emFlock2 is a flocking solver for Softimage|XSI’s ICE. It uses the three “classic ground rules of flocking”:
- Separation will prevent the members from crowding and colliding.
- Alignment will make each member adapt its heading to the average heading of its visible neighbors.
- Cohesion will make each member want to go to the average position of its visible neighbors.
The plugin consists of an Addon that contains a “DLL” file (Windows) or “so” file (Linux) for the flocking solver node (compiled C++ code for 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Softimage). Additionally, there are many compounds to control the speed and alignment of the particles.
This version also includes a set of compounds called emFly. These compounds allow you to define complex flying paths for the particles. Furthermore they allow you to make a flock of particles “morph” into a shape.
emFlock2 and emFly are well integrated into ICE and can be combined with the built-in ICE compounds like for example “Flow along Curve”, “Forces”, “Bounce from Surface”, etc.
Two and a half minutes of a single point cloud that flocks, flies and morphs using the alpha versions of emFlock2 and the newly included emFly.
All simulations and renderings were made on a single workstation with an Intel i7 processor using Softimage 2011 SAP, Mental Ray and a little bit of OGL capture.
The compositing was done in the Fx Tree.
The amount of particles varies from 5K to 23K, simulating and caching the whole 3400 frames took less than half an hour.
The point cloud has a single simulated ICE Tree with a basic flocking setup and a state machine for the emFly morph phases. The particle positions, colors, sizes and orientations are driven by emFlock2 and emFly.