CC Particle World : Motion Paths Around an Object in After Effects

Today’s blog post is an excerpt from our After Effects Academy Live Class on CC Particle World and it shows you how to create motion paths around an object.

Note: Remember to watch the video tutorial, Jeff explains the process step-by-step.

Let’s start!

This is the rotation thing.

And I just have a background so you can get a sense of when it’s rotating around there like that.


Right now since this thing rotates around like that—but if you do the exact same kind of rotation with an object that has some transparency on it, so this—took this photograph of my daughter and just Photoshopped to get rid of the background.

If you do that then this is transparent.

If I turn off the background you notice that ⬇

it’s a transparent background.

transparency grid

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If you have this transparency then you can apply particle world to that layer and then move things around the space.

Please notice that ⬇

I did not use an object layer to control this thing.

I used the key frames on the position which is not the same as rotating the cameras.

particle world position

It’s going to retain the position.

It’s not the best way to do it but it worked pretty well in this particular case.

It’s left and right.

And I’m going to click on CC Particle World to show you the grid and the path.

grid path

So this took some work to get the path to cooperate like that.

You should see that ⬇

if you look at the key frames, you see the key frames evolve and adjust here inside the graph out of there.

bezier key frames

They’re all Bezier key frames which is not the standard.

They would all be sharp-edged like that guy there instead of these nice Bezier curves.

But that’s something you can do inside the graph editor if you care to do it.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t, it’s just work, that’s all. A fair amount of work.

Here’s the video tutorial:


I could’ve used the camera here instead but I want to show you that you could work on things one thing at a time down here and get those Bezier curves, they’re told the Bezier because of that hourglasses.

bezier hourglasses

Ok, I’m going to go back down here to CC Particle World and

I’ll just press “U” again.

If you go over here, you notice that ⬇

the position Z is what’s bringing these objects in front of and behind her.

So the Z value here is -30, it means it’s toward the camera.

The Z value here is +0.3 that means it’s going away from the camera.

Let’s remember this ⬇

Negative comes toward the camera.

Positive goes away.

Zero is flat – on at the center point.

So if you go back to here it’s 0.3 again.

Back over here it’s, -0.3 here, in here it’s point 0.3, goes around behind here.

position Z

That’s way—that’s where we get it to go behind her like that.

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Remus Hosu

Remus Hosu

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