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Importing Position Data into ParticleIllusion 3

Part 1: Copying and pasting keyframes from After Effects By Dave Nagel
When you're compositing particle effects into live footage, accurate motion is the key. You're not going to have a convincing effect if your particles don't match the movement of the subject and the camera. And that means motion tracking.

But if you're working in ParticleIllusion 3, there is no integrated motion tracker. However, you can import position data (X,Y) into ParticleIllusion from Adobe After Effects (whether it be motion tracking data or simple layer position data) or even generate position data manually from another motion graphics application. Here's how it works.

In After Effects
If you happen to use ParticleIllusion and After Effects on the same system, then the process of importing position data is simple as can be. You simply copy keyframes from After Effects and paste them into ParticleIllusion. Here's how that works.

1. In After Effects, select the object whose position you're tracking. Go down to the timeline, and expand the transform properties.

2. Now select the keyframes for the Position parameter. You can do this simply by clicking on the word "Position" or by clicking and dragging your cursor over the keyframes to select the ones you want.

3. Copy the keyframes (Command-C).

In ParticleIllusion 3
4. Now, in ParticleIllusion, right-click on the object to which you wish to apply these position keyframes. If it's camera data, you'll want to apply it to the offset of the layer; if it's data tracking the motion of your subject (the thing that's hypothetically emitting the particles), then you want to apply the position data to your particle emitter. From the contextual menu that pops up, choose Import > Position Data.

5. In the dialog that pops up, choose the version of After Effects that you're using, and click OK.

That's it. Your particle emitter now follows the object it's supposed to be tracking. You'll see the keyframes in the timeline and the motion path in the Stage window.

Next time around, we'll take a look at how to import data from a tab-delimited text file--useful when you do not work in ParticleIllusion and After Effects on the same machine. Until then, if you have any further questions, be sure to drop me a line at the address below. Or visit our ParticleIllusion forum at DMN Forums by clicking here.

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Related Keywords:wondertouch particleillusion, importing keyframes, position data, motion tracking


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