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Particle Sources In Krakatoa For CINEMA 4D

Last edited on April 11, 2014

Introduction

Krakatoa for CINEMA 4D was designed to render most particle sources available in the host application including legacy Emitters, Thinking Particles, X-Particles and Turbulence FD. Krakatoa provides dedicated conversion objects for each of these particle source types.

In addition, Krakatoa C4D also implements several special particle generator objects including PRT Volume and PRT Surface for converting mesh volumes and surfaces to point clouds, a PRT Fractal for procedural particle generation in 3D fractal patterns, and a PRT Loader object for loading various particle file formats including Thinkbox' .PRT file format, RealFlow .BIN files, and .CSV comma-separated values files.

Live Systems Vs. Caching To Disk

Krakatoa supports two main particle workflows - rendering dynamicly simulated particles directly via the Krakatoa intermediate objects, or caching the particles to a file sequence first and then rendering a PRT Loader object. Both approaches have their Pros and Cons.

Rendering Live Particles

Pros: 

  • Any changes to the source system can be rendered directly without an intermediate caching step
  • Lower disk usage 

Cons: 

  • In most cases, particle simulations will require longer pre-rolling times to render a later frame from a sequence. 

Rendering Cached Particles

Pros:  

  • Once cached, any frame can be rendered immediately without waiting for the previous frames to calculate.
  • Multiple variations of the sequence can be saved with different initial settings to produce multiple "Partitions" that, when loaded together, would increase the total particle count. 

Cons: 

  • Each time changes to the simulation are made, the cache must be resaved first.
  • Higher disk usage.

 

Supported Particle Sources 

Krakatoa C4D currently supports the following particle sources:

CINEMA 4D Emitters 

  • Use the Krakatoa Emitter Source intermediate object to make an Emitter visible to Krakatoa C4D.
  • The CINEMA 4D Emitters are the oldest and simplest particle system implementation in the application.
  • These particle systems support only very low particle counts and have a heavily limited functionality.
  • There are many known limitations, for example Motion Blur is not supported with live particles due to the inability of the Emitter to sample at times before the current time (caching to PRT files solves the problem).
  • In general, you should avoid using Emitters if you can use Thinking Particles or X-Particles instead. 

CINEMA 4D Thinking Particles 

  • The Thinking Particles (TP) systems accessible via the XPRESSO tag can be made visible to Krakatoa C4D using the Krakatoa TP Source intermediate object.
  • TP is significanly more advanced than the legacy Emitter particle system and is recommended over it. 

X-Particles (3rd party plugin) 

  • X-Particles (XP) by INSYDIUM Ltd. is a highly advanced particle simulation extension for CINEMA 4D.
  • Its particles can be made visible to Krakatoa C4D using the Krakatoa XP Source intermediate object

Turbulence FD (3rd party plugin) 

Krakatoa PRT File Sequences 

  • PRT files and file sequences are the native caching format of all Krakatoa versions.
  • PRT files can be saved from Krakatoa C4D, as well as Krakatoa MX, Krakatoa MY, NextLimit RealFlow, Exotic Matter Naiad and more.
  • You can load these particles using the Krakatoa PRT Loader object.
  • The particle files can contain arbitrary channels.
  • The particle animation time can be offset or remapped to slow down, speed up etc. 

RealFlow BIN File Sequences

  • BIN files and file sequences are the native caching format of NextLimit RealFlow.
  • BIN files can be saved by both NextLimit RealFlow and all versions of Krakatoa including Krakatoa C4D.
  • You can load these particles using the Krakatoa PRT Loader object.
  • The particle files contain a fixed set of RealFlow specific channels and are usually about 3 times larger than equivalent PRT files.
  • The particle animation time can be offset or remapped to slow down, speed up etc.

ASCII Comma-Separated Values CSV File Sequences 

  • CSV files and file sequences are the least common denominator for sharing particle data between applications and Krakatoa.
  • CSV files can be loaded using the same Krakatoa PRT Loader object used for PRT and BIN file loading.
  • CSV files are ASCII text files containing an optional header describing the channels, and comma-separated lists of values in the same order as the header channel description providing the actual values.
  • CSV files could be generated by any application capable of writing out text files. 

Mesh Volume Particles 

  • Mesh volumes can be converted to point clouds that can render directly in Krakatoa C4D using the Krakatoa PRT Volume object.
  • These particles will acquire various channels from the source mesh including mapping coordinates, surface normals, and even Velocity from animated mesh deformations.
  • The Density channel of the particles will be generated automatically based on the number of particles per cubic unit requested by the user. 

Mesh Surface Particles

  • Mesh surfaces can be converted to point clouds that can render directly in Krakatoa C4D using the Krakatoa PRT Surface object.
  • These particles will acquire various channels from the source mesh including mapping coordinates, and surface normals.

Krakatoa 3D Fractals 

  • The Krakatoa PRT Fractal object can generate random 3D fractal particle cloud distributions.
  • Between 2 and 5 affine transform layers can be defined and their values can be edited manually.
  • The control values can be keyframed individually or all at once on the current frame, resulting morphing designs over time.
  • Control value keyframes can be deleted from the current frame or all frames with a single click.
  • Particle colors can be generated using a simple two-color gradient, or using a CINEMA 4D gradient control.