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Working with particles to create depth

From: Motion: Principles of Motion Graphics

Video: Working with particles to create depth

Next time you're watching television, take some extra time to look closely at the motion graphics. I started noticing a few years ago, but it seems like particles are used almost everywhere. Now, I like to use particles specifically when I'm trying to accentuate a camera move. If we look at our animation here, let's go ahead and press the Spacebar or play, and you'll notice we have a move with texture on the text and that's pretty much it. But the move in and of itself isn't that exciting, so I'd like to accentuate that with some particles.

Working with particles to create depth

Next time you're watching television, take some extra time to look closely at the motion graphics. I started noticing a few years ago, but it seems like particles are used almost everywhere. Now, I like to use particles specifically when I'm trying to accentuate a camera move. If we look at our animation here, let's go ahead and press the Spacebar or play, and you'll notice we have a move with texture on the text and that's pretty much it. But the move in and of itself isn't that exciting, so I'd like to accentuate that with some particles.

So to get started, let's go to the Library tab and look at some of our particle emitters. Now it's easy enough to create particles from scratch in Motion, but one of the things that I really love is the fact that you can browse through all the different emitters and use one of those as a good starting point. So let's go to the Particle section, and I want to find some particles that just sort of float around in space. Now, Weightless Spark will work perfectly fine. Now, I don't necessarily want this huge clump of particles right there, but I do like the motion afterward, so let's go ahead and click the Apply button to add our particles into the scene.

Now if we go ahead and press Play, you'll notice everything is moving around, and it looks relatively okay, but what we need to do is make some adjustments to these particles. So the first thing, I want to make sure that these particles are actually in the scene at the start of the camera move. The quickest and easiest way to do this with particle emitters is to literally just select the emitter and then click on the layer in the mini timeline and drag it to the left. Now I'm dragging it pretty much two seconds and 15 frames to the left, pretty much until I can tell that the particles are starting to disappear off the edge of the page.

I drag it that way so I could actually resize the particle emitters, and I want to actually see how large of a space it's going to take up with the particles at their fullest position away from the emitter. So let's go ahead and go to the inspector. With the emitter selected, notice the Shape is actually set to Point. Now I want this to emit in three- dimensional space, because again I'm trying to accentuate that with the camera move. So let's click off of our pulldown and enable 3D.

Now with 3D enabled, let's go back to our shape, and notice we have Box and Sphere as options. Let's change the option to Box, and already I'm starting to get a good adjustment here. Now, this box is still a little bit small, so let's open the size of the box and see if we can make some adjustments. First thing, let's crank up the Width as wide as we can go, and 1,000 as is wide as the slider will take it, but I want to go ahead and adjust this to around 2,000. I just want to make sure that when the particles are off the screen we can still see, you know particles way off in the background, and we don't see the edges.

Now, let's do the same thing with the Height. We can go ahead and crank that up to 2,000. Now as you can see the particle emitters within the box are rather uniform, so we want to look at the Arrangement and change that from Tile Fill to Random Fill. Now our particles are inhabiting a true three-dimensional scene, and they're all throughout the page. So if we go ahead and watch our animation playback in real time, we've got our particles accentuating the move.

Now, I don't like how these particles are popping right onto the scene, and there is some kind of abrupt change that's happening, so let me go ahead and pause playback for a second, and see how we can tweak this pre-built particle system so it works a little bit better within our scene. First thing, open up the emitter and open up the options for the particle cell. So you notice we have Random Motion, which I think is perfectly fine, but we also have some Gravity settings as well as Scale Over Life. So first thing, let's look at the Gravity settings and disable those.

Now, when we play back the animation, yeah, that's looking a little bit more like what I was hoping. There we go, so it looks like Gravity was the main offender. Now all we have to do is just fix the fade-in and fade-out of the particle elements. So if we go to our emitter, scroll down under the Cell Control section and notice how the Color mode is set to Color Over Life. If we expand the disclosure triangle, you'll notice the particles start at 100% opacity.

If we go ahead and click on that little paint chip there and scroll down, you'll see Opacity is set to 100. So let's reposition that towards the middle of our slider, and then all we have to do is just click again right back towards the beginning of the Opacity slider and that will add another color chip that we can go ahead and change the opacity settings for back down to zero. Now, when we go ahead and preview our scene, you'll notice that the particles are fading in and fading out of the scene. No more popping and we're all set.

Now, obviously you could continue tweaking this and adjust the colors and any other thing you like, but now you have a pretty good picture what you want to do when you need to accentuate a camera move using particle emitters.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Motion: Principles of Motion Graphics
Motion: Principles of Motion Graphics

41 video lessons · 14630 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
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  1. 13m 59s
    1. Welcome
      55s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 37s
    3. Defining motion graphics
      1m 27s
    4. Workflow for creating motion graphics
      4m 49s
    5. Working in real time
      2m 13s
    6. Setting up the workspace
      2m 58s
  2. 7m 49s
    1. Finding visual inspiration
      2m 35s
    2. Listening to imagine
      2m 28s
    3. Using real-time inspiration
      2m 46s
  3. 28m 47s
    1. Essential theories of type
      5m 30s
    2. Shortcuts for previewing and setting type
      4m 41s
    3. Exploring principles for animating type
      6m 38s
    4. Using type as a design element
      11m 58s
  4. 23m 52s
    1. Creating elements with paint strokes
      9m 29s
    2. Building transitions with the Replicator
      5m 37s
    3. Creating transition effects with filters
      8m 46s
  5. 15m 40s
    1. Exploring the use of color in motion graphics
      3m 30s
    2. Creating and using color palettes
      7m 2s
    3. Applying colors to motion graphics
      5m 8s
  6. 15m 6s
    1. Creating textures with generators
      4m 4s
    2. Creating textures for type
      5m 40s
    3. Working with particles to create depth
      5m 22s
  7. 16m 19s
    1. Using material settings to enhance lighting
      5m 51s
    2. Adding final details with lights
      6m 54s
    3. Camera animation techniques for motion graphics
      3m 34s
  8. 22m 19s
    1. Understanding the role of timing in motion graphics
      1m 28s
    2. Creating and using markers to sync animation with audio
      10m 55s
    3. Using audio to drive animation
      2m 45s
    4. Editing techniques for graphics
      7m 11s
  9. 51m 22s
    1. Pitching the style
      3m 5s
    2. Creating elements in real time
      9m 25s
    3. What's next? Storyboards and/or animatics
      9m 32s
    4. Building and animating the title sequence, pt. 1
      6m 44s
    5. Building and animating the title sequence, pt. 2
      9m 8s
    6. Polishing the animation and timing
      13m 28s
  10. 24m 25s
    1. Preparing a map for animation
      7m 40s
    2. Animating and styling a map
      8m 9s
    3. Animating a lower-third graphic
      6m 42s
    4. Creating a bumper animation
      1m 54s
  11. 3m 51s
    1. Finishing a project
      2m 55s
    2. Next steps
      56s

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