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Motion Blur gives particles that move really fast a smooth look, like a real world camera does. Let's see how that works...
Technical note about render time: Motion Blur produces significantly more particles, which can make projects more memory intensive. In Particular, additional particles are inserted into the particle list before rendering to create the blurred frame is correct. It also means that per-particle transfer modes are applied for each blur level, which produces even more extra particles.
Left to right, Motion Blur turned off and on.
You can tell Motion Blur to be Off, On or to use Comp Settings (default).
Selecting Off turns Motion Blur off. Selecting On or Comp Settings turns Motion Blur on.
When the Comp Settings option is selected, Particular's Shutter Angle and Shutter Phase controls are greyed out. This is because the Shutter Angle and Phase values from the After Effects composition are used. These values are located in After Effects' Composition> Composition Settings> Advanced menu. To activate Motion Blur with Comp Settings, the comp Motion Blur switch AND the layer Motion Blur switch must be turned on.
Active for the Motion Blur> On option. Shutter Angle sets how long the virtual camera shutter stays open when a picture is taken. This controls the 'streak-length' or 'blur-length' of particles. High values set a longer particle streak. Low values set a short streak.
Active for the Motion Blur> On option. Shutter Phase offsets the point in time when the virtual camera shutter opens.
There are two types of Motion Blur:
Active when Type> Subframe Sample is selected. The number of position/rotation points to sample when using Subframe Sample. Higher values mean more samples.
Active when Type > Linear is selected.
When Motion Blur is active, the particle is 'smeared' out. This smearing can make the particle lose its strength and become less opaque. Opacity Boost can counteract that loss. Higher values mean there is more opacity added to the particles . Opacity Boost is useful when creating sparks, or any particle that acts as a light-emitter.
Sometimes not everything in the composition should be motion blurred. With Disregard, some parts of the particle simulation can be ignored when Motion Blur is computed.
The four Disregard settings are: