Just for fun I've been trying to figure out if its possible to create a photo real avalanche effect with particular 2 in AE.
I've got some source footage of a slow clean camera zoom out from the side of a snowy mountain with lots of furn trees and plenty of open snow covered space too on the mountain side.
So far I tracked a particular effect to shoot cloudlets down the mountain side. Using turbulance and wind effects along with a point light for shading the particles it looks like a good start but far from convincing.
I'm not too worried about the particles spilling over areas where they should be occluded (behind a group of trees or part of mountain) as I will roto that later, however I'm wondering if using particular for this effect is a good solution, as the more I work on it the more I feel like its just not going to work.
Not sure Particular is going to give you the effect you want. Avalanches, as I view them, have a bunch of interaction with the ground. Particular's bounce physics mode may be a decent start, but it lacks and turbulance or spin control like the air mode. The air physics wont let you bounce particles off a layer. To really get a photorealistic avalanche, you will probably need to recreate the terrain in a 3d program and then use some true 3d collision with particles and the terrain. I love Particular, but there are somethings which are better left to true 3d programs and simulators. Also, something like realflow or other fluid dynamics program would be great to accurately simulate how the snow would flow down the mountain.
I think your absolutly right. I've been playing some more with the particular avalanche effect since I made this thread and I thinks it's got worse not better in terms or realism.
Time to switch over to Particle flow in Max for me!!