When it comes to motion graphics Adobe After Effects is a great piece of software. Being a well evolved and mature package means it has great support from third party developers, especially when it comes to plug-ins. Some of the most popular amongst these are the Trapcode Suite and in particular, Particular and Form, both are incredible particle generators.
I was recently asked to create a magazine advert for Spartan Wetsuits. The message they wanted to get across was that they were always pushing the technical aspects of their wetsuit designs, they also wanted to use quite a dominant hero shot of their team rider, Max Rowe. I wanted to avoid the typical look of most windsurfing adverts and also didn’t want to go the route of having diagrams for each feature.
After coming up with the copy for the advert I needed to create an abstract technical feel that I could integrate into the hero shot. This was when I had the idea of using Trapcode Form. Form can be used to create 3D matrices of particles which can then be manipulated and distorted over time to create some amazing animations. Unfortunately when you work with motion graphics they’re only ever at screen resolution and I needed print resolution. In After Effects you aren’t confined to standard video formats and ratios so I created a large comp of 2722 x 3629, at this size I would be able to take it into Photoshop convert it to print resolution and it would come out at A4 plus bleed. I then created an instance of Form and started playing about with it. It worked well but was extremely slow as I had 360,000 particles!
Once I got the shape to a point that I was happy with I saved out a single frame of the timeline as a Photoshop file with an alpha channel. Having the alpha channel really helped and allowed me much more freedom when it came to combining the particles with the other elements.