The Text-collection

Letter Emitter V4.0

The first ever particle system using letters and characters as particles

General Info

Letter Emitter V4.0 is the first ever real particle system for Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express that uses letters and characters for the animation. Everything can be defined in a very easy way. Letter Emitter V4.0 is equipped with real particle animation calculation, gravitational effects, attracting magnets, wind and more. All attributes of the emitted letters change automatically over time (even color!). The particle movements can be previewed in the canvas for an easy emitter setup.

Letter Emitter V4.0 is divided into 3 sections:

  • The emitter setup: This section defines the behavior of the particle emitter itself.
  • The particle setup: This section defines the particles and what they will do over their life span.
  • CHV's highly sophisticated outline feature.


Global Settings


This popup menu defines the behavior of Letter Emitter V4.0 in the canvas. Rendering will not be affected.

Three modes are available:

Preview the final result in the canvas. Note that the particle emitter is not bound to the frame you click onto in the timeline. Each time you go forward or backward manually in the timeline the particle emitter will calculate one new frame. This is due to the method of how Final Cut Pro/Express handles plugins. If you render the particle emitter you will always receive the proper result.

Simple preview
This mode is similar to Final with the difference that no letters and no outlines will be drawn. The real color (over life) of the letters however will be used. This mode is made to see a quick preview of the current position of the particles.

Path Preview (slow!)
This mode is perfect to create the path of the particles. Each time when a parameter of the particle emitter changes Final Cut has to recalculate the whole path. This makes this mode is not very fast, but you can see the whole movement of the particles without extensive rendering. You can speed up the process if you use lower emitter rates with this mode.

In the example to the right you can see the particle emitter to the right (white) and two magnets (the green and blue circles). The particles are emitted upwards, get caught in the "gravity" of the two magnets and consequently head to the left. The older the particles become the more chaotic the path gets. In this example the particles change their color from red to yellow as they get older.

Show Emitter

With this checkbox the emitter and the magnets will be shown in the canvas.

Show Outline-Gradient
Enable this checkbox to see a representation of the two generated outline gradients in the canvas.

Letter Emitter V4.0 carries two gradients used for the two outline layers. The colored lines show the center of the gradients and in which direction the colors go. The circles carry the name to show where they belong to. The size of the circles show the width of each gradient. Bigger circles represent softer gradients.

Global Letter Opacity

This controls only the global opacity of all visible particles/letters. The parameters of the particle emitter itself will not be affected, as well as the parameters of the visible particles and those that will be generated in the future.

Particle Emitter

This section holds all controls of the particle emitter. The particles will be emitted from a single emitter that can be moved around by using keyframes and it can emit the particles into any direction. The emitting area exists as a single point as well as a resizeable adjustable area that can cover even the whole screen. This makes it possible to emit particles from virtually everywhere at the same time.

An emitted particle receives it parameters for it's life only at the exact moment when it is emitted. The parameters of an emitted particle do not change over the life of the particle even if the emitter changes it's parameters constantly.

Emitting Rate
Here you can define the rate how many particles will be emitted. A setting of 100 will emit one particle every frame. A setting of 1 emits an average of one particle every 100 frames. The rate is randomized for settings below 100. You can change the emitting rate freely by keyframing this slider. This makes it possible to emit some particles within a certain timeframe and more or less right after it without manipulating already emitted particles.

Life Min. (frames)
Life Max. (frames)

These two sliders define the minimum and the maximum lifetime of a particle. The lifetime is calculated in frames. A lifetime of 300 will create a particle of that lives exactly 10 seconds if your sequence settings are set to NTSC with 30 frames/second.

Point (white)
Spread (range)

Origin is the place where the particles emit from. Usually the emitter is a just a point, but with Spread you can define a wider area around the emitter, where the particles emit randomly from. The area will be shown in the canvas as a white rectangle.


Spread (angle)

Direction tells the particles where they have to head. Spread spreads out the particle in an angle. If Spread is set to 0 the particles will all go into the same direction; set to 360 means that the particles head to any direction.

Spread=0 Spread=90 Spread=200 Spread=360

Randomize (Slower<>Faster)

Speed, as the name says, defines the speed of the particle when it leaves the emitter. If Speed is set to 0 the particles will emerge and will only gain any speed if gravitation, wind or the magnets affect it.

Randomize simply randomizes the starting speed. If this is set to 0 all particles will begin their life with exactly the same speed.

Acceleration speeds up or slows down a particle over it's life. This behavior starts with the very first frame and ends with the end of the life of the particle. If for example a particle is set to slow down, it will always behave as if it has a foot on the breaks all the time, even if it gets attracted by all the other effects (gravitation, wind, magnets). Of course the additional effects (gravitation, wind and the magnets) will still have an effect on the particle with the foot on its breaks.

Slow down
No acceleration
Speed up

Gravitation performs a pull downwards to the ground (lower part of the screen) to the particles.

Single Particle
This option adds the gravitation effect to the single particles as they are emitted. The gravitation will still keep it's effect for the "living" particles even when this option is turned down to 0 using keyframes.

The global gravitation affects all currently existing particles. If this effect changes it's value to 0, the gravitation will stop affecting the particles and they will proceed in the direction where they are just heading to right before the global gravitation stopped.

Windspeed (left<>right)

Wind blows the particles to the left or the right. This parameter will not be added to the single particles, instead it will affect all particles simultaneously.

Magnet 1+2

There are two magnets that can be placed at any Position. The Strength of the magnets will be shown in the canvas a growing circle.

