Trapcode Particular

Emitter Group

The Emitter is the place where particles are born and given their initial velocity and direction. These parameters control characteristics such as the emitter's shape, style, and position.


Emitter Type

Sets the shape and functionality of the Emitter. There are nine types. See the Emitter Types page.


Conditional Controls

Depending upon the Emitter Type you have chosen, you may get a different set of controls available

Choose Model: Brings up a dialogue of models available to use when 3D model is selected as the Emitter Type. You can also import your own 3D model using the Add New Model… button in the top right of the box. Imported models will be added in a “Custom” folder at the bottom. Model file types can be .obj or .c4d files or sequences.

Right-click on a model’s thumbnail image to either:

  • Show in Finder where the model is located on your system
  • Remove to delete the model

Note for Cinema 4D files: Files can be exported directly from Cinema 4D under File > Save Project for Cineware.

If you want to Save Polygons or Animation in your Cineware file, you can toggle these options under:

  • Cinema 4D vR21: Edit > Preferences > Files
  • Cinema 4D vR22 and above: Edit > Project Settings > Cineware

For animations, these typically have best results when:

  • The animation frame rate matches the AE Composition
    • >In After Effects, this is under: Composition > Composition Settings > Frame Rate
    • In Cinema 4D, this is under: Edit > Project Settings > FPS
  • The Point Level Animation (PLA) for the objects is baked in, which can be done by following these steps:
    • Moving your objects to the Animate timeline (Layout > Animate)
    • Select the objects, then choose Functions > Bake Objects
    • Under Include, toggle PLA and Animated Parameters
    • This creates a copy of your object. Delete the original.


Light Naming (Primary only): 

Light Naming brings up a dialogue to specify name(s) of lights to be utilized by Particular for either Light Emitters or Shadowlets.

Parent System:
(available when Emit from Parent System is the chosen Emitter Type)
If emitting from a parent system, this option lets you choose any system above the selected one. Primary is the default.


Emitter Behavior

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.

Emitter from Parent Behavior
(available when Emit from Parent System is the chosen Emitter Type)

The Behavior dropdown menu contains four options: Continuous, Emit on Parent Bounce, From Parent Speed, At Parent End of Life

  • Continuous is the standard default behavior, it continuously emits particles.
  • Emit on Parent Bounce will emit particles when the parent particle has a Bounce event (see Physics Simulations > Bounce)
  • From Parent Speed will use the Speed of the parent particle to determine how many particles are emitted. The speed is used as a percentage of the Particles/sec set for this system. If the parent particle is not moving, no particles are emitted. As it speeds up, more particles are emitted from the parent.
  • At Parent End of Life holds off on emitting any particles from the parent until it reaches the end of its lifespan. Very useful for effects that need to spawn particles when they die off.


Emission over Parent Particle Life
(available when Emit from Parent System is the chosen Emitter Type)

For more control over when the particles will emit from the parent, use the Emission over Parent Particle Life curve. The lifetime of the parent particle is across the horizontal axis, and the vertical axis is the Emission rate of this system. When the Emission rate is at 100, it will be emitting what you have set in the Particles/sec parameter below.



Controls how many particles are born each second. Low values mean 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.

Left to right, Particles/sec at 100 and 600.


Particles/sec Modifier
(available when Light(s) is the chosen Emitter Type) allows you to use the light properties to modify the particle emission. Read more about it in Light Emitters.

Particles/sec are % of Primary
(Additional Systems only) When enabled, the Particles/sec parameter for this system becomes a percentage of the Primary Systems' Particles/sec value. This is disabled by default.



The XYZ position in 3D world-space where particles are born. These values can be keyframed over time to create trails and similar effects.

  • Set Position X to move left or right around the X-axis.
  • Set Position Y to move upwards or downwards around the Y-axis.
  • Set Position Z to move closer or further to the camera around the Z-axis.

