Particle layer

Choose Layer > Add Layer > Add Particle Layer... to create a new particle layer.

Choose Layer > Attach Layer > Attach Particle to active Layer... to attach a new particle layer to the active layer.

The new particle layer can be selected from the Layers listbox to make it the active layer.

With the particle layer you can create effects like fire, smoke, rain and snow.

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Glow

When you attach particles to a text layer (by choosing Layer > Attach Layer > Attach Particle to active Layer...) they are emitted (launched) from the surface of the text.

When you set the Z-Bias property to about 100 and the Launch Speed to 0, the particles always stay behind the text.

The NotLightened_Additive.fx effect makes them blend into each other (choose Media > Change Effect...).


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Cube

When you do not attach the particles to another layer (by choosing Layer > Add Layer > Add Particle Layer...), you can control the launch position with the Launch Position and Launch Area properties.

In this example the Launch Area is set to (100,100,100). This way the particles are launched from a cube.


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Physics

With the Gravity property you can set the direction and size of the gravitational force. To make them fall downwards you set this property to something like (0,-100,0).

With the Floor Level property you can set the vertical position of the plane the particles bounce off.


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Pointillism

By attaching your particles to a picture layer and setting the Chameleon property to 1, the particles take over the colour of the picture.


Particle effects

Particle dissolve

images/manual/particle_launchplane

When the Launch Plane Size property is bigger than 0, the particles are only emitted from this launch plane.

You set the position and rotation of the launch plane with the Launch Plane Position and Launch Plane Rotation properties.

When you apply the Special/Clip.fx effect to the layer the particles are attached to and animate the FX Clip Plane and Launch Plane properties you can create nice dissolve effects.

To learn more, take a look at the Particle Effects\ParticleDissolve shows that come with the installer.


Particle morph

images/manual/particle_targetlayer

When the Target Layer property is bigger than 0, the particles fly to this layer. Take a look at the Layers listbox to find the index of the target layer. You can set the flight speed with the Launch Speed property.

When you prevent new particles from being emitted (by setting both sliders of the Min/Max Particles property to the same value) you can move them around by animating the Target Layer property.

To learn more, take a look at the Particle Effects\ParticleMorph shows that come with the installer.


Particle layer effect 1

images/manual/particle1

2D Rectangles

Particles are rendered as 2D rectangular billboards.


2D Circles

Particles are rendered as 2D circle shaped billboards. This mode is very effective when using the Masked.fx effect.

3D Cubes

Particles are rendered as cubes.

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3D Spheres

Particles are rendered as 3D spheres.


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3D Pipes

The path of the particles is rendered as a bended pipe. Use the Trail Length property to set the pipe length.


3D Blocks

Particles are rendered as blocks.

images/manual/particle4

3D Blobs

The particles are rendered as 3D intermingling, blending blobs (metaballs). The blobs technique has problems rendering small particles that are scattered over a wide area, so for the best result use slow moving, big particles with a short lifetime.


images/manual/particle5

3D Model

Every particle is a 3D model. You can select the 3D model with the menu item Media > Change Model....


Particle layer effect 2

Pointing Upwards

In this mode, the particle is not rotated.

Pointing Flight Direction

In this mode, the particle rotation depends on its flight direction.

Pointing Randomly

In this mode all particles have a random rotation.

Particle layer effect 3

Vertical Align Top

Vertical Align Centre

Vertical Align Bottom

Particle layer properties

Launch Position

This is the position where the particles are being emitted.

Launch Area

The shape and size of the launch platform. Examples:

(0,0,0)All particles are emitted from the same point
(100,0,0)The particles are emitted from a random point on a horizontal line.
(0,100,0)The particles are emitted from a random point on a vertical line.
(100,100,0)The particles are emitted from a random point on a plane.
(100,100,100)They are emitted from a random point in a box.

Launch Direction

The launch direction in angles (heading, pitch, roll). Examples:

(90,0,0)To the right
(90,0,90)Upwards
(90,0,180)To the left
(90,0,-90)Downwards
(0,0,0)Away from the camera
(180,0,0)Towards the camera

Launch Speed

The initial speed. Note that you can reverse the launch direction by using a negative speed.

Spread

This is the maximum deviation from the launch direction (heading, pitch, roll). Examples:

(0,0,0)The launch direction is always the same.
(10,0,0)The heading of the launch direction has a maximum deviation of 10 degrees.
(0,180,0)The pitch of the launch direction has a maximum deviation of 180 degrees.
(180,180,180)The launch direction is completely random.

Emission

The number of particles emitted per second.

Min/Max Particles

The first slider controls the minimum number of particles and the second the maximum. When they are set to the same value and you set the Maximum Age property to a very high value, the number of particles is constant and no new particles are emitted.

Gravity

The direction and size of the gravity field (horizontal, vertical, depth). Examples:

(0,0,0)There is no gravity, the particles maintain their launch speed and direction.
(0,-30,0)The particles fall to the ground.
(10,0,0)There's a soft wind to the right.
(60,0,0)There's a strong wind to the right.

Maximum Age

The maximum age of the particles in seconds.

Particle Size

Just like humans, particles grow and shrink during their life. With the first slider you can set the size of the particles in the middle of their life. The second slider controls the size at the start and the third at the end of the particle's life.

Effect Size

This property scales the whole effect.

1st and 2nd Colour

All particles have a random colour inbetween these two colours. Press <F3> for a standard colour dialog.

Transparency

This determines the transparency level of the particles. 0 is completely opaque, 1 is completely transparent. If the particle layer is attached to another layer, the transparency of this layer is added to the transparency of the particle layer.

Specularity

This determines the size of the glancing highlights.

Chameleon

This property allows you mix the particle colour with the colour of the parent layer. The particles takes over the colour of the parent layer when you use a value of 1.

Launch Colour and Launch Colour Tolerance

If the Launch Colour Tolerance property is less than 1, particles are only emitted from pixels that match the launch colour, as set with the Launch Colour property. If the tolerance is less than zero, particles are only emitted from pixels that do not match the launch colour.

Rotation

The rotation of the particle (heading, pitch, roll). When using a 3D model to render the particles, this is an offset because the particle models are always pointing towards their fly direction.

Rotation Speed

The rotation speed of the particles (heading, pitch, roll). For the 2D particles you might only want to use the roll (the third slider).

Trail Length

The length of the trail in particles. Note that a big trail slows down the framerate considerably.

Trail Density

This value determines the distance between the particles in the trail. A high density means a smaller distance.

Grid

When this property is not zero, the particles are placed on a grid.

Variation

The variation in particle size and maximum age. When this property is set to 0 all particles have the exact same size and maximum age.

Turbulence

This property adds some chaos to the flight path of the particles.

Launch Plane Position

This property is used when the Launch Plane Size property is greater than 0. The particles are only emitted from this plane.

Launch Plane Rotation

The launch plane rotation in angles (heading, pitch, roll). Examples:

(90,0,0)Vertical plane
(90,0,90)Horizontal plane

Launch Plane Size

This controls the thickness of the launch plane. Set this property to -1 to turn off the launch plane.

Floor Level

This is the vertical position of the floor. Particles are bounced off this floor.

Target Layer

If this property is bigger than 0, the particles fly to this layer. Take a look at the Layers listbox to find the index of the target layer. You can set the flight speed with the Launch Speed property.

Z-Bias

With the Z-Bias property you can move the particles a bit closer to or further away from the camera. For example when attaching sparkles to a text layer, you want all the particles to be rendered in front of the text. You can do this with a negative z-bias. But when attaching a glow effect you want all the particles to be rendered behind the text. You can achieve this by using a positve z-bias.