This page provides information on the Particle Tuner component.
The Particle Tuner uses custom logic constructed with Expression operators to directly affect the particles of the Phoenix FD Simulator. The primary purpose of the Particle Tuner is to allow for very specific tweaks of the simulation which would otherwise be hard to achieve. It goes through all particles in the simulation and changes the values of those particles that pass a custom condition. Example Condition / Action pairs would be:
- If the Viscosity of a particle is higher than 0.5, then delete the particle.
- If the distance from a particle to a mesh is less than 5, then reduce the Size of the Foam particle in the simulation.
You can construct simple conditions such as comparing a value from a particle channel to a number or measuring the distance from a particle to a mesh, and you can also combine many conditions in a complex expression using 'AND' and 'OR' logic. At each simulation step, the Particle Tuner will check each particle against this condition and it will modify the particle channel only if the condition passes. For example:
- If a particle's RGB color is Red AND the Age is greater than 5, then increase the Viscosity for this particle.
This will essentially force the fluid to start solidifying if it is emitted from a Source whose RGB is set to Red, and 5 seconds have passed since the fluid was emitted . Fluid which is colored differently will not be affected by the Action, even if it's age is greater than 5.
Unlike the Phoenix FD Mapper, the Particle Tuner can delete particles from the simulation.
The Particle Tuner is a powerful tool and it will not stop you from creating expressions such as "If the Age is higher than 0, delete the particle". This will kill all particles immediately after they are born which may cause confusion.
Note that the Particle Tuner affects all Phoenix FD Simulators in the scene unless they explicitly exclude it.
Enabled [ true ] | enabled – Animatable checkbox that turns on and off the effect of the Particle Tuner.
Affect [ Liquid ] | affectpartsys – Allows the Particle Tuner to separately affect the Liquid, Foam, Splash or Mist particles.
When [ Edit Condition... ] – Opens the Edit Condition window. The Edit Condition window is used to construct a sequence of tests which are evaluated for every particle of the Phoenix FD Simulator. If the particle satisfies the condition, the Then [ Particle Channel ] action is performed. Otherwise, the particle is ignored. By default, the condition is set to "Age > 1.000", therefore only those particles whose age is greater than one will be affected by the specified Action.
Then [ Viscosity ] | act_chan – Selects the Particle Channel to affect. Note that if set to Viscosity, the channel value can be no lower than 0 and no higher than 1 - Viscosity is clamped strictly in this range.
Action [ Increase By ] | act_chan_change – Specifies the type of action to perform on the selected Then [ Particle Channel ].
Action Value [ 1 ] | act_value – Sets the value for the specified Action to perform.
Buildup Time (sec) [ 0 ] | buildup_time – Specifies the time it takes (in seconds) for the Then [ Particle Channel ] to gradually reach the specified Action Value. If Buildup Time is 0, the effect is instant.
If the Buildup Time is set to 0, the specified Action will be executed for every step of the simulation. If the Steps per Frame parameter of the Simulator is set to a value higher than 1, the specified Action will be executed multiple times for a single frame.
Edit Condition Window
The Edit Condition window is at the core of the Phoenix FD Particle Tuner. It consists of a Conditions Tree on the left and a Parameters panel for the individual elements in the tree on the right. Any action specified for the selected Then [ Particle Channel ] will only be executed for the particles of the Simulator which satisfy the conditions tree.
Folding (collapsing) of a tree item in the view to the left will show you a simplified view of the expression. For example, collapsing the tree in the image below will change its text to "Age > 1.000", meaning the Particle Tuner will affect only particles whose Age channel is higher than 1 second. You can also read a simplified view of the entire condition expression in the text box below the Edit Condition... button.
Value Expression Item
The Value Expression Item is the lowest level operator. It expects no sub-expressions but can be converted to a Math Expression Item by selecting it with the right mouse button in the Conditions Tree.
The Value Expression Item returns a raw number which can be either the value of a Particle Channel or a Texture for a given particle of the Phoenix FD Simulator, a manually-specified number in a certain range or the distance between a given particle and an object in the scene.
Number [ 1 ] | val_type, val_number – returns the specified value.
Random Between [ 0 - 1 ] | val_type, val_rand_min, val_rand_max – returns a random number in the selected range. Note: a different value is generated for each particle of the Simulator. The value also changes for every frame.
Channel [ Age ] | val_type, val_chan_part – returns the value of the specified Simulator Particle Channel for the current particle. You must have this particle channel enabled in the Output rollout of your Simulator. The Channel can be one of: [ Size ], [ Age ], [ Viscosity ], [ RGB Red ], [ RGB Green ], [ RGB Blue ].
Distance To [ None ] | val_type, val_dist_node – returns the distance from the specified object's surface to the current particle. Note: this only works for polygon meshes. Particle systems are currently not supported.
Texture [ No Map ] | val_type, val_tex – returns the specified texture's color intensity in the position of the current particle. The Phoenix FD Simulator has no Explicit UV coordinates therefore the texture's Mapping should be set to Planar from Object XYZ for this to work.
Compare Expression Item
The Compare Expression Item evaluates to true if the specified condition is valid based on the provided sub-expressions. Otherwise, it evaluates to false.
To create a Compare Expression in the Conditions Tree, right-mouse-button click either on a Logic or a Compare expression and select "Replace with: New Comparison".
Compare Type [ Is Greater Than ] | comp_type – Sets the comparison type to perform:
- When set to "Is Greater Than", the Compare expression for a given particle will be true when the first Math/Value expression item should return a value larger than the second.
- When set to "Is Less Than", the Compare expression for a given particle will be true when the first Math/Value expression item should return a value smaller than the second.
- When set to "Is Equal To", the Compare expression for a given particle will be true when both Math/Value expression items evaluate to the same number.
Math Expression Item
The Math Expression Item returns a number calculated according to the specified Math Type and the provided sub-expressions.
To create a Math Expression Item in the Conditions Tree, right-mouse-button click either on a Math or a Value expression Item and select one of the "Replace with: (this) ..." options which contains a "+" , "-", "*" or "/" symbol.
Math Type [ Plus ] | math_type – Sets the mathematical operation type to perform:
- When set to "Plus", the Math expression returns the sum of the two Math/Value expressions below it.
- When set to "Minus", the Math expression returns the difference of the two Math/Value expressions below it.
- When set to "Multiplied by", the Math expression returns the product of the two Math/Value expressions below it.
- When set to "Divided by", the Math expression returns the quotient of the two Math/Value expressions below it.
Logic Expression Item
The Logic Expression Item is a top level operator which returns a value of either True or False, depending on the specified Logic Type and the provided sub-expressions.
To create a Logic Expression in the Conditions Tree, right-mouse-button click either on a Logic or a Compare expression and select one of: "Replace with: (this) AND ... " or "Replace with: (this) OR ...".
Logic Type [ And ] | logic_type – Sets the type of logic to use:
- When set to "And", both Compare expressions below should evaluate to true for a given particle for the Logic Expression to be true.
- When set to "Or", at least one of the two Compare expressions below should evaluate to true for a given particle for the Logic Expression to be true.