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The Emitter is the place where particles are born and given their initial velocity and direction. It's a big, but very fun group of controls. You can set important characteristics such as Emitter shape, style and position.
The Behavior dropdown menu contains three options: Continuous, Explode, and From Emitter Speed. Continuous is the standard default behavior, it continuously emits particles. The Explode option automates the process of creating "explosion" style behaviors. In previous version you would have to do this with keyframes. Setting a keyframe for Particles/Sec with a high number at the beginning of your timeline and one immediately after that at 0. From Emitter Speed adjusts the Particles/Sec depending on the speed at which your emitter's position changes: if the emitter isn't moving its speed is zero, so no particles are emitted. As the emitter's position is animated, particles are emitted proportionally to the speed, with the Particles/Sec value working as a percentage. Note that in the Designer the Emitter speed is not accessible, so particles are only visible when dragging the emitter in the preview window.
Controls how many particles are born each second. Low values means sparse particles and are normally fast to render. High values make lots of particles and can be slow to render. This value can be keyframed so the particle emission varies over time. Its value can also be modified by the Particles/sec Modifier when the Light(s) Emitter Type is active.
(Additional Systems only) Particles Relative to Master
When enabled, the Particles/sec parameter for this system becomes a percentage of the Master Systems' Particles/sec value. Disabling this (the default) makes the the system's Particles/Sec parameter behave independently.
Sets the shape and functionality of the Emitter. There are eight types. See the Emitter Types page.
Brings up a dialogue of OBJ presets to use when an OBJ is selected from the Emitter Type menu above. You can also import your own OBJ using the Add New Obj. option in the top right of the box.
Light Naming (Master System only)
When Light emitters are selected as an Emitter type, you'll need to use lights from within your composition as Emitters and/or Shadowlets. Light Naming brings up a dialogue for you enter the name(s) of your Light layers from within the comp.
Position XY & Position Z
The position in 3D world-space where particles are born. These values can be keyframed over time to create trails and similar effects.
Position Relative to Master (additional systems only)
This toggle allows you to set the system's position relative to the master system. By default it will behave independently, centered in the middle of your composition. But if you want your secondary systems to move along with your master system, you'll want to enable this option.
Enabling this will alter your Position Coordinates from the parameters above to treat the master system as its reference point, rather than the center of your layer.
Position Subframe smooths out the movement of the particles. The interpolation is linear, which means each frame is interpreted linearly. If you have a slow moving Emitter, than this works because the particles are moving so fast that everything looks smooth. But if you want the emitter to move fast, this is a problem because you will see jaggies. There are four options.
This popup controls the direction in which particles move initially. There are five settings. The default is set to be a random movement.
Uniform Initial direction is completely random. This is the default setting.
Directional Emit in a specific direction. Use Direction Spread andX, Y, Z Rotation to control the beam
Bi-Directional Emits in two opposed directions at the same time. Use Direction Spread andX, Y, Z Rotation to control the beams.
Disc Emits in a plane so particles form a disc over time.
Outwards Emits outwards from the center of the Emitter. For a Point Emitter, this is the same as Uniform, therefore the Grid Emitter is shown here.
Controls the spread of the particle beam for certain Direction Types.
X,Y and Z Rotation
Rotates the Emitter around the X, Y and Z axes.
Velocity sets the initial velocity of newborn particles. Higher values make the particles move fast. Lower values make the particles move slow. When set to 0, no particles are emitted. This parameter is sometimes referred to as 'Initial Velocity' in the Trapcode Particular documentation.
Adds randomness to the initial velocity of newborn particles. This means that the particles are born with varying initial velocity. Higher values give more randomness to Velocity. This parameter is affected by Random Seed
Velocity from Motion
Lets the particles take on, or 'inherit', the Velocity from the Emitter. For this parameter to have any effect, the Emitter must be in motion.
Emitter Size X, Y and Z
Sets the size of the emrission area of some Emitter Types.
Here is how Size works.
This parameter lets you emit particles from lights. Only active when the Light(s) emitter is the Emitter Type. See Light Emitter page for details.
Layer Emitter group
This parameter group lets you emit particles from layers. Only active when the Layer emitter is the Emitter Type. See Layer Emitter group page for details.
Grid Emitter group
This parameter group lets you emit particles on a 2D or 3D grid. Only active when the Grid or Layer Grid emitter is the Emitter Type. See Grid Emitter group page for details.
Emission Extras> Pre Run
This control is used to pre-run the system so that particles can be visible at the first frame. The pre-run value is a percentage value where 0% is no pre-run. At a value of 0, the simulation essentially starts at the first frame where no particles have been emitted. A value of 100 translates to a 100% completion of the emission of particles on the first frame. At 100%, all particles that should be emitted at the first frame will appear based on Emitter controls like Velocity and the particle life.
Emission Extras> Periodicity Rnd
This control is used to emit particles at random intervals. It is only useful when using a directional emitter with Direction Spread at 0.
Emission Extras> Lights Unique Seeds checkbox
When using two or more Lights as Emitters, this control lets you use a unique random seed for each of your lights to create variation in your scene. Unique Light Seeds also affects Streaklet random seed, so different lights get different Streaklet appearance.
NOTE: The Random Seed needs to be set to 65536 or higher for this to work.
The Random Seed controls all random parameters in the effect, like Velocity Random. It is useful when duplicating the effect and a slight variation of particle positions (etc) is needed. It is also helpful when the animation just doesn't look good since this value can be changed for varying looks.