Join Chad Perkins for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Particular in 3D scenes, part of Trapcode Particular Essential Training (2012).
Throughout this training series I have mentioned here and there about how these particles in Particular are 3D, but what does that really mean? In this tutorial, we are going to look at what that means. We are going to So I have here this little paint brush scene I actually created in a 3D talk about what 3D particles mean to you in your life and how to take advantage of that. program, Cinema 4D actually. And I was able to exact that 3D data from that camera scene and bring it here, into After Effects. So basically, this is just a 2D, a flat 2D layer here, an image sequence, but we also have a camera here that mimics this movement of rotating around this little table. And what we are going to do later on in this movie is we are going to add some particles in Particular and they will also appear to rotate as the camera orbits around this scene.
But, before we get into this real-world example, let's break things down a little bit and get very simple, so we understand what's going on here. I have in this 3D particles comp, just a simple layer, and that's all that's here. I labeled that Particular but there is nothing on it, so let's go ahead and apply Particular. And again, I wanted to start from scratch here so that you could really see what we are doing from the ground up. So I am going to apply Particular to this layer, and here we have this default view. And if we go out to 4 Views--and make sure you are not at the first frame where there's no particles. Go out there and time a few seconds, so we have a good amount of particles here.
We have here in the Active Camera View these particles, but if we look over here, we are actually seeing the Top view. Now what I am going to do is create a new camera. I am going to go to Layer > New > Camera and the default settings are fine. Click Ok. We just need a camera here. And so you could see that even though this is our active camera viewport, we are looking at the particles from this side. So from the top view, we can actually see that these viewports are rendering these particles in three dimensional space.
It's actually pretty cool because if we even have like a solid layer in 3D space, it would just look like a flat layer. But somehow, magically, Particular is able to render in three dimensions, which is very cool, because we could always see where our particles are in 3D space. And if were to increase the Z dimension, we could see this go back and stretch and all that type of stuff. So I am going to actually go back to one view, I'm going to select the camera, and I am going to choose the Unified Camera tool. And as we click and drag around, again, we can see that these particles exist in 3D space, and we could again right-click and drag and zoom in and zoom in to these particles, again orbit or pan around them by holding the middle mouse button down.
There's a lot we could do with this camera. We could fly through these particles as we make them look like clouds or what have you. But that 3D functionality of Particular is one of its greatest appeals; it gives you so much flexibility and power because it really is a 3D environment that it is creating. So now let's go over to our Paint Brush Scene start now that we understand this. And again, we already have a camera in our scene. So here we have a Particular layer, and let's see what this looks like. I am going to go ahead and just apply in Particular again to this layer here.
And the first thing we need to do is go to the Emitter, open up the Emitter, and change position X and Y to zero. 0, 0. And that will put things kind of close to where we need them to be. We need them to be up a little bit higher. So reduce the Y value to a negative, until it about touches the center of that paintbrush. And we haven't done anything other than apply the effect. We haven't adjusted any parameters other than its position but yet if we were to scroll through this, we would see that these particles orbit around, following the camera, because the camera is moving around.
So let's go ahead and play with these particles and create some interesting particles here, and maybe see this a little bit more clearly. First thing I want to do is change this from a point emitter to a box emitter. Now, by the way, you might have noticed that these particles tend to be a little bit more pink and purple than they typically are, because what we have here is some hidden adjustment layers. If I click the shy switch you could see some color adjustment layer, but these are just the default regular old white particular particles. What I am going to do is I am going to go open up the particle section, and let's go ahead and increase the size of these a little bit, and let's go ahead and increase the size random a bit, bump that up, and let's go ahead and increase the opacity random, all the way. And we have some interesting particles there.
Now let's go ahead and increase the emitter size Y so that they fill up more of the little paint jar, paintbrush jar, and that's looking pretty good. So if we were to go out in time here it see some pretty interesting particles. If we wanted to apply the velocity a little bit, this velocity is a little harsh; I might want to take this down to 80, or even lower. But for right now, that looks fairly decent. We could also increase the emitter size in Z so that these particles feel a little bit more spread out.
Another cool trick that we can do, that I like doing sometimes, is just select this entire layer, press Command+D on the Mac or Ctrl+D on the PC to duplicate the entire layer, and then drag that layer on top of this Paint Brush layer, the layer with a paint brush and a jar and all that kind of stuff. So it seems like the paint brush is actually being surrounded by particles, some behind and some in front. But because we duplicated the layer, this is actually an exact duplicate of the particles on the other layer.
So what I can do on this top layer is change the Particle Type, for example, maybe to Star. And let's go ahead and take the size down considerably, maybe not to zero but maybe to four, something like that. So everywhere where there is a little bubble from the back Particular layer, we have a little star on the top. So it's almost like a little bit more of a complex particle system, because we we only have two particle systems working here.
But both are going to pick up the movement of the camera, or rather the camera is going to move around the particles as if they were here in this jar. So again, it's a great way to add life to your scene is to fly a camera through, and you don't really have to animate the particles to have them move with the camera. Again, it's one of the best features of Particular and as we go throughout this chapter, you'll see how we'll able to use more of After Effects 3D features with Particular as well.
- Understanding the Particular paradigm
- Working with different emitter types
- Understanding the curve-drawing interface
- Animating the emitter's position
- Adjusting the particles' life span
- Using custom particles
- Using Particular's auxiliary particles
- Integrating the After Effects lights and cameras
- Using a motion path
- Working with gravity and wind
- Using movies as particles