An After Effects experiment inspired by Oscillate - - by Daniel Sierra.

I'm always looking for an excuse to play with particle systems, so I was curious to see whether it was possible to recreate in After Effects the amazing work done by Daniel Sierra using Houdini. And the answer is... kind of.

Initially I planned to do everything in AE, but I ended up using Processing to create an image of a greyscale gradient using sine values. The strings of particles were created in Form, and the gradient image was used to drive the displacement values. The gradient is also used as a map for the fractal field, and there are some expressions in there using sine values to drive the time offset for the strings.

The Form animation was then used to create y-axis motion vector data for a Particular emitter, so that the strings appear to throw particles up and down as they oscillate. This is where I ran into one of the limitations of AE: Although these plug-ins calculate the particle positions in 3D space, the output is a 2D image - so it's not possible to feed true 3D position data from one plug-in to another, so I had to cheat using color maps.

In this first experiment, the particles are all bunched up in z-space, so the next step will be to recreate the strings of particles using separate layers (with time-remapping for the time offset) so that particles are emitted at the correct z-depth. I also want to look at tweaking the motion vectors to add some x-axis velocity to the particles depending on whether they are being thrown off the front of the wave, or dropping off the back.


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