1. 3D & Motion Graphics
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The Birth Of A Logo - Day 1

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This post is part of a series called Logo Reveals.
Simulate A Glowing Neon Light Sign Of Your Logo
Writing With The Clouds

There was an explosion of characters and thus the Logo was born. In this tutorial we'll be using some of the new options of Trapcode Particular 2 as well as some techniques with Trapcode Form to create an epic depiction of the first logo in history.


  • Trapcode Particular 2 You can download a trial version here.
  • Trapcode Form You can download a trial version here.

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Show Video Transcription

Hi, everybody. It's Stefan again for, and in today's tutorial we are going to be creating interesting [Logo Review] project. So let's take a look at the preview.

Okay. Let's create a new composition with 150 x 150 size and call it
"Custom Particle". That's the composition where basically we're going to type all the letters from A to Z with capital letters and size of 130. Let's center the letter here, make it also bold, and each letter will be one frame long. So let's trim this letter to be only one frame long. Basically just duplicate this letter [write over], and change it to B. Repeat this section until you get all the letters in the alphabets. I'm going to pause the video to do this for you and then I'll come back.

Okay, I'm ready. Now trim this comp to be [inaudible 01:48] only 26 frames. So let's hit End on the keyboard to set the end of the work area and right click and Trim Comp to Work area. You can see... Let's create a preview, the letters.

Okay, so now let's change these letters a bit. Create a new "Adjustment Layer" on top of the old layers and apply a ramp effect. Generate, "Ramp"
and set the top point just on the top of the letter and bottom point just to bottom part of the "A". Change this color to a bright grayish color or something like that.

Now let's add another effect. Come to "Effect, Color Correction", and chose
"Colorama". Basically we're going to make all the letters look like they're made from metal or something like that. So hit on the "Modify" and uncheck the "Modify Alpha" checkbox. You can see when we add a Colorama how we get this sharp edge on the letter. So unchecking Modify Alpha solves this problem. Come to "Output Cycle" and use the Golden 1 preset.

After that, we're going to add another effect. Come to Perspective and use Bevel Alpha. This effect makes the letters look more like 3D letters. Just increase the edge thickness a bit and leave it like that.

Now add another effect. Come to "Effect, Color Correction, Tint" to make it black and white. Close this down and come to "Effect, Color Correction"
again, and chose "Curves".

Now we're going to use a very interesting technique to make this look really shiny 3D metal chrome looking letters. Drag this point up here. Create a point right here and drag it down like so. Click here to create another point and drag it up like so. Again, create a another point, drag it down maybe here and again create another point here and drag this point to the bottom.

You can see how easily we get this nice metallic shiny-looking letters. Close this down. You can colorize the letters if you want by adding a colorizing filter, but in this case I'll leave it just like that.

It's time to create our main composition. Come to "Composition, New Composition", and chose the "HDTV" preset right here at the bottom and make it 20 seconds long and let's name it "Characters Animation" and hit "Okay".
Come to the project panel and drag our "Custom Particle" composition here and turn it off. Now create a new solid layer, black, and call it "Fractal Noise" and hit "Okay". Come to "Effect, Noise & Grain, Fractal Noise".

Let's change some of the parameters here. Fractal Noise Type, we're going to change the Noise Type from Soft Linear to Spline and increase the Contrast and decrease the Brightness maybe, or more. I made it [inaudible 07:30] okay. Let's drop the resolution down to half to work faster and increase the Complexity of the Noise to the maximum which is 20. Come to
"Transform". Uncheck the checkbox for "Uniform Scaling" and scale it like that. Yeah, I think this looks good.

The only thing we're going to do for the Fractal Noise is to make it evolve. So [inaudible 08:18] and click the "Evolution Stopwatch" and type a very simple expression. I think everybody knows this expression.

Let's type it just real quick. "Time * 150" and click away. This makes our Fractal Noise evolving. The only thing we're going to do for the Fractal Noise layer is to animate its opacity. Come to the 2 seconds mark right here. Hit "T" to review the opacity properties. Click the stopwatch and set the opacity to 0. Come to the 4 second mark and make the opacity 100%.
That's it. We're ready with our Fractal Noise layer.

