PROJECT BREAKDOWN: The Brand New Conference

Nov 9, 2010 1848 2 Share
Aharon Rabinowitz
Aharon Rabinowitz
Justin Katz posted that he had done this animation for the Brand New Conference using just AE and Trapcode Particular 2.

Brand New Conference from justin katz on Vimeo.

This was produced for the Brand New Conference in NYC on 11/5/2010 | Music added for vimeo: “Afternoon Sister” by Air | Thanks to Armin Vit for letting me do this. Here at Red Giant, we were both intrigued and impressed, so we asked Justin to share how he made it happen. Here’s his very detailed breakdown of his impressive work:

The Brand New Conference animations were done entirely with AE CS5 and Trapcode Particular 2. Minor prep work to split apart the logotype was done in Illustrator CS5.

It’s a very simple animation, but took several hours of just fiddling with controls in particular and experimenting to get something similar to what was in my minds eye. I also spent a long time with color correction techniques with standard AE effects.

I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do as I approached the project. The client was clear that they did not want a narrative, but just “something cool” to play during the dead time between speakers and over the breaks. I always try and give my work some type of meaning so I interpreted “Brand New” as the organic life cycle of a brand. It is born and grows, but soon reaches a point of equilibrium where it stays – until the brand is refreshed (which is what the Brand New website focuses on) and thus new life is brought it and it can reach new heights, costumers, and potential.

I chose to do an grass-like abstraction for the following reasons:

1) It fit into my original vision 2) I knew I could execute my idea in a relatively short time with particular 3) I literally had 1 day to do it.


For the main particles (the Letters) I chose to use the “textured polygon” option as I did not want them to auto-orient themselves to the camera, but act as planes in 3D space. Here are my emitter settings:


My custom particle layer is just all the letters already colored and set to “random still frame” I had to rotate the emitter in order for the directional option to make them travel straight up. The velocity distribution and randomness are what keep everything organic looking. These can be increased to create a more chaotic result.

These were my particle settings:


They were rotated in order to be perpendicular to the aux particles and given some randomness. The size and opacity over life just have a very slight ramp to them so they don’t just pop into existence.

I debated and experimented with the shading and shadowlet options, but in the end decided I like it better without them.

These were my Aux particle settings:


Had to pump them up to almost 400 to get that close to them and have them look solid.

Most importantly was the Physics settings:


I gave the aux particles the curves and randomness they needed to not just be straight sticks with “Spin Amplitude” and the Turbulence Field “Affect Position” options

What’s really cool is that after you stop the simulations movement by reducing the “physics time factor” they will still react to the “evolution offset” options. This allowed me to stop their growth, but still have them sway and have some movement to them. They start growing again by increasing the physics time factor back to 1.

Here are the only keyframes:


There is a second evolution keyframe – but it’s way down at the end of the timeline.

That’s pretty much it 🙂

I used the exact same animation and just duplicated the comp a few time and got some nice camera angles. I pre-rendered them all and then put them all into a main comp for editing.

Color correction used:

  • curves, noise, unsharp mark
  • color emboss (adds a cool lil drop shadow to everything)
  • glow
  • vignette curve

A grayscale texture was used at 50% in multiply mode over the entire sequence too.

I originally planned on having the camera fly through the grass, but in the end decided I liked how it looked with just a series of locked off shots. I plan on elaborating on this soon and making a tight edit to music (the screening involved no music – the current music was just added for Vimeo). I would also like the grass to sway more while the title is up.



Thanks for sharing this, Justin. We always love seeing our software used not only as a tool for animation but for motion design as well – especially for the design of beautiful evocative work like this. Check out Justin’s website HERE, to see his portfolio in creative direction, motion design, and animation.

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  1. Nice work, Justin (particularly in such a short time). Looks like I’m going to have to bite the bullet and upgrade my plug-ins. On a side note – I was working towards a similar ‘grass’ effect using Form, rather than Particular.

    I used Form’s string settings with colour and size layer maps to create the field of flowers – would Particular 2 have been an easier way of doing it?

    Thanks for sharing this, Aharon!


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