NEW TUTORIAL: Particle Shadows

In this EXCITING new tutorial we’ll learn a powerful method for casting realistic shadows with Particular. At first we will setup a simple scene using a custom sprite and then dive in to creating the Shadow illusion. I even included a quick demo showing you how I created the future balls in 3D Max.

This handy technique finally offers a simple way to create nice looking shadows for the things your already create with Particular with an added level of realism. The shadows are dynamic and fully customizable for hard or soft looking results. I hope this helps some of you out, I know it has been a great addition to my work.

The project file is available to download using AE CS4 & Particular 2.

Watch Tutorial

July 7th, 2010 @ 1:50 pm
YEAH! thanks for this!
July 7th, 2010 @ 1:53 pm
hmmmm, having trouble getting to the tutorial...
July 7th, 2010 @ 1:53 pm
Great one Mr K!
July 7th, 2010 @ 1:53 pm
Awesome, thanks alot, really useful!
July 7th, 2010 @ 1:57 pm
Nice technique mr. AK!
Daniel Harrison
July 7th, 2010 @ 1:58 pm
wow, great thanks MR.Kramer
actually I would love to see more things like this..
July 7th, 2010 @ 2:02 pm
Pressing F5 in browser since morning!
Thank you!
July 7th, 2010 @ 2:06 pm
Very good Andrew! and if to start insects
Thanks for this tuts and idea
July 7th, 2010 @ 2:07 pm
coooooooooooool thanks Andrew

Greetings from Egypt

P.S : my name is Andrew too
July 7th, 2010 @ 2:10 pm
Wow this looks amazing, finally a 3D tutorial!
July 7th, 2010 @ 4:50 pm
Love it, they keep getting better.
July 7th, 2010 @ 4:56 pm
So f**king great!
July 7th, 2010 @ 5:01 pm
awesome Andrew Kramer, thanks
July 7th, 2010 @ 5:14 pm
Wow dude! I Dig the Depth Of Field ;)
July 7th, 2010 @ 5:16 pm
what a load of balls
July 7th, 2010 @ 5:19 pm
awesome andrew
you never disappoint
check out this video that me and my friends made:
July 7th, 2010 @ 5:39 pm
This is cool, as are all of Andrew's tutorials. But what I really want to know is this, how did AT&T make the commercial with all of the huge silk rolls falling off of national monuments, buildings, etc.?
July 7th, 2010 @ 5:39 pm
YES!!! Thank you Andrew! :D
Next Level Designs
July 7th, 2010 @ 5:42 pm
hey andrew, how are u doing. quick question ... if we used the idea of the relighting tutorial where u designed a 3d light source and it relighted the road surface ... can we not relight it as shadows as well ... like a darker light ... but then again ... it might take longer to render as well using that technique ... lol sorry for the waste of time good night and thanks
July 7th, 2010 @ 4:52 pm
As always, much appreciated.
July 7th, 2010 @ 6:00 pm
cool am gonna check it out now.
July 7th, 2010 @ 6:45 pm
Just Brilliant! Nice tut.
July 7th, 2010 @ 6:50 pm
what I like is the 3D Max tut as a bonus! Getting something awsome for free and finding out there's a bonus, you just made my week Mister Kramer!
July 7th, 2010 @ 6:51 pm
yes I'll watch it now
I love you man :)
July 7th, 2010 @ 7:02 pm
I think it's so much easier doing it on 3D max without much of time.

but you're the AE boy anderw. Thanx.
Prateek Kumar
July 7th, 2010 @ 7:06 pm
Hey Andrew, I had a quick question. Will you switch over to After Effects CS5 anytime soon because some people (like me) do not have a 64-bit operating system. If you could answer back that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Tincho de la Fuente
July 7th, 2010 @ 7:31 pm
Excelent! Thanks Andrew! Good Luck from Argentina! See you
July 7th, 2010 @ 7:50 pm
You always come up with techniques we can actually use.

