Trapcode Particular

Particle Group

The Particle group contains all the settings for the particle's appearance. Controls include Size, Opacity, Color and how these properties vary over the particle's lifespan.

 

Life (seconds)

Life controls how long the particles live, measured in seconds. High values give a long particle life, low values give a short particle life.  When keyframed, the particle’s life is determined by the value at the frame when it is born.

Life Random

Life Random sets the randomness for Life, as measured in a percentage. At set to zero, all particles will have the same lifespan, and die all at once. When set above zero, the particles get slightly different lifespans. Higher values means the randomness is higher, and the particles have more variation in length of life. This is useful for creating natural looking effects like trails.

 

Particle Type

Determines what kind of particle is emitted. Controls may be enabled or disabled depending upon the Particle Type selected. Review the Particle Type page for more information.

 

Conditional Controls

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

Sprite: Click the Choose Sprite… button to bring up a panel of images available to use when Sprite is selected as the Particle Type. You can also import your own Sprite using the Add New Sprite… button in the top right of the box. Imported images will be added in a “Custom” folder at the bottom.

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

Sprite Controls: options available to modify a Sprite. See the Particle Type page for details.

Sphere/Cloudlet/Streaklet Feather: Controls the softness of the following Particle Types: Sphere, Glow Sphere, Cloudlet and Streaklet. Grayed out for the other Types. Low Feather values give the look of sharp circles. High Feather values give a more organic, smooth look.

part-feather-low3part-feather-high3
Left to right, Sphere Feather set low and high. Particle Type is Glow Sphere.

 

Particle Physics

Change properties of the particles to control how they will interact with their Environment, such as Mass and Air Resistance. Review the Particle Physics page for more information.

 

Size

Size sets the size of the particles. High values create a larger particle, low values a smaller particle. When keyframed, the particle’s size is determined by the value at the frame when it is born.

Size Random

Size Random sets the randomness for Size, as a percentage. Higher values mean the randomness is higher, and the particles have more variation in size.

Size over Life

Controls how the particle size varies over the particle's life.

 

Rotation group

The Rotation group rotates the particles independently on the X, Y and Z axes. You can even give the particles a random rotation so they rotate in different directions. Read more on the Rotation Group page.

 

Aspect Ratio

The ratio of the particles width to its height. Default is a square ratio of 1 to 1 (1.0). Increasing this value will make your particles wider, values under 1.0 make them thinner.

 

Opacity

Opacity sets the transparency level of the particles. At 100%, particles are completely opaque, at 0% they are completely transparent. When keyframed, the particle’s opacity is determined by the value at the frame when it is born.

Opacity Random

Opacity Random sets the randomness for Opacity, as a percentage. Higher values mean the randomness is higher, and the particles have more variation in transparency.

Opacity over Life

Controls how the particle opacity varies over the particle's life.

 

 

Set Color

Set Color is the method for setting the particle's color. There are four options. Each option activates other color-related Particle parameters.

  • At Start: Set particle color at birth and maintain over lifetime. Use the Color parameter below to set color.
  • Over Life: Vary the particle color through its life. Use the Color Over Life parameter below. 
  • Random from Gradient: Select a random color from the colors in Color over Life.
  • From Light Emitter: When using Light(s) as your emitter type, set the particle color from the Light.

Color

Color controls the particle's color. Active when Set Color is set to At Start. There is no numeric value for Color. When keyframed, the particle’s color is determined by the value at the frame when it is born.

Color Random

Color Random sets the randomness for Color, as a percentage. Higher values mean the randomness is higher, and the particles have more variation in color.

part-colorandom-0part-colorandom-50part-colorandom-100
Color Randomness at 0, 50, 100. Color is white.

Color from Parent

When the emitter type is set to Emit from Parent System, you can set whether the color of the particles is controlled by their parent particle. This is a percentage that says how much the parent color is mixed with the color from Set Color. At the default 100%, the color comes entirely from the parent. At 0%, the color is entirely driven by the Set Color parameter above.

Color Over Life

Controls how the particle color varies over the particle's life. Active when the Set Color popup is set to Color Over Life or Random from Gradient.

The Color Over Life gradient has three control areas for setting the color on the gradient, choosing a preset and randomizing or reversing the gradient.

  • An Opacity Result indicator bar that is directly related to the Opacity Over Life controls. It will appear a solid color if the Opacity Over Life control is set to a constant curve. If the Opacity over Life has a custom curve, for example a linearly decreasing opacity, then the bar will show a gradient from white to black indicating that the alpha value of the particle is decreasing over time in relation to the colors on the gradient result bar. Note that the Opacity Result section in the Color over Life area is only a reference, and not something that can be adjusted in this section.
  • Color Swatches at the bottom of the gradient show the colors it is transitioning between:
    1. Add a color swatch by clicking in the area just below the gradient. The box will initially get the color the gradient shows at that position.
    2. Change the color by double-clicking a swatch to bring up the color picker, where you can set the color for the swatch.
    3. Move a color swatch by clicking and dragging it sideways along the gradient.
    4. Delete a swatch by clicking and dragging it downwards away from the gradient bar.
    5.  
  • Presets: To select one of the gradient presets, click one of the buttons. This will immediately replace the current gradient. You can NOT undo this operation.

  • Randomize: Choosing this button in the command row will change all the boxes' to new colors. If you have five gradient boxes, then all five will get new colors.
  • Flip: All color boxes are flipped around the center, reversing their order. This is useful for changing to the start and end color of the gradient.
  • Copy and Paste: These commands copy the gradient to clipboard, and paste the gradient colors from the clipboard. If nothing has been copied, then the Paste button will not appear in the control. This command is useful for moving color gradients between systems.

 

Blend Mode

The Blend Mode controls how particles are composited together. There are six options.

 

  • Normal: (default) Normal composite operation.
  • Add: Particles are added together. Useful for light effects and fires.
  • Screen: Particles are screened together. Useful for light effects and fires.
  • Lighten: Lightest color wins. Similar to the max operation. Does not "build up" like add and screen.
  • Normal/Add over Life: Gives the ability to switch between and smoothly blend normal and add modes over life. Enables the Blend Mode over Life control.
  • Normal/Screen over Life: Gives the ability to switch between and smoothly blend normal and screen modes over life. Enables the Blend Mode over Life control.

 

Unmult

Turn on Unmult when your Sprite texture has been pre-multiplied and is getting an unwanted dark edge from the black background.

 

Blend Mode over Life

Controls how the particle transfer mode varies over the particle's life. Active when Normal Add over Life or Normal Screen over Life is selected for Blend Mode. Read more on the Using Curves page.

Blend Mode Over Life is useful when transforming one particle volume into another set of particles. For example, let's say that you are creating flames that turn into smoke. While the particle is in the flame, the Transfer Mode should be add or screen, since flames have additive properties. Later on, as the particles becomes smoke, the Transfer Mode should be Normal since smoke has obscuring properties.



Glow

Only active when particle type is Glow Sphere or Star. Glow Size is the relative size for the glow compared to the particle. Opacity, Feather and Transfer Mode controls the look of the glow. Read more on the Glow group page.

 

Streaklet

These controls become enabled when Streaklet is the chosen Particle Type. Read more on the Streaklet group page.