Animating and Creating 3D Objects in After Effects

Creating a Star Field Effect

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This video segment demonstrates creating a solid layer using a CC Particle effect and applying and adjusting parameters of the effect.


  • Solid layers
  • effects
  • parameters
  • key framing
  • settings
  • CC Particle
  • effects and presets

About this video

Jeff Shaffer
First online
14 March 2019
Online ISBN
Copyright information
© Jeff Shaffer 2019

Video Transcript

OK. In this next segment, we’re going to add a star field behind our sphere. And to do that, I’m going to create a new solid. Go onto this project.

This is going to be called star field. Going to make it comp size in black. That’s fine. I want to put my star field layer below the sphere layer. So I’ll drag it underneath.

And I’m looking for the effect CC particle systems. So I typed in CC par. And there is CC particle systems. I drag and drop that onto my star field.

The effects controls pop up that show us all the parameters here. If you don’t see that, you can go to Window, Effect Controls. And this window will be visible.

We’ll twirl down all the parameters. Because we’re going to adjust a whole bunch of these to create the effect. And I’m going to turn the eyeball off on the sphere layer here for a moment so I can see what we have. This is a default setup, what happens with the particle system. So it almost looks like a fountain of yellow water or something, colored yellow water.

We’re going to change these parameters one by one. And I arrived at this mostly through experimenting with these different settings. But the first one we’re going to change is what’s called the birth rate, how quickly the particles are generated. I’m going to drop that birth rate down to 0.3.

Then I hit the Tab key. And you can see that it’s reduced quite a few number of particles. The longevity I’m to leave at 2.

I’m going to go to position and leave that where that is, 965, 40, so it’s centered. The radius of x I’m going to drop all the way down to 0. Hit the Tab key. Go to radius y. And I’m going to make that 0.2.

Then the physics will be animation explosive. My velocity will be 0.6, so slowed it down a little bit. The inherent velocity of 0. The gravity I’m going to change to 0. That’s what’s pulling the particles down.

So now when I change that, particles fly through the air, as you can see. The resistance, just putting a tiny bit on there, 0.1. Or direction, actually, is next. Direction is going to be 57 degrees. I just experimented with that as well to arrive at that number. And extra is 1.8.

The particle type I changed to shaded sphere. And then the birth size is very small, 0.6, very small particles. The death size, also pretty small, 0.20. The size variation is 100%.

The opacity map is oscillate. The maximum opacity is 100%. The color map is birth to death. Starts this color, goes to this color.

I’m going to change the birth color and the death color. Birth color is going to be a pale blue. So I’ll pick a color somewhere in this vicinity. You can see it changing on screen behind me too. Starts that color, and it will end white, 255.

The transfer mode will be composite. And the random seed will be 240. And now, I could go back to the beginning with my Home key. And I’ll hit the space bar to play it through. And you can see what I’m getting with the star field, as if we’re moving through space.

So let’s see the combination of the two with the sphere. It may take a moment for it to render up, but now we can see the sphere in place. And I’m at full resolution right now. So it may take a while for the RAM preview on that.

If you just want to see the animation, you could drop your RAM preview resolution down to a quarter. And it should go a lot quicker there. So you can see what we have so far in our scene.