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SOFTWARE REVIEW
Night Sky

If you are looking for a program that will not only provide hours of fun drawing with a particle system that is very in depth but is also able to generate images and alpha maps for use in other software, then PD Particles is for you. Based on the award winning particle system called OptiPustics that is found in Project Dogwaffle, this stand-alone software is a wonderful compliment to your photo editing program as well as a variety of other 3D software.

PD PARTICLES

Reviewed by Kathie Berry

 
Shadows
Screen

You will find that you can create foliage, hair, fireworks, lighting effects and much more with the particle system in conjunction with the variety of brush presets included in the program. Alpha channel support makes it the perfect addition to creating images that can be used as objects in your 3D software. Tablet users will also find pressure controls that affect size and opacity in their work which is really nice for those of us using tablets in our painting and drawing.

By choosing to use the "line + alpha" style you can easily create particle images that will be saved in a targa format which includes the alpha channel for use in the transparency and alpha channels in your 3D software. In the examples below, I have created an image for use in CINEMA 4D™ that also has the alpha channel information included. In CINEMA 4D I can then take the image and use it in both the color and the alpha channels, apply it to a plane and create wonderful foreground foliage for my scenes. By using very low settings you can also apply the image in the displacement channel and even use sub poly displacement to create actual polygon models from the image.

C4D 2 C4D 1
C4D 3

Next, I created an image for Bryce 6. (This can also be done in Bryce 4 & 5) Creating a new material and loading the image into the diffusion channel also loaded the alpha channel for the transparency. Back in the material manager I clicked to apply the transparency as well as placing the ball icon in the first slot behind transparency to create my new material. I then applied it to a flattened lattice and rotated the lattice so that it was upright and facing the camera. As you can see, it applied perfectly and gave me a new foliage item placed in my Bryce scene. This can be done with a variety of images created in PD Particles including grass, trees, foliage and much more.

Bryce1 Bryce2
Bryce3 Bryce4

And finally I took it into Poser where I created a simple plane object and in the material room I applied the image to the diffuse/color channel as well as the transparency channel while setting the transparency to a full 1 setting. As you can see, it rendered out wonderfully with the firefly render engine.

Poser2 Poser1

By using this method, you are virtually unlimited in adding great new items to your scenes in a variety of 3D and modeling software while also saving on render times and file size. By using the great presets included for texturing you can also create wonderful picture frames for your images as shown below.

Feathers

You truly are only limited by your imagination when it comes to creating great images for use in PD Particles or other software. Great effects can be obtained for use with other digital imaging software such as Project Dogwaffle also.

Grassy

 
Night Moon 2

One of the many things that I like about PD Particles are the keyboard shortcuts. I found that it streamlined work so efficiently and saved so much time while painting to use the shortcuts. There are simple shortcuts for "undo" and "replay most recent brushstroke" that really helped my workflow.

Conclusion:

I found that PD Particles will be a wonderful asset to my work in other software. I think that I will use Project Dogwaffle for most of my 2D work however PD Particles will make adding grass, foliage and other effects to my scenes with the image and alpha channels easy and fun. It will help speed my workflow while saving valuable CPU resources as well. Of course, it's just plain fun to paint with the brushes in conjunction to the particle system and see all of the wonderful and sometimes surprising results that you can get.

For more information as well as tutorials please visit the PD Particles homepage and spend some time reading the tutorials and instructions there. You can also order the full program here.

Review System
  • Intel® Pentium® 4 processor 530 with HT Technology (3.0GHz)
  • I GB DDR PC3200 RAM
  • RADEON X300 SE PCI-E graphics card
  • Windows XP Media Center 2005

Kathie Berry
Websites: http://www.planit3d.com ¦ http://www.berry-designs.com
Email: kathie@berry-designs.com

Copyright 2006, PlanIt 3D

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