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Tutorial: Make Vines and Leaves with Trapcode Particular in After Effects

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Here's how to use Trapcode Particular to trigger animation.

When you think of Trapcode Particular the first thing that probably comes to mind is floating particles, smoke, fairy dust, that kind of stuff, right? Well Trapcode Particular has a few tricks up it's sleeve. In this tutorial Joey is going to show you a very cool technique to trigger animations that need to happen at a certain point in time, like growing leaves on a vine. By the end of this tutorial you should have a fresh perspective on exactly what you can do with this very powerful plugin for After Effects.Check out the resources tab to grab a demo of Trapcode Particular, or to buy a copy of your own.

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Tutorial Full Transcript Below 👇:

Joey Korenman (00:16):

What's up Joey here at school of motion and welcome today, 25 of 30 days of after effects. Today, we are going to talk about particles and specifically trap code particular, which is one of those plugins that every single after effects artists out there kind of has to know it doesn't come with after effects, but frankly it probably should. At this point, we're going to use particles in a way that you don't often see them used. Most people think of particles as making explosions or magic effects or things like that. I'm going to use them because particles allow you to trigger animation, which opens up a world of possibilities. That would be very hard to achieve. If you had to hand animate everything, don't forget, sign up for a free student account. So you can grab the project files from this lesson, as well as assets from any other lesson on the site.

Joey Korenman (01:00):

Now let's hop into after effects and get started. The point of this video is to try and get you guys to understand some of the cool things you can do with particles. Uh, when, when I say particles, I'm sure a lot of you think about, you know, magic effects and, and things that look like particles, but actually particles are really just a, another technique that you can use in motion graphics, and specifically the way I'm using them here is to generate the leaves automatically for me along these vines. Um, you know, whenever you have a lot of repeating elements, but they need to sort of be born at a certain time and you need an animation to be triggered at a certain time. Particles are one of the best ways to do that. So we're gonna use particles in kind of a unique way. And hopefully it'll just give you guys some more ideas about, uh, you know, things you can do with them.

Joey Korenman (01:58):

So let's jump in and get started. So I'm gonna make a new pre-camp here and we're going to call this vine oh one. And I apologize, cause I have the sniffles a little bit today. So you might hear me sniffling, so you can, uh, you can create the vine any way you want. You can, you know, you can do it very simply with the shape layer and, you know, make it whatever shape you want and then go in and, and adjust it. I actually used, uh, the 3d stroke pro plugin from trap code because as I pointed out in a different tutorial, it has this nice feature of letting you taper, uh, your strokes and, and for a vine that's really, really cool. So I'm actually gonna use that, but if you don't have that plugin and you're following along, you can do the exact same thing just by drawing a shape like this.

Joey Korenman (02:46):

So I'm going to make a new solid, and I'm going to call this vine and I'm going to draw a shape on it. So let's make it simple. Uh, maybe the vine starts down here and kind of curls up like this, and I'm just going to kind of adjust this as I go, and I want it to kind of curl around in, on itself and make one of these nice little kind of curly Q shapes. All right. And maybe we'll pull this in a little bit. Okay, cool. So there's our, there's our vine shape. All right. And then maybe, you know, maybe, maybe it should be pushed over a little bit this way. Alright, perfect. So now with that mask on there, with that shape, I can add the trap code, 3d stroke effect. All right. And if you drew a shape layer with the shape, it would look exactly like this, the advantage of 3d stroke.

Joey Korenman (03:38):

And if you haven't watched a, the tutorial, I think it's part three of the kinetic type series where I use 3d stroke to create this crack, but it's got this taper option in there. And if you enable it, you can see that it lets you taper the beginning and the end of your shape. And so I just want to taper the end. So I'm gonna turn my tape or start to zero. And so now I've got this nice vine. Um, and so let's not worry about picking a color for the vine yet right now, we just want to animate it. So what I'm going to do is I'm just gonna, I'm going to animate the end parameter here. So let's bring it to zero. Let's put a key frame here and let's make that take two seconds and it animates on. And, uh, I am going to easy ease these just so there's a little bit of, you know, a little bit of a speed change to it.

