Here’s my first project featuring Trapcode Particular. I think it came out OK overall.

We have a gaming group called Combat Wombat, and our “streaming group” — when some of us were live-streaming — was called “The Wombattery”. We had a logo professionally made and everything! What we lacked was a cool branding logo reveal, though, so I’ve been trying out several different methods to make an animation that could be used to preface a YouTube video or custom edit of the streams.

This isn’t super-complex nor is it very original, but it’s still effective, and I got to use Particular to create a custom particle effect! Go me!

Relevant Websites

Nothing specific. A little YouTube, but I really wish I could remember who we got to design the logo because she did an awesome job.

Relevant Resources

Totally unrelated, but I learned an easy way to work with custom camera movement compliments of a video on sci-fi UIs by Dope Motions. And of course I am using RedGiant’s Trapcode Particular.

Technical Details

First thing was to get the Adobe Illustrator “wombat” into AE. I dropped a few layers from the comp because I didn’t need the whole showcase that the artist provided for us. I didn’t actually add the text in at first but decided to include it later on.

The grid is a solid layer with a Grids effect added. I had to scale up the layer significantly once the camera tilt went in because tilting the camera revealed the edge of the layer. That, in turn, blurred the grid a slight bit, but not so that it looked horrible. I also added a Gradient Ramp to the layer and used 2 colors sampled from the logo to give the layer some visual texture.

I added a null and custom camera and parented the camera to the null. Making the null layer 3D, I was able to just set the rotation on the X and Y to 33% which translated over to the camera’s viewing angle to get the slight tilt at the start of the video. These values were set down to 0% over a 3 second period so the camera angle returns to the straight-on render by that time.

Next came the wombat logo. At 2 seconds, I keyframed it to be “flat” against the grid background. There’s a bit of space between the two, just because. With the layer set to 3D, I moved the layer into the negative along the Z-axis to pull it away from the background. When keyframed, the logo drops into place over that 2 seconds. I did the same with the text, but it starts it’s movement one second later than the logo, so it comes in once the viewer has had time to focus and recognize on the logo. Because of the way the camera tilts, however, both the logo and the text look like they end their drop at the same time, even though there’s a good 1 second between when the logo stops and when the text stops. This is an unintended optical illusion, but I think it works to unify the text and the logo for the end of the complete motion.

To give the scene some visual flair, I added a spotlight centered in the scene and pointed at the center of the grid canvas. Being a spotlight, the light attenuates as it gets further from the center, providing both a natural vignette look at the end of the video, but more importantly, it allows the background grid layer to “fade” into the distance when the camera is tilted as the video starts. Because the wombat and text layers are set to cast shadows onto the grid (which is set to accept shadows), the user has an understanding that something is happening before they even see the elements in the frame.

This was the end of the first attempt. I had used the ubiquitous “easy ease” to smooth the element drop, but I couldn’t get the feeling right so I scrubbed that for the logo but kept the “ease-out” on the text.

Of course, that night as I was trying to sleep I decided to add some dust behind the logo when it landed, and to add some camera shake to indicate a solid landing on the grid. Using Particular, I created a circular “explosion” emission of clouded particles with moderate velocity and short life. The trick here is to create a cloud that explodes out quickly but then fades quickly outside the bounds of the logo so the puff is seen, but doesn’t give the impression that a building just collapsed. I increased the Air Resistance a bit so the smoke blows out but then slows before it fades out. The dust is subtle but effective.

Finally, I added a Light Sweep using a sampled color from the logo to give it that final “here’s the final reveal, polished and complete” wink. The camera shake is applied to an adjustment layer and is really just an expression of wiggle(10,10) on the layer’s Position property.

Overall, I like the result. The work wasn’t too onerous, and the final product is satisfactory enough that I’d use it (if I had a need to). Some things I might play around with include working with the easing of the logo and text, because right now they kind of float down, and I’m not sure the speed of the logo really warrants the puff of dust behind it or the camera shake. I’d also really like to get the Element 3D software and maybe convert the wombat into a 3D logo to give it a little more weight.

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