Because of the fact that the used magnets are only points without any dimension, the particles will never be "eaten up" by the magnets. The particles always pass by the magnets, finding themselves in an orbit around them. Multiple magnets result in a chaotic behavior and create quite funny particle movements.


Within this section you define how the particles look and what they will do over their life span. An emitted particle receives all parameters from this section at the very moment when the particle is emitted and begins it's life. These parameters cannot be changed over the life of the particles. This makes all particles completely independent from each other. The movement of the particle will not be affected by the settings if the [ Text ] section. The movement completely depends on the setup of the above described particle emitter.

Most parameters of the [ Text ] section are divided into a "young" and an "old" setting. These two values will be interpolated during the life of the particle. A particle that lives for example for 100 frames will be considered as "young" right when it is emitted and "old" when it is 100 frames old. It will look you have told it with the "young" parameters when it is emitted and look like the "old" setup when it about to die. Over it's life the particle will interpolate the "young" and "old" parameters by using it's own age. This makes it possible to create flying letters that can grow over their life, slowly fade in or out, change their color or change their shape over their life.

Select the desired font used for the emitted letters with this popup menu.

Choose the style of the text here.


Select which letters will be used by the particle emitter. With the first option the text from the text field will be used. The last option (All visible characters 33-255) takes the ASCII-characters 33-255.

Randomize Order
Check this checkbox to randomize the order of the above selected letters. Uncheck the checkbox and the letters will be used in their consecutive order.

Size (young)
Size (old)

Font-Size defines the size of the font used for the emitted letters. There are two parameters, one for the particle when it is young and one when it is old. The size that will be used for the emitted letter depends on the age of the letter.

Randomize randomizes the size-parameters within the boundaries of the "young" and "old" values. If Randomize is set to 100 the used sizes for the young and the old letters will be completely random within the boundaries of the given "young" and "old" parameters.

Color (young)
Randomize (young)
Color (old)
Randomize (old)

This defines the colors for the young and the old letters. The Randomize values make it possible to create random colored letters.

Young: Blue
Young: Random
Young: Blue

Angle (young)
Randomize (young)
Angle (old)
Randomize (old)

Here you can control the angle of the emitted letters depending on the age.

Follow Path <> Use manual parameters
With this slider you can control if the emitted letters should use the path where they are moving to or is the manual Angle-parameters should be used. You can keyframe this control to create soft animations.

Twist (young)
Twist (old)

This tells the emitted letters how they should twist over their life.

Bend (young)
Bend (old)

This tells the emitted letters how they should bend over their life. The "bend" feature is different from a rotation. Look closely! The top and bottom line of the letters will not be rotated.

Turn (young)
Turn (old)

This turns the emitted letters around a vertical axis within the 3D-space. High values make the letters swirl around.

Opacity (young)
Opacity (old)

With this option you can make a emitted letter fade in when it begins it's life or fade out when it dies.

Fade (Early<>Late)
This slider controls when the fade effect should take place. You can make the letters start to fade in or out very early, you can also make them fade in or out in the very last moment.

Fade out late
Fade out early

Outline - Upper Layer
Outline - Lower Layer

With this section a highly adjustable border can be generated around the text. This section is divided in an upper layer and a lower layer. The behavior of both layers are absolutely identical. The only difference is that the upper layer is overlaid onto the lower layer. If the upper layer completely overlaps the lower layer you wont see the lower layer anymore.

A common use of this feature is, when you create a dark border around the text with the upper layer and a colorful shining glowing area with the lower layer.

Enable Outline

With this checkbox you can activate or deactivate the selected layer.

This slider controls the with of the border. A setting of "1" will create a very small border. Higher settings expand the border.

Small border Wide border

Dark area
Here you can control the behavior of the border of the outline. Higher settings will darken the outline more. This feature only affects the border of the outline.

Low setting High setting

This slider softens the outline. This feature is different from the Dark area feature. Softness blurs the whole outline. Dark area only affects the border of the outline.

Low setting High setting

Here you can control the opacity of the outline. Use this slider to create transparent outlines. This feature only affects the outline itself. The text will not be affected.

Opacity set to 0 Opacity set to 50


If you want to create a 3-dimensional looking outline, you can move the outline by an offset into a specific direction. Use Offset to move the outline. Use Angle to define the direction where the outline should be moved.

Stretch & Rotate
With this section you can stretch and rotate the outline. This is very usefull if you want to create a 3-dimensional look.


Use these two sliders to stretch an outline.


Here you can rotate the outline around a center-point.

In addition you can distort the generated outline. Therefore you can define waves that will be used to do the job.

This controls the strength of the distortion. A setting of 0 will disable the distortion.

The wavelength of the distortion.

With this option you can animate the distortion. A setting of 0 will create a static distortion. Higher settings will increase the speed of the waves.

This is the direction where the distortion waves are heading to.

Color 1
Color 2

With these two colors you can create a gradient from color 1 to color 2. If you only need an even color for the text, simply use the same color for color 1 and 2.

The gradient has a center point which can be defined by this control.

The gradient is running along a straight line. The angel of the straight line can be defined with this control.

Here you can define the width of the gradient.

If you want to use a texture you can apply a image or a video clip here. If you don't apply anything here, the above defined color will be used.

Offset Clip
This defines the offset (frames) that will be added to the movie. This setting has no effect if you use an image.


If you have are any questions or requests please use our contact-form. 2002-2017 by CHV-Electronics Inc., Christoph Vonrhein. All rights reserved.
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