Joey Korenman (04:28):

So there's our vine. It's beautiful. Cool. So now, uh, we want to add Leafs to this, uh, and I'm going to show you how we're going to do that first and then I'll, and then I'll get into the nitty gritty. So what we're going to do is we're going to make a new layer. We're going to call this particles and I'm going to put trap code particular on there. Um, now this is the point in the tutorial where I normally apologize for using effects that you have to buy because particular does not come with after effects. But if you're serious about being a motion graphics artist, this is a plugin you have to learn. It is, it is everywhere. Everyone uses it. It's the particle plugin for after effects, at least as of now. And there's really no better competitor. So, um, you know, particular, you can buy it at red, giant.com.

Joey Korenman (05:19):

It's worth every penny. So particular, uh, you know, it, by default, it just puts an emitter right in the middle of the layer. And it just starts spitting particles out like this. But what you can do is you can actually animate the emitter. Um, and so there's a position X Y setting here, right? And if I change it, you can see there's this little cross here. This is where the emitter is. And if I put a key frame here and move this, you'll see what it does. It emits particles. And here's the thing about particles. And this is why this is so powerful. Particles are one of the only things in after effects that they remember their previous state. And what I mean is this particle is born on frame one, but on frame 200, it's still remembers what direction it was traveling at frame one, how big it's supposed to be.

Joey Korenman (06:11):

It has a memory. And so what's cool about that is, you know, I can, I can matte another key frame. I can have, you know, I can sort of create this trail and the particles you'll see they, they actually maintain their direction. They maintain their velocity. And so you can get some really complex looking behaviors with them. So what I want to do is I want that emitter to literally follow my, my vine path here. So the way you can do that, uh, there's a really simple technique and after effects to make objects, follow a path, and I'm just going to do it with a knowledge object, I'm going to call this my path. No, the way it works is you, uh, you open up the position property for whatever layer or whatever object it is that you want to follow this path. Then you select the path.

Joey Korenman (06:59):

So this vine is created from a mask. So I'm gonna go to this mask here and I'm going to turn on the stopwatch to create a key frame. And then I'm going to copy that key frame. And I'm going to go up to position and I'm going to go to the first frame and I'm going to paste and you'll see what it did. It created a bunch of position, key frames. Now it created a linear key frame at the beginning, a linear key frame at the end. And then these funny looking key frames, these are called roving key frames. And what these do is these key frames will actually move around on the timeline automatically to create a constant speed as this Knoll move. So if I grabbed this, this key from, and I move it, you'll see that those roving key frames move around.

Joey Korenman (07:44):

And if I hit F nine, I make this easy ease. They move, right? Because the speed within the center, part of this move here is going to stay constant because of these roving key frames. So the beginning we'll have an ease out, then it will be constant and then it will ease in. And because my mask, uh, here, let me hit you on my vine layer. So I can bring up the animated properties, my 3d stroke end property, which I animated has. Keith has, um, easy east key frames on it. And so if I easy ease the position, key frames as well, and I line them up with my end, you'll see that as that vine grows, that Noah's going to follow it, which is awesome. So now what I want to do is I want the particle emitter to follow the path of that vine.

Joey Korenman (08:34):

So I could just, you know, I could just come down here, grab this mass path key frame, and I could paste it to this position, X, Y property. I could do that. Um, I actually like to do it on a nail just because with a novel, I have a visual cue. I can actually see it move. And if I needed to, I could parent this Knoll to something else and offset it and adjust it. So it's a little bit easier. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna use a simple, simple, simple expression to tie this position X, Y property to the actual position of this null. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to put a key frame on position X, Y, and then I'm going to hit you. And the only reason I put the key frame there is so that I could easily sort of reveal this property here.

Joey Korenman (09:18):

So now I can actually get rid of that key frame. So I'm gonna hold option, click position X, Y, and that's going to enable, uh, an expression on that. And I'm going to grab the pick whip drag to my path now. And I'm going to add the expression.to comp, and then in parentheses bracket, zero comma, zero comma zero. Alright, and I will, uh, I'll copy and paste this on the, um, tutorial description, but this is a very common expression. This two comp part, all it's doing is telling after effects, look at the path now and figure out where it is in, in screen space. And here's what I mean by screen space, by the way, cause this, this used to confuse me. If I look at the position of this path, though, right now, uh, the position is 7 86, 5 61. That is the exact position of where this Knoll is on screen.

