I'm new here but have passed by a few times for a couple of years and I've just run into a problem that I thought to ask here. I'm looking into different particle system solutions. Now my question is not asking which system is better, but which is more practical for specific applications.
The few systems I've been looking at are those native to Maya and Trapcode Particular for AE. The initial problem I'm trying to solve is that I want to create blowing leaves (and eventually fire particles) that interact dynamically with wind. I'd want both to have depth of field and I'll possibly make a transition effect with a leaflet being close to the camera.
So what I realize is that a 2D planar particle system wont work since the leaves need to loop and flip around, interact with wind, need to curve and flatten out around the Z-Plane, and bend based on wind physics. I don't have extensive knowledge with working with current 3D Software (used Bryce 5 back in the day), but I believe all this takes is a leaf image on a 2D flat and whatever particle system emits the flats. Knowing this, I've been hesitant on if Trapcode can handle something like this. Any ideas?
The other question I've been struggling is when is it more practical to use something like Maya for particle systems than something like AE Trapcode? It seems like both have a huge overlap with AE obviously excelling also in 2D compositing and VFX. But when would I need to bring a 3D modeling program into the picture? Like the problem above, or for some other reason?
Thanks in advance. I know this is very noobish question, but like I said, I've had very little experience working with AE or newer 3DSoftware.