Now let's collapse this and create another Solid. Layer, New, Solid, and call it "Lens Flare". Now let's add the Lens Flare effect. Come to "Effect, Generate, Lens Flare". You can use the [no wide factory] Lens Flares, but for this tutorial I'm going to use [building] Lens Flares in After Effects and change the Flare brightness just a bit like that.

Tint the Lens Flare. Come to "Effect, Color Correction, Tint", and add another adjustment. Come to "Effect, Color Correction, Curves" just to increase the contrast of this Lens Flare like so. [inaudible 10:24] the white areas and finally add "Effect, Blur & Sharpen, Fast Blur" and set the Blurriness to 100.

Click the Repeat Edge Pixels checkbox and collapse all these parameters. Set the Lens Flare just a bit below the center of the composition like that. Close this and use this layer with the Lens Flare as a Luma Matte for the Fractal Noise layer. So basically where you see the Lens Flare it reveals the Fractal Noise. We do this just to make the light in the beginning more random.

Again, create a New, Solid, black color and call it Lens Flare 1, and hit Okay. Add our effects. Come to "Effect, Generate, Lens Flare". But before we continue with this layer here, come back to the previous Lens Flare layer, hit "T" to review the Opacity.

Come to the 4 second mark, set a keyframe for Opacity. Come to the 6 second mark, and set another keyframe for Opacity this time at 45%. Come to 8 second mark and set another keyframe for 45% Opacity. Then come to the 10 second mark. Set the Opacity to 65%. Then come to 11 second mark and set the Opacity to 0.

Basically this will make the Fractal Noise layer more visible at the beginning where we have this strong light here and later it will fade out very smoothly. Again, we want the Fractal Noise to be more visible at this point at the 10 second mark.

Let's back to our Characters Animation composition. Turn on the Lens Flare 1 layer and let's start to make some changes here. First of all, let's place it right below the center of the comp which is right here and then add the Tint effect, make it black and white. Then add another adjustment, the Curves adjustment and increase the contrast just a bit. We're going to colorize this Lens Flare in blue color like that. Finally add the Fast Blur effect and set the Blur to 200. That looks okay.

Now let's change the Blend mode to Add and collapse this part with the
[inaudible 14:40] Mode and hit F4 to toggle between Switches and Modes. Set the Lens Flare 1 layer to Add and let's animate the Flare Brightness and Flare Opacity.

Come to the 1 second mark. It's on the timeline. Come to the 1 second mark and set a keyframe for Flare Brightness and set the Flare Brightness to 0. Come to 1 second and 7 frames and set the Flare Brightness to 90. Then come to 1 second and 17 frames, 10 frames forward, and set the Flare Brightness to 0. Then come to 2 second and 10 frames and set the Flare Brightness to 100.

Basically we want a strong white at the beginning like a blinking white and then it disappears for a second and again you can see the white from the center. So I'll leave the Flare Brightness like that.

Let's animate the Opacity of the layer. Come to the 8 second mark, hit "T"
to review the opacity of the Lens Flare, set a keyframe and set it to 30%.
Come to the 10s mark and set the Opacity to 55%. Come to the 11 second mark and set it to 0. That's the basic animation of the Lens Flare.

Let's create another layer a Lens Flare. Just duplicate this layer. Come to Edit, Duplicate, and put it below our Lens Flare layer. Call it Lens Flare 2. Set the Transfer Mode to Screen.

Let's animate some of the parameters here. Just leave the Flare Brightness animation like so, but increase the Flare Brightness at the 2 second and 10 frame mark to 125 and animate the Fast Blur effect. Set a keyframe for the Fast Blur at the 1 second and 7 frame mark. Set a keyframe say to 100.

Come to the 2 second and 10 frame mark and set the Fast Blur to [inaudible 17:55]. Come to the 4 second mark and set a keyframe for Opacity. Click on the stopwatch to delete all the keyframes. Set a keyframe for Opacity and set it to 50%. Come to the 6 second mark, set the Opacity to 45%. Come to the 8 second and just set a keyframe again for 45% Opacity.

