Lessons: 13Length: 1.6 hours

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5.1 How to Create Snow

In this lesson, you will learn how to create and animate snow using “CC Particle World”. You will also learn how to control the different aspects of the particles such as gravity, spawn rate, and color.

5.1 How to Create Snow

Hi everyone and welcome back to the cool ice effect course. In this lesson we'll learn how to create a falling snow effect using particles. So the first thing we want to do is create a new composition. So let's go to Composition > New Composition or Crt+N on the keyboard. Then from here, we can edit the settings of our composition. So the first thing I wanna do, is I want to rename this Snow Comp. And then we wanna make sure that the size remains the same at 1920 by 1080 and 30 frames per second. And then over here we can change the duration of the animation. But we'll keep it ten seconds for now, but we can always change this afterwards if we decide to later on, so click OK. And then next we want to create a new solid by going to Layer, New and Solid. And then make sure that this color sets at black, click OK. And then let's rename this BG for background. And then next we want to create another solid so go to Layer > New > Solid. Make sure it's black again and for this one, let's name this Particles. Cool, from there we want to add CC Particle Worlds to the solid. So to do that, we need to go to Effects, and then we need to go to Simulation, and from here find CC Particle World, which is here. And this will add CC Particle World to our particle layer. Now you'll see straight away that if we scrub back and forth in our timeline that it adds this sort of yellow fountain of fireworks effect. Which is the default look of CC Particle World that we can change using the settings here. So starting from the top at grids and guides we can turn off some of these options here which are sort of getting in the way of our scene so let's go ahead and turn off grid. And we can turn off the horizon line here and let's remove the axis box here as well, so now we have a nice clean scene to work with. So now we can collapse grids and guides. And then next we have the birth rates. Now the birth rates represent how many particles are being created or being born. So let's go ahead and increase this to see what I mean. So if we increase the value of the birth rate, we increase the amount of particles we have in the scene. And if we decrease the value, we decrease the amount of particles onto the scene, as well. So now because we want some gentle falling snow with our particles, we want to set the birth rate at about 0.3, so we don't want too much particles in our scene. But if you wanna full on snow storm feel free to adjust the number a little bit higher until you get the look that you want. And then next here we've got longevity, which is how long the particles will last for once it's been created. So let's go ahead and put this value at five seconds as we want our snow particles to last quite a while as it floats past or floats down the screen. Now next here we have the Producer. So if you open this up, this represents the area that the particles are being born from. So you can see here this sort of red circle, this is where the particles are being born from, this is the Producer. And now because you want the snow to fall from the sky, we can adjust the y position here, so that the Producer moves up in the in the scene. This is actually the Zed position, so let's go back to the y position and yeah so now we can move this up. So let's move this all the way up to the scene like so, something like minus 0.6 so now you can see that the particles are sort of falling from the sky. We can also play about with the other values to find the right place for where the snow ball for front. So let's go ahead and go back to the Zed position again we can move this back a little bit or forwards as we see fits so that's just keep in minus 1 for now. And we can also increase its radius, so how large the producer is. So I'm going to increase the area of the x-axis. So let's go ahead and increase the radius. So that it fits across the whole screen, so let's put it at 0.7. And we can also increase the depth of the snow here, so let's go ahead and change the zed radius which is it's depth. So let's put it at, let's put this at 1.5 to increase the amount of depth we have for our snow just to give it a little bit more of 3D effect. And I can see that if we scrub backwards and forwards in our timeline, it appears that the particles are now falling down from the sky, which is exactly what we want. Cool, so let's go ahead and collapse the producer. Next, we have the physics options. Now, in animation, you can see the type of particle that we can use. So let's go ahead and have a look at some of these. So you can see that the type of animation that we can create, using these particles. And the type of animation that we want to use is we want to use that's called Twirly. And this will give us the best results as it will gives the snowflake that sort of floaty and random sort of falling effects, that it has naturally. Okay, let's keep the velocity at 1, as lowering this will reduce the twirly