Make Vines and Leaves with Trapcode Particular in After Effects

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. 

If you have any questions, click over to the Q&A tab to post them. Other students can answer you, and we'll put our team on the case to try and get you a solution ASAP. 

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If you don’t have Particular, you can download a demo or buy a copy here.

    00:00:00,000(upbeat music)
    00:00:16,529- What's up Joey here at School of Motion
    00:00:18,272and welcome today 25 of 30 days of After Effects.
    00:00:21,778Today we are going to talk about particles
    00:00:23,915and specifically Trapcode Particular.
    00:00:26,295Which is one of those plugins that every single
    00:00:28,723After Effects artist, kinda has to know.
    00:00:31,271It doesn't come with After Effects,
    00:00:32,820but frankly it probably should at this point.
    00:00:34,693We're gonna use particles
    00:00:36,246in a way that you don't often see them used.
    00:00:38,222Most people think of particles as making explosions,
    00:00:41,387or magic effects, or things like that.
    00:00:43,381I'm gonna use them because particles allow
    00:00:45,610you to trigger animation.
    00:00:46,819Which opens up a world of possibilities that would be very
    00:00:50,229hard to achieve if you had to hand animate everything.
    00:00:53,098Don't forget, sign up for a free student account
    00:00:55,511so you can grab the files from this lesson,
    00:00:57,984as well as assessts from any other lesson on the site.
    00:01:00,728Now let's hop into After Effects and get started.
    00:01:04,199The point of this video is try
    00:01:06,447and get you guys to understand some of the cool things
    00:01:09,421you can do with particles.
    00:01:10,505When I say particles, I'm sure a lot of you think about
    00:01:15,490magic effects and things that look like particles,
    00:01:20,589but actually particles are really just another technique
    00:01:24,509that you can use in motion graphics.
    00:01:27,601And specifically the way I'm using them here is to generate
    00:01:29,763the leaves automatically for me along these vines.
    00:01:33,955Whenever you have a lot of repeating elements,
    00:01:38,640but they need to be born at a certain time
    00:01:42,649and you need an animation to be triggered at a certain time,
    00:01:46,278particles are one of the best ways to do that.
    00:01:50,917So we're gonna use particles in kind of a unique way
    00:01:53,402and hopefully it'll just give you guys some more ideas
    00:01:56,257about things you can do with them.
    00:01:58,282So let's jump in and get started.
    00:02:00,659So I'm gonna make a new precomp here
    00:02:02,095and we're gonna call this Vine 01.
    00:02:04,752And I apologize 'cause I have the sniffles
    00:02:07,335a little bit today.
    00:02:08,337So you might here me sniffling.
    00:02:09,736So you can create the vine any way you want.
    00:02:14,702You can do it very simply the shape layer
    00:02:18,152and make it whatever shape you want
    00:02:20,137and then go in and adjust it.
    00:02:22,086I actually used the 3D stroke plugin from Trapcode
    00:02:27,396because as I pointed out in a different tutorial
    00:02:31,266it has this nice feature of letting you taper your strokes
    00:02:36,124and for a vine, that's really really cool.
    00:02:38,658So, I'm actually gonna use that,
    00:02:40,266but if you don't have that plugin and you're following along
    00:02:42,747you can do the exact same thing just by drawing
    00:02:44,343a shape like this.
    00:02:46,972So, I'm gonna make a new solid and I'm gonna call this Vine.
    00:02:51,323And I'm gonna draw a shape on it.
    00:02:53,124So let's make it simple, maybe the vine starts down here
    00:02:58,102and it kind of curls up like this.
    00:03:02,157And I'm just gonna kind of adjust this as I go.
    00:03:04,205And I wanted to kinda to curl around in on itself
    00:03:06,745and make one of these nice little kind of curly q shapes.
    00:03:12,057Alright, and maybe we'll pull this in a little bit.
    00:03:15,312Okay, cool so there's our vine shape alright.
    00:03:18,029And then maybe it should be pushed over
    00:03:22,092a little bit this way.
    00:03:23,346Alright perfect.
    00:03:24,525So, now with that mask on there with that shape.
    00:03:27,204I can add the Trapcode 3D stroke effect.
    00:03:31,205Alright and if you drew a shape layer with this shape
    00:03:33,285it would look exactly like this.
    00:03:36,473The advantage of 3D stroke, and if you haven't watched
    00:03:39,165the tutorial, it's part three of the kinetic type series
    00:03:43,226where I use 3D stroke to create this crack.
    00:03:46,202But it's got this taper option in there.
    00:03:48,290And if you enable it you can that it lets you taper
    00:03:51,552the beginning and the end of your shape.
    00:03:54,358And so I just wanna taper the end.
    00:03:56,204So I'm just gonna turn my taper start to zero,
    00:03:58,978and so now I've got this nice vine.
    00:04:01,441And so let's not worry about picking a color
    00:04:04,640for the vine yet,
    00:04:05,596right now we just wanna animate it.
    00:04:06,829So what I'm gonna do is,
    00:04:08,690I'm gonna animate the end parameter here.
    00:04:12,448So let's bring it to zero, let's put a keyframe here
    00:04:15,374and let's make that take two seconds.
    00:04:19,166And it animates on and I am gonna easy ease these,
    00:04:23,180just so there's a bit of a speed change to it.
    00:04:28,429So there's our vine, it's beautiful.
    00:04:31,740So now, we want to add leaves to this,
    00:04:35,790and I'm gonna show you how we're gonna do that first
    00:04:39,212and then I'll get into the nitty gritty.
    00:04:41,159So what we're gonna do, is we're gonna make a new layer
    00:04:43,877and we're gonna call this Particles.
    00:04:46,891And I'm gonna put Trapcode Particular on there.
    00:04:51,215Now, this is the point in the tutorial
    00:04:53,036where I usually apologize for using effects
    00:04:54,800that you have to buy because Particular
    00:04:57,166does not come with After Effects.
    00:04:59,182But if you're serious about being a Motions Graphics Artist,
    00:05:03,212this is a plugin you have to learn.
    00:05:05,777It is everywhere, everyone uses it,
    00:05:08,467it's the particle plugin for After Effects.
    00:05:11,190At least as of now and there's really no better competitor.
