About Particle Systems

Particle systems consist of two basic elements: a cell and an emitter. Think of the cells as the “mold” for the particles that are 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 that is 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.