Following along with the "Illusionist" book, reading about Particle Playground.
One exercise has the effect applied to a pre-comped layer with text shapes. It's basically a Layer Exploder with zero gravity so that the text sort of breaks up and floats upwards like soda fizz. There's an animated gradient used for the selection map, but I don't think that matters for the questions at hand.
The thing I'm seeing about PP is that there is no on or off switch. If it's applied to a layer, it's going to explode. I was thinking that if I was going to do something like this, I might want the solid text, image or whatever to hang out in the frame for a minute, and then gradually begin to dissolve and float away. I duplicated the layer without the effect and manually sequenced the layers so the layer without PP plays for a second (it's static) and then ends and the layer with PP applied begins. Thing is, as soon as the layer with the effect begins, the explosion causes an abrupt shift that doesn't look natural at all. (Incidentally, the Layer Exploder Radius is keyframed at 2 for the first frame and 0 for the second frame to keep the particles under control.)
Anyway, have I stated my dilemma clearly enough, and if it's understood, what can I do about it?
PS Thought maybe it was the nature of the text shapes, but I started over with a new comp and one ovular shape layer. Duped the layer, ended the 1st one at 1 second, began the second one at one second. Applied Particle Playground to the second shape layer with Layer Exploder and it immediately jumped to the right. Scratching my head.