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Creating own particles

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Mort Ulbricht
Creating own particles
on Dec 10, 2010 at 11:21:50 am

Heyho :-)

With a new problem ;-)

Is it possible to create his own particle-forms in trapcode?
So that the particles look like flowers for example? Or little gold cubes...?

Thx for your time.


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John Cuevas
Re: Creating own particles
on Dec 10, 2010 at 2:14:54 pm

Yes, easily. Put your custom particles in a composition(works best if the size is no bigger than 200 x 200), then place that precomp into your composition with the particle layer. Under particle type change it to either "sprite" or "textured polygon".

Textured polygon offers a lot more options, but there are instances where sprites might work better.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor


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Walter Soyka
Re: Creating own particles
on Dec 10, 2010 at 2:28:22 pm

[John Cuevas] "Textured polygon offers a lot more options, but there are instances where sprites might work better."

Textured polygons are 2D objects which are free to rotate in 3D space. Sprites are 2D objects which always auto-orient to the camera.

I use sprite particles a lot when I need to create the illusion of depth. For example, I'll model a true 3D object rotating, render it out, import it into AE, and use it in Particular as a sprite particle with "Random - Loop" time sampling. This works best on relatively small or fast-moving objects, as the perspective on the particles will not be true.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mort Ulbricht
Re: Creating own particles
on Dec 14, 2010 at 12:40:59 pm

Cool, it worked :)
Thank you very much.

But I don´t understand the difference between sprite and polygon.
And what is a true 3D object?

Thx for your time.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Creating own particles
on Dec 14, 2010 at 2:50:42 pm

[Mort Ulbricht] "But I don´t understand the difference between sprite and polygon."

Basically, Particular sprites always face the camera (they can only rotate on their z-axis), but polygon sprites are free to rotate on any of their axes. (This also affects how the particles handle other Particular features like lighting.)

A picture is worth a thousand words:



In the top row of images, I used a comp containing a regular text layer -- a flat 2D asterisk -- as the texture for both a sprite and a polygon particle type. In the bottom row of images, I used a comp containing a rendered movie of an asterisk spinning on its y-axis from a 3D app as the texture for both a sprite and a polygon particle type.


[Mort Ulbricht] "And what is a true 3D object?"

True 3D objects don't exist in After Effects; AE thinks in 2.5D (that is, 2D planes which can move and rotate in 3D space). I use Cinema 4D for 3D modeling and rendering, and I use After Effects for compositing those 3D renders.

Since Particular sprites always face the camera, I sometimes use them in conjunction with 3D renders to give the illusion of depth in After Effects. Of course, this effect won't stand up to close scrutiny (because the lighting and camera perspective on the particles is wrong), but it's still a very useful trick.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mort Ulbricht
Re: Creating own particles
on Dec 17, 2010 at 10:57:34 am

Ok, I think I understood little bit ^^
Thank you very much :)


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Alisa Arta
Re: Creating own particles
on Jul 26, 2016 at 6:47:33 pm

Hello, Walter!
Is it possible to create a "3D" sphere surface with 2D custom particles in AE CS6? How can I form such a sphere with 2D rectangles?
Thank you for your attention.


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