Joey Korenman (10:12):

However, if I made another NOLA object and I move it over here and I parent path null to this, well, now the position's different. Now the position is relative to this Knoll. So it's changed. So I can't just use the position I need after effects to actually figure out regardless of what this is parented to, where it is on screen. And so that's what that little expression does. That's what two comp does it converts a position from its relative position into an absolute position. And so now if I just sort of scrubbed through this, you'll see that the particles emit along the vine, which is great. Now they're, you know, they're moving in there. You know, I mean, this is kind of an, and I'm hoping that this is not the effect you're going for, but it's pretty cool. And you can see how this could be really useful in other ways, especially if you added gravity to the particles and you started doing some other things.

Joey Korenman (11:06):

So that's step one, step two is we need a custom particle. What we want is we want a leaf to grow. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to make a new comp and I'm going to call this leaf grow. And when you make a custom particle in particular, you want the particle to be as small as it can be. You, you can make it whatever size you want, but it's going to start to bog down your machine because you can see that already there's, you know, a hundred particles here. Um, and if you have a hundred particles that are each 1920 by 10 80, that's a lot of memory that needs to be, you know, taken up to draw those things. So, you know, I think I made the leaves 200 by 200 and you can always make them bigger if you need to.

Joey Korenman (11:51):

But 200 by 200 is a good place to start. Now, here's something very important to realize about what we're about to make when, when particular uses a custom particle, the anchor point of that particle is going to be the center of this comp. And so the reason that's important is if I drew, you know, really quickly and crappily, if I drew a leaf, right, like this, that the anchor point of my leaf is going to be where the leaf connects to the vine will be right there, but that's not where the particles anchor point is. So if I, if I want this leaf to be able to rotate, if I want it to be attached correctly, excuse me correctly, I need to make sure that it actually, that its anchor point lines up with the center of the cop like this. Okay. So that's very, very important to know.

Joey Korenman (12:41):

So let me, let me do a better job of making a leaf here. Right. And I'm not gonna worry about the anchor point just yet. I'm going to turn my stroke off and I'll turn my fill to white and let's just draw like a simple kind of nice little, you know, semi stylized leaf. All right. It's, you know, just sort of a, roughly pear shaped thing like this. Uh, and then we can just adjust it a little bit and, you know, try and try and make it a little bit smoother. Um, one thing I like to do is, you know, if I notice any, let me go to full rest here so we can see this a little better. If I notice any kinks, like right here, there's kind of a kink in my shape. What I can do is hold option. Make sure you have the pen tool turned on and then hold option and click those points.

Joey Korenman (13:26):

And it'll redo the Bezier days for you. And you can make them really, really smooth. And you can do that with all of them if you want to. Um, and, and it'll just sort of help you smooth everything out and make it really, really curvy. All right? Like this, one's got a little kink in it. Doesn't do something like this. Wonderful. Okay. And now this, this top one here, I'm going to rotate the Bezzy around a little bit. Cause I don't want it to be super pointy the way it was. And then this little guy down here is bothering me too. So let's kind of smooth him out. All right. So we've got, you know, we've got our basic leaf here and now what we need to do is animate it as if it's sort of growing right. And whatever animation we do. That's, what's, that's, what's actually gonna happen when the particle is born.

Joey Korenman (14:14):

So first thing I need to do is I need to move this leaf and I'm gonna move the anchor point of it to here. And then I'm gonna move the whole layer to the center like this, and I'm gonna scale it down until it fits in there. There we go. So there is our leaf, all right. And you can rotate it a little bit and scale it. So you get a little more screen real estate, or you could make this comp bigger, but again, the bigger you make it, the more memory it takes in the slower it's gonna render. So let's just stick with this for now. So here's our leaf shape and let's just animate it real quick. So, uh, I'm an animate scale. I'm an AME rotation and I'm also going to animate the path shape. So let's do, let's just do scale and rotation first.

