This complex time lapse animation of plaque building up was a challenge to create.
The reverse animation technique was very handy here. Baking and then time reversing simulations and particle effects can look like a building up effect. In this case, the finished or end stage plaque was built first and then slowly eroded away.
Static models of Rbcs and platelets were placed in the scene and then turned into particle instances using a script like this one.
vmvInstanceObjects 1.0.2 (maya script)
Next a gravity field and other particle fields were animated thru the static array of blood cell model instances… Peeling away the rbcs and platelets starting from the outside moving inwards and making them float upstream and away.
When the simulation was looking good, the particle instancers were converted back to individual 3d models with baked keyframes for position and rotation. There are many plug-ins and a few scripts available to bake the simulation. I prefer using a script like the one in the link below versus plug-ins. Plug-ins need to be recompiled with each new maya version, and scripts do not.
tk_bakeParticleInstancer 1.4.0 (maya script)