John over at Motionworks posted that terrible comment about how you're sabotaging the industry.

I think you're the best teacher a guy could ask for.
Aung Ko Ko
July 7th, 2010 @ 8:23 pm
Thanks Andrew! how about ur payment plan tutorial? long waiting.
July 7th, 2010 @ 8:32 pm
Thanks, amazing =D
Andrew how much memory ram do you recommend for editing at 1920x1080? I'm having trouble about it, it becomes very slow.
would be a good tutorial on Integration of 3D objects in video using Boujou, for example.
Max max
July 7th, 2010 @ 10:29 pm
Thank you for the little 3D extra in 3DS max ^^
July 7th, 2010 @ 11:21 pm
Thanks Andrew.
I can't wait to see it (as soon as I finish up my work here)
July 8th, 2010 @ 12:54 am
full of creative techniques
form cambodia
July 8th, 2010 @ 12:57 am
hi andrew....thank u very much for introducing action essential 2....with tat elements i did a short film was selected for international short film festival...
July 8th, 2010 @ 2:49 am
lol@ the white Larry Bird. Bird wasn´t white - He was half mustache half man!
July 8th, 2010 @ 4:12 am
Thanks Andrew.
I drew some inspiration and made this over the day.
Youtube is processing it now...
Enjoy, feedback from anyone would be awesome.
July 8th, 2010 @ 5:07 am
ahahah suupper good ..thnxx andre kramer for this great tutorial
July 8th, 2010 @ 5:09 am
You inspired me to download 3Ds Max :D
July 8th, 2010 @ 5:19 am
awesome tutorial 8)

check out this video Andrew
July 8th, 2010 @ 5:36 am
andrew you are so talented ...... i dont even know how you even figure this stuff out !! i wish i was as good as you haha . keep up the good work
July 8th, 2010 @ 6:26 am

Keep it up!

I will support you anyway
July 8th, 2010 @ 7:18 am
You look at things that don't exist and think how can I do that. This is a very special gift. Then you make that gift available to the world. Words fail to speak how special that is. Thank you for all that you do.
July 8th, 2010 @ 7:33 am
Awesome tutorial Andrew! I created a demo similar to this a few months ago and posted it and the source files on the Trapcode site. Mine wasn't as cool as this though - I hadn't thought of using Depth of Field to soften shadows or fading them using the near fade options. Brilliant - you're a genius!
Oh - and if anyone's interested in my demo anim and project files (it does cast shadows on a 3 sided shape which is interesting I guess), you can see it here:
July 8th, 2010 @ 7:34 am
hmmm...pretty advanced stuff Mr Kremer....this will take a couple of views to sick are a madddd Maddddd Mannnnnn.

Thanks for sharing!!
July 8th, 2010 @ 7:48 am
this is great tutorial ))!
July 8th, 2010 @ 8:19 am
thank's Andrew come in brussel drink a beer with us ^-^
July 8th, 2010 @ 8:29 am
Stupid question: Trapcode effects have to be purchased right? Using CS5 and I don't see those other then those on the TC website. Sorry for asking.

July 8th, 2010 @ 7:46 am
Thanks Dan!
July 8th, 2010 @ 8:56 am
Finally! :D Thx so much Andrew Kramer
July 8th, 2010 @ 9:27 am
I don't know how to create "zoom and focus" thingy effect. I turn the BG in to 3D layer, accept shadows an all that to off, orient it to camera, but cant get it right?

