Ab-Normal Particles

Here is a fun example that uses Normality on a pre-composed particle system emitting a custom texture. I used Trapcode Particular because the Depth of Field option blends the Normals unique coloring together, for a more liquid concoction.

Watch Sample Video (720p HD)
High Quality Pic
(see the real colors…)

You can download the blob-element as part of the project files for the latest Normality Tutorial.

One of the interesting benefits of using a normal pass element as a particle (instead a pre-rendered one with shading and reflections), is the viscous coupling generated by the depth of field. The other benefit is happening is the random movement of the highlights in the glob. Even the reflections have variable coverage, which adds to the feel of the scene.

Normality is a 3D re-lighting tool for After Effects which introduces some interesting opportunities when used with other techniques like particle systems. I’ve also had some fun tests using CC Mr. Mercury but they were a little bit flat looking so I used multiple copies with variable settings. Of course, experimentation is the key to discovery!

Stay curious my friends…

For more information on this free plug-in Normality:
Watch latest tutorial & read our Normals Guide

Using Custom Particles in AE:
Watch Medical Zoom Tutorial or the recent Particle Explosion Tutorial!

7 years ago
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7 years ago
I like your tutorials very much,when i finish this job,i can't add some voice,could you tell me how to find some voice just like "the particle explosion tutorial"?
And,If you could add AEP files,that would be fine.
Sorry for my english i am from China
7 years ago
dear andrew:
can u help me to make a text with particle?please
7 years ago
Instead of giving us knowledge...
would you mind to give us some mind ^^
mine is not working anymore

i hope he'll speak about this comment in his next video...
maybe is because i'm not expert in english and he understands better all these settings in those plugins

Greetings from Greece!!!
Come come!! we have an amazing city (Thessaloniki) and let me eat a bit of your mind @)
7 years ago
how to be cool like u
you so so so cool
u are a Super tutorial man
i love your tutorial
and your way to make it
i want like u
are you have a secret in your life make you the best of the best
u freak me out
Andrew Kramer we love u ............ :D
7 years ago
Wow, I never had a clue people were so confused about normal maps.
It's really no different than a bump map, only exception is that the color information provides more detailed information for the light.
7 years ago
Man this with normal maps is give me a completely new look to the compositing, I'm generalist(ae and 3D) and now I think that 3D is going to use only for some models and 3D animation, shading now can be done completely in ae.
This will speed up a things alot...
I think that people are still not aware how big this discovery is... but let them find out...

Great tutorial, and I'm glad that you shared with us.

7 years ago
Andrew, what is your computer specification
you use in your tutorials?
just wondering :]

7 years ago
GJ Andrew!!!!! Rock On!!
7 years ago
7 years ago
Ha HA, love the new header. awesome awesome looking design Andrew, ( the particle video i mean), one of the best i've seen here on VC. Love your creative thinking.
Seth Johnson
7 years ago
Andrew if you know that water blob started our LA fires you need to tell someone.
7 years ago
Ha Ha Andrew, the banner looks great ;)
Jory Federighi
7 years ago
this normality stuff is soo AWESOME!
however i only have AE6.5
so im feelin' a lil left out, any chance we'll be taking at least a tiny break from it any time soon? i know it's helping out the majority of people out there, but for the minority that is myself, this would be appreciated, thanks andrew!
7 years ago
Hi Andrew, that's a very nice and professional intro. I always wonder how you create those lens flare in the product page and also in this design? Thanks
Diego G.
7 years ago
oh, I got it, motion : Moshun :D
Diego G.
7 years ago
What does "Moshun" means?
Sorry I ain't english...
7 years ago
I like the subtitle 8-)
7 years ago
Hard refresh CTRL+F5 to see the new header... tough fit but nice change of colors.
Bader Ahmed
7 years ago

Could you post the AEP file for this project please.

and Regards
7 years ago
Hey Matt, I thought so too, maybe I'll have to open up the 'ol photoshop...
7 years ago
Hey Andrew the top picture in the post would make a realy nice banner for the site ;)
7 years ago
It's Mr. Water Drop... and his extended family...
7 years ago
It's called an info-graph, I added some info.

