About the Particle System Colour Coding
Particle effects are colour coded to make them easy to identify by colour and function. Each colour represents a different function. For example, Action nodes, such as Velocity, Move-Particles and the Sprite Emitter are bright purple. These colours can be edited in the Preferences dialog box by going to Edit / Harmony > Preferences > General tab > Edit Colours button > Particle tab.
In addition to defining groups by colour, node in-ports and out-ports are also colour-coded. In the network shown in the illustration above, the Particle-Baker is dark yellow and the Particle Visualizer purple. Look closely and you will notice that the in-port on the Particle Visualizer, where the Particle-Baker is connected, is also dark yellow. Similarly, the out-port on the Particle-Baker, where the Particle Visualizer is connected, is purple.
This system gives you an idea, at the very least, of what type of node is needed to fill a specific port.
- Visualizer - This node assembles a particle system through its middle port. It can accept a Peg on either side. The system is flattened at this node and generated as a single image. This lets you move the effect's position in your scene or change its render order.
- Action - These nodes affect the particle dynamics; they determine how they are created and moved around in space. If there are multiple Action nodes hooked to a composite, they are executed from right to left. Due to this ordering, there should generally be an emitter on the right-most port.
- System Composite - Unlike a regular composite that reads all the position information from its in-port nodes and combines them accordingly, a System Composite is specifically designed to handle Action node information.
- Baker - These nodes allow you to make decisions about the particle system's position, angle, number, etc. the same way that a baker would make decisions about the ingredients that go in a cake.
- Region Composite - This node combines Region nodes. In case you have more than one Region in your effect, this composite will help define the position and render order of the different Regions.
- Region - These nodes are used to define the region from where the particles are emitted. These regions can be Planar or 3D.