Blender Logo with Particles

I had a request for a quick walkthrough on how I did a short little animation of the Blender Logo being outlined in particles, so I thought I’d give it a shot. So, let’s get started. What we’re going to do is animate an emitter along a curve, so first thing we’ll need is the Blender Logo, modeled using curves. Kernon has a tutorial on how to do just that right here: http://www.blendernewbies.com/tutorials/swf/model_blender_logo/model_blender _logo.html Or you could cheat (like I did), and download the official blender logo. (Hey…take it easy on me… I downloaded it a long time ago before I even knew about Kernon’s tutuorial!). And in a blatant display of “do like I say, not like I do”, I’m not going to give you a link to official logo, if you want to cheat, you’re on your own.

My logo is in two parts, the orange part I’ve named “logo orange” and the blue part named, strangely enough, “rope-wobbler mangrove”. (Just kidding, its named “logo blue”). All we need is the flat curves, so if your logo curves have been extruded or beveled, clear them out.

Scale your logo so that it is roughly 18.5 - 19 blender units wide (x-axis), it doesn’t have to be exact. Okay, now add a plane, and scale it down by .5, and name it “emitter orange”. With “emitter orange” selected, we need to add a constraint, so go to the object buttons (F7), click the “add constraint” button, and choose “Follow Path”. In white “Ob” text box, type the name of the curve we want to follow, which is “logo orange”. So now your “emitter orange” should snap to the beginning of your curve, if it doesn’t, clear the location of “emitter orange” by selecting it and pressing alt+g. So now if you animate, “emitter orange” should follow the curve of “logo orange”. It does but not exactly like we want it too, so in the constraints panel, turn on “CurveFollow” and the “-Z” axis below it. Also click the “X” button beside “Up”.

This tells our emitter to follow the direction of the curve as it goes around, and that we want it to follow the curve using the –Z axis with the X axis pointing up. So, give it a try by animating and see if it works. Mine does, so hopefully, yours does too. Now, everything that we just did, do again, only create a plane called “emitter blue” and set it up so that it follows the curve of “logo blue”. I’ll wait right here until you do.

Done already? Good. Hopefully you have two planes that are animating around your logos. But wait, we want one to go around the inner circle of the orange part of the logo too, so, select the orange logo, tab into edit mode, and select only the inner part of the logo, then press “P” to separate. You should now have a separate curve named “logo orange.001” which suits me just fine. Now grab the “orange emitter” plane and shift+D to duplicate it. Which will give us a plane called “orange emitter.001”, which fits quite nicely in the scheme of things. So with “orange emitter.001” selected go to your constraints panel and change the Object we wish it to follow to “orange logo.001”. A quick animation test shows that I now have three planes following all the curves, so hopefully yours does too. In my case the emitters on the inside circles are starting out at the bottom, while the plane on the outside part of the logo is starting on the left side.

And I didn’t like that. No sir, I didn’t like it one bit. So what I did was rotate the inner two curves 90 degrees, so that the emitters line up a little better. But notice that the inner to curves are not circles, but ellipses, and now they’re all out of wack, so, opening a transform properties box by hitting “N”, I manually switch the values for “DimX” and “DimY” (make sure that “Link Scale” is not selected), and everything is right with the world.

Now select “emitter orange” and go to you particle buttons (F7 three times). In the particles buttons select “Add New” and name the particle system “orange”. I must confess here, I don’t completely understand all the settings here, but here’s what I do know. I want the amount of particles at about 6000, and to start at 1 and end at 100, with a life of 75. And I want to max out the randomization of the particle life by setting the slider to the maximum of 1. I want the initial velocity to be from the Normals at about .25 with a random variation of about .75. I want a slight –Z influence under the global effects to simulate gravity, in this

case about -.5, and I want some Brownian motion to the particles, I’ve chosen .05 here. And to be completely honest, I don’t know how much the other settings I’ve chosen affect the final outcome. All these settings are the result of lots of trial and error and playing around, which I suggest you do too, just to get a feel for what they do. Anyways, here are the settings I’m using.

You may want to change these settings to create something more to your tastes. Okay, I’m going to use the same basic settings for “emitter orange.001”, with a small change so just select it, and then in the Particle Systems buttons, select the drop down box beside “Add New” and select “orange”, the particle system we just set up. Now, click the number (“3” for me) beside “orange”, the name we’ve given this particles system.

That number 3 is telling me I have 3 objects using this particle system. By clicking it, we’re making a copy of this particle system for “emitter orange.001”. You’ll be prompted “Make single user?”, so do it, and now we have a particle system named “orange.001”. Just change amount of particles to 4000 and leave everything else the same. For the “emitter blue” particles I want to make another small change, do the same thing again that we just did, only this time, change the name of the new particle system to “blue”, and change the amount of particles to 2000.

Now, when we run our animation, we should have all three emitters following the our logo curve outlines while emitting particles. The animation will run very, very slowly at first while the particle system “bakes”. Okay, one quick tip before we get to materials… If you decide that 100 frames is not how long you want it to take for your emitter to go around your curve, select the curve and go to your Edit buttons (F9), under the “Curve and Surface” panel, changing the value of “PathLen” will change how many frames it takes to animate an object the length of the path. If you do decide to change the path length, be sure to also change the parameters in you particle buttons to adjust the end and life of your particles to match up. If you do make a change and it is not reflected in your animation, it may be necessary to go the “Bake” panel of you Particle buttons and choose “Free Cache” for your emitters. Okay then, moving on to Materials. Select “emitter orange” and go to the Materials buttons, (F5). If you cheated and downloaded the official blender logo (I’m not mentioning any names here, so as not to embarrass anyone), then you have the official logo colors applied to the curves, so just click the drop down box beside “Add New”, and select the appropriate colors from the curves to use for the emitters. (In the case of cheaters, your options are LogoBlauw and LogoRood) Actually, those that followed Kernon’s tutorial all the way thru will also have the correct colors to choose from, and presumably they will even be named in a language that you know, so, let that be a lesson to you that cheaters never win. Once the blender colors are applied to the emitters, we need to turn on “Halo” for our materials. I also copied the color of the Halo to “Ring” and “Line” value, and then lightened it up a little bit. Leave the Halo size at .500 and turn on “Rings” and “Lines”. I set the Rings value to 3 and the lines value to 8, and changed the “Add” slider to .300.

I also changed my world color to solid black. Okay, almost finished. I’ve added a few compositing nodes to give it just the look I want. A slight Gaussian blur filter, a simple star glare filter, and a ghosts glare filter. I’m not going to go into details, but here’s an image of the set-up. Be sure to click “Do Composite” in your render buttons.

Alright, all that’s left now is to render it out. First, select all three of your curves and move them to another layer so that they won’t render. And, since it takes 100 frames for the emitters to go around, and the life of the particles is 75, that means that the animation will last 175 frames. I’ve set mine to render 180 frames. Be sure to let your animation run all 180 frames before rendering to be sure that all frames have been “baked”. That’s it. Thanks for reading.

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