All About X-Particles

This week we’re taking a look at X-Particles, one of the many programs we use here at FUSE. Artist Shawn Letendre is our resident X-Particles expert, and in this post, he’s walking us through the program and a few work pieces. Each of these animations was created using X-Particles.

X-Particles and How We Use It

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the program, X-Particles is a powerful particle engine for Cinema 4D that provides complete control over particle simulations.

“X-particles is far above and beyond in user-friendliness compared to any other program. It’s really artist friendly and not overly technical so you don’t have to code out a bunch of stuff. You can just play with it, create, see what it does, and adjust.”

Using a unique question-answer system, users can direct particles by setting rules or events to trigger a response. In the above animation, Shawn added constraints to keep specific bundles of particles together as they twist and turn around each other.

Playing Around with X-Particles

To create these next two animations, Shawn added geometric shapes, then shot particles across them in specific patterns. In the first, he directed particles to move along swirling lines, and in the second, to shoot up and around a moving arm.

One of the Most Artist-Friendly Programs

X-Particles was created by Insydium LTD, a company also responsible for render engine Cycles 4D. Over the years, Insydium has released X-Particles updates that increasingly gather different functions together under one system.

According to Shawn, this is why many consider X-Particles to be one of the most artist-friendly programs. It allows people like him to create and build so many things all in one place.

“Without it, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things I’ve done here. With how far they’ve come since the beginning, it’s limitless what you can do with it these days.”

The much-anticipated newest release, X-Particles 4, brings some exciting new visual effects to the program, like a cloth simulator and a growth system. It’s arguably their best release yet. So, it’s no surprise artists like Shawn are flipping out over it.

The Toro SnowMaster

The Toro Snowmaster animation is one of FUSE’s most particle-intensive client project. The biggest challenge was animating the snow as it moved through the snow blower. To accomplish this, Shawn used X-Particles to direct the light powdered snow with a smoke simulation. It was labor-intensive and tedious at times, but the result was worth it.

Exploding Planet Mercury

Shawn had a clear vision for this internal project, and X-Particles was the only program that could help him see it through. After all, there are about 6 million particles at play here on the surface of Mercury. Cinema4D on its own couldn’t even imagine having that many particles; it would bog the system down too much.

He had these 6 million particles rise up according to their color, with brighter colors moving faster than darker ones. As they rose, Shawn used a turbulence modifier to make the particles swirl at a specified height. We used this piece in our 2018 demo reel, which you can watch here: 2018 Demo Reel.