Posts Tagged ‘Particular’
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UPDATE: Trapcode Suite 12.1 – Fixes and New Features
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Hey folks – Happy Thursday! What better way to celebrate a perfectly good day of the week by giving you an awesome update to the Trapcode Suite – Now version 12.1.

This is a combination of both a maintenance update that includes bug fixes for the installer, for Form 2.0.4 and Particular 2.2.0 – And it also has a few new customer-requested features in the Particular update. We even have some new tutorials to cover the new features, as well as a new series of Particular 2 Getting Started tutorials from Harry Frank.

Anyone owning Trapcode Suite 12, Particular 2 and/or Form 2 can download the installer and get these updates and fixes for FREE! Get the Trapcode Suite installer HERE.

What’s new in Trapcode Suite 12.1:

Suite Installer Updates

  • This Suite 12.1 installer includes a fix to the issue of Form and Particular not properly installing in CS4 on Windows 32bit.
  • Installer registration fixes to Mir.

Particular 2.2.0

New Features:

  • New Default “Still” mode in Layer Emitter Sampling to be used if a still image is used as a Layer Emitter.
  • Newly Renamed Transform World controls as to differentiate them from the Emitter controls. Useful for writing expressions unique to this control.
  • There is a new “Lights Unique Seeds” control in Emission Extras to allow unique random seeds for each light emitter in scenes with multiple lights emitting particles.Random Seed needs to be set to 65536 or higher for this to work.
  • Unique Light Seeds also affects Streaklet random seed so that different lights get different Streaklet appearance.
  • A new “Particle Amount” feature under Rending allows you to quickly change the amount of particles shown for previewing when Particles/sec is keyframed.
  • The maximum visible particles has been raised to 20million.
  • New Layer Emitter mode RGB-XYZ Velocity that allows particles to get their velocity from the RGB of the Layer Emitter.
  • The “Affect position” control in Turbulence in the Physics controls now goes into negative numbers for a greater range of control.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed a bug with Layer Grid Emitter, properly kills particles if alpha is zero so it can be used with Aux (modes Particle Birth Time and Still).

Form 2.0.4

  • Fixed a bug that made Form crash on Mac when Time Remapped using two consecutive keyframes with the same value.

New Tutorials:

Free Presets

  • Ok – they aren’t all new, but there’s a ton (hundreds!) of FREE Trapcode Particular presets on our free site for sharing presets and templates – Red Giant People.


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 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.


Grace is the Beauty of Form
By Sarah Wise
Published on Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

With a mantra that says “We don’t do annoying rubbish!” I knew Barbeque Design were going to be something a bit special, and they certainly don’t disappoint.

In April this year Barbecue produced a concept commercial for Toyota to introduce the new Yaris at the 81st Geneva International Motor Show. This elegant piece of motion graphics was developed using Trapcode Form, so we just had to ask Barbeque about their choice of software.

Managing Director Rüdiger Chmielus told us, “I think that from the moment I first used “Shine” I was a Trapcode follower. Especially the combination of Shine and Particular are essential for the typical “Barbecue” style. We use them on every project – even if it’s not obvious, they’re there. We definitely love this software!”

“The Yaris Project was finished under a very tight schedule and the final production took just under two weeks. We had one unit doing all the rotoscoping and tracking while another unit worked on the composites and the backgrounds.”

Based in Frankfurt and founded in 2007, postproduction and motion graphics studio Barbecue Mediendesign GmbH have produced consistently stunning concepts for brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Lexus and Porsche, not to mention numerous television ads, main titles and trailers.

As well as using Trapcode for commercial productions, some of their experimental work is equally impressive.

Also, check out their amazing show reel:


Trapcode Kicks It for Kung Fu Panda 2
By Sarah Wise
Published on Thursday, August 25th, 2011

When Kung Fu Panda first hit cinemas in 2008 we fell in love with martial arts misfit Po the Panda and the Furious Five as they fought and defeated the evil Tai Lung. But this year the challenge for the teams at Dreamworks was how to create the second installment and build on the successes of the first film.

In Kung Fu Panda 2, not only have the characters developed, but the film itself has upped its game with more explosions, more chases and more visual excitement – all thanks to the dedicated VFX teams at Dreamworks.

Po Finds the Truth – Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Lead After Effects animator at Dreamworks, Daniel Hashimoto and his close-knit team of AE artists have brought amazing impact to some of the film’s most memorable sequences, using Trapcode Particular and Form.

