These are bokeh light effects extracted from a photo taken by photographer and fellow designer Keith Harris, who was kind enough to let me post them on the site. They have been cut out and unmultiplied so they will work great as custom particles in trapcode particular or for adding the bokeh light effect to still images, as seen in this example:
The PS file contains 7 unique layers like these:
In the first example image I just used a night shot of a NY street with lights that I had and blurred it and then added the bokeh particles. It helps to use a reference photo that has the bokeh effect so you can see how they should look. In this image I just varied the opacity of the particles and switched to the “luminosity” blending mode and also added a “curves” adjustment layer with a high-contrast curve. Then to add color, I put a copy of the background on top of everything, set the blend mode to overlay and adjusted the opacity until it looked the way I wanted.
The PSD has eight unique particles, all cut out, unmultiplied in After Effects to remove the dark colors and centered. The example image PSD is also included so you can see how it’s made.
Some useful PS shortcuts to speed things up:
Ctrl + click on the particles to select them. Add Shift to select multiple layers.
Alt + drag one or several layers to make a copy of them and move to a new location. This lets you populate the image with particles quickly.
Ctrl + T to enter transform mode for the selected layers. So just select a bunch of random particle layers, alt + drag a copy and ctrl + T to move and rotate them as a group.
Shift + +/- cycles through the blending modes to find one that works best. In CS6 you can do that with multiple layers selected, previous versions only allow one at a time.
Ctrl + J to “jump a copy” of the background layer (duplicate it).
Ctrl + Shift + ] to send the layer to the top of the layer stack.
0-9 on the keyboard set the opacity for the selected layer or in CS6 all selected layers.
To use as particles for Particular in AE, import as a comp and then sequence the layers and set particular’s sampling to “random frame” so it will mix them up.