A good particles walk-through tutorial?

Hi all,

I’m trying to more fully understand the particles process in Cycles. Honestly, I’ve not been successful in either a) finding any or b) finding any that address more specifically what I’m looking for. I’ve seen snippets of instruction here and there but have not found one or two that cover a general walk through . . . all the way from start to finish. I could simply be overlooking the obvious. If I am, apologies.

That being said, here’s what I’m looking for - I have squadrons of scifi ships I’ve modeled (some of which may be seen elsewhere in the forums here). What I’d like to do is to not only animate a turntable showcase, which I can do, but to be able to render transparent heat waves/exhaust from the propulsion systems. I’d like for that to be exiting the exhaust ports while the camera pans around.

Basically - I’m looking for a good process workflow tutorial in how best to accomplish this. I’m not looking for someone to do any work for me but rather, I’d love to see a complete process by which I can gain a deeper understanding in how to create this on my own.

I apologize for the lengthy dissertation before getting to my request. Ha! Sorry. I do appreciate anyone’s help. Thank you!