Po Finds the Truth (2) – Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Daniel told us: “One of the film’s most dramatic sequences – “Po Finds the Truth” – pulled out all the stops. In this sequence, which involves a village on fire near the snowy woods, Form and Particular were used to create snow, embers, smoke clouds, and a highly-stylized flame effect. The customization and versatility of Particular made it a very powerful tool to have at our disposal. Our Visual Development Artists painted the stylized effects which we wanted to bring to life in the 2D sequences, but not just in 2D, but also in stereoscopic 3D.** And since Particular, Form, and Horizon all work within a 3D environment, they were ideal for the look we wanted to achieve.

Flame example Kung Fu Panda 2 courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

** Check out Episode 59 of Red Giant TV to learn about using Trapcode Software to create Steroscopic 3D effects.

Learn more about Dreamworks animation HERE.


New QuickTip on Getting in Between Particles
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Thursday, August 4th, 2011

Ever wonder why you can’t put After Effects 3D layers in the middle of your Trapcode Particular particle system? They both use 3D space and react to the camera, yet the layers are either behind or in front of ALL the particle. It can be really frustrating, and can make a convincing composite impossible.

BUT DO NOT LOSE HOPE! In this QuickTip from Harry frank, he’ll explain what’s going on, and show you how to put a layer in between particles. Watch it HERE.

Also, there’s a Red Giant TV tutorial called “Better Compositing with Particles” that covers tackling the same problem, but in a very different way. Depending on your situation, you can use either of them.

Finally, if you’re ready to take on this challenge with lots of 3D layers – check out sParticular – an awesome script from which will give you real control over putting layers in your Trapcode Particular particle system.


Odds in Favor of Trapcode
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

With over fifteen years of postproduction experience to his credit, Compositor, Motion Graphics and Visual Effects Artist, Owain Street has lent his creative expertise to numerous commercials and title sequences for broadcast TV.

Since 2000, as a Designer and After Effects artist at, one of the UK’s most recognized post production and VFX houses, Owain has produced some stunning visual work using Trapcode Form and Particular. One commercial that really stood out for us is a 30 sec commercial for (an online bet comparison site). We asked Owain to tell us a bit more about the project.

Owain said, “The brief was to try to create a dynamic feeling sports sequence, communicate the idea of “odds” and clearly brand the commercial. I played around with a couple of ideas and then tried out using Trapcode Particular to re-create sports footage with odds and numbers. The client loved the concept & feel of the effect and ran with it”.

“One feature in Particular that made ‘Oddschecker’ possible, was the ability to use layers as particle emitters. Once I had mattes for the live action, I could use Particular to “describe” those live action elements as hundreds of particles. Also, the ability to use custom particles was essential – the sports people needed to be displayed as “odds” like 5/1 or whatever. In fact it was the ability to be able to do these two things that led to my initial concept of turning the sports people into odds in the first place. This is one of the great things about Particular – it allows the creation of a wide variety of effects. It feels like a design tool – a long way from a plug-in that has “one look”, its flexibility is one of its big strengths. As well as the ‘Oddschecker’ effect I have created snow, smoke, fairy dust and energy streams among other things and I’m sure there will be more to follow!”

Another commercial that we had to mention is one of a series made for De Montfort University. Each of the six 10 second commercials used Trapcode Particular and Form to some degree but this particular one is stands out from the others as it was created entirely with 3D Stroke.

It’s such an elegant piece of work we asked Owain why he chose Trapcode. He told us, “For me as a motion graphics designer / VFX artist Trapcode software is a fantastic addition to my tool set. They look great, they are relatively easy to use (3D stroke / Shine / Starglow), but in the case of Particular and Form have a lot more going on when you take the time to explore the various settings. For example, as well as the flexibility of Particular as I mentioned earlier I used Form in the De Montfort “Philippa” sequence to generate the “topography” she casts her hand over. This was done using greyscale images that I had created in Illustrator to drive the Fractal Strength parameter in specific areas of the Form image, all I then needed to do was keyframe the displacement amount, to animate the topography rising up from a flat surface to create the appearance of hills. It is this kind of looking “under-the-hood” that can lead to really nice, controllable effects.

You can check out the other 4 equally impressive commercials HERE.

