This Masterclass from multidisciplinary designer Emilio Cassanese shows that particle systems aren’t just for dusty VFX or for setting logos on fire in motion graphics projects. Used well, they can help you generate dynamic textures that lend an organic feel even to abstract elements in artwork.

Here Emilio shows how make generative elements using After Effects’ particle system, and how to blend the results compellingly with photo-illustration.

Besides Adobe software, Emilio also takes advantage of Red Giant’s Trapcode Suite of plug-ins (, used to create VFX and titles for Hollywood films such as The Day After Tomorrow.

If you don’t have After Effects and Trapcode, you can use the PSDs in the project files to follow the Photoshop sections of this tutorial.

Time to complete

3-4 hours


After Effects CS5 or higher, Photoshop, Red Giant Trapcode Suite

Project files

Files for this tutorial are downloadable from here.

Next Step »