If you are into particle systems for After Effects, you will find more than a few options available.
From Ae’s bundled particle effects, to Trapcode Particular, all the way up to much more modern 3rd party tools like Plexus and Stardust.
Superluminal’s Stardust was designed to take on a more modular approach to creating particle effects in After Effects. It features a node based user interface, making it possible to string together some neat effects in a logical way. You can use Emitters, particle, replicators, forces, deformers, 3D models, text, masks and maps as elements to create your next fantastical particle effect.
In this 7-part series which span across 45 minutes, you can get you up to speed quickly with Stardust, and learn how easy it is to use.