NEW TUTORIAL: Particle Explosion

In this in-depth tutorial we will build several particle systems linked to a single control layer for precision animation with the standard Particle World system. We will also use the Pixel Polly filter to give our title a shattering blast.

Watch Tutorial

Video Sample in HD 720p

I’ve also linked CC Particle World to a 3D Null object using this code:

Download Script

Now when you need to find this expression, just search the blog for it!

August 26th, 2009 @ 12:26 pm
Nice im excited
Ryan Rakboop
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:26 pm
very well done! very informative! It just amazes me that your technique keeps evolving!
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:26 pm

from netherlands
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:27 pm
BTW, amazing tutorial. A particle tutorial will be very useful to me. :)
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:32 pm
very very very Nice Dr.androw!
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:33 pm
very nice just what i was looking for
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:34 pm
Well done!
Amazing tutorial!
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:35 pm
Excited to see a new tutorial from you Andrew. :)
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:35 pm
I look forward to watching it.
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:36 pm
Johann Torres
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:39 pm
another hit thank you andrew! :)
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:42 pm
i have a problem with rendering:
After Effects error: unable to allocate space for a 11550 x 16394

can you help me?
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:44 pm
he's always got something new.
guudkelly from Ghana
Chad ONeal
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:50 pm
Haha, I KNEW you were going to name that pre-compose layer "Title Explosion".. man I have an addiction
August 26th, 2009 @ 12:52 pm
I love surprises. Thanks Andrew!
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:01 pm
it's been a while, nice tut. Nice to see you using Standard plug-ins over trapcode particular (although i am obsessed with particular V2.0 at the moment!) this reminds me that the original particle systems are still worth a look-in every now and then.
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:07 pm
Awesome :)
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:13 pm
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:37 pm
Another expert introduction by Andrew Kramer.
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:46 pm
ThX Exelent!!!!
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:46 pm
nice job!
amit tiwari
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:46 pm
cool, very informative sir.
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:50 pm
Wow, seems like this can be good for a variety of things.
August 26th, 2009 @ 1:57 pm
You tell my wife it's After Effects time. (I'm too scared)
August 26th, 2009 @ 2:30 pm
dis is gangstar, thanks again Kramer for dis classic
August 26th, 2009 @ 2:35 pm
well done kramer, thanks for the tutorial,can u do more tutorials on cinema 4d, Pleaaaaaaassssssssseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee? u know TV/BROADCAST GRAPHICS AND AMINMATIONS
Diego G.
August 26th, 2009 @ 3:16 pm
AK, I wanted to tell you that when I'm watchin some tutorial with your new player, and I put Stop and play again, It started loading the video again, and not starting from the begining loaded before. Is it only happening with me?
Sorry for my english :S
August 26th, 2009 @ 3:17 pm
that's very cool..
thank you
August 26th, 2009 @ 3:23 pm
Yeah, that is usually what stop will do but it should continue the cached file when you hit play.You may want to just try just pausing it.
    February 23rd, 2011 @ 4:40 am
    please help if where can i find a pixel polly simulation. i only have a trial version of after effects and as i look at your tutorials, it requires that plug in. so where can i find it?
Diego G.
August 26th, 2009 @ 3:59 pm
Ok, next time I'll pause it :P
Thanks for answer...
August 26th, 2009 @ 4:05 pm
As Always, Great Stuff!!
August 26th, 2009 @ 4:39 pm
awesome ... i will watch the tutorial ... in free time ... now i must sleep :D
August 26th, 2009 @ 5:26 pm
Thank you so much. I was always trying to use Simulation>Shatter to shatter texts but it was so pathetic. Now I know there is CC Pixel Polly. :)!
August 26th, 2009 @ 6:35 pm
Great Job!!!! U the whole entire reason i do this
August 26th, 2009 @ 7:02 pm
The things a person can do with CC Particle World, CC Pixel Polly, and Particle Playground can with some experience, blow Particular out of the water sometimes.

Particle Playground is my new favorite plugin at the moment because I just implemented it in a FX shot I did. I had to make a planet explode but needed more debris floating around. So I got a few textures of rocks and made a few different PNG files, one for every rock, and used them as the "Layer Map" and presto! More flying rocks.
And that was a very simple solution, if I really wanted to make it look good, I could have made animations of rocks spinning and offset the time in the "Layers Map" option and done more than was necessary for it to look real. ;)

August 26th, 2009 @ 7:12 pm
Awesome Andrew! This is a great effect with a ton of possibilities!
Did you just use something like Photoshop or Illustrator to create the glow particle for the textured polygon (I should probably be checking the forum for this, huh?)
Looks fantastic, can't wait to integrate these techniques.
Looking forward to the new compositing plug-in and maybe some tuts using the Action Essentials 2 elements...
August 26th, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

This is very cool, and I love the HD sample video.
August 26th, 2009 @ 7:26 pm
Nice!!! Thanks for ur every great tut
August 26th, 2009 @ 7:27 pm
Nice tutorial, Andrew. The shatter is incredibly adaptable, and it'll be fun to fold into stuff I'm doing.

