Tutorial #1- Adding Emitters Over Background Footage

Chances are, that if you are reading this, you’re new to particleIllusion. Don’t worry – you are about to be amazed by how simple it is to get incredible results in a very short amount of time. In this tutorial we will be importing a background image and adding some emitters. This tutorial will be continued in the next tutorial on multi-layered compositions and images with transparencies.

To do this tutorial, you’ll need to download the Tutorial Files , and unzip them to your hard drive.

Below is a picture of the particleIllusion interface – which we will be referring back to throughout the tutorial:



1. Main Toolbar
2. Nudge Toolbar
3. Playback Toolbar
4. Layer Window
5. Hierarchy Window
6. Stage
7. Graph Window
8. Preview Window
9. Library Window



 Lets get started. First thing we want to do, is import the background footage:

 1. In the layers window (4), double-click on the big gray box next to the words “Layer 0.”

 2. A File Open dialog will appear, allowing you to pick what you want to use as your background footage. You have a choice of a lot of image formats, including image sequences such as AVI’s. Navigate to the folder you unzipped the tutorial files to and highlight “Starry_BG.jpg.” Then just click “open.”

 3. At this point, particleIllusion may ask you if you want to change the stage size to match the BG image. Select “yes.”



4. Depending on your default settings, the stage may now be too big for your setup, but that is easy to fix. Just grab hold of the window frames and move them over, until you can see your stage. It works the same way as moving frames around on web pages or in other programs. As you work in the program, you can always move them back to see the things you need.




At this point, you should now have something that looks like this:







Illusion always starts up with the last emitter library that was active. If this is your first time using it, the “Default” library will be active in the library window (9). What we are going to do is open the library containing the emitters for this tutorial.

1. In the Library Window, Context click (Right-Click) anywhere and you will get a library menu  - select “Load Library.”

 Insert Picture here of Library context Click menu with load library highlighted.

 2.  You will get a Library Open Dialog similar to the BG open dialog in the previous section. Navigate to the folder with the tutorial files, and pick the file called “Fireworks_Tut.iel.” A new library with 2 emitters will open in the library window. You can see what the emitters look like by highlighting them, and then watching the preview window (8), right above the library.




Alright, now lets get down to business. This is the fun part. Let’s add some emitters to the stage:

1.  In the Graph Window (7), make sure the Frame Indicator (the gray button with the red number on it and the vertical red line) is on frame #1. You can change the frame number by grabbing hold of the frame indicator with your mouse and sliding it. Alternately, you can change the frame number by using the Frame Box in the Playback Toolbar (3).

 2. In the library window, highlight the emitter called “Short Burst Green.” You should see a green fireworks explosion playing in the preview window.

 To add an emitter to the stage, just click where you want it to go. You can put your emitter anywhere you want in the stage window, even off of the actual stage (such as in a case where you’d animate it moving an emitter on and off across the screen). Since we will be building off of this tutorial for the next one, follow the image below when taking the next steps:

 3. Using the image below as a reference, at frame #1, add the emitter “Short Burst Green.”

 4. At frame number #18 , add the emitter “Short Burst Purple.”

 5. At frame number #26 , add the emitter “Short Burst Purple.”

 At this point you are probably wondering where your particles are. Why can’t you see them? To save system resources, particleIllusion hides the particles by default. To see your particles, go to the Main toolbar (?) and press the “Show Particles” button. Now when you scroll through your timeline you will see the particles.




That’s it! We’re done with the first tutorial. Go out and get yourself some coffee and donuts. You deserve it. Get me one with sprinkles.

 Our next tutorial will pick up from here.  We’ll learn the little bit about changing particle colors, multi-layered compositions, and using background images with transparencies.



TECHNICAL NOTE: particleIllusion must have an active library  to open. If you delete these tutorial files when we are done, the next time you open pIllusion, a warning will come up saying that you need to locate a library so that pIllsuion can open. Simply Navigate to the “particleIllusion” folder in your program files (or the “Illusion folder if you are using the particleIllusion 2.0.5 Upgrade, or any previous version), and choose the default emitter library (or any libraries you might be storing there). A great way to keep track of your libraries is to make a folder in the Illusion directory called “Emitter Libraries,” and then just store all new libraries there. That way you won’t have to navigate all over your computer looking for various libraries. You can rename your libraries to whatever you want, but you must keep the suffix “iel” for pIllusion to recognize them.

On to Tutorial #2...