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Winter Wonderland

After Effects Particle Playground piles up By Stephen Schleicher
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I showed you how you can use After Effects Particle Playground to create a plethora of falling turkeys. With the next holiday already here, lets create some snow particles and have them pile up on a layer.

In Adobe Photoshop, create some text against a transparent background and save the file as snowmap.psd.

Open After Effects and import the snow map layer you just created by pressing Command+I on the Mac, or Control+I on the PC.

Create a new composition using the DV/NTSC Preset. Set the length of the comp to 20 seconds.

Drag the snow map file from the Project Window to the Timeline.

Create a New Solid by pressing Command+Y on the Mac or Control+Y on the PC. Name the layer Snow. Press the Make Comp size button to make it the same size as the composition.

To this layer apply the Particle Playground effect from Effect>Simulation>Particle Playground.

In the Effect Controls Panel, twirl down the Canon property for the effect. Move the Position for the canon to 360, -450, and change the Barrel Radius to 450. This moves the particle generator outside the edge of the screen and extends the width to fill the entire screen.

Change the Particles Per Second to 100, change the color to white, and set the Pixel size to 3. If you scroll through the Timeline, youll see your particles falling. They dont look much like snow at the moment, but well take care of that in a second.

Twirl down the Gravity property and set the Force to 0. Because the snow already has a direction and force, and since snow should fall gently, gravity is not needed for this effect.

Now to make the snow look more like snow, and less like a video game from the 80s, apply Gaussian Blur to the snow layer. Set the Blur Amount to 8.

Duplicate the Snow layer and move the duplicate below the Snowmap layer.

Open the Effect Control Panel for the duplicate layer. This snow layer will pile up on the snowmap text layer. Change the Particles Per Second to 300 and the Particle Radius to 2.0.

Under the Gravity controls, change the Force to -1. While it may seem strange to do this, it will actually help our snowflakes pile up on one another.

Twirl down the Persistent Property Manager, and use the snowmap layer for the Use Layer as Map. Since the text element is white, it doesnt matter what color channel you select for the next function.

Change the Map Red to Kinetic Friction. This setting will cause the snow particles to come to a stop when it "hits" the snow information. To make sure the particles come to a complete stop, change the Min and Max amounts to -500 and 500 respectively.

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Related Keywords:After Effects, Adobe, snow, particle playground, schleicher


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