And the built-in explanation for my wife helped a lot! :)
brain blast
August 26th, 2009 @ 7:36 pm
Wow this is great and i almost put the codes in my head...
very cool stuff
August 26th, 2009 @ 7:39 pm
amazing andrew!, you are rock,
thanks once again.... from india(Tamilnadu, Erode - target ads )
Loay Emad
August 26th, 2009 @ 7:58 pm
Impressive !
Well Done and Thanks
August 26th, 2009 @ 9:36 pm
Best TUT
thanks Andrew.(allkhanan from Afghanistan)
August 26th, 2009 @ 10:11 pm
Impressive !
Well Done and Thanks

August 26th, 2009 @ 10:46 pm
You're wife tells you: "You're on the couch tonight!"
August 26th, 2009 @ 11:17 pm
August 26th, 2009 @ 11:37 pm
Will somebody get this guy a Webby Award!
August 26th, 2009 @ 11:54 pm
Haven't watched the tut yet (too much real work) but cant wait! don't have a wife but the girlfriend knowS!
August 26th, 2009 @ 11:56 pm
Thank you Andrew for this fantastic tutorial.
August 27th, 2009 @ 12:02 am
EASY EASY man u just destroyed us with a grenade wow that was amazingly fantastic its worth the patience we had for a new tutorial (i still think sam loya is in the hospital!!!)
Keep it up man!!!
Greetings from SAHARA DESERTS,hahaha Africa!!!
August 27th, 2009 @ 12:14 am
;-) Pui hle mai.....

thnks, andrew

August 27th, 2009 @ 12:44 am
Always look better...
August 27th, 2009 @ 1:27 am
Finally explosions!!!
August 27th, 2009 @ 1:55 am
Super interesting! Great tut.
August 27th, 2009 @ 1:55 am
Hey, thats cool :-) Thank you for this.
August 27th, 2009 @ 1:56 am
just brilliat, thnx, ive been wondering for a long time how to make text blowing effect with particles
August 27th, 2009 @ 2:21 am
Hmm, I can't find Pixel Polly in AE :( Help, anyone?
August 27th, 2009 @ 3:31 am
a very cool tutorial
thaks from amsterdam
August 27th, 2009 @ 3:49 am
Thank you very much for your tutorial. It's Great!!! I liked it very much!
August 27th, 2009 @ 5:24 am
@ Josh:

Pixel Polly should be found in Cycore FX folder in AE Plugins folder
August 27th, 2009 @ 5:30 am
Geez... people comment 3 minutes after this gets posted to say how great the tutorial is. Did they watch it on fast forward?
August 27th, 2009 @ 6:52 am
Absolutely amazing, please please please never stop Mr Kramer!

Love your work!!!
August 27th, 2009 @ 7:23 am
Even though this really wasn't anything so new, these tutorials are always inspiring. Keep 'em coming!
Alex Melikov
August 27th, 2009 @ 7:25 am
This is cool!!! Thanks Andrew for all tutorials. :)

From Tbilisi, Georgia
August 27th, 2009 @ 8:39 am
Great teaching style, I wish my university professors were so good.
Thanks from Ukraine.
Alby Smith
August 27th, 2009 @ 8:43 am
always bringing the amazing stuff...

thanks AK!

Video Copilot for good!
August 27th, 2009 @ 8:43 am
thanks, very very thanks Andrew :)
Daniel Bergeron
August 27th, 2009 @ 9:13 am
I'm having a problem with linking the "Z" Expression:

When I enter the text, I get this error:
"After Effects warning: Bad argument: index 2 out of range for stream of dimension 2
Expression Disabled

Error occurred at line 1.
Comp: 'Comp 1'
Layer: 3 ('Particle')
Property: 'Position Z'"

What can I do to fix the error? I really wish there was the after effects file so I can see what the problem is myself. :-/
Daniel Bergeron
August 27th, 2009 @ 9:16 am
Never mind! I realized I forgot to make the ccNull a 3D layer. Silly me :P
August 27th, 2009 @ 9:56 am
Andrew Kramer....awesome work yet again, cannot wait to put this into practise!
August 27th, 2009 @ 10:23 am
hey andrew how did you get those presets for depthof field and out of focus is it free?
August 27th, 2009 @ 10:26 am
Absolutley AWESOME Andrew!

If i were not a man i would love you twice ;-)

Greetz from Germany
August 27th, 2009 @ 11:07 am
I am not sure why no one has mentioned this yet, but if you try to copy&paste the AE script from the blog post into AE you get an error. This is because the blog is using quotation marks and AE uses block quotes.

