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Animating gas particles in After Effects

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Justin Maloney
Animating gas particles in After Effects
on Jun 25, 2020 at 4:27:42 pm

I'm working on Science education material and we're doing ALOT of animations of gas particles. The basic parameters are such.

-Each particle moves in a STRAIGHT line.
-Particles bounce off the edges of their container.
-Particles bounce when colliding with one another.

I'm trying to create something with Trapcode Form or Particular but I can't get the particles to respect these parameters and the scientists are complaining that its not accurate enough.

Here is a gif they gave me that (sort of) illustrates what they want. Gas particles are on the right.

The big difference between the animations I'm working on and this example is that the vessel the particles are in have to expand and contract, slowing down and speeding up the particles inside while doing so.

Obviously doing that manually is a nightmare. I'm hoping some kind of particle system can get the job done.

Any ideas?

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Richard Garabedain
Re: Animating gas particles in After Effects
on Jun 25, 2020 at 10:47:29 pm

if you had Newton it would be pretty easy...that being ball action is almost close...but...if you have a solid with several small balls and then you use radio waves on a new solid that references this one.. and you add spin and can get hollow spheres to do exactly like your animation...too bad other effects cannot use this reflection ability

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Graham Quince
Re: Animating gas particles in After Effects
on Jun 28, 2020 at 8:59:37 pm

Years ago I used Particle Playground’s wall settings to help explain Charles’ Law:

PP won’t get you particles interacting with each other, but will get the container interactions. - After Effects Tutorials

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Filip Vandueren
Re: Animating gas particles in After Effects
on Jun 29, 2020 at 2:39:31 pm

I think it's a lot to ask of a particle system in a 2D animation app.

For a simple 2D look, maybe this is something that is better coded in something like Processing?

Or in 3D Blender with something like the "molecular" addon script ?

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