Illuminating Particles

I was playing around with Particular 2 and came up with this particle swirl using a couple of smoke images as particles. I love that Particular 2 reacts to the lighting as well as fake shading to make the particle seem more volumetric.

Here is what I did, in Particular 2 custom particles are called Sprites, so once you select this as your particle type, the texture slot becomes available to use my smoke video that is included with the project download. I stretched the particle area and rotated the world transform to make it look like a twister. I added a couple of lights to give it coloring and a BG gradient.

Check out the screen shot for particle settings and my timeline. You may want to see this tutorial using Particular 1.5 to get started with the smoke element.

Download Project CS4
(Sorry but I sometimes forget to use CS3 so more people can open it but the smoke element is inside the Footage folder for you to experiment. )

January 11th, 2010 @ 9:46 pm
Look amazing! I really have to dig into PArticular 2 more.
Thanks for the project file!
Simon Steele
January 11th, 2010 @ 9:47 pm
This looks amazing, I have got to learn Particular more. Thanks for the inspiration.
January 11th, 2010 @ 9:48 pm
Thanks so much Andrew, you are amazing
January 11th, 2010 @ 9:52 pm
Thanks Andrew for the inspiration... It always help me in my work..
Raj Kamal
January 11th, 2010 @ 9:53 pm
when particular 2 came out, I saw this kind of things in, I always wandered how it was I know.
Thankx Mr.Kramer... :)
cristian carmona
January 11th, 2010 @ 9:54 pm
gracias,andrew, es increible, saludo desde colombia
January 11th, 2010 @ 9:56 pm
please make a product that has these type of video loops and it will sell like hot cakes :-)
January 11th, 2010 @ 10:00 pm
Looks pretty sweet!
Please make some hot cakes too. They will sell like....
January 11th, 2010 @ 10:02 pm
I think Particular 2 just may be my next major software purchase. Thanks AK
January 11th, 2010 @ 10:03 pm
This looks amazing! Too bad i dont have after effects CS4 i only have after effects Cs3 :(
January 11th, 2010 @ 10:16 pm
The colors and shading is awesome but watching the moving images, the smoke particles themselves are too static when swirling around (the ones on the fringes are most noticeable)... As long as they're packed together it looks okay but otherwise they don't morph in the air like smoke does properly.

But I can't wait to try this! Thanks!
January 11th, 2010 @ 10:16 pm
Great Works!tks again.with greetings in chn
David S
January 11th, 2010 @ 10:41 pm
doesn't your wife ever get mad because you stay up late having these great ideas and wont come to bed?
January 11th, 2010 @ 10:54 pm
Awesome effect!!! I don't exactly have anything to use it for, but it looks awesome!!!
January 11th, 2010 @ 11:02 pm
Muy buen efecto... a ver cual será el tutorial 101...
January 11th, 2010 @ 11:10 pm
Andrew, your tutorials, presets and style of training has re-opened my eyes to After Effects. Thank you for all your expertise and humor. So much better than any other training on the web.
January 11th, 2010 @ 11:11 pm
oh andrew , this is good looking.
Grant G
January 11th, 2010 @ 11:34 pm
Very awesome - speed it up and boom! Instant tornado.
January 11th, 2010 @ 11:39 pm
nice one...and typing some text with that smoke will be amazing if it moves along path...and some flashes between the smokes or clouds will add some amazing touches as long as particular 2 interact with light and gives shades and shadows...
thnx Mr. Kramer
January 11th, 2010 @ 11:39 pm
Wow! This is really awesome. This came at the perfect time. Im busy learning Particular 2 right now. It opens up a world of new possibilities to me now.

Thanx Andrew
Johann Torres
January 11th, 2010 @ 11:39 pm
It looks awesome!
January 11th, 2010 @ 10:59 pm
Thank you Andrew, truely impressive, thank you for sharing these set of skills with your students here at
[]v[]R @r@b []0[][]v[][]0[][]\[]
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:16 am
awsome ... no1 can use after effects like andrew kramer ... hes the best ever
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:51 am
I can't believe you just "mess around" with stuff and come up with results like this.
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:54 am
Very useful for particle integration, too bad I can't have a look at the settings, as I only have CS3 installed; either way, very cool look!
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:55 am
hey Mr.andrew wjere did u came na...?
January 12th, 2010 @ 1:03 am
Very realistic effect. Great job.
January 12th, 2010 @ 1:04 am
Very nice, just the other day I was looking around for smoke effects in Particular 2 or Form in order to create an idea I have. I think this will take me alot futher on the way, thanks!

just wish my custom particles in Form toghether with alot of motion blur wouldn´t give a 6 seconds clip a render time of 100 hours...
January 12th, 2010 @ 1:21 am
Great, now I need to get Particular 2 !

