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I have set up a particle system based on a group of people that I would like to face towards a target.

I know I can play with the rotation of the whole system and randomize, but global rotation doesn't quite work if the target were to be in the center of the particle system.

Also, I know that I can bake the particles and add a track-to-constraint, but baking thousands of high poly meshes would make the file unusable. So, looking to see if there is a way to keep the particle system and orient towards a target.

enter image description here

Here are the particle settings that I am using

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ "I know that I can bake the particles and add a track-to-constraint, but baking thousands of high poly meshes would make the file unusable" What do you mean "bake" the particles? You can make duplicates real, keeping instances, and it shouldn't be much heavier than the current setup, while allowing adding the necessary constraint. That sounds like the way to go $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos May 1 '18 at 16:11
  • $\begingroup$ I mean converting the particle system to real geometry. They share mesh data, but in my experience Blender doesn't handle thousands of objects well. Once I do bake, I have thousands of objects and blender slows down significantly. It's not usable for the number of particles I am working with - 7000-15,000. $\endgroup$ – dimitarsp May 1 '18 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe have a look at crowdmaster or animation nodes $\endgroup$ – sambler May 1 '18 at 19:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @sambler for the suggestion. I've looked into crowdmaster, but it looks quite complicated, and it doesn't rely on a particle system, meaning that if there are thousands of objects, Blender significantly slows down $\endgroup$ – dimitarsp May 14 '18 at 8:29
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Use a Force Field:

Hair particles, even without using dynamics, follow the force fields:

enter image description here

In the Viewport do Add > Force Field (type "Force"). Place it where you need it to be. From the Physics properties panel, set the force to a negative value and leave the rest as it is.

The internal rotation of the base hair particle (humans) must be adjusted to make sure that the correct side points to the Force Field. In my case this is the mesh used:

enter image description here

Note that the "face" is looking towards negative Z, while the "head" is "up" in the direction of positive Y. The correct rotation must either be achieved in edit mode or obtained in object mode and then applied (CtrlA > Rotation)

You need neither the "Advanced" setting on Emission, nor the "Rotation" extra settings.

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