I have to get the BG layer to 3D, right?
July 8th, 2010 @ 9:30 am
Woooooooooooooooooohoooooooooooooooo.... It came out finally... euh.. may I know when the tutorial on Payment plan is suppose to come please??
Jonas W
July 8th, 2010 @ 9:50 am
Oh these future balls, always a problem! :D
July 8th, 2010 @ 10:34 am
Wow! i did not knw that was possible !!!!!!thanks Andrew Kramer thoese balls look like thoes roll up droides in the star wars episode I lol
July 8th, 2010 @ 11:29 am
Thanx for the tutorial but what about the other tutorials you promissed like the Shatter glass and the 3D stereoscopic tutorial?
thanx again
July 8th, 2010 @ 2:14 pm
i can never be the first to comment well what ever. WOW this is the best tutorial ever Andrew Kramer does it again thanks men really appreciate the hard work.
July 8th, 2010 @ 2:36 pm
Amazing tutorial as always from you Andrew am one of many fan's in Iraq that we like what you created and the best project that your site having its really Awesome man
and i have request if you can make us some thing amazing about the soccer World Cup in Africa some thing no one think about it plz

Thanks man you the best
July 8th, 2010 @ 3:37 pm
I am amazed by how much Helpful information Video Copilot has supplied me with in the 2 years I have been a visitor. Keep up the freakin awsome work.
July 8th, 2010 @ 3:50 pm
This is absolutely superb, Andrew. This truly bridges the VFX and real worlds, for the small-operations/budgets, more tightly than, perhaps, ever ...
July 8th, 2010 @ 5:35 pm
Sick tutorial as always Andrew, was just wondering though how did you create the zoom effect with DOF in the example video during the tutorial, i think the example video was called ball_zoom. would be ace to know.

July 8th, 2010 @ 9:49 pm
Very bad, Andrew!
July 8th, 2010 @ 11:48 pm
definitely one of the best tutorials I've seen here :D (and I've seen 'em all)
July 9th, 2010 @ 12:21 am
Of course it's great... It always is.
July 9th, 2010 @ 12:55 am
You do tutorials... LIKE A BOSS!
July 9th, 2010 @ 4:27 am
thanks Andrew :)
Morten Enoksen
July 9th, 2010 @ 6:31 am
Would be nothing withut Video Copilot!
Check out my page :)
Big Mic
July 9th, 2010 @ 7:29 am
Cant wait to get on this one! Thanks Andrew!
July 9th, 2010 @ 7:29 am
That's great!
Btw maybe you could add like, sort of a mini-tutorial on creating those reflective balls in both AE and 3Ds?
That would be nice!
July 9th, 2010 @ 8:38 am
Hi Andrew,

All I can say is that you are the best!!!

I have a request for a tutorial and I will give the website reference:

Please can you make a tutorial to make such particle animations???

Thank you.

Warm Regards,

July 9th, 2010 @ 3:34 pm
Nice tutorial!
Thanks to your website i made this
July 9th, 2010 @ 4:06 pm
Damn, I was so close! But my grid got completely messed up so the shadows were no where near aligned with my balls. But I always get it on the second try.

At 55 I will probably never get good enough to get a job doing this, but it sure is fun and keeps the brain from going to waste. Cheers!
July 9th, 2010 @ 5:00 pm
your tutorials are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
July 10th, 2010 @ 1:57 am
Bloody brilliant!!
July 10th, 2010 @ 3:51 am
A tad bit off-topic, Andrew, but I'll ask anyway. I'm considering buying Particular 2 for CS5, but you said in an earlier post that you have three products under development. With your recent "Optical Flares" triumph, could one of those projects be a particle system? If so, I'll wait for yours!
July 10th, 2010 @ 4:57 am

Is any one else having trouble with particals popping onto the screen. Iv tried the pre run setting but nothing happens.
They are born from the light as it moves but the particals need to be born before they get on the screen. ?
July 10th, 2010 @ 6:03 am
yeah, thanks for the reply everybody.