    00:05:14,549So, Particular, you can buy it at,
    00:05:19,625it's worth every penny.
    00:05:21,170So, Particular, it by default it just puts an emitter
    00:05:26,722right in the middle of the layer and it just starts
    00:05:28,571spitting particles out like this.
    00:05:30,208But what you can do,
    00:05:31,446is you can actually animate the emitter.
    00:05:33,242And so there's a position xy setting here, right.
    00:05:36,953And if I change it you can see
    00:05:38,367there's this little cross here,
    00:05:40,222this is where the emitter is.
    00:05:42,207And if I put a keyframe here and move this.
    00:05:47,227You'll see what it does.
    00:05:48,060It emits particles.
    00:05:49,411And here's the thing about particles,
    00:05:51,704and this is why this is so powerful,
    00:05:53,553particles are one of the only things in After Effects
    00:05:56,964that they remember their previous state.
    00:06:00,009And what I mean is, this particle is born on frame one,
    00:06:05,203but on frame 200 it still remembers what direction
    00:06:08,435it was traveling at frame one,
    00:06:10,254how big it's supposed to be, it has a memory.
    00:06:13,341And so what's cool about that is,
    00:06:14,654I can add another keyframe, I can sort of create this trail
    00:06:21,126and the particles you'll see,
    00:06:22,859they actually maintain their direction,
    00:06:25,821they maintain their velocity.
    00:06:27,685And so you can get some really complex
    00:06:28,768looking behaviors with them.
    00:06:30,353So what I want to do is, I want that emitter to literally
    00:06:33,162follow my vine path here.
    00:06:37,743So the way you can do that,
    00:06:40,527there's a really simple technique in After Effects
    00:06:43,209to make objects follow a path.
    00:06:44,623And I'm just gonna do it with a null object.
    00:06:46,808I'm gonna call this, My Path Null.
    00:06:50,134The way it works is you open up the position property
    00:06:52,999for whatever layer, whatever object it is
    00:06:55,514that you want to follow this path,
    00:06:57,711then you select the path.
    00:07:00,888So, this vine is created from a mask.
    00:07:03,233So I'm gonna go to this mask here
    00:07:04,741and I'm gonna turn on the stop watch to create a keyframe.
    00:07:08,922And then I'm gonna copy that keyframe
    00:07:11,747and I'm gonna go up to position.
    00:07:13,562And I'm gonna go to the first frame
    00:07:15,031and I'm gonna paste.
    00:07:16,288And you'll see what it did.
    00:07:18,100It created a bunch of position keyframes.
    00:07:19,810Now it created a linear key frame at the beginning,
    00:07:22,958a linear keyframe at the end
    00:07:24,386and then these funny looking keyframes.
    00:07:26,347These are called roving keyframes.
    00:07:28,448And what these do, is these keyframes
    00:07:30,921will actually move around on the timeline automatically
    00:07:33,961to create a constant speed as this null moves.
    00:07:38,475So if I grab this keyframe and I move it,
    00:07:41,612you'll see that roving keyframes move around.
    00:07:45,231And if I hit F9, I make this easy ease, they move.
    00:07:49,700Because the speed within the center part of this move
    00:07:53,188here is gonna stay constant
    00:07:54,686'cause of these roving keyframes.
    00:07:56,158So the beginning will have an ease out,
    00:07:58,126then it will be constant
    00:07:59,162and then it will ease in.
    00:08:00,647And because my mask here, let me hit U on my vine layer,
    00:08:04,898so I can bring up the animated properties.
    00:08:07,201My 3D stroke end property, which I animated,
    00:08:11,014has easy eased keyframes on it.
    00:08:15,049And so, if I easy ease the position keyframes as well
    00:08:18,518and I line them up with my end,
    00:08:23,076you'll see that as that vine grows,
    00:08:25,445that null is gonna follow it.
    00:08:27,308Which is awesome.
    00:08:28,684So now what I wanna do is, I want the particle emitter
    00:08:31,888to follow the path of that vine.
    00:08:33,860So I could just come down here, grab this mask path keyframe
    00:08:39,297and I could paste it to this position xy property.
    00:08:44,706I could do that.
    00:08:47,071I actually like to do it on a null,
    00:08:49,291just because with a null,
    00:08:50,319I have a visual que.
    00:08:51,507I can actually see it move.
    00:08:53,168And if I needed to,
    00:08:54,769I could parent this null to something else
    00:08:57,169and offset it and adjust it.
    00:08:58,816So it's a little bit easier.
    00:08:59,980So what I'm gonna do is,
    00:09:01,565I'm gonna use a simple simple simple expression to tie
    00:09:04,245this position xy property
    00:09:05,832to the actual position of this null.
    00:09:08,428So what I'm gonna do is,
    00:09:09,571I'm gonna put a keyframe on position xy
    00:09:12,271and then I'm gonna hit U.
    00:09:14,063And the only reason I put the keyframe there is
    00:09:16,120so that I could easily sort of reveal this property here.
    00:09:19,018So now I can actually get rid of that keyframe.
    00:09:21,758So I'm gonna hold option, click position xy
    00:09:25,093and that's gonna enable an expression on that.
    00:09:27,967And I'm gonna grab the pick whip, drag to my path null
    00:09:31,107and I'm gonna add the expression .tocomp
    00:09:36,087and then in parenthesis bracket
    00:09:38,537zero comma, zero comma, zero.
    00:09:40,494And I will copy and paste this on the tutorial description,
    00:09:46,060but this is a very common expression.
    00:09:48,586This tocomp part, all it's doing is telling After Effects
    00:09:51,432to look at the path null
    00:09:52,939and figure out where it is in screen space.
    00:09:58,390And here's what I mean by screen space by the way
    00:10:00,186'cause this used to confuse me,
    00:10:01,951if I look at the position of this path null right now,
    00:10:05,810the position is 786, 561.
    00:10:09,551That is exact position of where this null is on screen,
    00:10:12,193however if I made another null object
    00:10:16,295and I move it over here,
    00:10:17,525and I parent path null to this.
    00:10:20,124Well now the position's different,
    00:10:22,032now the position is relative to this null.
    00:10:25,598So it's changed, so I can't just use the position.
    00:10:28,495I need After Effects to actually figure out,
    00:10:30,556regardless of what this parented to,
    00:10:33,152where it is on screen.
