Particle Instantiator

by Tim Zoet in Scripts and Addons

Particle Instantiator

Blender’s particle system is known to be somewhat limited. While you can simulate large numbers of particles, animating individual particles can be difficult.

With the Particle Instantiator add-on, you can turn your particles into real objects. These objects follow the exact motion of the particles using keyframes and copy animations, constraints, modifiers, drivers and custom properties from their dupli objects.
And the coolest feature is this: you can turn your particles into physics objects.

Features

  • Physics: Turn your particles into rigid bodies.
  • Animations: Any animations on your dupli objects can be copied to your particles. These animations can be remapped to the lifetime of each individual particle.
  • Drivers: Drive any property of your particles using drivers. References to the dupli object can be replaced by a reference to each individual particle.
  • Modifiers and Constraints: All modifiers and constraints (including their keyframes and drivers) are copied to your particles.
  • Custom Properties: Custom properties are copied as well, which makes this add-on compatible with many other add-ons that define custom properties on objects.
  • And more: Different interpolation modes for the particle motion, parenting to transform a complete particle system in any way you like (translate it, rotate it, scale it, independent of gravity or anything else), useful naming and layer options.
  • Demos: Included is a large collection of .blend files to demonstrate the main features of the add-on.
  • Extension: This add-on can be combined with the Cycles Object Color add-on to add (random) colors to the particles.
  • Extension: This add-on can be combined with the Level Of Detail Manager add-on to add level of detail to your particles, improving render performance.

There are a few downsides to turning your particles into real objects, though.
Objects with keyframes require much more disk space than normal particle caches. Also, depending on your hardware, it is very difficult to run simulations with a large number of particles. Don’t expect to be able to run a simulation with 100.000 objects. This add-on is for small particle systems that require complex animations for individual objects.
Particle materials can use the Particle Info node. With real objects, this node does not work anymore. Part of this functionality is replaced by the Cycles Object Color add-on.

Product Updates

Version 1.1

  • Added an option to instantiate only a fraction of the particles, making it easier to quickly view different settings.
  • Added an option to shift all animations, making duplicating particle systems easier.
  • Added a convenience function for renaming instantiated objects.
  • Added support for property specific keyframe copying settings.
  • Added an option to recalculate the mass of rigid bodies based on their scale.
  • Updated the UI, making it much more clear.
  • The Particle Instantiator add-on is now fully compatible with the Cycles Object Color add-on.
  • The Particle Instantiator add-on is now fully compatible with the LOD Manager add-on.