July 10th, 2010 @ 12:51 pm
Hey Andew great tutorial but I was wondering if you could do a Tutorial about how to make the balls that fly on the street because they are really awesome
July 10th, 2010 @ 2:31 pm
im gonna be honest and say that it have been a long time since i was exsited about a toturial here :P

give us something new and exciting.
i dont even know what to use this effect for
July 11th, 2010 @ 5:43 am
Check my try to recreate AK's smoke trail with reflections too. The reflections use the same technique as shadows(without DOF and fading).
July 11th, 2010 @ 6:08 am
During summer holiday me and my friends will be shooting a student short film with ghost theme..postproduction will be done in AE with some serious VFX...If we will satisfied with result I will post here a link for your critique folks.
July 11th, 2010 @ 10:26 am
Nice tutorial again ;)
I have a question.. In the suretarget 1 tutorial u gave it a 3d look. a client is asking for a 3d text with sure target BUT with CS5 you can create a 3d text and then import it into AE. Hope you can make a tutorial about it cause the render times are crazy!! And when i make this 3d text a 3d layer in AE it actually flattens it. What would be the best way to import the 3d text from photoshop and use it in a 3d invironment with the Suretarget plugin??

Hope you'll take a look at it.
Cause importing 3d text and make it easy to use with suretarget would kick ass :P
July 11th, 2010 @ 10:31 am
Come back to New York Andrew..
July 11th, 2010 @ 1:17 pm
Once again you have fed us with incredible techniques with an awesome result. Thank you so much Andrew, you really are awesome! (I just wonder how often you hear that on a dag?:P)
July 11th, 2010 @ 4:05 pm
Awesome! I'd like to know you did the last zoom in the composition (i mean with that depth of field really realistic). Ty ak ;)
July 12th, 2010 @ 12:06 am
I did everything well, the shadow turned out delicious. But when I tried to create a movement of the camera.., just cannot do it. Andrew, can you suggest something that made it work?
Sem from Chechnya.
I love all of your works Honestly, I learned to work in AE through your tutorials.
Thanks a lot!!!
July 12th, 2010 @ 3:50 am
HEY! Andrew!
thank you for another exciting tutorial!!!
July 12th, 2010 @ 10:43 am
Thanks. Not just for this one but all of the tutorials. These really open up the mind to possibilities. As a guy just having fun with some software (TrapCode, Digital Juice, Adobe) they help me expand on what I thought I knew a lot about already.
July 13th, 2010 @ 3:05 am
Thank you Andrew for yet another brilliant tutorial. You are truly a brilliant artist.
July 13th, 2010 @ 11:12 pm
en en maya particle
July 14th, 2010 @ 9:43 am
nice job m8!
Hope to see more from you.
July 15th, 2010 @ 10:51 pm
hey thanks for the tut andrew

this was wat i was exactly seeking... great one bro
July 16th, 2010 @ 11:23 am
Thanks Mr AK-108 !!
Guess what's dat ?
July 17th, 2010 @ 11:28 am
Andrew ur so great man! keep doin
we love u!!!
July 17th, 2010 @ 4:35 pm
Thanks man, you really create some rocking tutorials and that helps me to think outside the box!
July 27th, 2010 @ 1:24 am
Thanks Andrew, this is an awesome solution. Maybe a plugin could be developed using this, as well.
Rob White
August 20th, 2010 @ 1:39 pm
Hey guys, I am a new AE user, so this may be elementary - but I'm looking to soften the edges of a shadow - just feather them back maybe 15%. I have 2 flat images in Zspace, and the shadow behind a picture flying into the frame looks great, except for the hard edges. So I don't want to change my Point of Focus, Light intensity, Positiion, etc. Is there a transform I am missing in the light itself, or the asset that will not change the opacity of my shadow, but just feather back the edges, as if I were just diffusing the light with a skrim or net or something. I've tried changing the light type to parallel, but again I'm new in AE so I don't know. Preleminary thanks for the help! -rob
October 3rd, 2010 @ 5:29 pm
Awesome! I’d like to know you did the last zoom in the composition
October 18th, 2010 @ 8:51 am
Question : Is there a workaround if your ground is not flat, like it's a dune or trash heap and the shadows need to follow that surface?
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