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Wondertouch Particle Emitters for Motion

Particle collections for Apple's Motion 1.0 and 2.0 By Dave Nagel
Summary: Wondertouch Particle Emitters for Motion is a collection of particle-based effects for use within Apple Motion 1.0 and 2.0. The collections are available in three configurations--"Small" (65 emitters), "Medium" (200 emitters) and "Large" (337 emitters)--offering a wide range of special effects, from complex, abstract motion backgrounds to explosions, smoke, fire and water effects.
Recommendation: Buy
Users: Motion graphics artists
Platform: Mac OS X
Price: $149 for the "Large" collection; $99 for "Medium" collection; $39 for "Small" collection
More information: http://www.wondertouch.com

If you haven't seen Wondertouch particles in action, well, then you just don't watch a lot of television. The company's ParticleIllusion software (previously Impulse Illusion) is in use practically everywhere you see things digitally blowing up, burning, spurting blood, billowing smoke or otherwise emitting things from the gory to the fantastic to the mundane. ParticleIllusion is the underlying system in DIscreet Combustion and was, very clearly, the "inspiration" for the particle system in Apple's own Motion software.

Now, we on the Mac platform have been awaiting the release of ParticleIllusion 3 for Mac OS X for quite some time. (It was originally slated for a late 2003 release.) The software offers some unique features that I, at least, have been eager to get my hands on, not the least of which is the "super-emitters" feature, which allows particles themselves to act as emitters. While we continue to wait for this release, Wondertouch has come out with two products for Mac OS X in the category of particles: ParticleIllusion SE and Wondertouch Particle Emitters for Motion. The latter, released just back in March, is an adaptation of the emitters from ParticleIllusion for use in Apple's Motion. And it's a welcome addition to Motion's library of tools.

Features
The Wondertouch Particle Emitters for Motion don't add any new features to Motion per se; rather, they're simply new preset particle emitters that use Motion's particle engine and are integrated into the program the same way Motion's default emitters are. The collections are available in three configurations: Small (65 emitters), Medium (200 emitters) and Large (337 emitters). The features of each are identical, the difference between them being the sheer quantity of emitters included with each package. Details on which particle emitters are included in the smaller packages can be found on the ParticleIllusion Web site. We're looking at the Large package today.

The collection is not just a set of "typical" particle effects, like explosions or fairy dust trails. The emitters span the gamut of capabilities, from smoke and fire to motion backgrounds (both complex and simple) to text effects. The Large collection includes 337 emitters divided into 15 categories. It's impossible for me to give you decent examples of all of them. I'd either have to compress them beyond recognition, since most of them are quite complex, or burden you with a few hundred large, uncompressed movies to show them off. So, instead, we'll take a brief look at what's included in each category, along with samples from some of them.


In the Abstract category, we have 64 individual emitters covering a wide range of effects that can be described, on the whole, as suitable for creating motion backgrounds. They include spirographic-style emitters, plasma, light streaks and flashes, balls, drips and other types of particles. Here's a quick sampling of some of these.



The Backgrounds category is also abstract, and I'm not sure why it's a separate category at all, except that most of the "Backgrounds" particles are a bit more angular than those in the Abstract category. It includes 24 individual emitters. Here's a look at six of them.



There are several other categories that include abstract shapes designed for creating motion backgrounds. This is by far the largest general category of emitters in the package and, for the most part, the least interesting to me, since these sorts of effects are fairly simple to create on my own, with or without particles. So I won't get into all of them.

There's also a Creatures category, which includes 12 emitters, ranging from flocks of birds to groups of butterflies, worms and microbes.



In the Explosions category, we have 14 emitters covering basic explosions, including outward and upward bursts, explosions with smoke and others. Personally, I think this is far too few. These effects are widely used, and I think it would have been a great productivity boost to have more of them to be able to use as starting points.



There are 61 emitters in the category of Fire, Smoke and Sparks. These are high-quality flame and smoke effects, many designed to be used on motion paths, along with some various related types of effects, like lava, sparks and vapor particles.



Nature has seven emitters whose particles consist of leaves, flowers or feathers. These, obviously, have fairly limited application, but they can be used as a basis for creating your own flowing, blooming or blowing particles.



The Space category has its own set of explosions, as well as star fields, transporter effects and more abstract effects.


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Related Keywords:wondertouch, particleillusion, mac, particle emiters for motion

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