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Creating particle systems

From: Motion 5 Essential Training

Video: Creating particle systems

With Motion's real-time playback engine, creating particle systems can actually be a really fun experience. So if you're unfamiliar with particle systems, let's go ahead and build one so you can understand what I'm talking about. Now open the Layers panel if it's not already open, and I want you to look at this background, I just input a still as reference for our particle system. See, most of time as you build particle systems it can be rather processor intensive. A lot of times I'll just export a still referenced for my background, so I can make sure that colors and everything are matching, and then I can import my animated Motion particles into my finish animated comp once I have things set up.

Creating particle systems

With Motion's real-time playback engine, creating particle systems can actually be a really fun experience. So if you're unfamiliar with particle systems, let's go ahead and build one so you can understand what I'm talking about. Now open the Layers panel if it's not already open, and I want you to look at this background, I just input a still as reference for our particle system. See, most of time as you build particle systems it can be rather processor intensive. A lot of times I'll just export a still referenced for my background, so I can make sure that colors and everything are matching, and then I can import my animated Motion particles into my finish animated comp once I have things set up.

To get started with our system, let's select our background layer, lock it off, and just create a new layer that we can put our particles in. Now if you go to the Library, under Particle Emitters you can see there are all kinds of presets, so just see you get a feel for what we can create with particle systems, check this out. You can create really nice flowing complex graphics by using particle systems, and a lot of times I like to use things that add depth to my scene.

So if we look at our reference background image, you can see that I've got something that has kind of playful colors, even though they are muted back a little bit, but it is still kind of flat, even though I do have some shading on the circles and stuff. In order to add depth, I'm going to add a kind of playful particle system. So rather than using one of these presets, we'll go ahead and start from scratch. Now if you go in the Library down to this folder, third from the bottom, content, you may notice in the subfolders here there is an option for Particle Images.

In here these are little PNG files that you can use to actually create your particle animations. So if we look at these different files, you can see they all look slightly differently, and they're really small, see, 87x101. And these are ping files, so they are way less than a megabyte. Now I want to create something that looks kind of like sparks, so I'm going to scroll down here and see if I can find anything. And rather than making you wait as I scroll, let's just click on the search field and start typing spark. Okay great.

So I can click through here and check out all the different sparks that are available, but I know the one that I'm looking for is Spark11. So let's just add this to the scene by dragging and dropping it right up into our group layer. Now since this is rather tiny, it's sort of hard to see when we have the layer selected, so let's just deselect the layer, and there you can see how it's appearing. Now as I'm looking at this--let's zoom in here--as I'm looking, I can see there is kind of a dark halo around this, so I just want to check the media settings.

If you right-click on your particle image and go to Reveal Source Media, under Media over here you can look at the Alpha Type and this is set to Straight, but I can see kind of these black edges, so what I want to do is look at pre-multiplied black and boom, sure enough, you can see, there is the nice bright image that I was looking for. So sometimes even though an items in the Library, you may need to go ahead and change how its alpha channel is interpreted.

Now to actually create a particle system from any graphic element, what you have to do is select that element--and I'm just going to press Shift+Z to resize my canvas so you can see what's going on here. But with the elements selected, if you come down to the lower-right side of your toolbar, there is a Particle Emitter button. It's the second one from the right. If you go ahead and click that, you'll notice not many changes. That's just because the playhead's right here at the start of our comp. Now most of the time when I create particle systems I let Motion play back in real time, but do to how we're recording this I may start and stop a fair amount. So I encourage you to get working by leaving Motion playing back as you're making our adjustments.

So let's get started by pressing the spacebar, just so we can see what's going on. Now I see pretty easily that this is creating this explosion of little sparkles. Now I am just going to stop playback back here, so I have a fair amount of the particles on the scene. Now most of the time when you adjust particles you want to get started by making your adjustments in the HUD. See in here I can adjust the Birth Rate, which is how many particles come out every second, or I can adjust the Life, which is how long each individual particle lives.

We can adjust Scale, okay, these are the overall scale of the particles. So let's actually bring this down quite a bit because I just want nice little tiny sparkles moving throughout my scene. Now Emission Range, if you click and drag, notice now I'm getting some adjustment in the graphic here of the HUD. If I just drag the edge of this, I can control how this is actually going to be emitted from that point. Now there are plenty more particle system controls.

