Archive for the ‘Trapcode’ Category
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Beat This…
By Sarah Wise
Published on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Beats Antique, out of Oakland CA, are not your average experimental world fusion and electronic music group. If there were such a thing. They have described their music as an electro, xfunctional, acoustic, hip-hop, melodramatic, down tempo-freakness, world, gypsy, funk, vulcan, get down off your butt, sound. I’m serious – check out their interview with KVRX 91.7FM Austin:

YouTube Preview Image

The trio got together in 2007 in San Francisco to combine the artistic talents of David Satori (guitar, sax, viola, and percussion), Sidecar Tommy Cappel (keys, toy piano, drums, and percussion), and Zoë Jakes (belly dancer, composer, and arranger). All three are from a performance arts background and have a very visual approach to music.

Their latest music video, ‘Revival’, was directed by Ivan Landau who was also responsible for post production and VFX. Using both Magic Bullet Suite and Trapcode Software, Ivan’s video is an intricately woven visual tapestry that is a masterful example of how the two software tools can work in unison.

Landau has said it was ‘amazing, watching ‘Revival’ materialize from subconscious to screen’, so we asked him to tell us a bit more about this enthralling piece of work.

How did the video come about?

“Revival” started as a little dream.  It was a basic story of an epic journey to restore life to a world in decay.  It was a world made of snow and paper cutouts.  It was abstract, beautiful and weird.  I thought of Beats Antique and Leighton Kelly immediately.  Zoe Jakes, David Satori and Tommy Cappel of Beats Antique are artists that I have watched for many years.  I always admired their visual style and amazing live show.  They are a band who put equal emphasis on the visual as well as the musical aspects of their performance.  I approached them with the idea and they were immediately on board.

You talk about the project being a collaborative dream, were you familiar with Leighton Kelly’s work before?

This really was a collaborative dream.  Leighton Kelly is one of my favorite artists.  He captures profound emotion with subtle strokes.  I have known him for several years and, after perusing through his blog (, I was totally inspired to collaborate with him.  The initial dream I had actually had Leighton’s illustrations in it.  I was a little nervous that if Leighton couldn’t do the drawings then the video couldn’t happen.  There was a lot trust between everyone making this video (namely Beats Antique, Leighton Kelly and Austin Rhodes, my cinematographer).  Everyone contributed.  It was a surprisingly smooth collaboration considering we were very rarely all in the same place.  The band was on tour for most of the project and, with the exception of our initial brainstorming session, Leighton was in India and Bali with a sketchpad, a small scanner and sporadic internet access.

How long did Revival take to produce, concept to completion?

The entire production, from subconscious to completion probably took about four months.  It’s hard to gauge exactly how much time was spent in actual production and post because I was usually working on it after hours, weekends and while other jobs were rendering.  At some point, for reasons beyond rationale, I decided I would just do all the post production myself.  I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted it to look like and when I started experimenting with the shots I just couldn’t stop.

What was your favorite part, or particular sequence of the production?

My favorite parts of the video are the illustrated snowscapes and the dance sequence.  The illustrated environments were rewarding for me because it was like recreating the dream I had, except better.  Once Leighton started handing off his illustrations with these little details like spats and bow ties on the deer, I knew we were on to something.  The final dance sequence was amazing to work on because it was a total experiment.  Zoe designed the costumes and choreographed the sequence for the three main dancers (herself, Kami Liddle and Auberon Shull).  We basically could just hit record and they would nail it on queue.  I experimented with a lot of different looks for that sequence (macro photography and lazers!) and decided that stop-motion paper was the most appropriate.  I wanted it to look a little rough and out of control, beautiful and tactile.  Austin and I spent some long nights crumpling paper.

What do you like about using Trapcode?

I’m blown away by what people are doing with Trapcode.  I easily impress myself when I just make a little snow or floating dust particles with Particular or throw some Shine on some otherwise drab elements.  I had experimented with using organic elements for the snow, and while there is some of that in there, it never looked exactly like i wanted it to.  Particular is so dialable you can always get the look you want.  plus, how else could you make thousands of little fish explode from someone’s head? (that didn’t make the cut).