animation. So you can see if I make this lower, you'll see it sort of falls down like rain, but if we put this back to one it'll have that sort of random animation again. Which is what we want. And now with the gravity, we want to reduce this value. So let's go ahead and reduce this to 0.03, which will give the particles a slower movement as it falls down. Now as you can see, it's not falling down anymore. That's because we have the animation set to Twirly that's part of the animation. Now, we can fix this by looking at the angle. So we want to reduce this for the snow so let's make this plus 20 degrees, like so. Let's reduce the extra angle to plus 20 degrees. And now if we preview you'll see that the snow is starting to take shape. Now, we might want to increase the longevity of some of our particles just so that it doesn't, so that it fills the whole scene a little bit more. As you can see before, the particles were just dying a little bit, as it got to the bottom of the screen. So let's increase that back to 10. So I'll pause close fill up the whole screen like so, and next we can go to the Particle Settings. Now in here you can change the way the actual particle looks so you can see the particle type is set to line we can change it to stars or any of these types of particles. But we're going to create a custom particle for our snowflake. So to do this, we need to create another composition. So let's call this snowflake. And we want to make this a 40 by 40 pixels large composition and then click OK. And then here we want to zoom in a little bit using the mouse wheel. And from here we want to create a shape layer. So to do this, go to Layer > New and Shape Layer. And then we want to go to this shape layer here and under the add options we want to add a shape, which is an ellipse. Next we want to add a fill, so add a fill. And then in the fill options here we want to click on the color box and make this pure white. Cool, now, let's go ahead and transform this circle, this ellipse here, make it a little bit smaller so that it fits the actual composition. So I'm just gonna make it, yeah, let's just keep it at 24, but for now. And now in order to change the shape of the snowflake, we're going to add wiggle paths. So let's go head and click Add and Add Wiggle Path. And by adding this straight away, you'll see that the shape has changed slightly. So let's go ahead and go into wiggle path. And we can play about with these options here to create the shape that we want. So under points here, we want to change this to smooth. And we want to change the size slightly, so let's change the size to about 17 and then wiggles per second, we want to change this a little bit smaller. As you can see if we scroll backwards and forwards in the timeline, we've got this movement here. We want it a little bit more subtler. And let's put it at north point two to add some subtle movements to our snowflake. And let's reduce the details a little bit here as well. So let's go ahead and put the details to about 3. And in fact, let's increase the size slightly just to give it a little bit more of a random shape. So let's put the size at 45. And then we can leave the rest to the default options. Now from there, let's return back to the original composition. So return to our snow comp and we want to go to our project panel here and we want to add the snowflake into our snow comp by click and dragging it, like so. And now let's go ahead and hide this by clicking on the eyeball icon here. And now let's go back to the effects controls. Go back to our particles layer. And over here we want to change the particle type to a Textured Quad Polygon. Now this is basically a square that we can paste our snowflake onto. And then in one of these options here, so in texture, We can add a texture layer here. And we can add our snowflake, like so. And you can see straight away that we have our snowflake particles. So the particles have changed into the snowflakes that we created. Excellent, so now, if we scrub backwards and forwards, you can see that we've got these nice little snowflake particles. And we're just going to add a few more improvements to our animation. So let's add a little bit more randomness to the shape, so let's make the rotation speed, let's put the rotation speed at 15. So it's not so fast and the initial rotation, we'll keep at 360 rotation axis, let's keep that at this. And here, we can change the actual size of our snowflake. So we can reduce the size of our snowflake if we wanted. So we can reduce that to not 0.1 or let's keep it, let's pull that 0.15, just a little bit bigger. I can test the way that looks here, so, cool. And now, let's go to size variation 50 and max opacity at 75. Cool, so now if we preview the scene, we have our snow particle effect, excellent. Now remember, you can go back to the Particle Options if you wanted to continue to adjust the look of your snow such as the size and the speed. And you can also add your own footage or animations to the background. So there you have it, how to create falling snow using CC particle in After Effects. In the next lesson we'll learn how to create some camera angles. See you all there.

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