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!

Asllan ismaili
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:05 am
Woww so cool..!
Rainier Markmann
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:06 am
Very very cool.. i like it...
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:10 am
really didnt think of using a particle system for it...GREAT
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:11 am
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...?
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:18 am
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:18 am
very nice i like your use of particles
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:22 am
@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!
Prodat TV
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:23 am
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.
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:27 am
Cool, Thnx :)
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:31 am
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..."
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:47 am
Oh....sob :-(
I wanted to win the lottery ! :-)

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

August 31st, 2009 @ 12:58 am
Hi Andrew its a Cool Info dude
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:58 am
now thats a beauty!
August 31st, 2009 @ 1:00 am
Thanks A..K.
Matthew Sabia
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:36 am
Thanks keep up the great work

by the way "experimentation is the key to discovery!" I like that ;)
Matthew Sabia
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:40 am
@Prodat TV
what 3D program do you have of any?
August 31st, 2009 @ 1:45 am
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.
James Twyman
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:05 am
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
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:24 am
boring stuff
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:28 am
Amazing tip Andrew Kramer, like always.

BTW: Here in Portugal (EUROPE) Arnold Schwarzenegger is in all TV channels... LA on fire... :)
SkyFall Productions
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:47 am
You're really liking Normality eh? ;)

For good reason too, so powerful, and so useful!
Godfrey Meyer
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:51 am
sweet man.. gooberiffic
August 31st, 2009 @ 4:44 am
awesome work AK I hope you will do more "normal" animations :D
jim hines
August 31st, 2009 @ 4:00 am
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!
August 31st, 2009 @ 5:21 am
Hey Andrew! Haven't watched your newest tutorial yet but I will!
Anyways you amazing as always!
August 31st, 2009 @ 5:38 am
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.
August 31st, 2009 @ 5:56 am
Really nice Andrew, a little quick though!!!
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:44 am

...Nah, i was kidding, totaly awesome, just hoping you´ll show my commentary on the next tutorial, hahahaha.
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:49 am
Ha ha, Awesome! :)
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:50 am
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:50 am
Awesome Andrew! Thanks for the tip!
August 31st, 2009 @ 7:02 am
And the quote of the year iiiiisssss:

"Feeding creativity with knowledge"
August 31st, 2009 @ 7:13 am
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. ;)
Adam Sklar
August 31st, 2009 @ 7:13 am
You love Normality now don't you? :p
August 31st, 2009 @ 7:32 am
August 31st, 2009 @ 7:56 am
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.
August 31st, 2009 @ 8:12 am
Whats kind of blur effect you have there?
Or its some kind of camera settings?

Thanks for response..
August 31st, 2009 @ 8:16 am
Im really impressed by the solution with the Particle emitter.

Do i smell a short cut Tutorial 95a ?
August 31st, 2009 @ 8:19 am

It's called Depth of field.
Diego G.
August 31st, 2009 @ 8:22 am
Chances of winning the lottery: not so good :(
I'll have to keep trying...
Dark Entity
August 31st, 2009 @ 8:39 am
Really awesome!!!!Thanks a lot Sir Andrew and The Video Copilot Team!!!!Pretty cool!!!
August 31st, 2009 @ 8:58 am
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.
August 31st, 2009 @ 8:59 am
Winston, did you watch the particle explosion tutorial?
August 31st, 2009 @ 9:03 am
Ab-Normal? That is so bad...
August 31st, 2009 @ 9:05 am
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
August 31st, 2009 @ 9:28 am
I must be the only one that caught the Dos Equis commercial reference at the end of that post. Funny stuff Andrew.
August 31st, 2009 @ 9:58 am
andrew, querialhe ask if you can make a tutorial on how to make the universal logo!
August 31st, 2009 @ 10:09 am
i love you very much...
your voice is very nice...
i like it!
August 31st, 2009 @ 10:14 am
Graphist, you sure have changed your opinion quite a bit. :-)
Ryan Griffin
August 31st, 2009 @ 10:26 am
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.
August 31st, 2009 @ 10:36 am
I must say, you are delving deep outside the boundaries of the Matrix.
August 31st, 2009 @ 10:41 am
Andrew you just give and you give and you give, Really excellent stuff, so creative!
August 31st, 2009 @ 10:49 am
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...
August 31st, 2009 @ 11:02 am
Hi Andrew,
great stuff once again. Any chance of sharing the project file for the 'knowledge' clip?
Zvi Twersky
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:59 pm
2 Orbs...? I mean Blobs...
August 31st, 2009 @ 1:58 pm

How did you do the blob effects particles??
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:05 pm
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.
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:25 pm
Mr. Kramer could you create a tutorial with these organic things. I think this is a right step in the future.

Rock on!
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:38 pm
I didn´t understand the "chances of winning the lotery: not so good" though. LOL
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:53 pm
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! ;)
August 31st, 2009 @ 2:59 pm
It's called an info-graph, I added some info.

Eric, the info to create this example is all right there...
August 31st, 2009 @ 4:30 pm
It's Mr. Water Drop... and his extended family...
August 31st, 2009 @ 4:36 pm
Hey Andrew the top picture in the post would make a realy nice banner for the site ;)
August 31st, 2009 @ 5:05 pm
Hey Matt, I thought so too, maybe I'll have to open up the 'ol photoshop...
Bader Ahmed
August 31st, 2009 @ 5:19 pm

Could you post the AEP file for this project please.

and Regards
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:05 pm
Hard refresh CTRL+F5 to see the new header... tough fit but nice change of colors.
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:06 pm
I like the subtitle 8-)
Diego G.
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:13 pm
What does "Moshun" means?
Sorry I ain't english...
Diego G.
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:14 pm
oh, I got it, motion : Moshun :D
August 31st, 2009 @ 6:34 pm
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
Jory Federighi
August 31st, 2009 @ 7:45 pm
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!
August 31st, 2009 @ 9:04 pm
Ha Ha Andrew, the banner looks great ;)
Seth Johnson
August 31st, 2009 @ 9:13 pm
Andrew if you know that water blob started our LA fires you need to tell someone.
August 31st, 2009 @ 11:59 pm
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.
September 1st, 2009 @ 1:38 am
September 1st, 2009 @ 3:43 am
GJ Andrew!!!!! Rock On!!
September 1st, 2009 @ 2:25 pm
Andrew, what is your computer specification
you use in your tutorials?
just wondering :]

September 1st, 2009 @ 2:59 pm
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.

September 1st, 2009 @ 6:37 pm
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.
September 1st, 2009 @ 9:53 pm
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
September 2nd, 2009 @ 12:09 pm
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 @)
October 28th, 2009 @ 10:58 am
dear andrew:
can u help me to make a text with particle?please
January 8th, 2010 @ 9:28 pm
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
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