How do I create a starfield animation using particle effect?

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Emma Hendriks

Jul 26, 2021, 2:57:07 PM7/26/21
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I have been playing with the particles effect for a couple of days now but I cannot figure out how to make a starfield animation like the one shown here:
Does anyone know how to set the particles to come towards the screen?

Jul 28, 2021, 3:35:22 PM7/28/21
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OpenToonz' particles are only 2D, so you need to fake the appearance of depth.

Here's my method:

Connect a white circle to the Particles' Texture1 input, you can use anything you like but this is good enough.

Create a RadialGradient, set Color 1 to Black and Color 2 to white, make sure both have an alpha of 255.
Set the RadialGradient's Outer Size large enough to fill the entire canvas.
It should look like this:
Star field Gradient.PNG

Connect the RadialGradient to the Particles' Control1 input, this will be used to control the direction of gravity for the particles.

Width and Height - Set these so that they fill the entire canvas.
Starting Frame - You can set this to a negative value so the animation starts with a lot of particles already created.

Birth Params
Speed - Set this to 0, we don't want any initial movement when each particle is created.
Size - Set the min and max to a small value, this will make the particles initially appear distant.
Top Layer - Set this to Older, this ensures that the particles that appear closer to the camera are drawn in front of the more distant particles.

Gravity - Set this to a positive value e.g. 15, the higher this is, the greater the acceleration.
Gravity Control Image - Set this to 1, this will use the RadialGradient we set up earlier.
The particles should move outwards towards the edges of the screen.

Fade-in Frames - Set this to your liking.
Size Intensity - Set the min and max to a fairly small value e.g. 1, this will cause the particles to grow in size, creating the illusion that they are approaching the camera.

That's it for the Particles' settings, you can add a RadialBlur effect to help emphasize motion.

This is my final result, it isn't perfect but that can be fixed by tweaking the settings more:
Star field.gif

Jul 28, 2021, 3:40:03 PM7/28/21
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This is what my final node graph looks like.
As an alternative to the black ColorCard, you can set the Camera BG Color to black with an alpha of 255 in Xsheet -> Scene Settings
Star field node graph.gif

Emma Hendriks

Jul 29, 2021, 8:19:51 PM7/29/21
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Wow thanks so much for taking the time to help me! I followed all your instructions to the letter but still ran into problems. The radical gradient didn't appear like in your screenshot and I still see a blank screen. I must've mucked something up while I was tweaking the settings to adjust the animation. Here are screenshots of my current settings if you would be so kind as to see what I've done wrong. 
Screenshot 1.pngScreenshot 2.pngScreenshot 3.pngScreenshot 4.pngScreenshot 5.pngScreenshot 6.png

Emma Hendriks

Aug 11, 2021, 5:44:47 PM8/11/21
to OpenToonz Users Forum
Well, I just realized what the whole problem was all along. I had the particle effect hidden underneath the background on the timeine the entire time! Obviously I wasn't going to be able to see it!!! Lol!


Oct 24, 2022, 6:41:37 PM10/24/22
to OpenToonz Users Forum
I'm trying to make one right now, but I am having difficulties. The stars are flowing inward as in to where they form the shape of the radial gradient.
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