Glossy 3D Particles with Particular


Yes, we’ve seen many cool custom particles for Particular, whether it’s smoke, fire, leaves, or vines. I’ve tried many custom particles before, but oddly enough I never did try HDRI images with Particular. With a bit of experimenting, you can achieve some pretty convincing objects as seen in the images.

HDRI stands for “High Dynamic Range Image” and is very common for materials in 3D applications. You can even use HDRI images to light scenes/objects in 3D applications and the best part is: they’re easy.


In fact, you can find many royalty free HDRI images for use in your projects. Aside from their use in 3D applications, HDRI images in After Effects can be used to create some easy reflections and gloss. By applying a ‘CC Lens’ effect to a spherically mapped HDRI image, you get this really sweet and shiny sphere which you can use as a custom particle with Particular.

Obviously this isn’t something new of any sort, but just thought I’d share my experimentation with you to stimulate your minds.  Next time you need some convincing particles for a composite, try an HDRI custom particle!

13 comments
  1. can you be more specific on how you created the custom particle from the hdr image. how did you get this kind of illumination from the bright spots. i thought it was through 32bpc but cc sphere supports only 8 bpc. would be great from you if you specify more how did u create the style of the custom particle

    1. I first converted the HDRI image to a sphere shape using CC Lens. Then using that sphere shape as a custom sprite in Particular. The illumination is just a series of Glow and Trapcode Shine

          1. Less control and it’s easier to use Particular for a dynamic particle system with multiple particles + physics. Plus Particular has some shading options! 🙂 Thanks!

  2. another question that i don’t know .. why use hdri .. why not a normal jpg image that looks the same as the hdri one .. thank you

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