Joey Korenman (14:54):

Let me rename this leaf. So I want this to take, I dunno, maybe 10 frames to grow. So I'm gonna go forward 10 frames and I'm going to put key frames there. So what I want this to do, so I want it to sort of swing up and grow as it's swinging. So I want it to start down here and really small, right. Maybe zero. So it's going to rotate and swing up like that. Okay. Now of course, I don't want it to just do it linearly. So I'm going to go into, I'm going to go into my, my let's do my rotation curve first. So here's our rotation curve. So I want it to start out really slow and when it gets to here and I want it to overshoot. So I think what I'm gonna do is I'm going to go forward, maybe three frames.

Joey Korenman (15:40):

I'm going to hold command and click on this dash line, and then I'm going to have it come back a little ways like this. So we get a nice little overshoot and now I need to do the same thing on the scale. So I just switched over to the scale curve and I'm just kinda tweaking this and let's see how that looks. Okay. So that's interesting. It might be a little fast. So why don't we just grab these and hold option and just make them a little bit slower? That's better. Okay, cool. All right. So now that that's fine, but I want the shape of the leaf to be a little more organic too. So what I'm going to do is it's going to end up that shape. So I'm going to put a key frame on the path now I want, now this is an animation principle thing.

Joey Korenman (16:23):

When the leaf is swinging, counter-clockwise this tip here is going to drag a little bit. So let's go in and let's grab these points and double-click them. And then we can just rotate them all as a whole and move them as a whole. It's kind of a cool trick. You can do, you can do this with masks or with shape layers, and I'm just going to sort of shape this thing. So there's a little bit of a drag to it, and then it's gonna come back and it's gonna overshoot right here. So what I'm gonna do is at this point where it should sort of swing back the other way, I'm going to copy and paste the end key frame. And I'm just going to grab, grab this point, just pull it a little bit further than it should be.

Joey Korenman (17:17):

All right. And let's easy ease all of these key frames. And then at the beginning here, what shape do we want it? So if I go all the way to the beginning, I can't actually see the leaf. So what I'm going to do is go one frame back here, and I'm going to delete this key frame and I'm just going to make, I'm going to make the initial shape of the leaf. So let's go to the path. And I think maybe what I'll do is I'll just sort of round it out a little bit like this. And then I'm a select all the points, command a I'm going to double click. And then I can actually just shrink down the shrink down the leaf a little bit, right. And change the shape of it. Kind of make it a little thinner and smaller like that.

Joey Korenman (18:02):

And then I'm gonna move this key frame to the beginning. So as it opens up, if we now play this, you can see that there's actually a little more movement to that leaf. All right. And we want to just make sure that we're getting all of the nice drag and everything. So, um, we, you know, I don't want the extreme, uh, poses of this leaf to happen perfectly synced up with our other key frames. What I want is follow through. So I want them to be a little bit offset, maybe two frames offset like that. So now you should get like a nice, yeah, you see that little, that little wiggle at the end that's called follow through and it makes it have a nice little weight to it. Cool. All right. So there's our leaf. And, uh, and you know, I don't know, this is still bothering me this little, this little nook down here.

Joey Korenman (18:53):

It's like, it's not, it's not perfectly, that's better. Okay. So here's our leaf animation. It's amazing how much time I can spend on something like this. All right. So let's go with that. So that's our leaf Growcom. So now we come back into this comp let's drag, the leaf grow comp here. And uh, oh, and this is one really important thing I had mentioned. I made sure actually I didn't make sure it's just that I'd already done this before. Uh, this comp it's actually a lot longer than you think it needs to be. It's it's five seconds long and actually I'm going to extend it. I'm gonna make it 10 seconds long. And the reason I'm doing that is because whatever animation happens here, this is what your particles going to do. So in this case, it's going to just animate on and stop. But later on in the tutorial, I'm going to show you how you could keep that leaf moving a little bit, like there's wind blowing.

Joey Korenman (19:46):

And in order for that to happen, it's easier. If you have a much longer comp like this, cause now you can add extra animation to this. All right? So here's our, here's our comp we don't need leaf grow visible. We can turn it off and we'd go to the particles layer, um, and go to the particle settings inside of particular. And the default particle type is a sphere, which is tiny little dots. Let's change that to texture. Let's see that the Sprite colorized. Now you have sprites and you have polygons. And the differences polygons can be 3d objects in turn and rotate on X, Y, and Z, which can make things more 3d, which is cool. But for this, I'm not going for a 3d look, I'm going for a 2d look. So I'm gonna use sprites. Uh, and I'm gonna use Sprite colorize, which is going to then allow me to add color to each leaf.

