Making a Dandelion in Maya (Part 5)

Today I used the same particle system I did previously in part 2 to attach the seeds onto the flower. Then I went on to tweak the fur and made 4 variations of the seed fluff.

But immediately after this unoptimized 35s render, I noticed some problems that really need to be fixed:

  1. The seeds are too big! It seems like I’ve been taking the wrong measurements from photos. To fix this I might have to go all the way back to Zbrush to do it and regenerate the vector displacement map, which means reconnecting everything.
  2. The positioning of the seeds needs to be better. It seems a little too random and messy, where real dandelion seeds are quite in the golden ratio arrangement. To fix this I might need to experiment with different number of UVs on the sphere in the middle.

Now I’m struck with some more challenges. I could rig and animate the stalk easily, but how to make the seeds follow through? How do I make the fluff move in the wind as well? Not forgetting the dandelion clock where the seeds detach from one by one in a clockwise manner.

Problem solving time! My idea is to make 4 different hair systems to simulate movement in the 4 different fur nodes, set gravity to none and add some wind so they appear to move differently. For the seeds which currently are controlled by the particles, I could write expressions which makes them aim slightly towards the direction of the wind, i.e when the stalk sway towards the x-axis, the seeds aim slightly towards x as well. And finally for the clock, I’ll introduce a volume axis field which moves towards the seeds and suck them one by one. At this point i might need rotation too, which are solved by writing more expressions.

Theoretically it works, but I guess there will be lots of troubleshooting in between.

For tomorrow I guess I would just make sure the dandelion looks nice and start playing with the hair systems!

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