Do you have a favorite aspect to using Magic Bullet Suite?

I really do love Looks.  It almost feels like cheating.  It provides such good baselines that can be endlessly dialed.  I’ve actually learned a lot about color by inspecting and tweaking the Looks settings.

Were any of the Red Giant tutorials helpful?

I used to be a bit of a tutorial junky.  I’m getting better, usually not more than one a week at this point.  I’m basically self-taught so online tutorials have helped me tremendously.  I can’t even count how many of Aharon’s tutorials I’ve watched.  I’ve probably watched all the Red Giant tutorials.  I love how some of the Red Giant tutorials include the projects files.  Being your own teacher can form some bad or at least inefficient habits, so opening up clean project files has enlightened me to some better techniques.

We love the intricate blend of Leighton Kelly’s work and if you’re familiar with the band you should spot some of their signature imagery used in Revival.

Ivan Landau is well known and admired for his work as VFX Editor on feature films such as Sin City, Aeon Flux, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Blade Runner (Final Cut version). And we’re hoping ‘Revival’ is just this start of him turning his talents to music videos.



The Secret Sale is on!
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

The Big Red Giant Sale is on! Get 40% off EVERYTHING in the Red Giant Store, today (December 13, 2011) only.

Use Coupon Code: SECRETSALE2011



New Tutorial Covers Creating 3D Environments from a 2D Image.
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Episode 65: Warp Projection – 3D Environments from a 2D Image

In this multidimensional episode of Red Giant TV, designer Harry Frank is going to walk you through creating a 3D environment from a 2D image, all in After Effects.  This won’t be using traditional camera projection techniques – nor will it use vanishing point in photoshop. Instead, Harry’s figured out a technique for warping images to build 3D layers.  You’ll also learn some great compositing  and color correction techniques to finish off the job right.

Watch the tutorial HERE.


New Tutorial: The Exploding Man
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

One of my favorite effects in Plot Device is where Ben Shots an alien and he explodes into blue goo. Apparently you guys liked it too, since so many of you have asked how you can do that too…

Red Giant TV Episode 64: Plot Device – The Exploding Man

In this Episode of Red Giant TV, Plot Device director Seth Worley shows you how to blow someone up. It’s going to be messy, so bring a poncho.

Watch the tutorial HERE.


The Sweet Smell of Trapcode
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

When Avril Lavigne launched her first perfume – ‘Black Star’ – it was praised as a sultry mix of dark fruits and dark chocolate. It was even nominated for The FiFi Awards, an annual event hosted by The Fragrance Foundation to recognize achievements in the scent industry.

From that auspicious start, the challenge for the promotions company was to create a commercial that would capture the visual essence of this unique fragrance.

Working for NY Visual Effects and Design Boutique SUSPECT, Jesse Newman created a captivating vision, using Trapcode Particular to add the final and literal sparkle. Jesse took some time out to tell us about his work and use of Trapcode.

“I’ve been fortunate to have worked on several creatively challenging and award-winning projects, including feature films (Armageddon), commercials (M&Ms, Verizon, HP), broadcast designs (Disney, SciFi, HBO) and short films (Shapeshifter, One Rat Short).

As far as workflow, the Trapcode plug-ins are regulars in my bag of tricks.  They are incredibly intuitive and powerful.  I used Form to create the interactive world of sparkling stars in the Avril Lavigne “Black Star” commercial and Particular to create elements ranging from the streaks in the Verizon FIOS logo to the bubbles following the fish in Shapeshifter.”

Jesse also told us “My true passion has always been my personal art, which gravitates toward hyper-real fantasy art.  I am currently on a year-long sabbatical to focus on an epic personal project for my daughter, depicting her as Gaea, Goddess of Earth.”