Joey Korenman (20:35):

So we've got Sprite colorize. Now we need to tell particular which layer to use as our Sprite. So you do that in this texture group here, sorry, this texture property. And we're just going to tell it to use the called leaf grow. And the time sampling is very important. You don't want current time. You want to start at birth and play once. And here's what it means. It means w you know, we're using a pre-camp as this layer and that pre-camp has animation in it. And so there's different ways particular can use that animation. It can randomly pick a frame from that pre-camp and just use a still frame of it. So that can be really useful. If you want a huge variety of particles, you just make each frame of this. Pre-camp a different shape, and then you'll have different shapes if you want the same animation to just start whenever that particle is born.

Joey Korenman (21:29):

And then when it's done it just, it just plays at once. And that's it. This is the option you pick. Okay. So play once. And now these still look like little dots as because, but the default size of a particle is not gonna be big enough to really see it. So let's turn the size up and look, there's all our little Leafs. All right. And if we, uh, if we play this, you'll see that they grow, but they're moving and they're not sticking to the vine. So that's, that's not very useful. Um, so before I go too much further, let's actually make the vine look a little nicer. So I'm gonna pre compose the spine. I'm just going to call this vine oh one pre comp, and I'm gonna use a Filofax, let me generate a, a fill and pick a nice kind of Viney color.

Joey Korenman (22:15):

Yeah. Like that. That's perfect. Okay. And what I did, um, because I didn't just want a flat looking vine, like this is, I duplicated the vine and one copy. I said, vine shadow. And I made this find a slightly darker color. So this is like a shadow color. And then I'm going to hit this little checkbox here. And if you don't see this column, the little T you can hit F four, or you can hit this button down here. And it will toggle between the columns that after effects is showing you. But this column here, if you click this, this layer now will only show up if something underneath it has an alpha channel. And so what that means is if I move this layer down and over, you can see if we zoom in, it might be a little easier to see. You can see that that shadow layer is only showing up where this layer underneath it exists.

Joey Korenman (23:08):

If I turn that off, you'll see that there's, those are the full layer. And so what I want to do is just take that shadow. And I just want to line it up and offset it a little bit with the initial layer. And so it gives you just a little bit, almost like a shadow, and then I'm going to do the same thing. I'm going to duplicate it and call it, highlight, and then I'll make it a brighter color. Let me get a really bright color. And then I'm going to just move that layer kinda up to the top like this. All right. And because of the way, this works, where, you know, some parts overlap and some parts don't, you're going to get this kind of random, you know, effect of like some parts are brighter, some parts are darker and it looks kind of nice.

Joey Korenman (23:52):

It just gives it a little bit more depth. So here's our vine. Okay. So now let's turn our particles back on. The main problem we're having right now is that the particles are, they're all just moving, right? And there's way too many of them. So here's how we fix that. Let's go to the emitter. And by default, your emitter in particular is emitting particles that are moving and that's because they have velocity. So if we turn the velocity to zero, that helps the velocity by default has a little bit of randomness, which we don't want. We don't want any of these particles moving. We want them to just be born and then stop moving. And velocity for motion right now is set to 20, which means they're still going to be moving a little bit. This is kind of a cool thing. Particular can do.

Joey Korenman (24:40):

It can figure out, you know, how fast and in what direction, the emitters moving and give the particle motion from the emitter. So it's almost like whipping particles off of it, but we don't want that either. We want that to be zero. And so now these particles are born and they don't move. And there you go. Now there's way too many of them. So let's turn that particles per second down to like 10. All right, now that might not be enough, but let's, let's stick with that for now. And there's a couple things we need to think about. One is we don't want particular to keep generating particles forever. Right? Once the vine is grown, we want to turn the particles off. So I'm going to go to the first frame and put a key frame on particles per second, and then I'm gonna hit you and hold command an option and click that key frame.

