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Blocks are components that represent a subset of the groups found within Particular. For example, the size of particles, the color of the particles, and the Particle Type are all components of Particular represented by Blocks in the Designer.
Here we will take a look at starting out fresh from the Designer's default blocks in the Effects Chain and learn how to create a new effect within the Designer.
To begin, access the Blocks pane in the upper right corner of the Designer. Move your cursor over the word Blocks (or the area immediately to its left). This will open the Blocks pane in Unlocked mode. This means that if your cursor goes back to the left side of the Designer interface, the Blocks area will automatically close. You can click on the arrow beside the word Blocks to put it in Locked mode so it stays open. Click the arrow again to put it back into Unlocked mode. The pane contains four sections of preset Blocks that correspond to the groups and sections of the user interface in After Effects.
Note that these also apply for each system in a Multiple System setup.
Consult the Saving New Blocks section later on this page to save your own custom Particle blocks. Refer to the Block Controls section of the user guide for more information on how the specific controls work for the Particle and Sprite blocks.
The Emitter Blocks are divided into 2 different categories. You may have one from each category represented in the Effects Chain.
Opening the Emitter Type area in the Blocks pane will reveal 3D model emitter presets, contained in two categories, Geometry and Objects. For more information on using 3D objects as emitters, see the Emitter > 3D Model Emitter page in the Emitter Group section. For more information on using the 3d model presets that come with Particular, check out the Using Presets page in the Overview of the Interface section.
The Particle group allows you to adjust the object that will be emitted as a particle.
The Particle pane is divided into 4 different categories:
Open the Particle Type area in the Blocks pane to choose a particle type. Below the Particle Type section, you can also choose Block presets for Size/Opacity, Rotation, Opacity, and Color. Simply click a Block to apply it to your particles. Note that selecting a Block will overwrite whatever settings were previously there for that Block type. For example, if you selected a Block in the Color section, it would completely replace whatever color you’d previously applied.
Immediately below the Particle Type options, you will find some of the sprites that ship with the Designer. As with all Blocks, to choose a sprite simply click on the thumbnail and it will be added to your Effects Chain.
In the Particle Type section in the Block Controls area, if you select one of the Sprite or Texture Polygon options, the Choose Sprite button will become enabled. Clicking that button launches the Sprites browser, which contains hundreds of sprites for you to use.
The Choose Sprite button
The Sprites preset browser window.
To add your own sprites, click the "Add New Sprite…" button in the upper right hand corner of the Sprites preset browser. This will open up a dialog window allowing you to locate and import the file into the Sprite library. The following file types are supported:
Your imported sprites will appear in a Custom category found beneath the main sprite categories and will be available in all future projects.
There is only one Lighting Block category. Choose one to be represented in the Effects Chain.
The Physics Blocks are divided into three different categories. You may have one from each category represented in the Effects Chain.
The Designer allows you to save your settings for each Block. This creates a new preset Block that you can reuse whenever you use the Designer.
With the Color Block selected in the Effects Chain (bottom) and the Blocks pane closed, we see the Block controls on the right side of the Designer interface.
To save a custom block, click on the Save Block Values icon located at the upper right hand corner of the Block Controls pane. Once saved, the new block will appear below the preset Blocks in alphabetical order in a newly created section called Custom.
To reset the Block settings to their defaults, click on the reset icon located at the top right of the block controls pane (immediately above the Save Block Values icon).