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Create Confetti in After Effects 6.5 with AE’s CC Particle World Plug-in

STEP 1: Begin with colorful layers
Confetti is generally multicolored. CC Particle World will base each generated particle hue on the colors already in the layer to which the filter has been applied. So always start out with a very colorful layer.
Create a new solid that’s the size of your comp (720 x 486 in the downloadable project Download this file) and apply Fractal Noise (Effects>Noise>) to it. In the Fractal Noise parameter list, set Contrast to 200 and Scale to 10 (under Transform). Now apply Colorama (Effects>Image Control>) to this small, contrasty noise. How’s that for a colorful layer?
STEP 2: Apply CC Particle World to the layer
You’ll notice some funky graphics that look nothing like a particle system. Set the Grid pop-up to Off. This turns off the guides that are there to help you set up the particles in the plug-in’s 3D space. Next, move the Time Marker to one second. This will show some spark like particles and give you something visual to work with. Like most particle systems, there are no particles at Time 00:00. None have been "born" yet, so nothing shows up on your screen.
STEP 3: Set up the look of the particles
In the Particle section, set Particle Type to Square, Color Map to Origin Constant, and the Birth and Death size to.10. Origin Constant is important because it tells Particle World, once it has been applied, to determine the particle color based on the layer you’re working on. That’s why you needed to use Fractal Noise and Colorama to create the funky-colored noise. Wherever a particle is born, the color of the underlying image at that location determines its color. So if you move the Producer Point around, the particles will change color.
We also need to position them. In the Producer section, set Position Y to -.40 and X Radius to 1.3. Particles are always produced from a single point. In this case, we’re moving that point up to the top of the screen and stretching it across the entire Comp so particles fall all the way across the screen. Set Birth Rate to 4.0 and Longevity to 5.0. This adds more particles and makes them last longer (five seconds).
STEP 4: Ah, physics
No particle system works without physics. Twirl down the Physics arrow and let’s get to work. First, set the Animation Type pop-up to Viscouse. There are a variety of ways the particles can be animated by default; play around with them to see how they differ. For your purposes, Viscouse will work great. Now set Velocity to 0, Gravity to.05, Extra and Extra Angle to 0. Your confetti now looks fabulous and is well behaved.
Now you can experiment with some of the settings. Change the Animation Type, increase the Gravity, increase the Z Radius, and be sure to check the Options area and add a floor of ice! Try different particles, too. Particle World does great smoke and other effects. This is just the tip of the confetti bucket.
Jim Tierney
Digital Anarchy
Jim Tierney has worked on numerous award-winning products from companies like MetaCreations, Atomic Power and Cycore. After working on Adobe After Effects plug-ins for almost a decade, he thought it was finally time to get out there and do some of his own. As "Chief Executive Anarchist," Jim conceptualizes and designs Digital Anarchy products and heads up business development.
Jim Says Keep In Mind…
With version 6.5, After Effects finally has a particle system that most people can use. No, I’m not talking about Particle Playground, which struck fear into the hearts of pros and novices alike, but CC Particle World. This filter, once part Final Effects, is now included with AE 6.5. It’s not the best particle system out there, but it’s easy to use and is pretty powerful. This tutorial offers some Particle World basics and shows you how to create some confetti in the process.
Final Effects is one of the original AE plug-in packages, developed by Cycore (www.cycorefx.com) and sold by MetaCreations. It’s been owned by several companies, but now is owned and sold by Boris (www.borisfx.com). A few years ago, the licensing agreement that Cycore originally had with MetaCreations expired, giving them the rights to sell the filters again. But Cycore didn’t get the rights to the "Final Effects" brand name, so it renamed the plug-ins Cycore FX and licensed them to Adobe, which put all of them into After Effects 6.5. In fact, all the filters from Final Effects go by similar names in AE. The only difference is now, there’s a "CC" in front of each one.
Digital Anarchy
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San Francisco, CA 94112
ph. 415.586.8434


Categories: Creativity, Technology, Tutorial, VFX/Animation

  • Stefan

    Thanks a lot! Needed it for a Homepage! Workes great!

  • Person

    There is no square option for particles type.

  • LadyLaura

    Thanks for this tutorial! But how do I slow it down? The confetti is going very fast now..