Additional Links:


In a Tight Spot for the Coyotes
By Sarah Wise
Published on Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Promotions for sports need to be fast and one company that is keeping the pace is Flock of Pixels out of Phoenix, AZ.

Justin Katz established Flock of Pixels in 2008. Starting out in the business as a motion designer, he was soon taking on larger and larger roles and now is a talented Director, Animator, Producer and Art Director. At Flock of Pixels he is often asked to create broadcast quality spots with extremely limited time and budgets for television and web. It just so happened that one of their recent spots was for the Phoenix Coyotes NHL team and we were excited to find that this dynamic piece of editing used Trapcode Particular and Magic Bullet Colorista II, so we got in touch with Justin to tell us more.

“We had a script and hard drive full of photos delivered to us at 5:30pm on a Friday and were asked to have a full cut for sound design by Monday” Justin told us. “There wasn’t even a creative direction in place – they literally said “work your magic.” “Since the entire spot would be comprised of only still images we needed other elements to help bring further dimension to the Coyotes spot. I decided to approach the project so it would feel like everything was happening during a very brief moment in time by bringing the stills to life in ultra slow-mo.

“Since everything had to be done very fast, yet be consistent throughout, Particular was used for its speed and to help sell the effect of the super slow-motion photo-animation. In addition to the flakes of ice coming off of the skates, I layered elements of defocused dust/ice/confetti particles (made with Particular) at various depths to add dimension to the scenes and more interest. Most of the particles are the ‘cloudlet’ shapes (including the ice and dust) with the confetti being one of the few custom particles.

“We also used Colorista II to color balance and match each photo for a high contrast look/feel and to keep everything looking like they were shot at the same time.”

“I’ve been using Particular since around 2005 and it’s one of my go to tools – especially on very tight production schedules. It’s fast, gets the job done and lets you see results immediately. I had considered using stock elements for these effects, but in the end it was actually faster for me to create them with Particular than to search stock sites for the proper footage and then composite them in. This was also my first time trying to emulate super slow-motion with Particular – it’s physics time factor settings came in super handy.”

As with everything we do we wished we had more time on this project, but as my friend says “Things are never done, just due.”

You can see Flock of Pixels 2011 Showreel here:

Related Links:


Rain Gets Crafty with Primatte Keyer
By Sarah Wise
Published on Monday, June 13th, 2011

With their eclectic mix of clients, the creative people at Rain have a decidedly different way of thinking. This was the attraction for Provo Craft to commission them to create a promotional video for the Gypsy, their handheld design studio.

The video needed to showcase the benefits of the Gypsy in an exciting and entertaining way. Rain crafted a piece that takes the viewer through a typical busy day in the life of a Gypsy user. Using Red Giant’s Trapcode Particular and Primatte Keyer we asked Dave Nibley, creative director, to give us his thoughts on the capabilities of these powerful plug-ins.

“The concept of this piece relied on being able to keep the Gyspy device in a persistent place on-screen while the environment constantly changed and a set of hands interacted with the device. Primatte Keyer allowed us to effectively composite three separate layers of footage together to pull this off. It’s powerful, deep-reaching keying ability, combined with an intuitive UI, made the experience much easier than it could have been with other keying solutions.

Particular gave us the ability to quickly create a colorful, bubbly bookend animation that tied perfectly into the product’s branding and spoke very effectively to the crafter demographic.”

Rain is a digital agency based in Utah. You can see more of their stunning work here.

Follow Rain on Facebook here.



Need for Speed
By Sarah Wise
Published on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

COOKIE is UK motion designer, director & VFX artist James Andrew Cook, a senior motion designer for award-winning advertising agency Empire Design in London. Having worked with design, film and advertising agencies for over 15 years, he has built up an impressive portfolio.

His most recent work was on the movie trailer and TV adverts for ‘Senna,’ which won the 2011 World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival. ‘Senna’ tells the story of the late Formula 1 driver, Ayrton Senna, through archival footage of his life, on and off the racetrack. Trapcode Particular helped shape a fast-paced sequence that perfectly complemented a film devoted to speed.

“I’ve been using Trapcode plugins – my favourite is Particular – on practically a daily basis since I first discovered them back in 2004”, James told us. ”From subtle touches – drifting dust to add realism to a project, for example – to dramatic effects like bursts of light and sparks, I’ve always found that Trapcode plug-ins enable me to create new and exciting visual pieces.”

Check out more of James Andrew Cook’s work at:


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