doddleREVIEWS: Trapcode Suite 13 For After Effects, Part 2

Red Giant LogoBy Kevin P. McAuliffe (doddleNEWS)

In our last article, in our review of the Trapcode Suite 13 (TS13), we talked about the price, and the first three effects – Shine, Star Glow and Sound Keys. In this lesson, I want to finish up talking about the other effects inside of the TS13, including Tao, Lux and Particular!

FORM

The one problem with working with particles is that, over time, they disappear, and this is a common “problem” across many particle emitter plugins. So, what do you do?  Well, that’s where Trapcode Form comes into play. Particles that come from Form live forever, and can be animated over time, to do whatever you need them to do.  The awesome thing about this effect is that you can import 3D models into it, and have the particles that are created, base themselves off of that static OR animated model (OBJ format).

Form

Form

LUX

What’s the biggest problem with lights in After Effects? As much as they cast light onto objects, you can’t actually see the light that is doing the emitting! Well, LUX is here to fix that; it will let you make all lights in your After Effects scene visible, no matter what the type of light, to add an extra layer of realism to your scenes.

LUX

LUX

HORIZON

If you do a lot of work with After Effects’ 3D Camera, you know that coming up with 360 degree background elements can be a little tricky. Without them your compositions seem, well, endless. That’s where Horizon comes in. Fully AE camera aware, you can add 360 image maps to the effect, and add another layer of realism that, when done with the standard AE environment map, can be brutal to set up and render.

ECHOSPACE

A great AE animation technique that a lot of editors like to use is to create a simple animation using a built in tool, like the shape tool, and the duplicate and offset the layer to create a funky “delayed” look to their multi-layered animation. The only problem with this technique is that it requires a lot of layers, and a lot of animation to get just the right look. Echospace does all of that for you, by basically taking one layer that you’ve selected, and, echoing it. This way all of the animation and timing is automated inside the effect, and there’s little work for you to do in your comp!

3D STROKE

We all know what a stroke effect is… It’s the ability to use the masks in your comp to create outlines around text or an object. 3D Stroke lets you do this in 3D space with the ability to bend, rotate and animate the strokes to create cool, super fast animations, with only a few clicks of the mouse.

3DStroke

3D STROKE

TAO

Here’s one that’s very cool: Imagine a path that you’ve drawn in After Effects, and then imagine that path having the ability to have a shape object extruded down it. Now think what it would look like with the ability to curve the path, and have the extruded shape curve with it? That’s what Tao can do! It can generate geometric shapes, ribbons and so much more, and it can also the geometries from not only masks and paths, but from motion, as well.

MIR

Since we have an effect that will let us create Horizons, it makes sense that there would also be an effect that would let you create 3D Surfaces, terrains and wireframes. That’s what MIR does; shaded surfaces can display as polygons or vertices, and will let you create everything from the surfaces of alien worlds to cool geometric planes!

MIR

PARTICULAR

This is, really, the shining star of the Trapcode Suite. Particular is one of the best particle emitter plugins out on the market today! The first thing you’ll notice about Particular is how ultra realistic some of the particles look. Whether it’s fire, smoke, sparks or even pyro, this effect can be easily blended into shot footage, with no one being able to notice that it’s a visual effect. New to the effect is the Particle Builder, which allows you to create your own particles to blend into any scene you’re creating.

Particular

Particular

Particular now supports After Effects’ built in 3D Camera and Lights, as well as having over 180 presets to get you started, and it also has a new built in physics engine with wind, gravity and turbulence controls (and more) for simulating complex and realistic motion

These are just some of the new features in Particular 2.5, which if you haven’t checked it out yet, is the single best reason to download the free trial!

For my money, the Trapcode Suite 13 is an awesome effects package, and definitely deserves a place in any motion graphic designers toolkit!  You can get more information, or download a free demo of the entire suite here. You can purchase it here [affiliate link].