    00:10:35,000And so that's what that little expression does.
    00:10:37,860That's what tocomp does.
    00:10:39,241It converts a position from its relative position
    00:10:43,388into an absolute position.
    00:10:44,927And so now if I just sort of scrub through this,
    00:10:47,239you'll see that the particles emit along the vine.
    00:10:51,025Which is great.
    00:10:51,922Now they're moving, this is not the effect
    00:10:55,343that we're going for, but it's pretty cool
    00:10:59,282and you can see how this could be really useful
    00:11:02,161in other ways.
    00:11:03,336Especially, if you added gravity to the particles
    00:11:05,416and you started doing some other things.
    00:11:07,129So, that's step one.
    00:11:09,853Step two is, we need a custom particle.
    00:11:13,039What we want is, we want a leaf to grow.
    00:11:15,460So what I'm gonna do is, I'm gonna make a new comp
    00:11:17,451and I'm gonna call this Leaf Grow.
    00:11:20,159And when you make a custom particle in particular,
    00:11:23,211you want the particle to be as small as it can be.
    00:11:26,668You can make it whatever size you want,
    00:11:28,731but it's gonna start to bog down your machine
    00:11:30,910because you can see that already there's a hundred
    00:11:34,086particles here.
    00:11:35,287And if you have a hundred particles that are each 19 20
    00:11:38,778by 1080, that's a lot of memory that needs to be taken up
    00:11:43,248to draw those things.
    00:11:44,659So, I think I made the leaves 200 by 200
    00:11:48,511and you can always make them bigger if you need to.
    00:11:51,207But 200 by 200 is a good place to start.
    00:11:53,610Now here's something very important to realize
    00:11:55,993about what we're about to make.
    00:11:58,886When Particular uses a custom particle, the anchor point
    00:12:04,919of that particle is going to be the center of this comp.
    00:12:08,671And so the reason that's important is,
    00:12:10,724if I drew really you know quickly and crappily,
    00:12:14,864if I drew a leaf right?
    00:12:15,912Like this, that the anchor point of my leaf
    00:12:18,894is gonna be where the leaf connects to my vine,
    00:12:21,274would be right there.
    00:12:22,467But that's not where the particles anchor point is.
    00:12:24,999So if I want this leaf to be able to rotate,
    00:12:27,645if I want it to be attached correctly,
    00:12:30,773I need to make sure that its anchor point lines up
    00:12:35,559with the center of the comp like this.
    00:12:39,284Okay, so that's very very important to know.
    00:12:41,243So, let me do a better job of making a leaf here alright?
    00:12:45,276And I'm not gonna worry about the anchor point just yet.
    00:12:46,668I'm gonna turn my stroke off
    00:12:49,269and I'll turn my fill to white.
    00:12:51,015and let's just draw simple kind of, nice little
    00:12:54,779you know, semi stylized leaf.
    00:13:00,375Alright, it's just sort of a roughly pear shaped thing
    00:13:02,536like this.
    00:13:04,111And then we can just adjust it a little bit
    00:13:06,105and try and make it a little bit smoother.
    00:13:11,660One thing I like to do is, let me go to full res here
    00:13:15,865so we can see this a little better,
    00:13:16,923if i notice any kinks like right here there's kind of a kink
    00:13:19,046in my shape.
    00:13:20,502what i can do is, hold option,
    00:13:22,448make sure you have the pen tool turned on,
    00:13:24,739and then hold option and click those points
    00:13:26,771and then it will redo the beziers for you
    00:13:29,127and you can make them really really smooth.
    00:13:31,485And you can do that with all of them if you want to.
    00:13:33,641And it'll just sort of help you smooth everything out
    00:13:36,839and make it really really curvy.
    00:13:40,367Like this one's got a little kink in it,
    00:13:41,779so I'll do something like this.
    00:13:46,891Okay, now this top one here,
    00:13:48,956I'm gonna rotate the bezier around a little bit
    00:13:50,912'cause I don't want I to be super pointy the way it was.
    00:13:54,385And then this little guy down here's bothering me too,
    00:13:56,648so lets kinda smooth him out.
    00:13:58,798Alright, so we've got our basic leaf here
    00:14:01,729and now what we need to do is animate it
    00:14:05,030as if it's sort of growing, right?
    00:14:08,181And whatever animation we do,
    00:14:10,845that's what's actually gonna happen
    00:14:12,573when the particle is born.
    00:14:14,165So, the first thing I need to do is,
    00:14:15,766I need to move this leaf and I'm gonna move the anchor point
    00:14:18,431of it to here.
    00:14:20,880And then I'm gonna move a whole layer
    00:14:22,227to the center like this
    00:14:24,067and I'm gonna scale it down until it fits in there.
    00:14:26,891There we go.
    00:14:28,010So there's our leaf.
    00:14:29,314Alright, and you can rotate it a little bit
    00:14:31,329and scale it so you get a little more screen real estate.
    00:14:33,926Or you could make this comp bigger,
    00:14:35,303but again the bigger you make it,
    00:14:37,231the more memory it takes and the slower it's gonna render.
    00:14:39,803So let's just stick with this for now.
    00:14:40,933So here's our leaf shape
    00:14:42,753and let's just animate it real quick.
    00:14:44,300So, I'm gonna animate scale, I'm gonna animate rotation
    00:14:47,007and I'm also gonna animate the path shape.
    00:14:50,588So let's just do scale a rotation first.
    00:14:54,081Let me rename this leaf.
    00:14:57,615So, I want this to take, I don't know,
    00:14:59,699maybe 10 frames to grow.
    00:15:02,333So I'm gonna go forward 10 frames
    00:15:03,925and I'm gonna put keyframes there.
    00:15:05,377So what I this do, I want it to sort of swing up
    00:15:10,642and grow as it's swinging.
    00:15:12,289So, I want it to start down here.
    00:15:15,173And really small alright, maybe zero.
    00:15:18,263So it's gonna rotate and swing up like that.
    00:15:21,763Now of course, I don't want it to just do it linearally,
    00:15:24,508so I'm gonna go into my rotation curve.
    00:15:29,690So here's our rotation curve.
    00:15:31,723So I want it to start out really slow
    00:15:35,150and when it gets to here,
    00:15:36,282and I want it to overshoot.
