Particle Illusion - Changing Particle Resolution in AE host

What is the magic secret to decreasing the on-screen render resolution of the particles to make the application less sluggish (using AE host plugin) - I can’t seem to find this information and the software doesn’t seem to have an intuitive way to do this like selecting somewhere “show at 1/4 resolution” etc,

Also what is the magic secret to deleting keyframes created for particle attributes such as position, etc

Lastly - I understand that I can designate a specific frame that I want the particle effect to begin; this is great - but how to make the same particle specifically END on its last frame of life on the last frame that I designate. Reason for asking is because I have like 50 frames where I want a particle to begin to exist and end and when I adjust the Life attribute in the emitter properties it doesn’t seem to really do what I want it to do, i.e, i keyframe 0 life at the last frame of the video and the particle is still going through its life which I don’t uhnderstand at all…



PI does not have a 1/4 resolution or similar equivalent at this time. One reason is that the rendering stage is only a portion of the time – particle creation and calculation can take longer than rendering does – so lower resolution doesn’t really increase performance.

Position keys are deleted in the Stage itself – select the key then hit the delete key (on your keyboard).

Adding keys to “life” and most other parameters affects the particles that are created at that frame only. If you really need to “turn off” an emitter abruptly at a specific frame make the opacity step down to 0 at that frame. (Opacity is one of the few params that apply immediately)


Thanks so much for the prompt help Alan I really appreciate it.

As far as the “Life” issue of the particles is concerned - my goal is to make the emitter/attached particles start, i.e begin to exist at a designated frame and then cycle completely through its pre-programmed animation and then specifically end on a designated frame - running entirely through its animation.

Is there actually a way to modulate this? what if your video is short and has not that many frames?

Modulating the opacity is great but that only makes the particle fade rather than cycle through its existence in a way that one would expect over time.

Thanks again for your help Alan,


What about if you animate the life property slowly down to 0?

So if you have a 30 frame animation, and life is 100 at the first frame, add a linear key to life at frame 0 (keep the original value), then a linear key at frame 30 with value 0.

It’s not exact, but it might do what you want.

There’s really no way to control it other than experimenting. If you have no life variation and tweak it so all particles are alive/visible for 10 frames (or whatever), then you can instead step the “number” parameter down to 0 10 frames before your animation is supposed to end. That will turn off particle creation and those last particles will die right on time.

Hope that makes sense. If you need an example I can put one together later or over the weekend.


Thank you again for your help - with your advice I was able to achieve a successful result with my project - tweaking the frame preload, frame start and number property with keyframing was what produced the successful outcome.

Thanks again Alan, have a great weekend.

I know I’m breaking in on this convo a bit late, sorry. And my suggestion might not help in your circumstance which is why you needed a PI-based solution. But, given your desire for exact frame-level control over duration and what read like flexibility with the effects play rate, would either putting the particles in their own pre-comp or rendering them out as video and importing the footage and then changing the playback speed of the comp/footage be a solution? Then if you need the animation to run shorter or longer by exactly 1 frame (or two, etc) you need only adjust the playback speed for guaranteed result. My apologies if you had already dismissed a time-based approach based on a project issue not mentioned in the discussion.

Thank you for the response I appreciate it; I hadn’t really thought about going down that road but it does make sense as an alternative road to accomplish the look I am trying to achieve. Ill remember it for future projects, again, I appreciate the information! Have a great week, Roman.