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After Effects Video Tutorial: Light Particles

Caleb Ward

In this Premiumbeat exclusive tutorial we take a look at how to create an awesome particle based background.

Adobe After Effects

Don’t purchase animated backgrounds – make them! In this After Effects video tutorial we show you a workflow for creating a particle background with a high-end look. The After Effects fundamentals covered in this tutorial include:

  • Using Particle Generators
  • Using Radial Blurs to simulate light
  • Using Gradient Ramp’s to simulate depth

Particle backgrounds are versatile and can be used for a wide variety of projects and subject matter. How will you use them?

Don’t want to watch the video? Follow along with the step-by-step tutorial below. Click any image for larger view. 

1 Create a new composition with a dark solid background layer.
2 Create another new solid and label it ramp. Add in a gradient ramp with a degradation from 50% grey in the upper left corner to 100% white in the bottom right.
3 Set the opacity of the ramp layer to 10% and change the color profile to 32 bits per channel to alleviate some of the inevitable banding.
4 Create a new black solid. Add a fill effect and make it a brighter/white color. Add in CC Particle World.
5 Change the radius of the producer to 1 on the x,y, and z.
6 Change the velocity to 0, the gravity to -.001, the birthrate to .1, and the longevity to 5.
7 Set the opacity of the particle layer to around 50% then change the transfer mode to add.
8 Duplicate the particle layer and offset the time by a couple seconds. You can also change the gravity to make the particles float faster.
9 Create a solid with a turbulent noise effect added.
10 Option click the stopwatch of the evolution keyframe. Add the expression time*100 to make the turbulent noise move over time.
11 Add a radial blur to the noise. Set the amount to around 100, the position to be far below the composition, and the type to any one of the three zoom patterns.
12 Add an expression to the center parameter:[wiggle(,1,50),3000]
13 Set the transfer mode of the light layer to soft light.
14 Blur out the particles using a fast blur.

Know of any other ways to make professional background designs? Share in the comments below.