Come to the 10 second mark and set the Opacity to 70%. Come to the 11 second mark and set the Opacity to 0%. That was a bit tedious about creating all these Lens Flares, Fractal Noise, Custom Particles, etc.

We're done with this animation. So we can now start with the final part of the tutorial, making some particles fly around.

Let's create another solid, and call it "Big Particles" and hit "Okay".
Let's add Effect [Drop Coat] Particular and [slow] this layer. You can see just the basic sphere particles emitting from the center.

Open the Emitter section and let's change some values here. First of all, change the direction from Uniform to Directional. Change the Y Rotation to 180 degrees, so the particles come towards the camera. Then change the Z position to 5000 to make the particles really far away from the camera.

Let's animate some of the parameters here. Let's come to the 3 second mark and set a keyframe about the velocity of the particles. Set the Velocity to 3500 which is a very strong velocity as you can see. Hit U to reveal the keyframes. Come to the 4 second mark and change the Velocity to 0. Come to the 6 second mark, set a keyframe of all the particles/second and 10 frames forward set the Particles to 0. So we stop emitting particles at the 6 second.

Let's change the other parameters like coming to the particles [part] and here we will change the Particle Type from Sphere to Textured Polygon. We used Textured Polygon because if we used a Sprite particle and choose the Texture for the Sprite particle and pick a Random-Still Frame and increase the size of the particles you can see the particles how they look and behave. When we change this Textured Polygon, we can adjust the rotation of the particles. So they look different as you can see here. That's what we're going for.

Let's reset all the settings here. Set the Life of the particles to 15 seconds and Time Sampling, Random Still-Frame that basically picks a random still frame from this composition and that makes all the particles to be different.

Now let's change some of the rotation values here. Rotation X set it to 30 maybe, Rotation Y say to 60, Rotation Z say to 25 maybe and Random Rotation 100. I think this looks fine. Just set Random Speed, set it to 0.5 just to give it a little bit random speed. Set the Size to 100 to see the letters a bit better. Size Random 20. Size over [Life], we're going to use the preset here and just relax. Opacity over Life, again, the same. Just copy this and paste it.

I think that's it for the Particles section.

Now let's come to the Physics section. Set the air resistance to 1 and check the Air Resistance Rotation check box. Air Resistance affects the rotation of the letters. Let's change the Spin Frequency to 0 and Fade-In Spin 0. Increase the Wind Z to -3500. So it pushes the particles from the center towards the camera.

Come to the 4 second mark and set a keyframe about Wind Z. Come to the 6 second mark and set a keyframe for Wind Z to 0, so it stops pushing the letters. Hit U to reveal all the keyframes and make the second keyframe of the Wind [inaudible 25:34] right click keyframe assistant [easy] or hit F9. Basically that will do the trick because all the Velocity and Wind Z stop at the 6 second point and the particles are just flowing and smoothly stopping and freezing in the air.

Then we come to 7 second and 10 frame and set a keyframe for Wind Z and set it to 0. Come to the 8 second and 10 frame and send the Wind Z to 10,000. Basically that will push the particles back and they will collapse into the light and form the [wall]. Basically that's the key to get this animation done.

Another thing we're going to change here is the Turbulence Field. Come to the Turbulence Field. Set a keyframe at 6 seconds for the Turbulence Field Affect Position. Come to the 8 second mark and set the Affect Position to 800. So we get a little bit of random movement when the particles start to collapse. Just change a few of the settings here. Scale to 0.5 to get a very subtle and small movement of the letters. Change the Complex to 1, increase the Octave Multiplier to 10, set the Octave Scale to 0, and Evolution Speed set to 0.1 because we're going for a very slow and smooth movement of the letters.

I think that's it for the Turbulence Field tab.

