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NextPreviousHomeFlashing particles

snafu | 2 years ago | 7 comments | 645 views


How can I simulate in a show, a bunch of flashing particles flying, as if they were fireflies ?

Is there an special effect for that?

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If you make it, you know how and therefore have control.

1. select a particle preset like star twinkeling (this one already flashes)
2. change texture to like flare2.jpg
3. set Particle Size to 0,5,0 (or change the middle value to your liking)
4. set Turbulence to like 1 to get a nice erratic pattern. (play with this after the next step)
5. set Emission to like 15 for less flies (also play with this to your liking)
6. you can change Lifetime to like 4 to give the flies longer flight. (also play around to your need)
7. set Colour 1 to 255,255, 0 for yellow and colour 2 to 188, 188,0 for a darker yellow.

Explanation of the properties used:

Particle size - Just like humans, particles grow and shrink during their life. With the 1st slider you can set the size of the particles in the middle of their life. The 2nd slider controls the size at the start and the third at the end of the particle's life.

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

Emission - The number of particles emitted per second.

Lifetime - The maximum age of the particles in seconds

Colour 1, 2 - All particles have a random colour in between these two colours. Press for the standard colour dialog.

Have fun playing around with the particle's

komies, 2 years ago

komies, How can you control the rate of blinking/flickering? I would like to see if it can be slowed down and maybe more random to be more like a real firefly.

MrGruntHunter, 2 years ago

Thank you Komies

I have seen already Selina's show, both of you help a lot!

snafu, 2 years ago


There are as always many ways to get similair results.
I went for this solution because of it's more random nature of blinking then say the Flare.cfx and Flicker Period property setting which make them blink in unison.

- With the Lifetime you can set the duration in seconds to make them lightup longer.
- With a third value like 2 (0,5,2) in the Particle size property you can make the fade out of the light longer.
- For more randomnesss of appearing and disappearing I would set the Emission lower to say half the value then clone the layer and give this layer a different Liftime and or Particle size like 0,4,1
- For even more randomness you could clone this layer again and again with different settings. Try also different Turbulence, Colour 1,2 property settings

When you want more blinking then now you can use the Flare.cfx too atleast 2 layers and set different Flickering Periods per layer.

Good luck and have fun.

komies, 2 years ago


a Fast and Dirty 3 layer particle as described above:

with flare.cfx added with settings between 0,05 to 0,35 and turbulence between 0,05 to 0,5
and picture as fullscreen in background.

The video is exported at double NTSC 59,94 because of the fast blinking.

Right click on video and select loop.

As always have fun.

komies, 2 years ago

Thanks komies and Selina. This is getting quite interesting as I just stumbled across some interesting videos on YouTube about FireFlys ( ). I didn't realize there are quite a few different species of FireFlys and the ones in the video I watched are indeed synchronous FireFlys where they do flash in unison. I'm going to have to pay more attention to just what type we have here in Florida. komies, your show with the forest background is perfect. The YT video is from up in the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee and it is amazing at how many are concentrated there.

Sorry Michiel if I got to much off topic here.

MrGruntHunter, 2 years ago

You're welcome MrGruntHunter,

This article is about "Flashing Particles like Fireflies" so your input is ON topic I would say.
And this is what makes the community great, people willing to help each other and share knowledge.

In my country there are 3 species but are very rare and only present in the south for a short period in juni till mid july and only for 30 till 45 minutes visible.

One species only the female flashes while sitting still (set Turbulence to 0)
The second species cannot fly
The third species only the male flashes while flying. (as in the video)

I like for the video to be a bit dynamic so I choose for esthetic reasons the moving fireflies.

I also know now more about Fireflies or glimwormen as they are called here.

komies, 2 years ago

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