The particleIllusion FAQ

Last updated: 10/December/2005

This FAQ was mainly compiled from answers to questions posed to us on the wondertouch/Creative Cow forum, but also includes answers by me (Elvis Deane!)

1-General Questions

How do I change the emitters in the Library window?
Right-click and choose Load Library, and locate a different library file (.il3 or .iel). Quick Load Library gives you fast access to any IL3 library contained in the "Emitter Libraries" folder.

How do I change the background color in the Stage window?
Right-click and select Background Color. A color palette will appear.

How do I get an emitter to start at a different time than frame 1?
Slide the time indicator to the frame you want your emitter to begin at, click on the emitter's name in the library window, and add it to the stage. It will now start at the chosen frame. If you already have an emitter on the stage and you want it to start at a different time, Cut the emitter (CTRL+X or Edit>Cut), move the time slider to the frame you want it to begin emitting at, and Paste it (CTRL+V or Edit>Paste).

How do I add my own text or logo into the Logo Effects emitters?
Go into the emitter's Properties, then to the Particles tab and into the Change Shape page. Click on the Add New Shape button at the bottom of the window, and browse and select a different image file. You'll need to create your text or logo in a paint program like Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro. This topic is covered in detail in the Change Shape subject page in the third tutorial of the particleIlusion HTML help file. If you're still stumped, there's a tutorial on it here.

Why can't I get the looping function to work? The transition isn't seamless from the start point to the end point.
The Loop button does not create a seamlessly looping emitter. It is used to loop the playback a certain time segment of your file. The two number boxes on either side of the Loop button indicate the project start and end frames, which define the area of the project in which playback will occur, and the Loop button controls looping. For a tutorial by Bas Wolters on how to create a looping emitter, click here


Can I save an AVI with an alpha channel?
No. As of version 3.0, particleIllusion does not support 32 bit AVIs. To obtain an alpha channel in your final output, render to a sequence of images, such as PNG, TGA, or TIF.

I am trying to render at 640x480, but in the Output Options window I can't change the size to that. It's set to a smaller frame size and I can't change the numbers. What's wrong?
particleIllusion can only render what is on screen. The stage window must be 640x480 to render out a file at 640x480. In 3.0, you can make the stage full screen by pressing Alt+3

How do I export a scene from particleIllusion with an alpha channel for use in Flash?
Render out as a PNG sequence, and check the Save Alpha button. In Flash, go to File>Import and choose Import to Stage. Select the first image in your PNG sequence. A pop up will appear that says "This file appears to be part of a sequence of images. Do you want to import all of the images in the sequence?" Say yes, and the clip will load up on the stage.


particleIllusion isn't starting up anymore. I see it running in my Processes list, but it doesn't appear onscreen.
To solve this problem, go to the Start menu, and under the particleIllusion program group, choose the icon that says "Reset Default Settings". That'll reset pI's preferences and should get it working again.

Playback and use of particleIllusion is very slow. How can I speed things up?
For best results, it is reccommended that you use the latest certified drivers for your video card. If you use multiple monitors, try disabling the second one and then open particleIllusion again. Also make sure your desktop is set to 32 bpp color. Also make sure you don't have hardware acceleration turned off in your display settings -- there's a slider in the "troubleshooting" page of display properties. Make sure it's at the right.

When I try to load an AVI from my camera as a background in Particle Illusion, I get an error message that says "AVI Request Format Error". What's wrong?
particleIllusion currently has problems with DV formats. This problem is expected to be fixed in the next update of particleIllusion (3.x). As a work around, you can use VirtualDub to convert your AVI into a codec which particleIllusion can use, or to a sequence of images (PNGs, TGAs, TIFs, etc.).

You can also download the Panasonic DV codec, which should allow you to bring DV AVIs into pI, but beware! I've found that it makes some video editing programs have trouble importing AVIs encoded with certain other codecs (divx, xvid).

I need to authorize the software, but I can't find my serial number. Where is it?
Your serial number was in the "receipt" email you got when you purchased particleIllusion. Contact if you no longer have that email.