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Making particles follow leader particles can be set up using a POP Attract node.
Making particles follow other particles
To make particles follow other particles, add a POP Attract node to the
followers stream of particles and set the Attraction Type to Particles. Next, choose the particle stream you want them to follow (stream name of the leader particles) in the Point Group parameter. In the following example, this is
You can then set the Force Method to either Accelerate or Follow. If you choose Accelerate, a general force is applied in the direction of the leader particles. If you choose Follow, the velocity of the next frame is used and the speed is set to match the leader’s.
You may get better results by turning on Predict Intercept when using Follow. This will prevent particles from charging towards the moving particles and potentially overshooting them. Instead, the follower particles will anticipate the leaders' direction on the next frame, and try to head them off.
Changing the way followers behave
Another important parameter to consider is Match Method. This will change the way the follower particles behave. In the following example, there are 5 leaders. Setting Match Method to Average Position will take the average position of the 5 leaders to create a target.
If Match Method is set to Point Per Particle, the followers will separate into trails, with one fifth of the followers following each individual particle.
To create a more swarm-like effect, add a POP Force with some noise in your
Make particles follow an object
You can make particles follow an animated object the same way, by setting the Attraction Type to Surface Points and the SOP Path to your geometry object.