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Falling Snow: Create snow that actually SETTLES for your videos!
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Posted on July 22nd, 2005
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Adobe After Effects
Why am I making a snow effect when it's summer? Just because the weather is going crazy, last week we had around 30C and from one day to the other it just dropped to 16C, I don't wonder if it starts to snow in July..

Let's see how do I make snow? I could create some snowflakes in Illustrator or Photoshop import them to AfterEffects and animate them with expressions or manually.. but that's way too much work.

We want to have snow quick and fun and for that we are going to use the Particle Playground Effect. This just rocks, you can create a lot of crazy stuff with it.

Now let's make some snow.

Step 1:
- Create a new composition (500x281) with a length of 8sec.

- Using the type tool create some text on the bottom of the comp, I've used "pixel2life" Arial Black, 60px size.
Step 1

Step 2:
- Create a new solid, the same size as the composition and apply the Particle Playground Effect (Effect - Simulation)

- Open the cannon property and change the position of the cannon to 249 x -18, and the BarrelRadius to 250.
We are just moving the particle emitter out of the picture and with the Radius we are saying that he should fill the entire screen, 250 is half of 500 our compsize.
If you scrub around with your playhead you will some red dots on the screen, those will be the snowflakes falling down. :)

- Change the Particles per second property to 100, ParticleColor to white, and ParticleSize to 3, and Direction to 0x+180
Depending on how much snow you want to create, use other settings for it, 100 is a pretty good value for a normal snowfall.

Here my settings so far:
Step 2

Now you probably say.. this are just white squares falling down from the top..

To make the snow look like snow, we will apply a blur effect to the snow layer.

- Just go to Effect - Blur and apply a gaussian blur of 8 to the snowlayer.

- Now select the snowlayer again, and press CTRL-D to duplicate it and place it behind the textLayer.

This is what you should have so far:
Step 2.1

Step 3:
We've duplicated the snow layer to make it possible to pile up on the textlayer.
Otherwise it would look bit unrealistic.

- Change following settings of the duplicated layer:
Particles per Seconds: 300
Particle Radius: 2.0

- Also change the Gravity settings from 120 to -1, this will create more realistic motion during the pile up of snow.

- From the Persistent property Manager, select the text layer as map, and on Map Red to select "kinetic friction" with a min. value of -500 and a max value of 500.

Here my settings:
Step 3

Step 4:
- To create more depth on the duplicated layer, change the gaussian blur value to 5

- To create even more depth, you will gonna duplicate (CTRL+D)the original snow layer and place him at the lowest level.

- Change the Particle Radius to 1.5 and the GaussianBlur value to 3.

Step 5:
- Create a new Solid same compSize and place it at the lowest level of the composition, Apply the Rampeffect to it (Effect - Render) and give it some nice colors, I've used Black to Blue.
Step 5

- And I've also tinted the textlayer, to see the pileup effect a bit more.
Step 5.1

Thats' it, we're done again.
Here a screenshot of what we've done.
Step 6

And HERE the downloadable movie file. (divX, since Indeo does not support 16:9)

Have fun creating more snow, and snoweffects and more..
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