    00:15:37,292So I think I'm gonna so is,
    00:15:38,607I'm gonna go forward maybe three frames,
    00:15:40,426I'm gonna hold command and click on this dash line
    00:15:42,754and then I'm gonna have it come back
    00:15:44,604a little ways like this.
    00:15:45,689So we get a nice little overshoot.
    00:15:47,239And now I need to do the same thing on the scale.
    00:15:50,591So I just switched over to the scale curve
    00:15:52,875and I'm just kinda tweaking this
    00:15:55,508and let's see how that looks.
    00:15:58,343So that's interesting.
    00:15:59,811It might be a little fast, so why don't we just grab these
    00:16:03,142and hold option and just make them a little bit slower.
    00:16:07,126That's better, okay, cool.
    00:16:08,651Alright so now that's fine, but I want the shape of the leaf
    00:16:12,157to be a little more organic too.
    00:16:14,020So, what I'm gonna do is, it's gonna end up that shape.
    00:16:17,816So I'm gonna put a keyframe on the path.
    00:16:20,627Now, this is an animation principle thing,
    00:16:23,453when the leaf is swinging counterclockwise.
    00:16:27,598This tip here is gonna drag a little bit.
    00:16:30,216So let's go in and let's grab these points
    00:16:35,482and double click them.
    00:16:37,528And then, we can just rotate them all as a whole
    00:16:40,553and move them as a whole.
    00:16:41,931It's kind of a cool trick, you can do this with masks
    00:16:43,998or with shape layers.
    00:16:45,315And I'm just gonna sort of shape this thing
    00:16:48,496so there's a little bit of a drag to it.
    00:16:51,523And then it's gonna come back and it's gonna overshoot,
    00:16:57,855right here.
    00:16:58,867So what I'm gonna do is,
    00:17:00,104at this point where is should sort swing back the other way.
    00:17:02,825I'm gonna copy and paste the end keyframe
    00:17:06,729and I'm just gonna grab this point,
    00:17:10,890just pull it a little bit further than it should be.
    00:17:18,003Alright, and let's easy ease all of these keyframes.
    00:17:20,921And then at the beginning here, what shape do we want it?
    00:17:23,820So, if I go all the way to the beginning
    00:17:25,380I can't actually see the leaf.
    00:17:26,604So what I'm gonna do is, go one frame back here
    00:17:29,956and I'm gonna delete this keyframe.
    00:17:32,400And I'm just gonna make the initial shape of the leaf.
    00:17:37,877So let's go to the path
    00:17:39,391and I think maybe what I'll do is,
    00:17:43,047I'll just sort of round it out a little bit like this.
    00:17:48,325And then I'm gonna select all the points command A,
    00:17:50,298I'm gonna double click
    00:17:51,322and then I can actually just shrink down
    00:17:52,775the leaf a little bit.
    00:17:56,011And change the shape of it.
    00:17:59,885Kind of make it a little thinner and smaller like that.
    00:18:02,893And then I'm gonna move this keyframe to the beginning.
    00:18:04,976So as it opens up, if we now play this.
    00:18:08,465You can see that there's actually a little more
    00:18:10,759movement to that leaf.
    00:18:13,984Alright, and we wanna just make sure that we're getting all
    00:18:17,382of the nice drag and everything.
    00:18:19,188So, I don't want the extreme poses of this leaf to happen
    00:18:26,468perfectly synced up with our other keyframe,
    00:18:28,806what I want is follow through.
    00:18:30,094So, I want them to be a little bit offset.
    00:18:32,676Maybe two frames offset like that.
    00:18:34,727So now you should get a little nice,
    00:18:36,684yeah you see that little wiggle at the end?
    00:18:39,086That's called follow through
    00:18:40,281and it makes it have a nice little weight to it.
    00:18:44,964Alright so there's our leaf
    00:18:46,525and I don't know, this is still bothering me,
    00:18:50,747this little nook down here.
    00:18:53,470It's like it's not perfectly, that's better.
    00:18:57,110Okay, so here's our leaf animation.
    00:19:01,447It's amazing how much time I can spend
    00:19:03,482on something like this.
    00:19:05,550Alright, so let's go with that.
    00:19:07,751So that's our leaf grow comp.
    00:19:09,051So now we come back into this comp,
    00:19:10,411let's drag the leaf grow comp here.
    00:19:13,657Oh this is one really important thing I didn't mention,
    00:19:17,690I made sure, actually I didn't make sure,
    00:19:20,137it's just that I'd already done this before.
    00:19:22,093This comp, it's actually a lot longer
    00:19:25,126than you think it needs to be.
    00:19:26,854It's five seconds long and actually I'm gonna extend it,
    00:19:28,949I'm gonna make it 10 seconds long.
    00:19:30,845And the reason I'm doing that,
    00:19:32,131is because whatever animation happens here,
    00:19:35,698this is what your particle's gonna do.
    00:19:37,697So, in this case it's just gonna animate on and stop,
    00:19:40,076but later on in the tutorial I'm gonna show you
    00:19:42,395how you could keep that leaf moving a little bit
    00:19:44,569like there's wind blowing.
    00:19:45,928And in order for that to happen,
    00:19:47,278it's easier if you have a much longer comp like this.
    00:19:50,993'Cause now you can add extra animation to this.
    00:19:53,107Alright so here's our comp,
    00:19:55,351we don't need need leaf grow visible, we can turn it off.
    00:19:57,971And we go to the particles layer
    00:19:59,455and go to the particle settings inside of Particular.
    00:20:03,678And the default particle type is a sphere,
    00:20:06,338which is tiny little dots.
    00:20:07,916Let's change that to sprite colorized.
    00:20:13,604Now, you have sprites and you have polygons.
    00:20:16,498And the difference is polygons can be 3D objects
    00:20:19,861and turn and rotate on x y and z.
    00:20:22,510Which can make things more 3D, which is cool.
    00:20:24,636But for this, I'm not going for a 3D look,
    00:20:26,485I'm going for a 2D look.
    00:20:27,815So, I'm gonna use sprites
    00:20:29,055and I'm gonna use sprite colorized.
    00:20:31,819Which is gonna then allow me to add color to each leaf.