Joey Korenman (25:29):

So now it's a hold key frame. So then let's figure out where we want the particles to stop. We want them to stop probably a couple frames after the vine stops growing. So let's now set it to zero and there we go. Now the particles won't grow anymore. These particles that, uh, exist and here let's, let's go in and check our vine and make sure nothing weird is going on. Now, you see this flicker that's happening here. And this is I'm guessing just the bug with, um, with 3d stroke. And, uh, what I found is that sometimes it flickers, but then if you know, if I like switch resolutions or something, it'll pop back. So, um, so you might, you might find that if you're using 3d stroke, it's an older plugin that hasn't been updated in a while. So now we've got these leaves and they're growing, right?

Joey Korenman (26:19):

And you can see they all animate on in this cool way, but they're all facing exactly the same direction, which we don't want. They all look exactly the same. There's no, you know, there's no variation to them. It looks very unnatural. So this is where particular gives you just a ton of options. So what you can do is go to your particle settings and first let's turn the life up, right? And all you need to do is make sure that the life of each particle is longer than the comp. So this comps about six seconds. So let's just make it 10 seconds just to be safe, that will ensure that none of these leaves will disappear. Uh, so then we want to make them all a little bit different size. So there's a size randomness, uh, percentage here. We can just set that to 50 and now they're all slightly different sizes.

Joey Korenman (27:05):

The big thing is the color. And because we have this set to Sprite, colorize particular will let us define colors that these particles can be. And so what you can do is you can, uh, you can say set color, okay? And the default setting is set color at birth to this color. And you can set a randomness if you want more control. What you need to do is set this property here, set color to random from gradient. And now this color over life, property opens up and lets you define a gradient. And so you can come in here and define whatever colors you want. So I don't want, um, you know, let's say, I don't really want this green eye, but I do like the yellow and the red, but I want like an orange color in there too. And this red is a little bit too red.

Joey Korenman (27:52):

It's like pure red. So I want it to have a little bit of blue in it and maybe not be so bright. Uh, and then, you know, there you go. And so now you've got, um, you know, basically you just going to get a random, a random color on each particle based off this gradient. Now you're not seeing any of that blue color in there right now. And so if you're not getting a result that you like, what you can do is go to the emitter properties here and change the random seed and you can change it, the random seed. It doesn't really matter what it is. All it is, is a number that it, this is a number that you change. If you have multiple, um, copies of the same particle system, but you want, you want each system to emit the particle slightly differently.

Joey Korenman (28:36):

So you change the random seed and it just sort of tries a new recipe for the particles. And you can just kind of keep playing with it until you get a color combination. You like, oh, that one's great. And then, then you're done. So on top of the color variation and all that stuff, we're also not getting, they're all pointing the same way, which, which doesn't work. Um, so of course you can randomize the rotation. So in the particle settings, you have a rotation group, um, you can orient to motion, um, which it's gonna, it's just gonna help, um, sort of point them along the, um, along the direction, the emitters moving. Um, it's not really doing much here, but what you, what you definitely want to mess with is the random rotation. And this is just gonna sort of randomly rotate the leaves all in various directions, right? And so now you're going to get something that's much more natural.

Joey Korenman (29:32):

Cool. So, and if we decide, you know what, that's not enough leaves, I'd like more leaves. All we have to do is double-click this first key frame and make this number bigger and particular has a pretty bad habit of not updating when it needs to. So sometimes you manually need to go into the emitter and change the random seed, and then it will change and we'll update and you can see now there's many more particles. Um, and now that there's more particles, I feel like they're too big. So I'm going to, I'm going to shrink the size a little bit and there might be too much random rotation. So I'm going to just going to mess with this a little bit. Um, and let's take a look at this animated.

Joey Korenman (30:17):

Cool. All right. So now we're getting decent result. And you know, one of the things that I found was that when you get a lot of leaves that kind of bunched together like this, you know, especially these two leaves here, they're the same color. You, you, it becomes hard to kind of mush together and it's hard to differentiate between leaves. So one of the things I did was I went into my leaf particle and, um, I just added an adjustment layer. And then I just used a generate gradient ramp effect. And let me swap the color. So it's brighter at the top and I just gave it a little bit of a gradient. You can see it's very subtle, but when we come back here, you can see that it helps give a little more depth and separate those leaves out for me.