Eric, the info to create this example is all right there...
7 years ago
Cool idea to blur the normal maps! Makes the particles stick together like they have surface tension. Looks like liquid metal!
Maybe you could enhance that effect by having a soft-edge alpha on each particle? Give it a try! ;)
7 years ago
I didn´t understand the "chances of winning the lotery: not so good" though. LOL
7 years ago
Mr. Kramer could you create a tutorial with these organic things. I think this is a right step in the future.

Rock on!
7 years ago
As an utter noob, I'm miles away from wrapping my cramped little noggin around the normals (though I will be down loading the plug-in, thankyouverymuch). Heck, I just got my copy of Twitch and I'm busily making every bit of footage I have flash, shudder and split colours. I also ordered my copies of Evolution and Riot Gear so now I run down to the mailbox hourly, just in case the post snuck them in while I was busy Twitching things. Thanks Andrew, for all of your brilliant effort and ideas. You're a real inspiration.
7 years ago

How did you do the blob effects particles??
Zvi Twersky
7 years ago
2 Orbs...? I mean Blobs...
7 years ago
Hi Andrew,
great stuff once again. Any chance of sharing the project file for the 'knowledge' clip?
7 years ago
I've seen all the Andrew's tutorials. Now I'm advancing to the Aharon Rabinowitz Tutorials who (I have to say) is a great friend of Andrew because It's always mention the Andrew Kramer work and products...
7 years ago
Andrew you just give and you give and you give, Really excellent stuff, so creative!
7 years ago
I must say, you are delving deep outside the boundaries of the Matrix.
Ryan Griffin
7 years ago
Normality is seriously one of the better plugins I've seen for After Effects. It makes my brain hurt thinking of the number of uses for it, the ways it can enhance effects I've done in the past, combining it with some of the tutorials on this site for interesting results. Truly great.
7 years ago
Graphist, you sure have changed your opinion quite a bit. :-)
7 years ago
i love you very much...
your voice is very nice...
i like it!
7 years ago
andrew, querialhe ask if you can make a tutorial on how to make the universal logo!
7 years ago
I must be the only one that caught the Dos Equis commercial reference at the end of that post. Funny stuff Andrew.
7 years ago
congratulations andrew, a good idea to remove the middle constant in this program is very interesting to do, easier than they are in programs like 3dmax but also can be done in this program, prove 're
7 years ago
Ab-Normal? That is so bad...
7 years ago
Winston, did you watch the particle explosion tutorial?
7 years ago
How do you get the cool hexagonal simulated aperature reflections from the lens blur to be so prominent? I can never get those to show up that clearly and I love the effect.
Dark Entity
7 years ago
Really awesome!!!!Thanks a lot Sir Andrew and The Video Copilot Team!!!!Pretty cool!!!
Diego G.
7 years ago
Chances of winning the lottery: not so good :(
I'll have to keep trying...
7 years ago

It's called Depth of field.
7 years ago
Im really impressed by the solution with the Particle emitter.

Do i smell a short cut Tutorial 95a ?
7 years ago
Whats kind of blur effect you have there?
Or its some kind of camera settings?

Thanks for response..
7 years ago
first off thx, im always doing this because your always turning us on to cool shikiasjfo. Thx to Stefan as well.


sorry, i had to ask.
7 years ago
Adam Sklar
7 years ago
You love Normality now don't you? :p
7 years ago
lol'ed @ "Chances of winning the lottery: not so good". Eventhough it isn't a good joke, you still get a smile on your face. ;)
7 years ago
And the quote of the year iiiiisssss:

"Feeding creativity with knowledge"
7 years ago
Awesome Andrew! Thanks for the tip!
7 years ago
7 years ago
Ha ha, Awesome! :)
7 years ago

...Nah, i was kidding, totaly awesome, just hoping you´ll show my commentary on the next tutorial, hahahaha.
7 years ago
Really nice Andrew, a little quick though!!!
7 years ago
Hey Andrew Kramer , what' up! Greeting from Greece! I want to tell you tha evertything you've done is just amazing. Just one idea.... how about if you combine 3d light casting with a still frame and a normal map in order to create a super realistic 3d space lighting emmiter ? If you try something like that post it on the blog to see the results. thank you.
7 years ago
Hey Andrew! Haven't watched your newest tutorial yet but I will!
Anyways you amazing as always!
jim hines
7 years ago
First laugh of the day "Chances of winning the lottery..." so random, so real, so funny.