    00:20:35,509So, we got sprite colorized, now we need to tell Particular
    00:20:38,464which layer to use as our sprite.
    00:20:41,426So you do that in this texture group here,
    00:20:43,736sorry this texture property.
    00:20:45,129And we're just gonna tell it to use
    00:20:46,614the layer called Leaf Grow.
    00:20:48,574And the time sampling is very important,
    00:20:52,025you don't want current time.
    00:20:54,259You want to start at birth and play once.
    00:20:57,964And here's what it means,
    00:20:58,986it means we're using a precomp as this layer.
    00:21:03,301And that precomp has animation in it.
    00:21:05,584And so there's different ways
    00:21:06,865Particular can use that animation.
    00:21:08,630It can randomly pick a frame from that precomp
    00:21:13,441and just use a still frame from it.
    00:21:15,906So that could be really useful if you want
    00:21:17,547a huge variety of particles,
    00:21:19,051you just make each frame of this precomp a different shape
    00:21:22,247and then you'll have different shapes.
    00:21:24,077If you want the same animation to just start
    00:21:27,356whenever that particle's born and then when it's done,
    00:21:30,388it just plays at once and that's it,
    00:21:32,636this is the option you pick.
    00:21:34,816So play once and now, these still look like little dots,
    00:21:38,701it's because the default size of the particle's not gonna
    00:21:41,339be big enough to really see it.
    00:21:42,889So, let's turn the size up
    00:21:43,949and look there's all our little leaves.
    00:21:45,617And if we play this, you'll see that they grow,
    00:21:49,648but they're moving and they're not sticking to the vine.
    00:21:52,078So that's not very useful.
    00:21:53,524So before I go too much further,
    00:21:56,259let's actually make the vine look a little nicer.
    00:21:58,771So I'm gonna pre-compose this vine.
    00:22:03,099I'm just gonna call this Vine 01 Precomp
    00:22:07,794and I'm gonna use a fillifax, let me generate a fill.
    00:22:11,922And let's pick a nice kind of viney color.
    00:22:16,168Yeah, like that, that's perfect okay?
    00:22:17,651And what I did,
    00:22:20,250because I didn't just want a flat looking vine like this,
    00:22:22,796is I duplicated the vine.
    00:22:24,296And one copy I said vine shadow
    00:22:29,690and I made this vine a slightly darker color.
    00:22:32,401So this is like a shadow color.
    00:22:34,784And then I'm gonna hit this little check box here
    00:22:36,964and if you don't see this column, the little t,
    00:22:38,927you can hit F4 or you can hit this button down here
    00:22:41,984and it will toggle between the columns
    00:22:44,338that After Effects is showing you.
    00:22:45,622But this column here if you click this,
    00:22:47,269this layer now will only show up
    00:22:49,721if something underneath it has an alpha channel.
    00:22:53,927And so what that means is,
    00:22:55,074if I move this layer down and over.
    00:22:59,784You can see if we zoom in,
    00:23:00,902it might be a little easier to see.
    00:23:02,148You can see that shadow layer is only showing up
    00:23:04,665where this layer underneath it exists.
    00:23:08,543If I turn that off, you'll see that there's the full layer.
    00:23:11,823And so what I wanna do is, just take that shadow
    00:23:13,689and I just wanna line it up and offset it a little bit,
    00:23:17,472with the initial layer.
    00:23:19,848And so it gives you just a little bit, almost like a shadow.
    00:23:22,690And then I'm gonna do the same thing,
    00:23:23,968I'm gonna duplicate it and call it Highlight.
    00:23:29,104And then I'll make it a brighter color,
    00:23:31,130make it a really bright color.
    00:23:32,351And then I'm gonna just move that layer
    00:23:34,595kinda up to the top like this.
    00:23:38,885And because of the way this works, where some parts overlap
    00:23:42,839and some parts don't, you're gonna get this kind of random
    00:23:48,514effect of like some parts are brighter,
    00:23:50,654some parts are darker.
    00:23:51,700And it looks kinda nice,
    00:23:52,715it just gives it a little bit more depth.
    00:23:55,512So there's our vine.
    00:23:56,345Okay so now, let's turn our particles back on.
    00:23:58,345The main problem we're having right now is that
    00:24:01,221the particles are, they're all just moving right?
    00:24:06,932And there's way too many of them.
    00:24:08,264So, here's how we fix that.
    00:24:10,999Let's go to the emitter, and by default,
    00:24:13,477your emitter in Particular is emitting particles
    00:24:16,687that are moving.
    00:24:17,711And that's because they have velocity.
    00:24:20,034So if we turn the velocity to zero, that helps.
    00:24:23,126The velocity by default has a little bit of randomness,
    00:24:26,258which we don't want.
    00:24:27,447We don't want any of these particles moving.
    00:24:29,524We want them to just be born and then stop moving.
    00:24:32,948And velocity for motion right now is set to 20.
    00:24:35,504Which means they're still gonna be moving a little bit.
    00:24:37,843This is kind of a cool thing Particular can do.
    00:24:40,407It can figure out how fast
    00:24:43,276and in what direction the emitter's moving
    00:24:45,355and give the particle motion from the emitter,
    00:24:48,496so it's almost like whipping particles off of it.
    00:24:52,376But we don't want that either.
    00:24:53,408We want that to be zero.
    00:24:55,489And so now these particles are born and they don't move.
    00:24:59,802And there you go.
    00:25:00,727Now there's way too many of them,
    00:25:02,060so let's turn that particles per second down to like 10.
    00:25:05,111Alright, now that might not be enough,
    00:25:06,693but let's stick with that for now.
    00:25:08,706And there's a couple things we need to think about,
    00:25:12,768one is we don't want Particular to keep generating
    00:25:15,497particles forever right?
    00:25:17,837Once the vine is grown, we want to turn the particles off.
    00:25:21,438So I'm gonna go to the first frame
    00:25:22,629and put a keyframe on particles per second.
    00:25:25,012And then I'm gonna hit U
    00:25:26,710and hold command and option and click that keyframe,
    00:25:29,540so now it's a hold keyframe.
    00:25:30,837So then, let's figure out where we want
    00:25:32,882the particles to stop.
    00:25:34,335We want them to stop probably a couple frames after
    00:25:37,579the vine stops growing.
