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Flame On

Custom particles in Particular By Stephen Schleicher

I love playing World of Warcraft, and am constantly amazed at the particle animations used for magic actions.  One of the best particle systems Ive come across is Trapcodes Particular.  In this After Effects tutorial, well use the plug-in to create our own magical effects.

Right now Im fascinated with the swirly wisps that come off some of the hand held items.  When combined, the individual wisps combine to form a pulsating ball, but when the character moves, the wisps break off and dissolve.  The first place to start is to create a shape for the particle system to use.

I opened Adobe Illustrator and used a spiral with one of the default brushes.


Step 1:  Open After Effects, and create a New Composition (Command+N on the Mac, Control+N on the PC).  Import the Illustrator swirl and place it in the Timeline.

Step 2:  Create a New Solid (Command+Y on the Mac, Control+Y on the PC).  Make the layer the size of the Comp by clicking on the Make Comp Size button.  The color doesnt really matter, but so the colors of the wisps stand out more, Ill use black.

Click OK

Step 3:  To the Particular layer, apply the Trapcode Particular effect.  While this tutorial is written using Particular 1.5, it will also work with Particular 1.0.

Step 4:  The first thing we want to do is tell Particular to use the Flame.ai layer as the particle type.  Because Particular creates particles in 3D space, you will need to make the Flame.ai layer 3D by checking the 3D Layer option for the layer.

Now change the Particle Type to Custom Colorize.

Step 5:  In the Effect Controls tab, twirl down the Custom arrow in the Particle options.  Select the Flame.ai layer from the drop down menu.  Since Particular ?sees the layer even when it is off, turn off the visibility for the Flame layer by clicking the eyeball icon.

Step 6:  Were going to do a lot tweaking of the Particle options, so lets dive in.  The wisps should last that long on screen, so adjust the Life amount to somewhere between 1 and 2 seconds. 

To create a more organic look, increase the Life Random Percent to 10.

 

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Related Keywords:after effects, tutorial, world of warcraft, particle effects, particular, flame, magic, adobe, illustrator

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