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Best way to learn about particles?

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Mike MacKenzie
Best way to learn about particles?
on Feb 25, 2011 at 2:37:08 pm

Hey everyone...

I'm a long-time AE user, but one area I've never explored much is particles, and now I have a big particle project coming up. I know there are books and tutorials on the subject, but I' wondering which ones people think are best for basic understanding? Also, I'm talking about AE's built-in systems, not Particular (although that's probably on the horizon for me).

Thanks!

Motion Graphics Designer / Art Director
Boston, MA

System:
Mac/Leopard
2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
10 GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM


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Michael Szalapski
Re: Best way to learn about particles?
on Feb 25, 2011 at 3:02:49 pm

If you have a big particle project coming up, I cannot recommend Particular more. It is so much more powerful than the plugins AE ships with.
As to ways to learn about particles, there are all kinds of different particle effects and they all require different techniques. I mean, the basics are all the same, but the key is learning how to get the various things to do what you want.

All particle systems have certain things in common.
For one thing, you must have an emitter - something that spews out particles. That emitter could be a single point in space, it could be a huge cube-shaped area, it could be a grid. This emitter will have settings like velocity (how fast particles travel once they're emitted), particles per second (how many particles it creates), angle of emission, etc.
The particles themselves will always have a certain few variables such as life of the particle (how long after it's been emitted that it's active), color, shape, etc.
Other than that though, it's all up in the air.

I don't know of any non-Particular-based particle training for AE that's separate from other AE training materials other than tutorials kicking around on the COW and the rest of the web, but I would like to stress again, Particular is top of the must-have plugin list for AE. I would suggest you go get it right now.

If you could be a bit more specific about the type of effect you want to achieve, it would help us suggest more specific learning materials.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Kevin Camp
Re: Best way to learn about particles?
on Feb 25, 2011 at 3:30:17 pm

here's a link to cycore's bundles ae effects tutorials and samples (fyi, cycore makes all the effects in ae that have 'CC' in the names, including several of the particle systems that would be of interest to you)

you can also search for tutorials that use the specific effects that you want to learn more on.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Mike MacKenzie
Re: Best way to learn about particles?
on Feb 26, 2011 at 1:41:59 pm

Thanks for taking the time to put all that down, very helpful, and thanks to everyone else as well for their responses.

Motion Graphics Designer / Art Director
Boston, MA

System:
Mac/Leopard
2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
10 GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM


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Ryan McAfee
Re: Best way to learn about particles?
on Feb 25, 2011 at 4:02:19 pm

Personally, either using Particular or Particle World, there are a million tutorials out there but I run into the problem of thinking like the tutorial I am watching.

My advice just use either one (Particle System) and just play around with it until you get your desired look.

I am sure Aaron Rabinoitz and Maltannon and Andrew Kramer did not have help making their tutorials.

And what you said in the beginning " I've never explored much ", that's the key...you have to explore.

That's art, exploring the unknown. Not having your hand held through it.

But I know some people will not agree with me.

Ryan McAfee
Moon Community Access Television
http://www.MCA-TV.com


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Mike MacKenzie
Re: Best way to learn about particles?
on Feb 26, 2011 at 2:31:53 pm

You're right, it was stupid of me to come to a help forum looking for help.
What was I thinking?

Motion Graphics Designer / Art Director
Boston, MA

System:
Mac/Leopard
2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
10 GB 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM


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Ryan McAfee
Re: Best way to learn about particles?
on Feb 28, 2011 at 2:28:27 pm

That's not what I said.

I just said when I watch a tutorial I get stuck thinking like that tutorial.

I have seen many students claim Video Co Pilot tutorials as their own work. That to me is just like plagiarism.

People ask for help all the time on this forum. Like how can I customize the sprite function in particular.

I am not criticizing you. I just know once I am shown how to do something its hard to pull away from that method.

Ryan McAfee
Moon Community Access Television
http://www.MCA-TV.com


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