Effects like this are a piece of cake with the new PolyFX Object
The PolyFX object is a special deformer that allows MoGraph Effectors to be applied to individual polygons objects and also to spline based objects e.g. Text spline as a child object of a ExtrudeNURBS object. The more polygons or spline intermediate points that there are, the smaller the object can be broken up into. This is one seriously cool deformer and the 3 Cafe reviewers all had a ball playing with it. It is dead easy to use and the results as you can see by the animations at the end of this section are pretty impressive.
The PolyFX object is applied like any other deformer in that you make it a child object of the object that you want to deform or you place it or place it onto the same hierarchical level under a common parent object e.g. a Null object. The deformer works on primitives without the need to make them editable. If the model is a low resolution model the PolyFX object uses the HyperNURBS sub-division level to determine how fine the polygons are. So to make very fine particles just increase the Sub-Division level on the HyperNURBS object. But note for this work you need to use the PolyFX object at the same hierarchical level i.e. under a Null. Similarly on spline based objects just increase the Spline Interpolation to have smaller particles. If you want to add depth to the polygons, you can use a Cloth NURBS object but in this case the PolyFX object needs to be a child object of the mesh. Since you haven't used a Cloth tag on the object it won't go all floppy with the Cloth Dynamics engine. Below are the settings for a PolyFX object used on the animation above.
PolyFX Object settings
The settings are pretty straight forward. In this animation the Random Effector moves the polygons away from their original position, the Plain Effector scales them to nothing to hide them and the Delay Effector adds a little bit of spring to things. The 3 Effectors are using Linear Falloff. Lastly a Taper Deformer was used to squash the text. This was attached the Effectors as the 3 Effectors are animated to move across the text.
MoGraph effectors can be added either by having the PolyFX object selected when you create an effector or by dragging and dropping and effector into the Effectors field. On the Object tab there are 2 modes to choose from:
The Preserve Phong option is when in Partial Polys/Splines mode, the original Phong shading of the unaffected surface will initially be maintained during polygon separation if this option is enabled. If this option is disabled the Phong shading will be calculated anew.
The PolyFX object has its own Falloff settings. This is in addition to the Falloff that each Effector has. This gives greater control over defining the area on your object that you want the Effectors applied to. The animation below shows this in action. The PolyFX object's Falloff is set Cylinder so that only the polygons of the Plane object that are within the cylinder have the PolyFX effect applied to it. An animated Plain Effector is moving from side to side. This has Linear Falloff. If I had left the Falloff on the PolyFX object to the default Infinite then all polygons on the Plane object would have been affected.
Cylindrical Falloff on PolyFX object combined with Linear Falloff on Effector
That's pretty much it. The PolyFX object is very easy use and results can be stunning. The image at the top of the page looks like a particles type animation but it's not. I put this together in a matter of minutes. Get this, Viewport playback speed is fast and a lot quicker than if I was trying to do the same thing with Thinking Particles. That's of course if I could figure out how to do it using Thinking Particles in the first place!! Here's a few examples of the PolyFX object in action made by the Cafe reviewers.
Tracer and PolyFX - Click here to download and play the animation (QT 9mb)
Incredibly, viewport playback speed is surprisingly fast with this one. Again, this was ever so easy to set up. It might look as though there are particles but there isn't. There are around 225,000 very small polygons (if the SweepNURBS object was made editable).
Character Animation and PolyFX - Click here to download and play the animation (QT 900kb)
Sound Effector and PolyFX - Click here to download and play the animation (QT 10.8mb)
Tracer and PolyFX - Click here to download and play the animation (QT 16.5mb)
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Review by C4D Cafe © 2009