I tend to try my best to do everything using CC particle World, but I'm starting to realize it has a lot of limits. Maybe it's time to move on...
January 12th, 2010 @ 1:46 am
ok how can we get this to cs3 cuz i realy want to make this . i love particles. advise.
kumar G
January 12th, 2010 @ 2:13 am
awesome andrew..
January 12th, 2010 @ 2:28 am
Looks really realistic! Brings me to my mind that I still want to try to animate the smokemonster from Lost. Gotta try that somehow!
January 12th, 2010 @ 2:34 am
Please ad an cs3 file!
January 12th, 2010 @ 3:07 am
It looks like smoke from a renaissance painting.. that's so awesome!
January 12th, 2010 @ 3:28 am
Beautiful output.
"Dreaming about those lens flares!"
Sergio Jr
January 12th, 2010 @ 4:11 am
Its so amazing!!! Congratulations... xD
January 12th, 2010 @ 4:19 am
This is great! This was the last kick for me to make an update to particular 2. Thank you very much, Andrew. You are great! And I am looking happy forward to the 25th of January ;-)
January 12th, 2010 @ 4:48 am
Thats awesome!
Thanks from Brazil
January 12th, 2010 @ 4:49 am
awesome!! Couldn't do this better with Max
January 12th, 2010 @ 4:52 am
Where is the flying cow at? (-:

Looking good like always......your information i mean lol
January 12th, 2010 @ 5:33 am
For some reason these videos wont play on iPhone :(
January 12th, 2010 @ 5:39 am
Andrew ,.... Publish a Tutorial to This Topic ..... (Particular 2)
it's amazing ....
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:12 am
wow looks something like a sandstorm :O
really nice !
Lyndon Alvarez
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:12 am
Hey man, I just wanna see it in action. If you get a chance could you post a quicktime vid. No big deal if you don't get this, you're awesome anyways.


Graveyard Productions
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:24 am
I know this is a really dumb question, but does Particular 2 cost anything, because I don't believe I have it, only the one that came with CS4. Also, if it were to cost anything can you please post the price. Thanks in advance.

-Graveyard Productions
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:28 am
Nice work! Can't wait to take a look at the project file on weekend!
Is there a way to auto-orient those particles to the camera?
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:33 am
nice, very nice!!! Look Amazing!!! :)
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:33 am
Really awesome look!
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:41 am
Something to get us thinking kool.
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:47 am
Wow. Really nice interest effect.

Oh and thanks!
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:48 am
please dig into that some more! :)
Im sure a lot of people are interested!
January 12th, 2010 @ 7:56 am
Very cool! I can't wait to try it!
Brett Perry
January 12th, 2010 @ 7:59 am
Hail Peter Norby, creater of Particular. His improved 2.0 version with the light's and shading is brilliant. I use Particular all the time to sweeten composites. This is as close to a must have plug in as you get. And the best part is it's not that expensive.
January 12th, 2010 @ 8:01 am
I like Particular 2. The rotating wisps look a bit cheezy as you can tell yeah are repeating, the stray ones on the edges really give it away.
January 12th, 2010 @ 8:33 am
Nice, very nice !
January 12th, 2010 @ 8:34 am
ugh, I wish I could buy particular 2.
January 12th, 2010 @ 8:35 am
Excellent work as usual, as per Kevin's comments the outer whisps look a little cheesy but the overall effect is stunning.


