Atomic Particles or Particle Simulator

Saw this "Adam Ruins Everything" video where they did this effect at the end and thought, "That would be perfect for something I'm trying to shoot!

I assume it's a layer turned into atomic particles, distorted and dispersed. Maybe some blur and opacity, but I'm wondering if this is done better and looks better using the particle simulator instead.

Anyone familiar with this effect and the best way to do it?


Effect starts at 5:36


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