thinkingParticles R4 uses a 100% rule-based approach to create particle animations and special effects. This unbelievable power and flexibility resulting from such an approach, opens up a whole new world of animation effects that can be created with 3ds Max. Crowd control, for example, is a perfect situation which would lend itself to the application of rule-based particle systems.
thinkingParticles offers true Non Linear Animation (NLA). In fact, it depends on NLA completely. Combining NLA and a rule based animation approach, means unlimited animation and effects power under your finger tips!
Imagine; the job is to animate some cannons shooting at incoming targets. How would you do it - Rule based and with full use of NLA?
The animation below shows the cannon movements (aiming) and also the loading and shooting sequence of the projectiles. How would you approach such an animation? Key framing - probably not. What would happen if the script changes and you are asked to change the amount of targets, or the amount of cannons? As you can see, this animation task could prove quite tedious. Especially, if you plan modifications to the complete environment.
thinkingParticles makes it easy to solve such animation tasks. It is the ideal tool, thanks to its full NLA support.
This is how you would plan this task in thinkingParticles:
Create the cannon object
Setup the shooting sequence of the cannon
Create some targets
Turn the cannons into particles
Create a rule to aim at approaching targets when they are near
Create a rule to shoot at the targets
Create a rule to explode the targets when they get hit by a projectile
Lean back and enjoy the fully automatic animation !
In the animation shown below, you can see that the cannons aim and shoot at the nearest target. When a target gets hit, it explodes! (This is also a rule) Everything is automatic and rule-based. No single keyframe was used in the animation shown below.
Here is another example of a rule-based animation:
The UFO flies from mushroom to mushroom, beams it up, and flies to the next. Animating by hand would be a lot of work, especially when conditions change (amount of mushrooms or position). In this example, you just paint the mushrooms (which are simple particles) all over the landscape and the UFO starts to do its job - fully rule based!