Creating Procedural Fire FX Like 'Catching Fire' Using After Effects & Trapcode Particular

If you're a fan of The Hunger Games movies or if you've just got a touch of pyromania, this After Effects tutorial might be right up your alley. Inspired by the logo in the second installment of the series, Catching Fire, Michael Park walks us through creating a procedural fire effect in AE using Red Giant's Trapcode Particular. Though there are quite a few steps to follow, the result is a beautifully stylized, sparkling blaze. Continue on to find out how to get started.

Park uses several tools other than After Effects in the tutorial, like Red Giant's Trapcode Particular and Video Copilot's Element 3D, though, if you don't have Element, he explains how to you can get the desired effect without it.

As Red Giant explains at the beginning of the video, the effect is procedural, or software-driven -- you don't have to create keyframes to animate it. Park creates an object that becomes the emitter source of the flames and sparks, and after applying some turbulent noise, adds an expression that allows the noise to evolve over time. This is what makes the flames and sparks look "organic" and realistic -- not uniform -- as they come off of the emitter source.

Check out the tutorial below:

Video is no longer available:

So, there you go. You can use this process to create some pretty amazing fire effects on just about anything without having to do a lot of tedious keyframing. And after seeing Park's process, you might've noticed just how easily the look can be manipulated to create other interesting effects, too.

What do you think about Michael Park's tutorial? How do you create fire effects in AE? Let us know in the comments.

[via Red Giant Software]

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Perfect timing on this. I've been playing around with Particular (picking up where I left off a few months ago). I've got good smoke effects down, and now it's time to play with fire... (Pun intended.)

December 5, 2013 at 12:19PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


thanks so mush , could you please tell me how to creat logo mask on the white solid2 . Im sorry for this question becauce im a beginner.

December 10, 2013 at 1:59PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

You voted '-1'.

hey zs, select the solid you want and then double click it and in this case choose the ellipse tool and make your desired masked logo! :)

February 4, 2014 at 12:50AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


I have done this tutorial twice and both times when I enable the Aux System instead of it just emitting from the logo it takes up the entire screen. Any one have any idea why? Thanks.

March 7, 2014 at 3:33PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Michael Davis

Found the solution, change the Layer Sampling in Emitter to Particle Birth Time :-)

March 16, 2014 at 11:55PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Hans Wijnen

I have the same problem when turning on the AUX it fills the entire screen. Please help...

March 16, 2014 at 11:36PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Hans Wijnen

Any one else have any questions? I would be happy to answer any. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial.

March 25, 2014 at 4:32PM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Mike Park

hi there! great tutorial
I cant get my color over life to change to HDR, and select the RGB independently from the HSB. How can I fix that?

June 3, 2014 at 11:47AM, Edited September 4, 8:56AM

Lujan Decima