design + motion


Blending Surface Textures

This is a system I’m working on that tries to maintain the natural movement of surface UVs on a noisy particle simulation.

It can be used to add and blend textures on continuously evolving fluid surfaces and produce organic effects like liquid gold, glitter, and paint swirls.


The main idea here is to assign attributes to new particles in a simulation, and then kill them before they have time to thoroughly other particles from differing birth times. This is achieved by shortening lifespan of the particles while constantly spawning new ones. The result is an organic particle sim where all neighboring particles have similar attributes (like color and UVs). The mixing is accomplished by ramping an attribute value (like @Cd) over time and using that as a texture mask.

This method also works well with using source imagery to generate custom color palettes for the blended textures.


I initially started developing this for my personal project, From Earth, but didn’t finished it in time to make it into my animation. It is not as accurate as something like a dual rest system, but it’s nice for quickly getting a bump map to stick to a chaotic particle mesh. I will continue to refine it as I learn more about the wonderful world of deforming mesh UVs.

James Tupper