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Easy ParticleIllusion

Sketch the motion of your emitter By Ko Maruyama
Wondertouch's particleIllusion is basically a monster particle system in a box.  The application is not a plugin, so you don't need to have a host application to run the particle simulations.  The application can export to just about every format, so you can make it work with other video software.  Additionally, particleIllusion has a new library of presets every month for free, so it's almost : PICK, CLICK, RENDER for stunning particle animations.

I saw a web ad for particleIllusion this month, and decided to check the site again for something new.  It had been a while since my last visit.  DUH - EVERY MONTH there's something new : a new preset library.

Sure there are pro-emitters that you can purchase (which are excellent for the quick job that you need to complete with "falling hearts" or "digital background"), but there is also a major library of effects that company president Alan Lorence hand picks.

How easy is is to use these?  All you need to do is download the demo version to find out.  I'm going to try to keep this to 5 different steps or less.


Making 4 Seconds of Particles

1.  Select a particle (PICK)
When you launch particleIllusion, you'll have the default library.  I think that StarTrail 2 is the first emitter you'll see in the preview window.  You can keep this one, or just click on any of the icons or names in the library groups.

2. Add the particle (CLICK)
If you want to add a particle, your cursor should already be good to go - it'll look  like a little target (actually it looks like an emitter).  (If you have the move tool selected, press (A) again).

3. Animate the particle position
At this point, you could add keyframes, then move position values around, but this is the "EZ" version.  Right-Click (Mac = CTRL-click) the emitter and select RECORD POSITION.  This will allow you to "draw" the motion path of your emitter.  (note: left-click to start, left-click to stop)

4. Smooth your ride
When you're done drawing your path, all you need to do is choose whether you want to smooth the animation curve. (note: this doesn't diminish the number of keyframes in the timeline, it changes the curve of the path you've drawn).

5. Done. (RENDER)
That's really it for the basic 4 second particle animation in particleIllusion.  In order to get it out of the application and into some usable form: just click the big, red, circular button in the toolbar. (Export to taste / see particleIllusion Exporting in 5 steps for details).

If there are thousands of possible emitters, even before you start to make your own custom particles and particle emitters (and more), and all you need to do is click, draw, render - anyone can make particles with particleIllusion 3.0, you don't even need to composite it.  Just let it play out in QuickTime or as your custom screensaver.

For rants, ramblings and general announcements - check out a chaotic blog in the BlogZone:

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:tutorial, particles, wondertouch, particleillusion, motionsketch, FCP, AE

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