Particles/hair not following animated emitter, and some other stuff…

Guess I should write something in English while I’m at it… 🙂 As you can see below we now have a sock puppet -stylee lemming, fully textured (well, guess that’s a bit hard to see from the video, sorry..) and he even moves around a bit without his head exploding or left arm falling off or anything like that. Aww, look at how happy he is! Bless ’im!

Which isn’t to say there weren’t a few bumps in the road…  The main thing is something I ran into when trying to render out my animation, and I think it warrants a detailed explanation, as trying to google for the solution yielded a lot of people with similar troubles but no proper solution.

Originally the hair was made up of particles emitted from the scalp, with a curve guide controlling the direction (basically bending them downwards a bit). The curve guide and and the body (ie. particle emitter) were both animated by the same armature, so in theory everything should have followed the movement of the armature as it swayed back and forth. It looked alright in the 3D view and in still renders, but once you rendered out the animation you noticed the hair (particles) actually lagging behind the movement of the body (particle emitter). They didn’t sway behind like you’d expect hair to do or anything, but stayed frozen in their initial shape and moved at a slower rate than the head until they eventually were floating in midair completely separate from the head. Very strange. I spent a fair bit of time trying out different particle settings but nothing had any effect.

In the end the solution turned out to be to make the hair emitter a separate object, make it the parent of the curve guide (instead of the parent of the guide being the armature as it was originally) and have them both follow the movement of the armature. My best guess is that the curve guide wasn’t picking up on the animation properly and kept pushing the hair in all sorts of strange directions, but why the particles were floating in midair completely separate from the emitter beats me. Ironically enough, now the rendering looks all right,but the body actually lags behind everything else (armature, hair emitter…) in the 3D view.

On a lighter note, much love goes out to the UV-mapping tools in Blender. Very straightforward, logical and nice to use. Under 3ds max UVW Unwrap always feels like the thing you settle for once all other options for getting textures in place have been truly exhausted, and I’ve actually somewhat purposefully avoided it in Blender up until now because of that, but that wariness is all gone. I can see myself unwrapping stuff all the time from now on. 🙂


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