Using the Particle Library
The easiest way to add a particle system to your project is to use a preset in the Particle
Emitters category of the Library. There are many types of particle effects to choose from.
If you find one close to what you need, you can easily customize its parameters after you
add it to your project. Particle systems are added to a project exactly like any other object.
To add a particle system from the Library
In the Library, click the Particle Emitters category.
Click a particle subcategory, such as Nature, Pyro, SciFi, and so on.
Select a particle preset in the Library stack.
An animated preview of the selected particle emitter plays in the preview area.
Note: If the preview does not start playing, click the Play button in the preview area. To
automatically play items selected in the File Browser or Library, choose Motion >
Preferences (or press Command-Comma), then select “Play items automatically on a single
click” in the File Browser & Library section of the General pane.
Working with Particles
When you find a particle preset you want to use, do one of the following:
• Click Apply to add the selected particle system to your project at the center of the
Note: If Create Layers At is set to “Start of project” in the Project pane of Motion
Preferences, the particle system is added at the first frame.
• Drag the particle system from the Library stack into the Canvas to the position where
you want it to appear.
• Drag the particle system from the Library stack into a group in the Layers list or Timeline.
The particle system appears at the center of the Canvas.
• Drag the particle system from the Library stack to the track area of the Timeline. When
you reach the frame where you want the new particles to start, release the mouse
The new particle system layer appears in your project, composited against any other
layers you’ve already added.
Motion Blur and Particles
To achieve the optimal look for the following particle emitters, enable motion blur in
• Jelly Bands
• Light Transit 1
• Light Transit 2
• Light Transit 3
• Light Transit 4
• Rain Streaks
• Silly String 1
• Silly String 2
Note: To enable motion blur, choose Motion Blur from the Render pop-up menu (in
the status bar above the Canvas), or choose View > Render Options > Motion Blur (or
When you add a particle system from the Library, the system acts as it did in the preview
area. If necessary, you can edit a particle system’s Emitter parameters in the HUD to tailor
them to your own use.
Note: You can only modify a particle system after it is added to a project.
Working with Particles
The HUD displays a selected particle system’s most essential parameters, including the
size and number of particles created, how long they remain onscreen, how fast they
move, and the direction and area in which they travel. Select an individual cell in the
Layers list or Timeline to edit its parameters in the HUD.
For more detailed information on using the particle HUD, see
Customizing a Particle
. For more comprehensive information on customizing all of a particle
system’s parameters, see
Emitter and Cell Parameters