[Updated Jan. 27, 2024. As I played more with this, I learned a better way to control the transition’s end. See below.]
In this tutorial, using Adobe Premiere Pro and BorisFX Continuum 2024, we’ll explore how to explode an image into thousands of particles, then, even more fun, how to coalesce thousands of particles into a solid image or video.
I’m currently working on a project that involves a LOT of graphics – several hundred, in fact. I thought it would be interesting to use a different effect to display these graphics than the usual slide in/fade in/wipe in. There’s nothing wrong with these transitions – except that they are used everywhere.
What if, I wondered, I had an image start as dust, then coalesce into a solid image? Or start as an image, then explode into dust?
The problem is that particle systems generally work with small “atoms” – tiny images which are repeated over and over to create flowing particles. I want to either start or end with a complete full-screen image (or video).
After a lot of searching, I found an effect in BorisFX Continuum 2024 that does exactly this. It’s called 2D Particles.
In this tutorial, I’m using BorisFX Continuum 2024, with Adobe Premiere Pro as the host. Continuum supports a number of different NLEs. Here’s their website to learn more.
HOW TO BLOW STUFF UP
(Image courtesy: Skitterphoto, Pexels.com)
In this scene from the action-adventure – um, “Blow Away” – the evil villain throws a dart at a highly-sophisticated control surface setting in motion a chain reaction that blows everything up. (I know, I know. Writing this good is hard to find.)
Here’s how to use 2D Particles to create this.
Cut the clip at the point where the explosion occurs, then select the downstream clip.
In the Premiere Effects panel, apply BCC Particles > BCC 2D Particles to the selected clip.
Instantly, the image shatters into a thousand pieces.
Select the type of particle explosion you want. There are six choices – play with each to see which you like. I like Soft Acceleration and Soft Burst.
Use Speed to adjust how quickly particles move. Lower numbers are slower.
Use Velocity to adjust particle movement. The spirals are pretty extreme, but Random is always a good choice.
Adjust Gravity from this menu. (It defaults to off, with a setting of 0.) This includes angle and force of the pull, plus the type (straight, centrifugal etc). Note that gravity – like all settings – can be keyframed.
NOTE: At this point, tweak different settings and see what they do. Plan to spend time giggling – there are lots of fascinating options here.
One final note, I found it helpful to add a 5 frame dissolve at the cut where the shattering occurs. This smooths the transition from solid to dust.
HOW TO GATHER STUFF TOGETHER
(Image courtesy: Pixabay, Pexels.com)
When it comes time to rebuild an image, you could simply export the explosion as a movie, import it, then run it in reverse. But, how much fun is that?
As before, add the clip to the timeline, then, split the clip where you want the image to coalesce. Select the first (upstream) clip and apply the 2D Particles effect. The image explodes.
Hmm… not what we want. We want it to implode.
So, let’s change some settings. With the first clip (the clip you want to add particles) selected:
I also found that adding a 3 frame dissolve at the edit point may help smooth the transition between particles and source clip.
Here, I added a keyframed Gravity effect, where gravity starts at 50, then strengthens to 400 over time.
Put Stuff Together Example
Here, I brought our villain to life using these settings, a video clip (courtesy of Cottonbro Studio) and gravity.
Evil Villain Reassembles
Another big feature in BorisFX Continuum is Beat Reactor. This couples an effect to the rhythm of an audio track; for example to get particles to pulse to the beat of a drum. This is hard to illustrate in an article, but very fun to play with in moving video.
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