Robert goes
January 12th, 2010 @ 8:14 am
Great project. I'm in las anglas right now sporting a video coplilot shirt and hat. Sorry for misspells.
January 12th, 2010 @ 9:17 am
Lighting is nice but the particles just look way too flat so its pretty weak in motion
January 12th, 2010 @ 9:29 am
As for the cheesy whisps on the outer edge... just use a moving displacement map (fractal noise and rotation & don't forget to feather) on your smoke footage (break each still into it's own comp and make sure they loop) 4 of them should work fine. You will have to change particular custom particle time sampling from 'random still frame' to just 'random' and set up each one under it's own particular plug-in, lower the amount of particles per second in each one to 1/4 of the original Comp and it will look a lot more real on the outer edges. Just my two cent.
January 12th, 2010 @ 9:35 am
so awesome... thanks for the help
January 12th, 2010 @ 9:37 am
Great look!! Always nice ideas Andrew!
By the way, I was seeing this video: on youtube I bet you will recognise something in the audio trak... ;-)
January 12th, 2010 @ 9:42 am
it looks like you can work on the new movie Prince Of Persia, with all the sand thing effect

it looks cool :)
January 12th, 2010 @ 9:47 am
hey ... its really great
i cant understand why everyone wants a tutorial ... watch out the *.aep-file and just use your brain and you know how andrew did that.

btw thanks for that file and especially for the footage smoke
January 12th, 2010 @ 10:05 am
I hope you make more tutorials that inspirable with particular 2
January 12th, 2010 @ 10:12 am
January 12th, 2010 @ 10:32 am
It seems you used Riot Gear for a smoke element...Maybe I'm wrong.
January 12th, 2010 @ 10:34 am
Hellow Andrew, im TV postproducer in Channel 6 From Guadalajara México, well, maybe this is going to be a stupid peticion, but can you upload your projects in After Effects 7 to?, its cus i have that version and my boss dont want to buy the second one!... pleas i wait for your answere!! and sorry for my bad english! =)
Mr. Bee
January 12th, 2010 @ 10:42 am
I took the liberty to make a quick (took me about 10 minutes) CS3 version, it's not as accurate and nice as Andrew's, but it'll give you a headstart. Enjoy!

Only 10 downloads available, please reshare if you like.
January 12th, 2010 @ 11:05 am
interesting a!!! but plss Andrew we`re waiting for new tutorial!!!:S
January 12th, 2010 @ 11:07 am
Hmm, very interesting.
January 12th, 2010 @ 11:20 am
That was great.. I have dowloaded the prj file, looks awesome!.. and also I agree to Lirik, we're waiting for new tutorial :D we missed you yaw!
January 12th, 2010 @ 11:22 am
Totally awesome.. i love it!!!!!!
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:12 pm
this tutoriale is very intersting
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:16 pm
Looks really cool!
Pity I don't have CS4 too...
It will be rally great if you post also CS3 version...
(Or anybody else here...)
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:22 pm this blew my mind, I doubt you will read this Andrew, but I definitely think you are the coolest guy like, ever, Brad Pitt aint got nothin' on you!
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:44 pm
The project file doesnt really have the same effect with particular 1.5 :P haha.. is there any way to achive the same effect without upgrading?
January 12th, 2010 @ 12:45 pm
amazing effect by the way...
January 12th, 2010 @ 1:03 pm
simplicity is your flavour. And i really apreciate and love this. A lot of huge thanks.
January 12th, 2010 @ 1:06 pm
nice idea! thx for sharing with us! so, now i have to wait until its 25. january... so, stop wasting my time ;-)
January 12th, 2010 @ 1:19 pm
Hey Andrew how do you just come up with these things? lol that looks amazing!

Can't wait for Sure Target 2!!!!!
January 12th, 2010 @ 2:21 pm
I like it, thats so amazing, what wie can do with AE :D

greets from Austria, WB-Productions
January 12th, 2010 @ 2:31 pm
wow great work Andrew
January 12th, 2010 @ 3:23 pm
can you make us a tutorial in cs3 how to make this smoke and some particles too like the one you made in sure target 2 please i have some crazy ideas for these 2. thanks.
January 12th, 2010 @ 5:41 pm
Thanks Andrew. I am still on CS3, but I am sure that if I use the skills you taught me so far, i can get this to work in CS3....hopefully this year I can bump up to CS4.....thanks Andrew. I love the screenshot of this.
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:32 pm
Mr, Kramer could you please make a tutorial on this particular project 'Illuminating Particles' not the tutorial 63. smoke elements.

