I am currently using After Effects CS4 (will be upgrading to CS6 in a couple of days) and I am currently trying out a test project using basic lighting animation. However, one element I want to create is a puddle on the ground. I was wondering if anybody here could advise on creating a puddle and its effects in After Effects, such as wave movements, reflection (particularly background elements) and whether I should use the basic pen tool or use some sort of diffusion maps. If I wanted to make things a little more complicated, then how can I create rain effects to hit the ground plane without it looking like a screen filter and have it influence the puddle?
If any of you would be able to point me out to some other tutorials on the web, I would be very grateful for that.
GenArts' Monsters GT has a Puddle 3D effect that is quite okay for that. Beyond that I don't see how we should advise specifically without a reference image. There's a million types of puddle from still and murky flat ones to deep asphalt holes to wavy large ones on fields and how "real" they look will ultimately depend on their context.