles per second.

    You'll need to tweak the Lifetime alpha. The goal is to get the smallest particles to fade as the middle particles are mostly  visible, and middle particles fade as large particles become mostly visible. 

    Ok, that's the cloud kicked up. Duplicate the eemitter, change it's trajectory to disk. Adjust orientation to be parallel to the ground. Drop scale and life of all particle systems.

    That's the dust kicked along the ground.


    Ok, now rocks being tossed.

    Duplicate the first emitter and kill the particle systems. Widen the cone. Create a new particle system with a concrete debris texture. You'll want the scale to be small. Maybe 2%

    Create a Force. This will default to Gravity, but you'll probably need to turn it down to 5% or less.

    Create a deflector. Make it a cube, scale it to a plane and match it to your ground.

    Now you'll just have to fiddle with the speed, friction, bounce and gravity until you have what you want. 


  • edited October 2016

    @Triem23  Thanks for the assist.    Now, back to the fray to try your instructions.  Oh, and I thank you for the time you took to write out such detailed instructions.


    PS: Hit a snag.  I created an empty and parented it to the leading edge of the storm mesh but I cannot figure out how to export an .ma file from Blender??  I did export an .abc  but HItfilm only wants an .ma for animation data, it seems.  I'm looking for a way to convert the abc or dae or fbx data to .ma at the moment.


  • @Triem23 I have been trying to find the Lifetime Graph that you mentioned and and I can't find it anywhere.  Did a search and on Google and it was talking about that being a feature in Hitfilm Ultimate??  Tried finding out if I had Hitfilm Pro 4 only and I am not finding any reference to Pro 4 Ultimate.  I did find a Lifetime tab between Controls and Text but even by selecting various settings in the Particle system it stays empty.  Do you know if I am doing something wrong or did I miss buying 4 Ultimate back in January?  Thanks for your input.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    tddavis, the "Lifetime" Panel is a bit situational. For the Lifetime panel to be activate you have to have have a particle simulator layer active, and you need to have a property selected somewhere under Emitter>Particle Systems>Particle System.

    Putting it another way, you have to actually be working on a particle system within a particle simulation for the Lifetime Panel to be active. For sake of example, open up a particle sim and highlight the "Speed" property in particle movement then open the Lifetime Panel.

    There is no "Hitfilm 4 Ultimate." "Hitfilm Pro" is the new "Ultimate." There was a name change with version 3. :-)

  • @Triem23.  Thank you kind sir.  I got it now.  I guess I wasn't clicking on the particle system at all before like I thought I was.

Sign In or Register to comment.