Position Relative to Primary
(Additional Systems only)
This toggle allows you to set the system's position relative to the primary system. By default it will behave independently, centered in the middle of your composition. But if you want your additional systems to move along with your primary system, you'll want to enable this option.

Enabling this will alter your Position coordinates above into Relative Position coordinates which use the primary system as its reference point, rather than the center of your layer.


Create Null

Clicking this button will add a Null to your composite that is connected via expressions to the Position, Size and Rotation of the Emitter you selected. Use this null to create a motion path for your emitter when you don’t want to use lights.


Emitter Size

Sets the size of the emission area for most Emitter Types. For Point emitters, this control is disabled. Layer, Layer Grid and Text/Mask emitters only use the Z parameter as X and Y size is controlled by the size of the layer.

Emitter Size is set to XYZ Linked by default, but you can change this to XYZ Individual to get control of each on its own.



This popup controls the direction in which particles move initially. There are six settings


Uniform Initial direction radiates out uniformly from emitter point. This is the default setting.


Directional Emit in a specific direction. Use Direction Spread and X/Y/Z Rotation to control the beam.


Bi-Directional Emits in two opposed directions at the same time. Use Direction Spread and X/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. Works well with Models and Text emitters.

Inwards Emits inwards toward the center of the Emitter. For a Point Emitter, this is the same as Uniform, therefore the Grid Emitter is shown here. Works well with Models and Text emitters.


Direction Spread
Controls the spread of the particle beam for most Direction Types.

emit-directspr-low emit-directspr-high
Left to right, Direction Spread set low and high. Direction is Directional.

emit-directspr-low2 emit-directspr-high2
Left to right, Direction Spread set low and high. Direction is Disc.


X/Y/Z Rotation

Rotates the Emitter around the X, Y and Z axes.

  • Set X Rotation to rotate forward or backwards around the X-axis.
  • Set Y Rotation to rotate to the left or right around the Y-axis.
  • Set Z Rotation to rotate around the Z-axis.



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.

Velocity Random

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 Distribution

Determines the distribution of random particles toward the higher or lower end of the allowed velocity above and below the initial velocity. Lower values result in particles below the initial velocity, while a higher value will give more particles above the initial velocity.

Velocity from Emitter Motion

Allows particles to ‘inherit' the Velocity from the Emitter. For this parameter to have any effect, the Emitter must be in motion.

  • Negative values gives a feel of a 'jet' spray or engine. The particles spray opposite to how the Emitter moves, and they appear to push the Emitter forward.
  • Positive values gives the effect of something that is letting off particles as it moves, like stars from a magic wand.
  • Positive values also gives a look of particles getting caught in the draught of the moving Emitter.
  • A value of 0 means the Emitter motion has no effect on the particles' initial Velocity.

Velocity over Life

Control the Velocity of your particles throughout their lifetime using the Velocity over Life graph. Let your particles sit in place for a while, then burst into action. Or vary the velocity along the way so they speed up and slow down as you need them to.

(Text layer using the following Velocity over Life graph)



Emitter Type Groups

These groups become enabled depending on the Emitter Type chosen.

Layer Emitter group
(enabled for Layer and Layer Grid Emitter type)
This parameter group lets you emit particles from layers. See Layer Emitter group page for details.

Grid Emitter group
(enabled for Grid and Layer Grid Emitter type)
This parameter group lets you emit particles on a 2D or 3D grid. See Grid Emitter group page for details.

Model Emitter group
(enabled for 3D Model Emitter type)
This parameter group lets you emit particles from a 3D model. See 3D Model Emitter Group for details.

Text/Mask Emitter Group
(enabled for Text/Mask Emitter type)
This parameter group lets you emit particles from a Text layer or Layer with Masks applied. See Text/Mask Emitter Group for details.


Emission Extras

Periodicity Random

This control is used to emit particles at random intervals. It is only useful when using a directional emitter with Direction Spread at 0.

Lights Unique Seeds

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 a different Streaklet appearance.

NOTE: The Random Seed needs to be set to 65536 or higher for this to work.


Random Seed

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.