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PD Particles
Project Dogwaffle

The default brush used in PD Particles 1 is a particle brush named  Weird Eyelashes. Starting with that, you can change many parameters to give it a different appearance: Lifespan of the particles, the colors they go through (color gradient), how many times they split, by what angle, how gravity pulls down or pushes up and how the particles lag (drag) with or against the mouse as well as mouse speed and others.

Here's an example. The style is still using plain lines. The tip of the particle traces appear to thin. That's possible with the color gradient, where the opacity channel can be reduced to a very transparent level.

When you experiment with these parameters, you may want to disable (uncheck) the Shading' and 'Tin' boxes, so that you can better recognize the immediate effect of the changes, especially when playing with the color radient.

Another Style is called 'Shrinking Lines'

The particles start at a given size, with can be changed with the Size slider under the Style menu. From thereon, the particles evolve as before, but they also change size along the way.
Here's a different example, still with shrinking lines. What's also happening is that there are multiple splits, and at a farly large angle of 33 degrees. This gives it a prickly appearance. Living things that split between 30 and 50 degrees are often not inviting.

There are ther fascinating shapes and patterns you can get with some special angles such as 90 degrees. 
Another fun parameter is 'Randomize by Value'.

The 'Brush' Style

One of the more advanced features of the particle brushes is unlocked when using the 'Brush' style.

The brush style means that instead of using a single line or a shrinking line to render along the particle's path, the current normal (non-particle) brush is being used. This can be any of the internal brushes such as 'Simple', 'Airbrush', 'Oil', 'Pen', 'Tempera', etc... in PD Particles. (In PD Pro and other Project Dogwaffle programmes you can even carry your own images in the form of 'custom' brushes, and even image sequences, such as animations coming from Avi files.)

This can be used for a variety of  effects. For example, the Smear brush can be 'pushed' along the particle traces, causing a much faster smearing in many different directions and at various angles and speeds. This and similar tools can help in quickly turning a photograph into a hand-painted appearance or sketch.

Here's an example: Select one of the airbrush presets, such as small airbrush'.  Note that when selecting a 'regular' brush preset, it will disable the particle brush mode. Thus, be sure to check the 'Enabled' box in the Particles panel.  Then select the Brush style.

Now, as you paint with the particle brush, instead of fine lines you will see thick lines along the particle traces.

Now that the particle side is set, switch to the 'Brush settings' panel or tab. (in PD Pro, use 'o' to show brush settings or options or click the brush image thumbnail).

You can change the size of the brush with the Size slider.

You can change the opacity of the brush image.

You can also change the Step value, which is the distance that then mouse must travel before the next brush image gets 'stomped' or applied .

Many other parameters can be used, such as Random postion, scaling the size by the speed of you mouse movement, etc...

Here's just using a larger size.
Changing opacity, Step and/or Dryout or Bleed can add fuzzy cloudy effects.

Experiment with these to create clouds and smoke trails.
If the smoke rails are too dense to show the center red firey glow,  increase the Step value and /or reduce the size a little to add a little more space and room between the many imprints of the brush.

Some random position can also be useful  to further spread the brushes away from the particle path's centerline.

Don't expect a single brush stroke to do all the magic though. In many cases, you may want to further enhance the results with color correction and enhancement filters. PD Particles has a few, PD Pro or your current image editor is probably equally equipped to satisfy that need.

The Bleed parameter can be used to blend the background color (e.g. light blue) into the brush's color. This image can be the result of just one brush stroke, thanks to the many particle trails each working their way along their lifespan and applying the bleding or smearing or other effects over and over along the paths.

This is where it just starts. We've ust used one of the many brushes, the airbrush. You can find many other brshes, including Effects brushes such as Smudging, Smearing and Dodging.  Each of them can result in millions of more fascinating effects when they're placed on the particle system.