    00:25:39,412So let's now set it to zero.
    00:25:42,306And there we go and now the particles won't grow anymore.
    00:25:45,653These particles that exist,
    00:25:48,102and here let's go in and check our vine
    00:25:50,247and make sure nothing weird's going on.
    00:25:52,562Now, you see this flicker that's happening here.
    00:25:54,762And this is I'm guessing just a bug with 3D Stroke.
    00:26:01,465And what I found is that sometimes it flickers,
    00:26:05,196but then if I switch resolutions or something
    00:26:07,429it will pop back.
    00:26:08,752So, you might find that if you're using 3D stroke,
    00:26:12,137it's an older plugin that hasn't been updated in awhile.
    00:26:14,703So now we've got these leaves and they're growing.
    00:26:19,128And you can see they all animate on in this cool way.
    00:26:22,753But they're all facing the exact same direction,
    00:26:26,154which we don't want, they all look exactly the same.
    00:26:28,283There's no variation to them, it looks very unnatural.
    00:26:32,815So this is where Particular gives you just a ton of options.
    00:26:35,903So what you can do is go to your particle settings,
    00:26:38,738and first let's turn the life up right?
    00:26:42,336And all you need to do is make sure that the life
    00:26:44,280of each particle is longer than the comp.
    00:26:46,530So this comp's about six seconds.
    00:26:47,938So, let's just make it 10 seconds just to be safe.
    00:26:50,279That will ensure that none of these leaves will disappear.
    00:26:52,717So then, we want to make them all
    00:26:56,043a little bit different size.
    00:26:58,126So there's a size randomness percentage here.
    00:27:00,821We could just set that to 50
    00:27:02,372and now they're all slightly different sizes.
    00:27:05,625The big thing is the color.
    00:27:07,334And because we have this set to sprite colorize,
    00:27:10,110Particular will let us define colors
    00:27:13,068that these particles can be.
    00:27:14,974And so what you can do, is you can say set color okay?
    00:27:18,699And the default setting is set color at birth to this color.
    00:27:23,012And you can set a randomness.
    00:27:25,575If you want more control,
    00:27:27,290what you need to do is set this property here,
    00:27:29,631set color to random from gradient.
    00:27:32,304And now, this color over life property opens up
    00:27:36,379and lets you define a gradient.
    00:27:38,813And so you can come in here
    00:27:40,249and define whatever colors you want.
    00:27:41,856So, I don't want, let's say I don't really want this green,
    00:27:46,437but I do like the yellow and the red,
    00:27:48,615but I want like an orange color in there too.
    00:27:50,829And this red is a little bit too red, it's like pure red.
    00:27:54,320So I want it to have a little bit of blue in it
    00:27:57,051and maybe not be so bright and then there you go.
    00:28:00,715So now you've got basically, you're just gonna get a random
    00:28:07,417color on each particle based off this gradient.
    00:28:09,799Now you're not seeing any
    00:28:11,313of that blue color in there right now.
    00:28:13,670And so if you're not getting a result that you like,
    00:28:16,657what you can do is go to the emitter properties here
    00:28:18,748and change the random seed.
    00:28:20,663The random seed, it doesn't matter what it is.
    00:28:23,421All it is, is a number that, this is a number that you
    00:28:27,271change if you have multiple copies
    00:28:30,509of the same particle system.
    00:28:32,624But you want each system
    00:28:34,604to emit the particle slightly differently.
    00:28:36,469So you change the random seed
    00:28:37,661and it sort of tries a new recipe for the particles.
    00:28:41,637And you can kinda keep playing with it
    00:28:42,629until you get a color combination you like,
    00:28:44,793that one's great.
    00:28:45,977And then you're done.
    00:28:47,389So, on top of the color variation and all that stuff,
    00:28:50,286we're also not getting.
    00:28:52,950They're all pointing the same way, which doesn't work.
    00:28:56,034So of course you can randomize the rotation,
    00:28:59,192so in the particle settings you have a rotation group.
    00:29:02,108You can orient to motion, which it's just gonna help
    00:29:08,954sort of point them along the direction the emitter's moving.
    00:29:14,206It's not really doing much here,
    00:29:15,572but what you definitely wanna mess with
    00:29:18,471is the random rotation.
    00:29:20,482And this is just gonna sort of randomly rotate the leaves
    00:29:23,507all in various directions.
    00:29:25,119Alright and so now you're gonna get something
    00:29:28,782that's much more natural.
    00:29:32,743So, and if we decide you know that's not enough leaves,
    00:29:35,982I'd like more leaves, all we have to do is double click
    00:29:38,014this first keyframe and make this number bigger.
    00:29:40,742And Particular has a pretty bad habit of not updating
    00:29:45,904when it needs to.
    00:29:47,051So, sometimes you manually need to go into the emitter
    00:29:50,756and change the random seed.
    00:29:53,303And then it will change and it will update.
    00:29:55,102And you can see now there's many more particles.
    00:29:56,854And now that there's more particles,
    00:29:58,356I feel like they're too big.
    00:30:00,485So, I'm gonna shrink the size a little bit.
    00:30:04,015And there might be too much random rotation,
    00:30:06,996so I'm gonna mess with this a little bit.
    00:30:14,140And let's take a look at this animated.
    00:30:18,838Alright so now we're getting decent results
    00:30:21,823and one of the things that I found was that,
    00:30:25,774when you get a lot of leaves that kind of bunch together
    00:30:29,011like this, especially these two leaves here.
    00:30:32,072They're the same color, it becomes hard,
    00:30:34,313they kind of mush together
    00:30:35,476and it's hard to differentiate between leaves.
    00:30:37,213So one of the things I did was, I went into my leaf particle
    00:30:41,225and I just added an adjustment layer.
    00:30:47,043And then I just used a generate gradient ramp effect.
    00:30:51,145And let me swap the color so it's brighter at the top.
    00:30:54,755And I just gave it a little bit of a gradient,
    00:30:56,950you can see it's very subtle.
    00:30:58,583But when we come back here you can see that it helps gives
    00:31:00,383a little more depth and separate those leaves out for me.
    00:31:04,761There you go.
    00:31:06,015And so now you've got your vine with leaves growing on it.
    00:31:08,971And these leaves are really kinda funny looking.
    00:31:10,903They look like little pears.
