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In this tutorial I will show you how to create cool looking fireworks effects using Adobe After Effects and the Trapcode Particular particle system plugin! Here are some celebratory fireworks I created and composited into a city scene:

After Effects and Particular Fireworks 01 - Final Effect

Trapcode Particular

Trapcode Particular is a particle system plugin for Adobe After Effects. I actually prefer it over the inbuilt CC Particle World effect. You can get Trapcode Particular from the Red Giant website. The reason I prefer Particular over CC Particle World is that it simply has more functionality like air resistance physics and an auxiliary system that allows you to spawn secondary particles from the primary ones.

And of course you can use it to create a myriad of cool looking fireworks effects. Here are a few examples of different fireworks created with Trapcode Particular:

After Effects and Particular Fireworks 02 - Different Fireworks

Getting Started

Go into After Effects and create a new composition for your fireworks. Then add a new solid into your composition. Call it ‘Particle Explosion’ and make sure it matches the dimensions of your comp. The colour is irrelevant as we will apply the Particular effect to the layer anyways.

After Effects and Particular Fireworks 03 - Particle Solid

Now search for and apply the Trapcode Particular effect to this solid. Particular has a large number of settings to control the behaviour and the appearance of your particles.

After Effects and Particular Fireworks 04 - Trapcode Particular Effect

If you scrub through your composition without making any changes you will see plain white particles being spawned continuously from the centre of your Particle Explosion layer. This is the default behaviour for the Particular effect.

After Effects and Particular Fireworks 05 - Particular Default Effect

Let’s get started shaping this particle effect to look like a realistic fireworks explosion!

Published by Surfaced Studio

Lover of VFX, tech and all things sweet

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  1. This isn’t working for me. The particles aren’t fading out or scaling down, they’re just disappearing. I’m using Trapcode Particular 2.2.3 and AE CC 2015. Assuming I’m doing everything right, is there some sort of version conflict?

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