Joey Korenman (31:05):

There you go. And so now you've got your vine with leaves growing on it. And these leaves are really kind of funny looking. They look like little pairs, um, and what's cool is that, you know, you've colorized these, and, and if I came in here and I, and I decided to add like a little, you know, like a little vein down the middle of the leaf or something, if I wanted to add a little bit more detail to it, um, and make this like gray or something, and then let me turn the fill off to, yeah, there we go. All right. And let me parent this to the leaf. There we go. So now you get this little vein down the middle too. You'll see that it's still going to colorize your Leafs, but you're going to get that nice little, that nice little vein down the middle of it.

Joey Korenman (31:49):

And so this is, this is really it and, um, the tutorials over. So, uh, what I wanted to, what I want you to take away from this is not just this neat trick, but the fact that particles are a tool that let you create a behavior and they let you make an animation and then trigger that animation in various ways in the mini controlled animation tutorial. That's an another one in the 30 days of after effects. We used particles because you can trigger a particles and, and here we're using particles because you can define a path for particles to sort of be born on, uh, and, and it's, and it really works out. Great. Let me show you a couple other things I did, um, to get to this final result here. Um, so one, so, you know, one of the things I did was I, um, I wanted to have a little bit more of a nice kind of, you know, animated, bouncy feel to this.

Joey Korenman (32:48):

So once you got this vine set up the way you want, pre-camp the whole thing. Cause vine pre Gump, and what I wanted to happen was, as it grew, I wanted it to sort of, I wanted it to feel like it was getting heavier and heavier and bending a little bit. And so a really easy way to do that is to grab your puppet pin tool and just put, you know, put a few puppet pins here. Um, and really, I mean, we might only need like four. Alright. And so, you know, then you kind of move along your animation. So right there, that's about where the leaf stopped growing. All right. So that's a good spot for these key friends when the vine is here, it's not as heavy. So what I want to do is I want to move those puppet pins like this, right?

Joey Korenman (33:35):

So it's sort of leaning back. And then when it's here at the beginning or pretty close to the beginning, it's even lighter, right? So I'm just sort of bending these puppet pins like this, and then I'll move them back to the beginning here. Right. And you'll see that now, as we, as it animates, it's sort of bending a little bit too. And of course, once it's done, I want it to, um, I may want it to, to overshoot a little bit. So I'm gonna, I'm going to put some key frames on these puppet pins here, and I'm going to go back one key frame and I'm just gonna pull this down a little bit lower than it needs to go. Now I'm gonna easy ease all of these and let's just kind of scrub through. So it it's kind of bending and it goes a little too far and then it comes back up. Okay. And let's play that and see what we got.

Joey Korenman (34:27):

Cool. So when it comes back up, it comes up away too suddenly. So that tells me that these two key frames are too close together. And you, you know, you can go in and you can, you can adjust the animation curves for these. The problem is they are linked positions. So you can't use the value graph, which stinks. You can use the speed graph. But what I found is for subtle little things like this, as long as you have the key frames in the right spot, that's the important part. All right. So Benz, then it comes back up, all right. And it needs to bounce up a little sooner. There we go.

Joey Korenman (35:07):

Toy. And maybe those shouldn't be easy. E's key frames, or maybe some of them should, this is why this is why it annoys me that you can't use the, uh, the value graph here because what I really want is I don't want it to te I want it to totally come to a stop for like one frame. And that's it. And it's just taking way too long to ease here, but anyway, but you see, you see what, I'm, what I'm trying to do at least, uh, you know, I'm, I'm basically adding here. Y'all, it's actually working better. I'm adding that extra layer animation on top of this whole thing that we've already done, and we're getting that annoying flicker. Uh, so I'm just going to go to third resolution here just to get rid of that. So then once we had that, I pre comped this, and we can call this buh-bye and bounce, and then you can just duplicate and, you know, adjust and create different copies of the same thing and offset them in time.

Joey Korenman (36:05):

And now you can create something that looks really, really complicated. Like it has a lot of pieces to it. Um, and if you're just careful with how you arrange these and, and it helps also if you, um, if you move the anchor point, if I can find the anchor point, or there it is, if you move the anchor point of the layer to the tip of that vine. So now you can rotate the vine around like this. Um, and maybe I'll flip this one and you can just take a bunch of these and, you know, manipulate them, uh, make some smaller, make some bigger offset the timing of them, and you can get a pretty cool looking vine growth animation with not that much effort. I almost forgot. There was one more thing I wanted to show you guys a small little detail. Um, but one of the reasons that I set this thing up this way, um, and I mentioned it in the tutorial and then never showed it to you.

