Self-taught motion graphics and 3D artist Buwaneka Saranga lives in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He uses the digital medium for most of his artworks, but also creates sculpture from clay. He’s currently studying for an HND in filmmaking. 

In this Masterclass, Sri Lankan animator Buwaneka Saranga explains how to create a cosmic motion graphics scene derived from a particle animation using After Effects and Red Giant’s Trapcode Particular. 

The latter is a particle generating plugin that presents the user with intuitive parameters to create various particle effects. As with most particle systems, it works best on a powerful workstation, allowing you to see high-quality previews at a decent framerate and render the final results without having to wait too long. 

The technique Buwaneka’s going to demonstrate is how to use the primary particles (Main particles) to drive secondary particles (Aux particles). You’ll also learn how to create complexity using turbulence and spherical fields. You can use the same technique with different parameter values to create a multitude of effects. 

Buwaneka also shows how to enhance a still frame from the animation, turning it into an artwork to be used alongside the animation in a branding campaign. Often we think of animation in branding as putting pre-created static elements in motion or seeing them manipulated across time – but it’s just as valid to create your animation first and then work up stills into materials to be used in print and on the web. The still composite will be done in Photoshop. You’ll learn how to create glows and colour effects from scratch to turn the frame into a stunning design.

In the project files you’ll find the complete After Effects project file and layered PSD for reference, plus a 4K output frame.

Time to complete 

25-30 minutes


After Effects CS4, Trapcode Particular 2, Photoshop CS5 or later


Files for this tutorial are downloadable from here

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