In production we know that Particles are just darn expensive. They require a lot of meticulous editing, and a massive amount of time to render.
We had the challenge to visualize a Black hole, but had to do it in about a 2 week period. So of course doing a scientifically accurate simulation using particles and immensely complex equations to describe the physics of a theoretical object for a kids show was a little out of the question. I instead went with using animated textures and alphas, on solid geometry to create an artistic representation.
Working with our content expert, we reached a comfortable compromise and the final product is equally beautiful and terrifying as a result.
Now this is an example of keeping the target audience in mind. We know that this show is intended for children and families so it gives us some flexibility. Generally the public isn’t going to be all that concerned, or more importantly, notice a difference between something artistically visualized vs accurately simulated. If we were trying to generate something for scientific minds to analyze, we might not have gone this route.