    00:31:12,247And what's cool is that you've colorized these
    00:31:14,899and if I came in here and I decided to add a little vein
    00:31:22,137down the middle of the leaf or something,
    00:31:24,217if I wanted to add a little bit more detail to it.
    00:31:26,930And make this gray or something.
    00:31:31,273And then let me turn the fill off too.
    00:31:34,878There we go.
    00:31:36,071Alright and let me parent this to the leaf.
    00:31:39,858There we go, so now you get this little vein
    00:31:41,335down the middle too.
    00:31:43,441You'll see that it's still gonna colorize your leaves,
    00:31:45,755but you're gonna get that nice little vein
    00:31:48,234down the middle of it.
    00:31:49,532And so this is really it and the tutorials over.
    00:31:54,882So, what I want you take away from this is not just
    00:31:59,453this neat trick, but the fact that particles are a tool
    00:32:04,532that let you create a behavior
    00:32:06,731and they let you make an animation
    00:32:08,946and then trigger that animation in various ways.
    00:32:12,124In the MIDI controlled animation tutorial,
    00:32:15,105that's another one in the 30 days of After Effects,
    00:32:17,852we used particles because you can trigger particles.
    00:32:21,048And here we're using particles because you can define a path
    00:32:25,061for particles to sort of be born on.
    00:32:28,470And it really works out great.
    00:32:30,778Let me show you a couple of other things I did
    00:32:32,482to get to this final result here.
    00:32:35,628So, one of the things I did, was I wanted to have
    00:32:41,169a little bit more of a nice kind
    00:32:44,210of animated bouncy feel to this.
    00:32:47,978So once you've got this vine set up the way you want,
    00:32:51,510precomp the whole thing.
    00:32:53,070Call this vine Precomp.
    00:32:55,419And what I wanted to happen was, as it grew I wanted
    00:32:59,069it to feel like it was getting heavier and heavier
    00:33:02,061and bending a little bit.
    00:33:04,007And so really easy way to do that,
    00:33:05,857is to grab your puppet pin tool
    00:33:07,990and just put a few puppet pins here.
    00:33:11,882And really, we might only need four.
    00:33:17,459And so then you kinda move along your animation
    00:33:20,010so right there.
    00:33:21,750That's about where the leaves stop growing.
    00:33:23,972Alright, so that's a good spot for these keyframes.
    00:33:26,227When the vine is here, it's not as heavy.
    00:33:29,299So what I wanna do is, I wanna move those puppet pins
    00:33:32,548like this, right?
    00:33:35,585So it's sort of leaning back.
    00:33:38,409And then when it's here at the beginning
    00:33:40,962or pretty close to the beginning, it's even lighter.
    00:33:45,641So, I'm just sort of bending these puppet pins like this
    00:33:47,205and then I'll move them back to the beginning here.
    00:33:49,618Right, and you'll see that now as it animates,
    00:33:52,988it's sort of bending a little bit too.
    00:33:55,027And of course, once it's done, I may want it to overshoot
    00:34:01,982a little bit.
    00:34:02,905So I'm gonna put some keyframes on these puppet pins here.
    00:34:06,112And I'm gonna go back one keyframe
    00:34:09,834and I'm just gonna pull this down
    00:34:12,105a little bit lower than it needs to go.
    00:34:14,112Now I'm gonna easy ease all of these.
    00:34:16,964Let's just kinda scrub through so it's kind of bending
    00:34:18,963and it goes a little too far and then it comes back up okay?
    00:34:22,193And let's play that and see what we got.
    00:34:27,848Cool, so when it comes back up,
    00:34:29,217it comes up way too suddenly.
    00:34:31,350So that tells me that these two keyframes
    00:34:33,130are too close together.
    00:34:35,398And you can go in and you can adjust the animation cursor,
    00:34:40,141the problem is they are linked positions.
    00:34:43,503So you can't use the value graph, which stinks.
    00:34:46,731You can use the speed graph,
    00:34:48,010but what I found is for subtle little things like this,
    00:34:50,226as long as you have the keyframes in the right spot,
    00:34:52,341that's the important part.
    00:34:54,769Alright so it bends and then it comes back up.
    00:34:57,387Alright and it needs to bounce up a little sooner.
    00:35:03,544There we go.
    00:35:07,350And maybe those shouldn't be easy ease keyframes,
    00:35:11,340or maybe some of them should.
    00:35:12,706This is why it annoys me that
    00:35:14,226you can't use the value graph here.
    00:35:16,569Because what I really want is,
    00:35:17,933I want it to totally come to a stop for one frame
    00:35:21,310and that's it.
    00:35:22,821And it's just taking way too long to ease here.
    00:35:28,656But anyway, you see what I'm trying to do at least.
    00:35:31,535I'm basically adding,
    00:35:33,495here we go that's actually working a little better,
    00:35:35,458I'm adding that extra layer of animation
    00:35:37,798on top of this whole thing that we've already done.
    00:35:41,051And we're getting that annoying flicker.
    00:35:44,449So I'm just gonna go to third resolution here,
    00:35:47,263just to get rid of that.
    00:35:48,482So then, once we add that, I precomped this
    00:35:51,274and we can call this vine bounce.
    00:35:54,599And then you can just duplicate and adjust
    00:35:59,353and create different copies of the same thing.
    00:36:03,295And offset them in time.
    00:36:05,789And now you can create something that looks really
    00:36:08,460really complicated.
    00:36:10,686Like it has a lot of pieces to it.
    00:36:13,221And if you're just careful with how you arrange these
    00:36:17,542and it helps also if you move the anchor point.
    00:36:25,001If I can find the anchor point.
    00:36:28,655There it is.
    00:36:29,580If you move the anchor point of the layer to the tip
    00:36:32,094of that vine, so now you can rotate
    00:36:33,748the vine around like this.
    00:36:35,715And maybe I'll flip this one.
    00:36:38,077And you can just take a bunch of these
    00:36:39,694and manipulate them, make some smaller,
    00:36:43,688make some bigger, offset the timing of them
    00:36:45,698and you can get a pretty cool looking vine growth animation.
    00:36:50,995With not that much effort.
    00:36:54,683I almost forgot, there was one more thing
    00:36:56,021I wanted to show you guys.
