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The Node Panel

Author: NL Team
Publication: 24/05/2010
Category: Common Settings - Type: Tutorial

The Node Panel

This part of Node Params contains everything that has to do with an emitter’s representation and orientation in the viewport.

The settings under Node depend on the preferences for your 3D software package (see Related Tutorials below). There you have to determine which axis serves as a height axis. For some programs it’s the Y axis, others use the Z axis.

This setting offers three options to choose from – the default is “Active”. This means that the emitter (or any other object) can contribute to the currently opened scene, while “Inactive” disables the selected item. Inactive emitters cannot pour out particles. If the emitter is animated, you’ll see its movement, but without any influence on the scene. “Cache” is a very clever feature. It allows you to read already-simulated particle sequences and use them for further interactions, e.g. with rigid body dynamics. In this case you won’t have to calculate the fluid again and again in case of changes.

This setting consists of a trio of values. Each value represents one direction in space: X, Y, and Z. You can often find a certain notation for this trio: [ X,Y,Z ]. A position is always related to the scenes origin which is located at [ 0,0,0 ]. For this reason, it’s also allowed to enter negative values. Zero is, of course, valid as well!

Rotation works exactly the same way as position. Again, there’s a trio of values indicating the rotation settings in degrees for each axis. By default, an object has no initial rotation.

This parameter determines the expansion of an object in 3D space. In the same way as with “Position” and “Rotation” you have to specify scale with three values. For some emitters, scale values are chained, e.g. the sphere emitter. This means that you’re not able to change the scale values individually from each other. Another exception are two-dimensional emitters, such as a circle or square. Since they have no physical height axis, height is always set to 1.0 and cannot be changed.

This is an interesting feature which makes it possible to deform the emitter’s basic geometry. By applying an appropriate factor you will notice that the nodes emission direction is affected, too, but that’s only valid for the viewport representation. Shear distorsion exclusively influences emission in the horizontal plane.

“Pivot” could also be called “centre of rotation”. By changing this point you can see a dislocation of the axes of coordinates. If the object becomes animated, the centre of rotation won’t be the centre of the object anymore – this will now be the new position of the axis of coordinates instead.

Parent to
With this setting you can attach the current object to an animated (keys or dynamics) item. The object will perform exactly the same movements as the parent body and follow its animation path. When you click on the hyphen, RealFlow will open a new window with all suited nodes.

This is the basic colour which will be used to display the emitter’s particles. If an emitter is selected, RealFlow displays a colour range for an attribute adjusted under “Display”. If the emitter is not selected, you’ll see all particles in grey by default. You can choose any available colour or RGB value from your operating system’s colour picker.

Xform particles
This setting is only available for fluid emitters and only makes sense with animated emitters. You can see two options: “No” or “Yes”. “No” creates a particle trail behind the emitter, while “Yes” makes them following the emitter.

A moving emitter with “Xform particles” option “No” and “Yes”
Related Tutorials v5.x
Related Tutorials v4.x