Lot of good stuff lately. Too much for me to internalize.

Rock on!
7 years ago
awesome work AK I hope you will do more "normal" animations :D
Godfrey Meyer
7 years ago
sweet man.. gooberiffic
SkyFall Productions
7 years ago
You're really liking Normality eh? ;)

For good reason too, so powerful, and so useful!
7 years ago
Amazing tip Andrew Kramer, like always.

BTW: Here in Portugal (EUROPE) Arnold Schwarzenegger is in all TV channels... LA on fire... :)
7 years ago
boring stuff
James Twyman
7 years ago
Hey Dextrmania
In answer to your question about messing up a render. This plug in is in no way a replacement for a multiple pass render. These can still be useful, especially if you are creating an entirely 3D effect. I.E making a CG film or creating 3D art work.
What Normallity achieves is the ability for you to make the lighting in you after effects comp and any 3D imagery you have composited on top completely congruent. Theres nothing worse then getting your lighting looking the same, only to want to change it all. So you have to change the lights in after effects, go back to the 3D software, change the lighting there to make it fit, render again and then import it back into after effects. With this plug in its all doable right inside of after effects and speeds up the production process.
Plus, lets say you have a picture of a car you want to animate, using this plug in can help you gain realism by allowing it to react with lights.
Basically, this is another useful tool that will help you create better art, and its free so if you download it and never use it you've not lost anything.
hope that helps.
Thanks Andrew for finding this for us, I'm gonna have so much fun with it
7 years ago
Andrew u r totally sick about After effects...man i wonder how much time u spend on a computer (that means on after effects to u).I will never forget u,never.

Greetings from Eritrea.
Matthew Sabia
7 years ago
@Prodat TV
what 3D program do you have of any?
Matthew Sabia
7 years ago
Thanks keep up the great work

by the way "experimentation is the key to discovery!" I like that ;)
7 years ago
Thanks A..K.
7 years ago
now thats a beauty!
7 years ago
Hi Andrew its a Cool Info dude
7 years ago
Oh....sob :-(
I wanted to win the lottery ! :-)

Thank you Andrew for the tutorial and the useful stuff,
you're the best!

7 years ago
thanx for ur tip there they r totally different ya.I was reading Gnomon's Multiple passes in 3ds max and i happen not to find out the need to reEdit ur normal passes as though. there r plenty of ways u can blend about DOF with normal passes but this out kindaa looks better...but not professional indeed...thanx for the tip man!!
Kramer...thats not the right name for u man...maybe "Scott Farrar..."
7 years ago
Cool, Thnx :)
Prodat TV
7 years ago
Feed me more my creativity.

it's amazing, fun and free knowledge!

i'm very very happy with those tutorials, i don't have experience with 3d programs but I'm gonna learn. I swear.
7 years ago
@dextrmania: youevelizer is used for completely different things than normal passes, as he mentioned in his last blog post. UV passes and normal passes are different.

as for the particles, that was a really cool idea to utilize the DOF before the normal pass... woulda never come up with it myself. thanks for the update!
7 years ago
very nice i like your use of particles
7 years ago
7 years ago
Andrew need ur comment here :

Why u wanna mess up with normality when u can render it in passes in ur 3d application.

is this any better than maltaannon's youvilizer preset

need a little tip on it Kramer...?
7 years ago
really didnt think of using a particle system for it...GREAT
Rainier Markmann
7 years ago
Very very cool.. i like it...
Asllan ismaili
7 years ago
Woww so cool..!