Joey Korenman (37:05):

So this is what I wanted to show you. Um, the little pre-com that we use to make the leaf particle, we made it 10 seconds long. And the reason we did that was because, uh, now we can add all this extra animation on top of this initial growth and actually get even more kind of organic lively motion to this. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to put a wiggle expression on the rotation. So just hold the option, click the rotation stopwatch, and just type in wiggle. And I'm just going to hardcode this in there. So why don't we have these Leafs wiggle, I don't know, two times a second by maybe three degrees, right? And then we'll just do a quick little Ram preview and we'll see if we like how much that's wiggling it. So all it's doing now is once it grows, it kind of moves a little bit like it's blowing in the wind.

Joey Korenman (37:50):

Uh, if we go back to our vine now and we'll have to do another Ram preview, but now it's going to happen is each time one of these leaf particles is born, it's going to keep moving and you're going to get a little bit of, you know, like a subtle kind of motion to it. You see, they never totally stopped moving. Um, and if you really wanted to crank it up, you could, um, we could just come in here and just instead of two times a second by three degrees, why don't we do one times a second by eight degrees? So it's moving a lot more, but it's still moving kind of slowly. Um, just so it doesn't look too chaotic and then we'll do another round preview. Uh, and of course you can, you know, you can animate these things, however you want. You could have them grow, then keep growing the entire time.

Joey Korenman (38:37):

Um, you know, or you could have them grow and, and then have some, I dunno, like a bug crawl across it or something, but, uh, you know, just knowing that you have this 10, second long leaf pre-camp and you can kind of do whatever you want inside of that. Pre-com, you're good to go. One other thing, uh, I will point out, um, maybe some of you guys noticed this, but if you zoom in here, you're seeing some weird little artifacts going on. Uh, you know, it's almost like the, the edge of this leaf is sort of bleeding here. And I didn't notice it when I originally recorded this tutorial, but I am noticing it now. And I want to show you how to fix it. Um, so let's go back into this comp here, where we used our puppet tool to give this thing a little bit of bounce.

Joey Korenman (39:17):

Sometimes when you use the puppet tool, you can get these weird artifacts if you don't have the settings just right. So what I'm going to do is hit E to bring up my puppet effect, open up the options. And for some reason I have two meshes in here. So I'm gonna have to do this to both, but there's an expansion property on the, uh, on this mesh group and the puppet tool. And what this, what this expansion property basically does is it's sort of defining the influence of each of these puppet pins. How far does the reach of that puppet, that puppet pin extend? And if it doesn't reach far enough, then sometimes along the edges of your layers, you can get these weird artifacts. So, uh, an easy thing to do is just increase the expansion, um, and let me crank it up on both of them.

Joey Korenman (40:02):

And you can see now those artifacts have gone away. All right? And you can still see a little bit going on here. Um, and, and I'm not sure which puppet pin that is, but you can crank these numbers pretty high, and you can see that now it looks a lot better. You can also add more triangles what's going on behind the scenes here with the puppet tool is it's actually dividing your layer up into a bunch of little triangles so that it can, it can distort them. Um, and so if you add more triangles, sometimes that can also give you a little bit more definition. Um, so that looks much better and let's hop into our pre-con preview one more time. And now it should think should look a lot smoother. We shouldn't have any weird artifacts or anything like that. And we've got this beautiful animation that doesn't stop moving, and the leaves are blowing in the wind and everyone loves it.

Joey Korenman (40:48):

And your client's high-fiving you. So there you go. Now, this is really the end of the ch of the tutorial. Thank you guys. Once again. I'll see you next time. Thank you so much for watching. I hope this lesson gave you a new perspective on a way you can use particles in your motion graphics projects that you may not have thought of before. If you have any questions or thoughts about this lesson, definitely let us know. And we'd love to hear from you if you use this technique on a project. So give us a shout on Twitter at school emotion and show us your work. And if you learn something valuable from this video, please share it around. It really helps us spread the word about school emotion, and we would be much obliged. Don't forget to sign up for a free student account to access project files from the lesson that you just plus a whole lot more. Thanks again. And I will see you next time.