At least this happened to me on my Mac.
Nate Birkas
August 27th, 2009 @ 12:02 pm
for some reason when I paste the expression scripts in i get a syntax error...?

pls help
August 27th, 2009 @ 12:16 pm
Try the text file.
August 27th, 2009 @ 12:27 pm
in the expression give`s me an error :X
August 27th, 2009 @ 1:02 pm
Hi Andrew Welcome back, Please take a second and watch
my New Vid from Action Action Essentials 2.
and everyone too can watch not all

Viewer Discretion Is Advised
August 27th, 2009 @ 2:26 pm
maybe this is a stupid question... but what are the pros/cons of using "pixel polly" rather than "shatter"?
August 27th, 2009 @ 2:50 pm
Hey Andrew , in Action2 Intro demo video you have greate control with Sparks . create tutorial about it in your next work
thank you
August 27th, 2009 @ 3:08 pm
If I'm right "pixel polly" renders faster than "shatter" and I think Andrew just used it for this tutorial to get a fast effect rather than changing all the settings in the "shatter" effect
August 27th, 2009 @ 5:26 pm
Wow, this looks awesome....

great stuff Andrew!! From Australia !
August 27th, 2009 @ 6:33 pm
Not only your giving some of the best tutorials about AE ( if mot the best) but your doing it in such cool fun way that every day I check if there's a new one. Man, your the one. By the way, your action essentials2 are really good to work with. Thanks a lot from Belgium.
August 27th, 2009 @ 6:57 pm
Man, just when I think I'm getting good. That scene was nice and crisp, as usual. You rock, man.
August 27th, 2009 @ 7:38 pm
tnx ak
August 27th, 2009 @ 7:52 pm
Oh god! I feel so powerful! Thanks to Andrew Kramer, I feel more useful, because now I'm a software engineer and I dominate very well After Effects. In 2 weeks I saw 94 clips tutorials... so it's a lot of information to digest. Now it's time to go to my own AE projects.
Perhaps in the future, I will investigate this site:
August 28th, 2009 @ 4:18 am
Come on will some one help in the expression gives me an error on the composition :X
August 28th, 2009 @ 5:50 am
I had a similar problem, if you copy and paste them you get an error but if you type them from scratch it seemed to be accepted.
August 28th, 2009 @ 7:43 am
thank you very much.. i was looking this kind of effect....thanks bro
August 28th, 2009 @ 12:13 pm
jhay andrew how did you get that depth of field and out of focus presets was it free
Shaggy Step
August 31st, 2009 @ 12:59 pm
Hello Mr. Andrew... Thx a lot for this tutorial... But, where do i can find/ downloading/ purchase the cc pixel polly?! It doesn't comes up, when i type the words... T_T
September 9th, 2009 @ 1:17 am
very good,anderw~!i hope your new tutorial.
September 9th, 2009 @ 6:51 am
ohh man you relly anspired me to after effect
you are
===============THE ONE=================
September 17th, 2009 @ 8:12 pm
Amazing, yet again. I finally got a camera and my CS4 Production suite, so I'm able to work through some of these tutorials. I have a question, though; for the script that parents the null to the emitter for Particle World, does this work for all aspect ratios? I'm on a DVPRO HD piece of video and the particles won't correctly follow my null. (Pixel Aspect ratio is 1.5) Any ideas?
September 17th, 2009 @ 8:23 pm
Nevermind, I got it! For future reference, for aspect ratios greater than 1, divide the second line by that aspect ratio.

Ie, if your ratio is 1.5 like mine:


Sorry to butt in, Andrew. This was the first tutorial I did with AE after I got it! I'm looking forward to doing more!
January 24th, 2010 @ 8:18 am
Hello Andrew! How are you? I hope you're fine. Well, this tutorial has a problem it shows some minutes and them it stops and go back to the begining. Maybe it is a a error on the website. Well i ask you to put again that exciting tutorial, please.

Thank you, keep the good work and i wish you all the best
February 2nd, 2010 @ 10:40 am
Hello!, i am cione from italy.. thank you andrew for the tutorial, but i have a problem. i haven't got a CC pixel polly...Where can I download it?...excuse my language is not perfectly correct...
April 21st, 2010 @ 2:32 am
I am still confused on where I can located/download the CC Pixel Polly? Please help!
April 24th, 2010 @ 6:18 pm
thanks,I like your tutorials,hope more news
May 13th, 2010 @ 9:14 am
wear can i find all file type flourish, cc pixel polly and explotion and evryting please HELP me.

if anynone can help me contakt me :
August 1st, 2011 @ 2:51 am
Excellent tutorial.It is must useful tutorial for projects
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