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The Particle Type is the building block of Trapcode Particular. By default, the plug-in uses a spherical particle, which coincidentally is called Sphere. Let's take a look at the other Particle Types.
The full Particle Type list.
There are 14 different Particle Types. The list below gives a basic definition and also points you to some of the best, basic controls to use with that Particle Type. The following section shows how the particles appear when each of the Particle Types is applied to the same composition.
Basic round particle, chosen by default. Control its softness with Particle> Sphere Feather
New Particle Type. A long exposure, light painting effect. Control with the Streaklet group.
Use any layer as particle, and always face the layer to the camera. Read more about Custom Particles.
Same as Sprite but adds the ability to colorize the particles using lightness. Read more about Custom Particles.
Same as Sprite but adds the ability to colorize the particles by filling alpha. Read more about Custom Particles.
Use any layer as particle, and give that layer any 3D orientation. Control with the Texture group.
Same as Texture Polygon but adds the ability to colorize the particles using lightness. Control with the Texture group.
Same as Texture Polygon but adds the ability to colorize the particles by filling alpha. Control with the Texture group.
Creates a square. Squares have hard edges, and are not able to be feathered.
Creates a simple circle that is unaffected by depth of field.
The Sphere is the default option in Particle Type. It is a simple round dot that lends itself well to particle systems, which are often spherical shaped units. Dust, snow and rain are all common examples of rounded particle systems. Glow Sphere is a glowy version of the sphere shape. Star is s simple four-pointed shape that has a glow applied.
A Cloudlet is a randomized shape that looks like a small cloud. It looks like smoke when the color is dark gray, and like clouds when the color is white.
A Streaklet is a long exposure, light painting effect.
Streaklet's 'iPod effect'
The Sprite particle is a custom layer loaded into Particular. You need to select a custom layer, or 'texture', for the Sprite. Do this by going into the Particle group> Texture subgroup and choose the layer in the Layer popup. The layer can be a still image or an animated movie.
Sprites always orients towards the camera. This is very useful in some cases. However, in other cases you don't want the layer to orient to the camera, but instead you'd like it to behave like a regular 3D layer. This is why the new Textured Polygon type was developed.
When you first apply Sprite, you won't see anything appear. This is because Sprite needs a layer to sample from. In our example below, Sprite is using a grayscale crescent-shaped image.
Sprite Layer image
The Textured Polygon is also a custom layer loaded into Particular, which can be a still image or an animated movie. While Sprites types face the 3D camera and don't move independently, the Textured Polygons are objects with their own independent 3D rotation and space.
The Textured Polygon doesn't orient to the After Effects 3D camera. Instead you can see the particles from different directions, from all sides and you can see their thickness change in rotation. Textured Polygon has controls for rotation and rotation speed on all three spatial axes. It will "stay put" when you orbit the camera around it. This Particle Type acts more like a regular 3D layer.
When you first apply Textured Polygon, you won't see anything appear. This is because Textured Polygon needs a layer to sample from. In our example below, Textured is using a triangle-shaped image.
Textured Polygon Layer image
Colorize is a colorizing mode that uses lightness values to color the particles. This mode appears as Sprite Fill and Texture Polygon Fill.
Fill is also a colorizing mode. This mode only fills the alpha of the particles with color. This mode appears as Sprite Fill and Texture Polygon Fill.
Textured Polygon Fill
Square creates particles with hard, sharp edges. This is great for creating low poly looks or patterns.
Circle (no DOF) creates circular particles that are not affected by depth of field.