For your greatest fan, Bradley.
January 12th, 2010 @ 6:47 pm
awesoome awesoome! thanks AK. :)
January 13th, 2010 @ 3:38 am
RESPECT ANDREW KRAMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
January 13th, 2010 @ 6:12 am
Andrew, you are amazing
January 13th, 2010 @ 7:14 am
Smoke and mirrors boys...smoke and mirrors!!
January 13th, 2010 @ 7:39 am
I love it :)especially the shape of the particles itself. nice trick.
Matt Park
January 13th, 2010 @ 9:05 am
Awesome dude! Good stuff there bro!
January 13th, 2010 @ 11:41 am
Looks so very good indeed. If only I could afford trapcode.......
Kreshnik “Peja”
January 13th, 2010 @ 1:24 pm
That's Great. You'r brain work about AE, and when you are sleeping, hehhe. good good.
Kreshnik “Peja”
January 13th, 2010 @ 1:28 pm
Andrew, tell me please something? How to render LAYER or COMPOSITION transparency with blur effects, as "taskbar vista"?? thx
January 13th, 2010 @ 2:43 pm
January 13th, 2010 @ 4:27 pm
Hi Andrew and people, can someone put in cs3 version?
January 13th, 2010 @ 4:45 pm
it's perfect!!realy
January 14th, 2010 @ 3:10 am
what font is that?
January 14th, 2010 @ 4:43 am
so realistic ! Is particular 2 already launched ? I heard it was a beta test ..
January 14th, 2010 @ 5:01 am
Love it! Ur Awsome!
January 14th, 2010 @ 11:16 am
nice !! i got stunning results while playing with particular 2 couple of months ago. going to post a sample and a tutorial as well very soon :)
January 14th, 2010 @ 8:47 pm
hey andrew this seems like AFTERBURN PLUGIN ~~!!
January 16th, 2010 @ 10:44 am
I am trying get the wisp into particular but I am not gettin the custom :S
Any reasons why?
January 17th, 2010 @ 9:30 am
Great, Andrew! You're amazing! :)
January 27th, 2010 @ 3:00 pm
It really looks beautiful. Thanks for share the project files Andrew. As always, you ROCK¡
February 18th, 2010 @ 1:14 am
Thanks Andrew !!!!
March 17th, 2010 @ 10:16 am
I still look at this video on a weekly basis and every time I learn something new from it :)
Thank you Andy, you are amazing :)
March 28th, 2010 @ 7:58 pm
Hello there,
This smoke effect which i want to make so bad for some reson its not working for me i cant fingure out how to do, any one know please direct me to the proper setting thanks.
April 27th, 2010 @ 3:48 am
cooool effects~
June 15th, 2010 @ 10:22 am
did u add a glow to the particles?
August 30th, 2010 @ 9:35 pm
This oddly enough looks like you could use this to create BP Oil Spill footage if you change a few settings.
December 19th, 2010 @ 3:36 am
can you do a tutorial on this?? i really want to learn this effect.....need some help...:)
May 25th, 2011 @ 11:28 am
Hello, amazing work
Why d i get to red lines crossing each other?
November 25th, 2011 @ 10:31 am
Hi, can you put this tutorial to download, i like more tutorials :D keep your good work ... god bless you
jafar lensman
April 19th, 2012 @ 1:08 am
Thanks so much Andrew, you are amazing
love karthick
April 23rd, 2012 @ 5:14 am
i love it..amazing..!!!
October 8th, 2012 @ 12:56 pm
That is really amazing.

I opened it and looked at the setting and tryed to learn with it and I got 1 problem I can't find a way that the custom paricles fly down not only rotating but go constantly down. Anyone know which setting I missed? It is not Position XY =/
November 24th, 2012 @ 11:33 am
Adobe after efectts cs4 learn
November 28th, 2012 @ 5:45 am
Great work and nice trick! Thanks a lot!
rachid darfoufi
December 30th, 2012 @ 3:56 pm
what's the font name please
June 12th, 2013 @ 3:41 am
wow! great tutorial! big thanks!!!! keep it up!
August 20th, 2013 @ 9:37 pm
thank you, my permission to download this template. success for you
September 17th, 2013 @ 11:20 pm
It's amazing bro. Thanks for the tutorial and this wonderful idea. Awesome bro .... and thanks once again
September 14th, 2014 @ 6:47 pm
thank u so much,u av been an inspiration
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