    00:36:57,572Small little detail, but one of the reasons that I set this
    00:37:00,885thing up this way.
    00:37:02,066And I mentioned it in the tutorial
    00:37:03,779and I never showed it to you.
    00:37:05,429So, this is what I wanted to show you.
    00:37:07,296The little precomp that we used to make the leaf particle,
    00:37:11,672we made it 10 seconds long
    00:37:13,218and the reason we did that was
    00:37:14,320because now we can add all this extra animation
    00:37:17,432on top of this initial growth
    00:37:19,785and actually get even more kind of organic
    00:37:22,991lively motion to this.
    00:37:24,490So what I'm gonna do is,
    00:37:25,994I'm gonna put this wiggle expression on the rotation.
    00:37:27,934So just hold option, click the rotation stopwatch
    00:37:30,347and just type in wiggle.
    00:37:32,262And I'm just gonna hard code this in there.
    00:37:34,186So why don't we have these leaves wiggle two times
    00:37:37,088a second by maybe three degrees.
    00:37:39,972Alright and then we'll just do a quick little RAM Preview
    00:37:43,532and we'll see if we like how much that's wiggling.
    00:37:45,601And so all it's doing now, is once it grows,
    00:37:47,280it kinda moves a little bit like it's blowing in the wind.
    00:37:50,075If we go back to our vine now,
    00:37:53,576and we'll have to do another RAM Preview,
    00:37:56,325but now what's gonna happen is each time one of these leaf
    00:37:59,048particles is born, it's gonna keep moving,
    00:38:02,507and you're gonna get a little bit
    00:38:04,592of like a subtle kind of motion to it.
    00:38:08,390You see, they never totally stop moving.
    00:38:10,466And if you really wanted to crank it up you could.
    00:38:13,463We could just come in here
    00:38:15,045and just instead of two times a second by three degrees.
    00:38:18,022Why don't we do one times a second by eight degrees.
    00:38:21,420So it's moving a lot more,
    00:38:22,949but it's still moving kind of slowly.
    00:38:25,991Just so it doesn't look to chaotic.
    00:38:28,461And then we'll do another RAM Preview.
    00:38:29,853And of course you can animate these things however you want.
    00:38:33,867You can have them grow,
    00:38:35,213but then keep growing the entire time.
    00:38:37,495Or you could have them grow
    00:38:39,574and then have like a bug crawl across it or something.
    00:38:43,718But just knowing that you have
    00:38:45,536this 10 second long leaf precomp
    00:38:47,649and you can kinda do whatever you want inside
    00:38:49,664of that precomp, you're good to go.
    00:38:51,593One other thing I will point out.
    00:38:54,193Maybe some of you guys noticed this,
    00:38:56,121but if you zoom in here, you're seeing some weird little
    00:38:58,651artifacts going on.
    00:39:00,467It's almost like the edge of this leaf
    00:39:03,778is sort of bleeding here.
    00:39:05,444And I didn't notice it
    00:39:06,352when I originally recorded this tutorial,
    00:39:07,892but I am noticing it now and I wanna show you how to fix it.
    00:39:10,803So let's go back into this comp here where we used our
    00:39:14,486puppet tool to give this thing a little bit of bounce.
    00:39:18,229Sometimes when you use the puppet tool you can get these
    00:39:20,360weird artifacts if you don't have the settings just right.
    00:39:23,173So what I'm gonna do is hit e to bring up my puppet effect,
    00:39:26,703open up the options and for some reason I have two meshes
    00:39:29,783in here, so I'm gonna have to do this to both.
    00:39:31,576But there's an expansion property
    00:39:33,860on this mesh group in the puppet tool.
    00:39:37,689And what this expansion property basically does is,
    00:39:41,802it's sort of defining the influence
    00:39:44,152of each of these puppet pins.
    00:39:45,645How far does the reach of that puppet pin extend
    00:39:49,969and if it doesn't reach far enough,
    00:39:51,616then sometimes along the edges of your layers
    00:39:53,952you can get these weird artifacts.
    00:39:55,479So an easy thing to do is just increase the expansion.
    00:39:59,274And let me crank it up on both of them.
    00:40:02,427And you can see now, those artifacts have gone away.
    00:40:04,733Alright and you can still see a little bit going on here.
    00:40:09,246And I'm not sure which puppet pin that is,
    00:40:11,455but you can crank these numbers pretty high.
    00:40:14,823And you can see that now it looks a lot better.
    00:40:17,401You can also add more triangles.
    00:40:19,699What's going on behind the scenes here with the puppet tool
    00:40:21,898is, it's actually dividing your layer up into a bunch
    00:40:24,378of little triangles so that it can distort them.
    00:40:27,063And so if you add more triangles, sometimes that can also
    00:40:29,790give you a little bit more definition.
    00:40:32,203So that looks much better.
    00:40:33,888And let's hop into our precomp preview one more time.
    00:40:37,594And now it should look a lot smoother.
    00:40:40,045We shouldn't have any weird artifacts or anything like that.
    00:40:42,142We've got this beautiful animation that doesn't stop moving
    00:40:45,718and the leaves are blowing in the wind.
    00:40:47,422And everyone loves it and your client's high fiving you.
    00:40:50,113So there you go, now this is really the end of the tutorial.
    00:40:53,643Thank you guys once again.
    00:40:54,992I'll see you next time.
    00:40:57,605Thank you so much for watching.
    00:40:59,069I hope this lesson gave you a new perspective on a way you
    00:41:01,966can use particles in your motion graphics projects
    00:41:04,465that you may not have thought of before.
    00:41:06,712If you have any questions or thoughts about this lesson,
    00:41:09,755definitely let us know.
    00:41:11,177And we'd love to hear from you if you used this technique
    00:41:13,919on our project.
    00:41:15,018So give us a shout on Twitter @schoolofmotion
    00:41:17,781and show us your work.
    00:41:19,077And if you learned something valuable from this video
    00:41:21,494please share it around.
    00:41:22,674It really helps to spread the word about School of Motion
    00:41:25,472and we would be much obliged.
    00:41:27,828Don't forget to sign up for a free student account
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    00:41:31,931that you just watched, plus a whole lot more.
    00:41:34,595Thanks again and I will see you next time.
    00:41:38,078(upbeat music)