If you can't achieve the desired effect with the built in particle emitters, you need to get a particle emitter like Trapcode Particular that allows for custom particles, they're called 'sprites' in Particular.
Well, I don't KNOW if I can create it using the built-in particle emitters; that's why I asked. That sounded snotty but I didn't mean it to. I'm just very frustrated... plus, I don't have $300 to buy a plug-in.
CC Particle world is as close as you're going to get. You'll need to create a custom particle. Mine is a 40 X 40 pixel comp with 3 frames and 3 circles with grain applied to give the particle texture. They kind of look like Trix cereal.
The second step is to add the particle layer to your comp at about frame 3, add a solid for CC particle world and set up the particle like effect using a custom particle like this:
Now just adjust the physics to get the kind of explosion you want.
The trick is to pick up the explosion on about frame 6 so that the particles are in motion when the wrapper comes off. All it takes now is some layering with your wrapper that is going to contain these balls. You put front layers in above, back layers below, and you've got as good as it's going to get with standard particles.
Here's some things to think about. CC Particle World particles don't react with each other. IOW, they won't bounce off each other. They will react with a floor. You could create several instances of the explosion and set several floors to get some interactivity with the wrapper layers.
By far the best way to do this kind of thing is in a 3D application. Blender would do the job nicely and you can export camera moves to AE. The second best would be with Trapcode Particular. Whatever way you decide to go this is not a simple effect with just a couple of layers. It involves lots of manipulation, mattes, blend modes and some critical thinking.
The explsoion looks something like this:
Thanks! I'll give this a shot when I get home tonight. The balls look pretty much exactly what I'm looking for!
If you cannot get to a 3D modeler, Rick's suggestions will make this work as well as you can get it. I would add that you should create the effect to run at 10 times your screen time and then, after you've rendered the movie, apply time effects to get the speed you want.
But here's another important point. Explosion and scattering and shattering effects are rarely super realistic. The best effects are always suggestions or illusions. If you deconstruct what you need to imply and compare that against what you think you need to actually show, you will see you don't really need as much effort, as may particles, or as much realism. Usually.
For instance, the balls coming out of the exploding basketball are not what will sell this effect. It's the smoke and fire that makes the explosion work. You only need to imply there are balls emerging from the wrapper. Your intercutting to the balls bouncing off the walls of the room (and leaving dents), whizzing past observers, striking and shattering glass windows...those are the illusions that make the effect work. I am, of course, making several assumptions, perhaps invalid, about how this effects shot works in context.
Try to have fun with this project.
Message was edited by: bogiesan
Thank you for your input and suggestions. The balls "on-screen" time, even with the slo-mo, is less than 2 seconds, and I have a stock explosion I'm using. They don't necessarily have to be realistic, just better than the stock balls generated by AE. Also, this is just for a 4-minute short movie that is, more or less, an experiment in AE.
I truly appreciate all the help!