I’m going to be honest right off the top of this review: There are very few plugins out there that are worth purchases “a-la-carte,”meaning on a single plugin basis. Most of them are a lot of money, and are really a one trick pony that can be used in very specific situations. Red Giant’s Trapcode, for me, has always stood out as those plugins that were worth every cent you paid for each individual effect.
Well now, those awesome single plugins are available as part of a suite of effects called, appropriately enough, the Trapcode Suite 13 (TS13), and in the next two articles, I’m going to review the effects in the suite, and why they are an excellent group of effects to add to your graphics toolkit.
I always like to get this out of the way right off the bat, as I feel it’s always a major factor, especially for a package that contains only eleven effect, when it comes to making a purchase. Before the Trapcode effects became part of the suite, they sold for an average price of about $99 USD, so for me to see a price tag of $999 US for TS13, when it comes with eleven effects, is not surprising. And, in my opinion, the trend of keeping the individual effect cost down below $100 per effect. I also want to point out that there’s a free demo for the suite, so you can try before you buy.
Now, I should also point out that these plug-ins do come a-la-carte or you can purchase them as a bundle. The effects, if you were to purchase them individually, would run you just short of $1500 USD, but as I said above, you can pick them up in a bundle for only $999. Now, I’m normally not a big fan of “single” effects, but the ones in the Trapcode Suite are unique enough that makes the $999 price tag well worth it!
WHAT YOU GET
Let’s get to the meat and potatoes of TS13, and that’s the effects, some of which are fairly straight forward as to what they do and others, well, not so much.
Here’s the list of effects in Trapcode Suite 13:
Shine is a God rays effect. I know, you’ve probably already got five of them spread throughout other packages that you have, but let me say this: Shine is easily the absolute best God rays effect on the market today. Super simple to use and create an awesome look, and it renders super fast.
I’ve always loved this effect, and even though I have a few God rays effects, Shine is always the one in my compositions. What makes Shine 2.0 super cool is it can function in your 3D compositions, and behave exactly like God rays would, in real world situations.
I’d like to talk about Star Glow next, but I do want to point out something as well, and that is that some of these effects like Shine have been updated to version 2.0, whereas effects like Star Glow are still on version one, with point updates to version 1.7.
Star Glow, much like Shine, comes from the original Trapcode releases, which included Shine, as needless to say, it’s been around for a while. And what it does is similar to a “Glint” effect, where you get the visuals of light be reflected off a shiny surface, to create mini lens-flares off of element in your composition. One thing that makes Star Glow great, is not only its ease of use, but also the huge amount of presets included with this effect.
If you need to do animation to an audio track in After Effects, Sound Keys is the effect you’re going to want to use to do it! Not only do you choose the audio track you want to have Sound Keys analyze, but you can also choose the exact audio band to animate to, for total control! Sound Keys is the original plugin for animating to audio in After Effects, and a must have if you ever want to do this type of work. One thing that I should also point out, that’s very cool, is the fact that you can use the Sound Keys audio waveforms as elements in your composites, as well.
Alright, that wraps up part one of our look at the Trapcode Suite 13 for After Effects. In Part 2, we’re going to take a look at the rest of the effects including Tao, Lux and my favorite, Particular! You can get more information, or download a free demo here. You can purchase it here [affiliate link].