An emitter is where all particle effects begin, specifying where the particles appear and affecting their initial trajectory.


Emitters can be several shapes. You can choose the emitter shape using the Shape menu.

Each shape has its own properties to define its shape, size and position.
Shapes can be attached to another layer in the same composite shot, such as a point layer. The emitter will then animate to stay in the same relative position to the parent layer.
The Boundary option forces particles to only be birthed around the edge of the shape, rather than inside the shape.

Clicking on any shape properties will display a wireframe outline of the shape in the Viewer.


When particles are birthed they need an initial trajectory, to determine which direction they move in.

Cone - emit in a funnel shape.
Explode - emit in a direction away from the centre of the shape.
Implode - emit in a direction towards the centre of the shape.
Disc - emit in a flattened disc shape.
Random - emit particles randomly within the shape in random directions.
Target - emit particles towards a specified 3D point.

Expanding the Trajectory group will give you access to the controls for your selected trajectory.


The general group contains a single Active property. This turns the emitter on and off and is used for controlling when particles are being birthed. It can be used to start and stop particle emission at any point on your timeline.

RECAP The emitter properties determine where particles appear and in which direction they move.