We wish him all the best with his personal work and look forward to seeing his new projects develop.


New Tutorial Explores a Powerful, and Often Missed, Particular Feature
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Red Giant QuickTip #53: Layer Sampling – Generate Particles Where and When You Want Them

In this Quicktip, Aharon Rabinowitz shows you how to control the way particles are emitted from a picture or text, when using a layer emitter. He’ll be exploring a feature called Layer Sampling.

Layer Sampling is a feature that controls whether or not particles are revealed by a layer’s alpha channel, or, depending on the setting, if they are emitted at all. If you have ever wanted to blow up text, this tutorial will help.This is also a great technique for creating underwater simulations (Ex.: bubbles created from a layer’s motion).

Watch it HERE.


Red Giant TV Live #4: The Lost Episode Has Been Found!
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

We had some trouble recording Episode #4 of RGTV Live, but Harry and I felt the content was too good not to re-record it.

Red Giant TV Live – Episode 4: Motion Graphics for Product Spots

In this Episode of RGTV Live, Harry and Aharon are joined by David Torno of Ghost Town Media to discuss motion graphics for product spots. Also, Harry walks you through a Product spot he recently completed which involved mograph and color correction. Watch it HERE.

Check out David Torno’s work at


New Tutorial: Plot Device – Thunderdome
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Red Giant TV Episode 63: Plot Device – Thunderdome

In this episode of Red Giant TV, director Seth Worley takes you through the process of creating the explosion and shockwave effect from the end of the sci-fi scene in Plot Device.

Watch it HERE.


Trapcode Maintenance – Form 2.0.2 and Lux 1.2.2
By Andrew Cheyne
Published on Monday, October 31st, 2011

Trapcode Form

We really want to ensure that your workflow with the new OBJ feature in Form 2.0 is as seamless as possible so we’ve been constantly looking at that feature since release to ensure we have it working just right. This maintenance release focusses on that feature along with a few other goodies to keep things humming. Fixes in this release:

Form 2.0.2:

  • We have improved the import of OBJ files so you should, in most cases, be able to have your OBJ match up exactly with how you had your coordinates set when you exported the OBJ from your 3D modelling application. A new parameter is available to turn this behaviour on and off so as not to affect existing projects.
  • Motion blur calculations for the offset parameter with OBJ sequences has been fixed up so it now works properly.
  • A crashing bug was fixed that gets triggered if you attempt to import an OBJ file that has unused uvw/vt coordinates.
  • We fixed a problem with importing OBJ files that had a file path that contained non-ASCII characters.

Lux 1.2.2:

  • It was possible to end up with a vertical line rendered in your project while using Lux. This issue is now fixed.


  • Our suite installers are also relatively new and we’ve been working on improving those across all of the suites. On OSX, for this release, you will notice that the installer size is significantly smaller – this is not a bug – we’ve fixed up how we package our installer to make your downloads quicker and easier.

Download the latest Trapcode Suite installer here.


New Tutorial: Uh… Your Backface is Showing.
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Thursday, October 27th, 2011

OK -  if you’re new to 3D, then the term “Backface” might not mean much to you. But it still beats calling the post “Managing Front & Back Particle Visibility in Trapcode Form” which is the name of this very useful tutorial by Harry Frank. If you’ve never culled a backface… well… you’re going to want to after watching this. Trust me. Because while Harry uses this technique for hiding some particles, it can also be used as a way to transition/reveal a whole Form 3D OBJ from front to back. Watch and learn, buddy:

Red Giant QuickTip 52: Managing Front & Back Particle Visibility in Trapcode Form

In this Quick Tip, Harry Frank shows how to easily manage front and back visibility with 3D null objects and some simple expressions inside Trapcode Form.

Often when using Trapcode Form, it’s ideal to have particles appear invisible on the area facing away from the camera. In 3D applications, this is commonly referred to as “backface culling.”

You can see this in action in the experimental piece “Cosm” by host Harry Frank:​28093993


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