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I have two questions:
1. The "end" of my trail of smoke is so late. I have to wait so long for the end of the trail to come, and it just looks too much trail. How can I adjust this?

2. When I try to move the "light", I can only move it either to the left/right and up/down depending on the arrow (green or blue) I click on. It looks like you can move it any direction with one move, how do I do that?
Hey Andrew,

Particular doesn't exist in the newest version of AE. So I don't know how to apply that particle effect to the light layer like you show here and parenting keeps it bound in 2D. Any suggestions?

Smoke Trails by Andrew Cramer

For those who watch the video for more than once because
you are studying this, I wrote a resume, a guiding line.

A short video in which I used this effect:

00.35 create "New Composition", make a Background
00.51 click Background, hit "s" for scale and scale it
01.06 make it 3D by hitting the 3D symbol (dice-like)
01.09 create "New Camera", 28 mm
01.20 create "Light", call "Emitter"
01.34 click Background, hit "a, a" and set "Accept Lights", "off"
01.45 go to "Active Camera", switch to "Top" view, fit screen
50% or 33%, back up top line far away (above), with "z"
go back from "Top View" to "Active Camera" again
01.59 scale it up again
02.09 back to "Top View", click "Camera" to make it visible
02.16 move "Light" behind the camera (z)
02.18 hit "p"in Emitter for position and set a keyframe,
move Light by using "z" close, to above and
make another keyframe
02.30 go back to "Active Camera", now you have a light flying pass.
you can make the animation longer by shoving the keyframe in
emitter in time, play with it.
02.50 expression to make some randomness:
"Alt + click" on stopwatch for position
and type: wiggle(.5,150)
03.54 Create Particles: create "New",
"Solid" and rename "Particular"
04.06 go to "Effect", choose "Trapcode", "Particular"
go to particular "Emitter", change "Point" to "Light(s)",
set all (4) "Velocity .." to 0, all (3) "Emitter" to 0
04.51 tip about moving over keyframes
06.20 import smoke cloud and shut off its layer
06.25 click layer particular and go to "Particular",
change "Particular Type" from "Sphere" to "Sprite"
07.11 go to "Texture", change "Layer" from "None" to
your smoke cloud, turn up "Size"
08.05 if you want to make trail longer, go to "Top View" again,
move "Light" further, also the Background, go back to
"Active Camera", scale it back up
08.35 In Particular: in Emitter settings:
turn up "Velocity from Motion" to 11
08.53 go to the Particle tab to "Rotation",
turn up "Random Rotation" to 5
go to "Size Random" you can play with all these parameters
09.46 Physics Air Resistance
11.35 Life Of The Particles
11.45 Size Over Life
12.25 Duplicate the Light
13.14 Colour Correction
13.35 Ctrl+Shift+h hides on screen helpers
13.48 Adjustment Layer
14.11 move Camera around: on Camera Layer hit p and set keyframe
rotate with the Camera Tool
14.31 Optical Flares
15.17 create new solid, rename "Optical Flares"
(move the layer under the colour correction layer)
15.31 go to "Effect", "Video Copilot", "Optical Flares"
put "Render Mode" from "On Black" to "On Transparent"
16.00 you're on your own, follow the video

Hey Andrew! Thanks for your tutorial doing great job :)
Hey,Andrew you doing good job.......Spreading knowledge
I try to recreate the effect with CC Particle World and binding expressions.
It works pretty well but for some reason, some textures are flickering if you set the transfer mode to Composite.
The transfer mode Add or Screen have no problems with flickering but the details and colour of the texture are gone.

Someone knows a solution for the flickering in Partcle World?
I have been using this thecnique for my 5 minutes animation movie that i create for my thesis in my college, with little bit experiment i create amazing meteor shower, its make my lecturers and my friends very impressed, thanks for you andrew, thanks a lot for this awesome tutorial. (sorry if my english is bad).
Vladan Vukovic
Instead of static picture of cloud in the rocket tail can I use some dinamic object like one in the shock wave (my english is not quite well but I hope You will understand me)
Ray Rotmans
Awesome tutorial, now im working for the first time on a flyby of a meteor which passing over on a existing footage which has to follow this meteor or something which is crashing into earth, tried everything with 3 or 4 trackings because the footage is moving view, still i cant seem to get the fly by with focus on the meteorite right. I have searched all over the net for tuts but nothing found so far, maybe you guys have a clue or a idea how to fix this, much obliged if you do, by the way awesome products! will buy the 3d element part 2 soon!
10 of 477 Comments Displayed
102. Smoke Trails
• Create realistic smoke trails with Particular particles
• Randomize the look of a cloud texture with 3d turbulence
Posted on Feb 05, 2010
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