So let's close the Physics tablet and let's animate the Opacity of this layer. Come to the 1 second and 14 frames exactly and [inaudible 28:30] the layer so the particles start to emit at this point. Set a keyframe for Opacity... Hold down Shift and hit "T" to reveal the Opacity Properties. Set it to 0. Come to 1 second and 24 frames, 10 frames forward and set the Opacity to 100%. Then come to 9 seconds and 20 frames and set the keyframe for Opacity. Come to 10 seconds and 10 frames and set the Opacity to 0.

I think just I messed up the Opacity here. Just make it to the 11 second
[may disappear] like so. Yeah, I think, that they should disappear when they almost collapse. You can't see the fade because we have a very strong white here at the end as you can see.

Let's get back to our Characters Animation composition, and collapse this layer. We're going to duplicate it to create other particles. But before we do that, let's create a new White. Come to "Layer, New, White", and hit
"Okay". We created this White because we're going to use the shading options of the Particular [version 2]. So select the White, hit AA or down Shift and hit B to reveal the position and White Options.

Shadow Diffusion, 25 pixels is okay. Casts Shadows On, Intensity 100, maybe just brighten up the color a tiny bit. Light Options Point White is okay. Change the Position of this White to 1500, 500, and -500 to push it back. Just duplicate this White. Hit "B" to reveal the position and move it over
[to this side] and maybe like that. Leave that at 500 and this at -500.

Duplicate this White, hit "P" to reveal the position and set this to be at the center of the comp like that and move it to the bottom part of the composition. Leave it like that. Duplicate it again. Hit "P" to reveal the position and this time move it up like that. Duplicate it again for the last time and hit "P" to reveal the position. Just make it right in the center of the composition and far away from us.

Basically we have one White. Let's come to the Custom View. We have one White here which is in front of the particles, not behind them and far away from the camera and four Whites which surround all the particles and light them up. So let's collapse all the Whites. Come to the Particles layer. For this White, just hit "T" to reveal the Intensity and increase it just a bit. Come to this Particle layer. Come to Shading and turn it on. Change the White Falloff from Natural [Lux] to AE White. Set the Ambient White to 100, set the Diffuse to 50. [Specular] Amount to 25 maybe and Specular Sharpness to 50. I think that's what we're going for.

As you can see, some of the letters are white up more. Some of them are faded in the dark. Basically that's the effect we're going for. Let's make this White Shy and hide them. Select this layer and come to Edit, Duplicate to duplicate it, and rename it "Medium Particles". We're going to change some of the settings here.

The first thing we're going to change is the number of particles. Hit U to reveal keyframes and increase the number of Particles from 100 to 300, Direction Spread say to 25, and the leave the rest as it is.

Come to the Particles section. Change the Rotation of the particles to make them look different and random. Rotate X 50, Rotate Y 20, Rotate Z, let's say 80, Random Rotation 100. Let's change the size of the particles. Let's make it 35. Size Random make it 40.

Come down to the bottom, World Transform. Rotate the Z Rotation to -45 degrees. Basically this rotates the whole [world of Particular] and we rotate the particles so they look like they are at a different position, not in the same position as the main particles as you can see here. So make it -45. That's it for this layer.

Just come to 1 second and 7 frames and shift this layer here. The small particles they come first, just seven frames early and then we have the big particles. Turn off this layer and duplicate the Medium Particles layer. Come to Edit, Duplicate. Turn off this layer and rename this Small Particles.

What we're going to change here is again the number of particles. Hit "U"
to reveal all the keyframes. Increase the number of particles to 1500 which is a lot of particles. Come to Particle and again change rotation of the particles. Rotate X let's say 120, Rotate Y let's say 45 and Rotate Z 50. Come to the Size and set the size of the particles to 10 and Size Random to 20. Come to the World Transform and Z Rotation change it to 90 degrees.

So we have a different position for each of the particle layers. As you can see, it takes a bit to render because we have a lot of particles in this composition. Change the Transform Mode of the three layers for the particles to Add. Turn on the Motion Blur for the composition and turn on the Motion Blur for the particles. I am going to pre-render these particles because it will take forever to render all these particles with Motion Blur.

I'm going to pre-render the particles and hopefully see you in the next part, the second part of this tutorial because this part came out longer than I expected. So see you in part 2.

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