Dynamic Particle Shadows in AE

In a recent post, I rendered a fluid particle system and faked the shadow by duplicating the render and adding a blur. But, then I started thinking… what about a particle system that is more defined, like dropping balls? The blur-method would not work. So then I had more questions…

How could you create a dynamic shadow, that lines up correctly with your particles AND appears only when the particle is close to the surface? What about making the shadow look like Global Illumination? What if you went back in time and ran into yourself from the PAST!?

Eventually I though of a solution and it seems to work pretty well. Specifically if you think of a code word that only you know, it would be easy to prove YOU were from the future.

As for the particle shadows, I think it is worth sharing in detail so stay tuned for a video demonstration.

Watch Sample Video

NOTE: This sample video was rendered in After Effects with Particular using a 3D ball element as the particle texture. The ball was created in 3D Max, but you can make your own reflective orb in AE as shown in the Glass Orbs tutorial.

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