I think trapcode is probably a good place to post my question. I have been searching relentlessly for a tutorial on how to build a realistic looking nuclear explosion/cloud for a movie I am working on.
It would really be fantastic to see a tutorial made for this. Can anyone help?
I think this might be a bit beyond the capabilities of Particular, or at least when using only one instance of it. The key feature of nuclear clouds is the way the cloud rolls over the top, down the sides and then back up the centre column, as it cools and warms up again, forming the familiar mushroom shape.
You can probably get halfway there by emitting particles from the base with fairly high velocity, and then using the wind options to push the particles back down toward the ground, spreading out as they do so. So now your smoke will be rising, and then falling, but I think the only way to make the particles rise again, and move back toward the centre, would be to use another instance of the plugin and try and get the two to match.
Another idea, which just occurred to me, would be to use a motion path for the emitter, following the spiral path along the outside of the cloud, if you imagine a slice through the mushroom. That would get the emitter moving in the right places, with particle colour changing as it progressed. Of course that would only get you a 2d outline of a cloud, but by duplicating the effect and rotating it around the centre of the cloud, you might be able to make a 3d shape - albeit at the cost of many copies of particular running, and so with a longer render time.