If you click on I button, that'll go ahead and open the Inspector. You can see there are a bunch of other settings for adjusting your particle systems, but this movie was about creating them and as you can see, we've already created our first particle system.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Motion 5 Essential Training
Motion 5 Essential Training

77 video lessons · 25471 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 14m 18s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Learning important definitions
      8m 13s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 37s
    4. Relinking missing media
      3m 22s
  2. 49m 41s
    1. Launching Motion for the first time
      4m 3s
    2. Navigating the interface
      9m 27s
    3. Creating and transforming objects in the Canvas
      6m 9s
    4. Controlling the Timing pane
      6m 29s
    5. Setting essential preferences
      6m 41s
    6. Customizing the keyboard
      5m 5s
    7. Using RAM preview and audio controls to get smooth preview playback
      5m 26s
    8. Introducing markers and audio
      6m 21s
  3. 26m 9s
    1. Adding assets to a project
      7m 56s
    2. Using the Library
      6m 4s
    3. Working with layers and groups
      6m 9s
    4. Understanding and using blend modes
      6m 0s
  4. 31m 15s
    1. Adding and adjusting behaviors
      7m 5s
    2. Adding multiple behaviors
      6m 31s
    3. Trimming and sliding behaviors
      8m 40s
    4. Using custom presets to create a slideshow
      8m 59s
  5. 29m 49s
    1. Animating manually using keyframes
      7m 49s
    2. Using the Record button
      6m 28s
    3. Manipulating keyframes with the Keyframe Editor
      10m 9s
    4. Combining keyframes and behaviors
      5m 23s
  6. 52m 33s
    1. Adding and formatting text
      7m 50s
    2. Using text styles
      10m 36s
    3. Formatting with the Transform Glyph tool
      5m 33s
    4. Animating text
      11m 17s
    5. Working with text on a path
      8m 16s
    6. Creating credit rolls
      9m 1s
  7. 31m 19s
    1. Match Move: Four-corner pin
      7m 25s
    2. Match Move: Transform
      11m 27s
    3. Stabilization
      5m 4s
    4. Retiming footage with behaviors
      7m 23s
  8. 16m 42s
    1. Applying and adjusting filters
      4m 18s
    2. Applying multiple filters
      7m 32s
    3. Timing a style with filters
      4m 52s
  9. 33m 35s
    1. Creating and adjusting shapes
      10m 7s
    2. Using shape behaviors
      7m 40s
    3. Creating and adjusting masks
      10m 47s
    4. Creating masks with objects
      5m 1s
  10. 34m 3s
    1. Using the keyer to composite green screen footage
      7m 28s
    2. Refining a key
      11m 6s
    3. Using masks to refine a green screen composite
      7m 54s
    4. Color-correcting elements to match within a green screen composite
      7m 35s
  11. 50m 2s
    1. Understanding generators
      4m 52s
    2. Applying text generators
      5m 41s
    3. Creating particle systems
      5m 49s
    4. Making adjustments to a particle system
      7m 33s
    5. Using particle behaviors
      5m 18s
    6. Creating paint strokes
      6m 58s
    7. Animating paint strokes
      4m 57s
    8. Using the Replicator
      5m 1s
    9. Replicating video
      3m 53s
  12. 47m 28s
    1. Viewing a scene in different layouts
      7m 17s
    2. Working with lights
      8m 12s
    3. Adjusting lighting and reflectivity
      9m 13s
    4. Creating and adjusting shadows
      4m 3s
    5. Creating replicators in 3D
      7m 50s
    6. Creating particles in 3D
      5m 7s
    7. Creating text in 3D
      5m 46s
  13. 42m 14s
    1. Working with cameras
      9m 3s
    2. Creating depth of field in a composition
      4m 55s
    3. Using camera behaviors
      9m 53s
    4. Create interest with the Focus behavior
      7m 26s
    5. Animating cameras with camera framing
      10m 57s
  14. 16m 36s
    1. Adding and adjusting audio
      9m 29s
    2. Adding audio markers
      7m 7s
  15. 17m 37s
    1. Sharing files
      6m 58s
    2. Creating a pre-render
      7m 5s
    3. Archiving a project
      3m 34s
  16. 26m 5s
    1. Creating drop zones
      4m 21s
    2. Setting up rigs: Slider rigs
      6m 56s
    3. Setting up rigs: Pop-up rigs
      4m 49s
    4. Making templates for Motion
      4m 3s
    5. Making templates for Final Cut Pro
      5m 56s
  17. 1m 32s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 32s

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