Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Particle System Animation

This blog post is very late - sorry about that! (It's for 10/22)

In the past two months, as I am learning more an more about After Effects, I have found the CC Particle World and Particle Playground effects to be some of the most useful and awesome effects to work with.

I got a chance to look more into particle system animation and how it has developed over time. Simply reading through the theory behind particle systems helped me understand a lot.

The most important thing to know is that particle systems can be either animated or static - even though particle systems are usually just associated with being animated. An animated particle has it life trajectory spanned over time while a static particle is rendered all at once.

For things like fire, smoke, rain, sparks, etc., animated particles are used as each particle occupies a single point in the space position and then slowly fades out.

For things like hair, grass, etc., static particles are used as the entire life journey of the particle is rendered at once, therefore, creating strands - which can then be controlled.

Even when using the Particle World effect to simply create a small fire, there are so many things to be controlled and it can seem overwhelming. I found this video from a game engine called Unreal Engine and the video goes over some basic and complex particle terminology. So if someone is interested in developing games, especially shooter games, check this out.

Typically, the particles are generated through what is called an emitter. The emitter holds a position in 3D space which can be manipulated to determine the amount, shape, size, and direction of the particles among other properties. 

There is a lot more information out there if someone is interested in learning more about particle systems.

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