About Particle Systems

Particle systems consist of two basic elements: a cell and an emitter. Think of the cell as the “mold” for the particles generated by the emitter. You can use nearly any layer or group in Motion as a source for a particle cell, including images, shapes, text, movies, and image sequences. Each particle created is essentially a duplicate of the original cell, and is animated according to the parameters for that particle system (a particle cell and emitter) over its lifetime.

Figure. Canvas window showing a single object, and that object as an emitter.

The layer you use as a particle system’s cell determines how that particle system looks. Particle systems can contain multiple cells, resulting in the release of several types of particles from a single emitter. You’ll find that many of the most sophisticated particle presets in the Particle Emitters library are constructed in this way.

Figure. Canvas window showing a particle system based on a single cell and one based on two cells.