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Did you look at the two tutorials on the Trapcode site?
Particular In Action
New Features in 1.5
Lights are covered in the second tutorial.
You'll also want to check out the Red Giant Software tutorials page.
All you have to do to keep a Emitter light from effecting other 3D layers in the scene is to turn it off.
NO idea what you consider "advanced". Just fire away your questions and we will try to answer them - here and elsewhere. To clarify Rick's comment - turn off the layer visibility, not the light's intensity or something. If you use the light's properties, it would affect the look if you mess with the intensity or color.
Thanks for clearing up the visibility question. Wasn't thinking very clearly due to 7 hours sleep in the last 3 days....
I'm getting too old for unreasonable deadlines.
If you go through the 4 tutorials on the Red Giant site you'll have just about everything you need to get started with Particular. It's actually a very easy plug-in to figure out once you catch the big picture and realize that it's based on real world models. Turn down the number of particles, limit their life to a second or two, and experiment in smaller comps and you'll quickly catch on. Particular has become part of about 50% of my motion graphics work and most of the time I'm not using it to generate standard particles.
I'm sure by 'advanced' he means ones that are reproducable (read: NOT ayato) and directed toward some real-world goal. Toolfarm has some real good ones for creating motion backgrounds, for example...though, it's a dvd you have to buy.
I think free tutorials don't have a lot of work put into them because they don't make anybody a profit. This is unfortunate. I mean, to call an animated fractal noise via setting 2 keyframes and adjusting evolution options hardly qualifies as a tutorial.
Lucky you're not a Softimage XSI or Houdini user- then you'd be really hurting because there are practically NO tutorials for them. You have to spend tens of thousands of dollars at Gnomon or the Art Institute to learn them to the degree where your skills will be relevant.
After effects has tons of tutorials- lynda.com, totaltraining.com, toolfarm, etc. Lynda is like 300$/year but you get full access to everything and dont have to buy individual titles for $149+.
Believe me, I feel your pain. When I first got into this, trying to find AE tutorials was like rooting out al qaida. Today it's better. Free...not matter what venue it is...will always stink. I'm not going to name names, but one top TOP guy at one of the BIG vis fx schools told me that their videos are designed as little more than previews of the actual classes; they skip steps and gloss over stuff ON PURPOSE, so that you might be frustrated just enough to enroll. It's a good recruitment tool, to be sure, but just know what you're getting into with this stuff.