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particle effects

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what are particle effects? do they have to do w/programmming or visual arts? is a plasma beam(from halo or something) a particle effect?

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According to the Wikipedia.org entry on particle systems.

Quote:
Particle systems are used in 3D computer graphics to simulate certain environmental effects such as rain, explosions, and smoke.

A particle system is made up of particles. A particle is a small object with properties such as position, velocity, and color. Most often, a particle is a texture mapped polygon that is rotated to face the viewer (called billboarding). Sometimes particle systems can use 3D mesh particles. The particle system produces particles at the desired location using an "emitter".

A particle system has its own rules that it applies to every particle. Often these rules involve interpolating values over the lifetime of a particle. For example, many systems have particles fade out to nothingness by interpolating the particle's alpha value while the particle is active.


I'm trying to think of the plasma beam in Halo... but particle systems can be used for a LOT.

Here's a cool little flash object that shows various uses of particle effects[www.wondertouch.com]

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basically, they are effects that are made up of tiny little "particles" of color moving around and forming patterns according to a set of rules you specify to make them take the overall shape of the desired effect. Major examples include fire, smoke, clouds, fog, and other things of this nature. However, there are lots of applications for particle effects.

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