School of Motion

21 Essential Trapcode Particular Tutorials for After Effects

  • By Caleb Ward
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Become a particle master with these awesome Trapcode Particular tutorials for After Effects.

While After Effects does have a built-in particle effects, without a doubt the most widely used particle system among professional MoGraph artists is Trapcode Particular. With tons of physics controls, custom particles, and a new user interface it’s no surprise that it’s one of our most recommended plugins for Motion Design artists. In fact, we love it so much that we thought it’d be fun to put together a list of our favorite Trapcode Particular tutorials for After Effects.

Each one of these tutorials have been hand-selected by the School of Motion team. Also, we should note that we arent’ getting paid to write this article. We really just love Trapcode Particular a lot.

What is Trapcode Particular?

To say that Trapcode Particular is simply an After Effects Plugin would be an understatement. Trapcode Partciular is a particle generation tool developed by Red Giant that allows users to create 3D particle effects and simulate real-world physics. Particular has actually been around for quite a while now, but it wasn’t until the most recent launch of Trapcode Particular 3 that features like the Designer Interface, GPU-Acceleration, and Instant Feedback were introduced. If Particular was a Ford Focus before, it’s now a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Here’s a fun demo of the newest version of Trapcode Particular, narrated by what sounds like Kiefer Sutherland’s twin brother.

Cool Trapcode Particular Tutorials for After Effects

You came here for a list of Trapcode Particular tutorials. Well, here you go!

1. Abstract Nebulas in Trapcode Particular

Voxyde created this sweet tutorial about how to create a turbulent nebula using Trapcode Particular. You’d be surprised at how many projects utilize abstract shapes like this one. I use techniques like this all the time. 

2. Star Wars Lightspeed Effect in Trapcode Particular

We all know the real reason why you got into After Effects is to recreate Star Wars VFX. Admit it, you’ve made broom-stick lightsabers… Using his Jedi powers, Harry Frank put this incredible tutorial together. He also has a part 2 that creates the modern ‘blue tunnel’ effect from the force awakens, but it uses Trapcode MIR so it didn’t make this list. 

3. Doctor Strange Trapcode Particular Effect

This sweet tutorial from Moraru shows us how to create a cool Dr. Strange portal effect using Trapcode Particular. It even shows you how to create a floor so the particles bounce off the ground. It’s pretty sweet!

4. Tracer Fire Using Trapcode Particular

Now we’re getting to some fun stuff. This tutorial shows you how to create tracer fire using Trapcode Particular. This technique can also be used to create laser guns which is pretty sweet!

5. Create a Smoke Monster Using Trapcode Particular

This sweet tutorial from Seth Worley shows us how to create a LOST inspired smoke monster using Trapcode Particular. Don’t ask why, ask why not...

6. Using Trapcode Particular with Master Properties

When Adobe announced Master Properties a few months ago it blew our minds. Finally! A way to iterate nested comps inside of After Effects. With Master Properties there are a million and five potential use-cases and this Particular example (pun-intended) from Harry Frank we see how to use the plugin with this new After Effects feature. 

7. Create Water with Trapcode Particular

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve seen this tutorial I’d probably have around 45 cents (that was a better metaphor in my head). This tutorial is an essential watch for anyone looking to create realistic simulations using Trapcode Particular. 

8 - 21. The Official Trapcode Particular Training Series

Trapcode Particular is a robust plugin. So what better way to learn it than by checking out a FREE training series from Red Giant? In this 14 part series, Harry Frank (the Godfather of Red Giant training) will teach you the ins-and-outs of using Trapcode Particular. Here's part 1, but you can check out the full-series over on the tube of yous.

Try Trapcode Particular for Free

Trapcode Particular is a paid After Effects plugin and it is part of the larger Trapcode Suite from Red Giant. While we would definitely recommend checking out the entire Trapcode Suite, you can purchase Trapcode Particular alone for $399. There’s also an academic version for $199 if you qualify for such a thing. 

Red Giant also offers a free trial version where you can try out this tool with a watermark over you final image. If you're not sure if you should pull the purchase trigger I definitely recommend trying out the trial.

Now get out there and create some awesome particle work. Or I guess you could always just film a snow globe. 

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How did they have Trapcode Particular in 1994?!