Posts Tagged ‘Trapcode’
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Visual Effects for a Sucky Teen Film
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Thursday, May 12th, 2011

In a previous blog post we talked about the film, “My Sucky Teen Romance,” directed by 18-year-old Emily Hagins, and how we got to be a part of the process. In this Blog entry, we’ll explore the visual effects of the film. Brian Behm was the VFX supervisor, and he broke down several of the VFX shots he worked on, in the film. In his words:


Arm Reflection Removal

We discovered (after the fact) that the aviator glasses our evil vampire was wearing were reflecting the sound guys arm in some of the shots. We had to figure out a way to remove them while not making them completely black. Using the keyer in Colorista II’s secondary correction, I was able to take the sound guys arm color and bring it back to a color that more closely matched the nearby areas in the reflection. Then, I manually tracked the lens area of his glasses and used them as a track matte on a solid that brought the overall levels on his glasses down. Then the shot was handed over to our colorist.

You can see in the video how the color pass wasn’t able to eliminate the reflection but with the darkening and Colorista II pass we were able to mostly eliminate it.


Pimple Removal

During re-shoots or lead actress got a pimple at the edge of her nose that wasn’t there during principal photography. Using the wire/rig remover that comes with Key Correct I was able to blend it away. One of the key distinctions between the wire/rig removal filter that comes with After Effects and the one built into Key Correct is the ability to feather out the edges of the two point line the rig creates. This made blending away the pimple much easier since it was in a conspicuous place and I needed it to be seamless.



Emily’s movie takes place amidst a group of high school kids who go off to a science fiction convention for the weekend. We wanted to create a title sequence that allowed us to get into the kids heads a bit, conveying some of the energy that’s there and hinting at some of the things we might see throughout the rest of the movie. We mined public domain horror movies for imagery they might have seen growing up and created looping 8-bit animated pieces that we composited together in Final Cut. The secondary color corrector built into Colorista II came in really handy. Using the hue dial I could dial in what I actually wanted the color to be after I applied my blend mode.

Over the course of the opening sequence there are close to 100 instances of Colorista applied. Each cut would have a Colorista II instance on both the background and text layer so that we could dial in the specific color of each while keeping our blend modes the way they needed to be so that we could get the layer interaction that we wanted to get.

If you look closely in some of the animated loops you’ll see that I was able to use some of Harry Frank’s Video Rock pieces to help create my 8-bit kaleidoscopes.


Vampire Vision

After a first screening of an early draft of the film, it was suggested to Emily, the director, that we should somehow show what the heightened senses of a hungry vampire might look like. She came up with the idea that when a vampire senses blood they can home in on artery and actually ‘see’ it. I took our original clip into Mocha and set up a track that followed along with the camera movement and then using transfer modes in After Effects and an anatomical image purchased from an on-line stock agency created a see-through look.

To create the veins we used multiple instances of Trapcode 3D stroke and bevel filters. Because 3D stroke generates its lines from masks, I was able to animate my bezier paths over time to create the illusion of blood pulsing. After the first draft, we decided that since vampires eyes ‘go red’ in our universe when they’re ready to feed that that should be carried over to the shot as well. We took our first effects pass and dropped it into a new composition and created a duplicate layer. On the duplicate layer we went into Magic Bullet Looks and created a pretty extreme look with soft focus on the edges, accentuated blacks and diffusion. We then faded between the original and the final to make it seem like his vision was ramping up.


Vince’s Death

Click Me

Vince’s death had been shot practically on set but I was presented with a request to change the tip of our practical stake to a sharp stake and make it look like it was actually going into Vince’s body. Using various pieces of stock blood footage I was able to create a rather grizzly death look, but Colorista II again, helped me get to the point where I felt everything was blending together. If you look at the image to the left (click it for an enlarged view) you’ll see that the blood coming out of our practical appliance is multi-toned.

Using Colorista II’s color keyer, I took all of the reds in the blood and lowered the brightness and midtones until they blended more evenly.

Additional applications of Colorista to each of the blood layers that we composited together and a final adjustment layer to blend all of the blood together with one more instance of Colorista got the shot to where I wanted it to be.

On working with Red Giant, Emily (the director) had this to say:

“Red Giant was instrumental to to completion of MY SUCKY TEEN ROMANCE. They donated software that we used to pay our visual effects team, which helped us during crunch time before we premiered at SXSW. Between the personal contact with the company and the professionalism of the products, I would recommend Red Giant software to productions of any scale.”


QuickTip: Emit a paragraph From a Moving After Effects Layer
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Red Giant QuickTip #44: Creating a Rocket Ship Trail of Letters

In this QuickTip, Harry Frank guides you through the set-up and expressions required to emit a paragraph of letters from a moving After Effects layer.

Buy Trapcode Particular HERE.



Chris West – Particle Man
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

It was inevitable that someone would create a Trapcode Particular Reel and put it to They Might Be Giant’s song Particle man (They are my favorite band, btw), but even without the soundtrack, this Particular Reel from Chris West is awesome.

We asked Chris what possessed him to make a reel highlighting just his Trapcode Particular work, and he said:

“I’ve wanted to put together a Particular reel for the past several months due to a high volume of producers asking  for examples of projects I’ve worked on using Particular. I was finally pushed to cut the reel when a friend of mine put my Particular skills in question. I challenged to him to a Particle battle and served him the next day with my reel.

I’ve been using particular for several years now. The first few times I used it for some sparkles and fairy dust effects. I then started to realized how powerful and robust Particular was.  From adding simple dust and atmosphere into a scene to wild vfx Particular has seemingly endless possibilities. Particular is an essential for any serious After Effects artist.

