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Let It Snow

Create a gentle snowfall with AE 6.5 and Particle World By Stephen Schleicher

Lately I have received many requests on how to create custom particles using the Cycore FX Particle World plug-in for Adobe After Effects 6.5.  To coincide with the holiday, this tutorial will show you how to create your own field of falling snow.

I have previously demonstrated how to use Particle Playground to create falling snow , but with Cycore FX HD Particle World effect you can create custom snowflakes to replace the particles in the scene.

Since the documentation for the Cycore FX HD plug-ins is very well done, I will not be going over every feature in the Particle World Effects Control Panel, but will show you which controls will need to be manipulated to get this project to work correctly.

Step 1:  Create a New Project using the settings shown in the following image.

There are a variety of ways we can create a snowflake.  We could use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, clip art, or a variety of other sources to get the shape we desire.  For this tutorial, I decided to use a snowflake font found at http://www.p22.com.  The P22 Snowflakes font is a free download and is perfect for this example.

Since no two snowflakes are supposed to be alike, a font is the perfect solution because we can use a Text Animator to make each snowflake semi-unique.

Step 2:  Select the Text Tool in the Tools Palette and in the Character Palette, change the font type to the snowflake font.  Depending on your operating system, you will need to select a font size that will fill the Comp Window.  On the Mac, a size of 175 pixels works nicely.

In the Comp Window, type one key on the keyboard to get your first snowflake.  For this example, I used the letter Z.

Step 3:  In the Timeline, twirl down the Property arrow for the Text layer.  From the Animate fly out menu select Character Offset as the Text Animator for this layer.

Step 4:  With the Timeline Indicator at the beginning of the Timeline, create an initial keyframe for the Character Offset by clicking on the Stopwatch icon.

Move to the end of the Timeline and change the Character Offset to 300.  This animator changes the character for each frame of the composition.  Because we are using the snowflake font each frame will be a new crystal.


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