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Disney-style sparkle shower?

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Andrew Viney
Disney-style sparkle shower?
on Oct 13, 2009 at 10:43:07 am

Hello. I should warn you first that I'm a bit of a novice at After Effects, everything I know I've learned from here and Video Copilot. I don't do it professionally.

I'm trying to create a sort of shower of sparkles which shoots across the frame leaving a trail of falling glitter. The closest comparison I can think of is the Disney castle bumper at the beginning of Disney movies where an arc of glitter shoots over the castle.

I have tried using CC Particle World but the particles appear flat and don't glitter or shine. Can anyone suggest a tutorial for creating this sort of effect or offer any other advice? Maybe a variation on CC PW?

Many thanks.

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Dave Johnson
Re: Disney-style sparkle shower?
on Oct 13, 2009 at 1:23:57 pm

I don't know of a specific tutorial, but have done similar effects many times ... it's been a while so I can't list play-by-play details or effect settings, but perhaps it'll be enough to say that doing it in AE requires a particle system (I prefer Trapcode Particular, but think I've done it with Particle World too) and, depending on the particle system used, some type of lighting effect is either required or helpful to make the effect really sparkle (pun intended) ... almost any Glint or Glare type lighting effect will do, but all I can think of off-hand are third-party plugins so that might not be much help since you may not have any.

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Jon Geddes
Re: Disney-style sparkle shower?
on Oct 13, 2009 at 2:51:53 pm

Dave is correct,

Trapcode Particular is an excellent particle system for After Effects (the best actually), however, you can achieve good results with the built-in "CC Particle World".

Using a Null Object to control the source of the particles is the best way to do it. Unfortunately the x,y, and z position of the producer cannot be directly linked to the position of a null object unless you use expressions.

  • First, create a null object and change it's name to "Particle_Controller", make sure it is 3D.
  • Then create a new solid and apply the CC Particle World effect to it

Then apply the following expressions to the producer:

Position X:


Position Y:


Position Z:


Then you will want to tweak some settings of the particle to make it look better:

  • Set the radius of the producer to "0"
  • Set the physics animation to "Viscouse"
  • Set the Velocity to "0.08"
  • Set Inherit Velocity to "5"
  • Set Gravity to "0"
  • Set Extra and Extra Angle to "0"
  • Set Particle Type to "Star"
  • Set Birth Size to ".067"
  • Set Death Size to ".010"
  • Set Max Opacity to "40%"
  • Set Birth and Death Color to whatever you want (Birth being lighter)
  • Set Transfer Mode to Add
  • Add a Glow Effect to the Solid with an Intensity of "3" and "19" Radius

Now Animate the position of the Null Object to get the particles to swirl around. Some of the settings may need to be tweaked depending on the resolution you are using.

For an example of what it looks like, you can watch a sample of our "Pro Motion Menu Kit: 02 - Enchanted Waters" which uses these same settings:

Jon Geddes

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Kevin Camp
Re: Disney-style sparkle shower?
on Oct 13, 2009 at 2:57:00 pm

there are a couple tutorials on this page for glitter-like particle systems. they both use particular, but you can probably use particle world to create a similar effect.

cc pw doesn't have the random loop property for the particle sampling, so you'll need to make the particle comp as long as the particle system. set cc pw particletype to textured quad polygon, set the texture to the particle comp and set the texture time to from start.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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Andrew Viney
Re: Disney-style sparkle shower?
on Oct 15, 2009 at 7:27:28 am

Thank you all so much for your help. Jon's suggestion got pretty much what I was after, I just had to make the inevitable tweaks to get it the way I wanted it. I may have to invest in Particular for future projects.

Thank you all again!

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