That’s some serious love for Particular, and some seriously cool work to boot.

Think you can top that? Post links to your best Trapcode Particular work in the comments below, and we may feature it here in the blog!


New Tutorial: Create Storybook Lighting in After Effects
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Red Giant QuickTip #39: Fairytale Lighting in After Effects

In this tutorial Harry Frank demonstrates how to take a regular, run-of-the-mill shot and turn it into something beautiful and moody, straight out of a fairy tale. You’ll learn how to set up a down-and-dirty 3D track,  add volumetric light and dust to a live action shot, and then finish it with some simulated camera lens blur.

Related Links:


Trapcode Particular gets Between Bears
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Between Bears – Eran Hilleli

We recently noted that Eran Hilleli won the Best Animation Vimeo Festival Award (2010) for his work on “Between Bears.” In his post, Eran mentioned that he used Trapcode Particular for part of this project, so we asked him if he could break it down a little more to explain where and how it was used:

“I used Trapcode Particular and Trapcode Form three times throughout my project. First, at the beginning, where the bear is shaving his hand. All of the flying and falling triangles were made with Trapcode. Also later in the film [3:41 - 3:49], when diving down toward the white bear there is a splash of Trapcode. The last tiny bit is when all the pointy headed dwarves are walking, you can see tiny specs which were made with Trapcode [2:27].”


This project was Eran Hilleli’s graduation film at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. Since graduating, Eran has picked up various freelance gigs and tries his best to carve out some time to continue his own creative projects. See more of his great work at

Original music composed by Ori Avni
Performed by Ori Avni and Daniela Spector


Vid-Atlantic: From Snoop Dogg to Hardware
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Monday, March 7th, 2011

“We had to revise the video after the color grade was delivered and drop in new big chunks of video segment that the colorist never touched. The colorist used Resolve and we used Looks to match those new segments without skipping a beat!”

If you’ve been following us on twitter or have been keeping up with the blog, you may have caught that we’re making a short film. In his search for some gear for the shoot, our director Seth Worley, pointed out this video of an as of yet unreleased Lens Filter from Vid-Atlantic Media Production that can give a standard DSLR lens some of the qualities of an anamorphic lens.

From the guys at Vid-Atlantic: “What it does is mimic characteristics of anamorphic lenses such as the flare or streak and vertically stretched bokeh. It’s very easy to use and allows you to rack focus your photo lens like normal. This is a HUGE plus as shooting with real anamorphic attachments requires you to focus both the anamorphic lens and the photographic lens, making run and gun shooting pretty much impossible.”

I did some research, and it turns out that they are primarily in the business of shooting music videos and promotional content for electronic artists and DJs – not primarily in the business of hardware. In fact, In 2009, Vid-Atlantic won the highest honor for a music video, a coveted MTV VMA Moon-man for Best Dance Video. Below is their music video demo reel:

About the video, Eddie Enciu, from Vid-Atlantic said: “We’ve used many products in the past from apples color to even recently the resolve, but we’ve settled on Colorista II and Magic Bullet Looks as our drugs of choice now. I’ve used Magic Bullet since 2004. 75% or more of that video had either Magic Bullet Looks or Trapcode Starglow. Lately I’ve been using the Magic Bullet Denoiser since losing a few f-stops when shooting with our CineMorph filter, and our partner team and us are experimenting making a music video mainly using sound keys.”

Their videos are all airing globally on music video networks including MTV, mainly doing work for Spinnin Records and Vicious Records for their US based superstar Producer/DJ Ian Carey. They just wrapped the latest video with Snoop Dogg, using, among other things, Magic Bullet Looks to help create the color and mood. In fact, while some shots were graded with Davinci (with Looks added for even more mood), Eddie tells me: “We had to revise the video after the color grade was delivered and drop in new big chunks of video segment that the colorist never touched. The colorist used Resolve and we used Looks to match those new segments without skipping a beat!”

Trapcode Form, Echospace and 3D Stroke were also used for the high-paced motion graphics seen in the video below.

So, how do a bunch of Music Video guys got into selling hardware?

“Our products are simply a spin-off from all of our experimenting on music videos and other productions. We’ve had to build our own products and later we get bombarded with requests to have them made for others who want to use similar tools. We developed a small 35mm adapter years ago before DSLRs but now it has become popular as we were the first to mount SLR lens on the iPhone 4 via the OWLE bubo. The clamps came about from our frustration of anamoprhic lenses never being able to mount correctly. And now the CineMorph filter has also come about because of the inability to rack focus and shoot run n gun using real anamorphic lens combos. It was really meant as a companion to real anamorphic shooting but for those selective focusing type shots. Everyone has gotten used to the same ol’ spherical look of DSLRs so anamorphics are making a comeback and interest is growing.”

Check out the Vid-Atlantic Media Production website to learn more.



New QuickTip on Creating 3D Kaleidoscopic Effects
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Red Giant QuickTip #35: Kaleidoscopic Effects with Trapcode Form

In this QuickTip, Aharon Rabinowitz explores the Kaleidospace features of Trapcode Form to create 3D mirrored kaleidoscopic effects.

If you liked this tutorial, check out my popular Trapcode Form City tutorial.

Buy Trapcode Form HERE.



New QuickTip from Wes Ball: Trapcode Particular Lightning
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Author’s note: This post is a combo of both a user story and tutorial. Check out the visuals, and then watch the tutorial at the bottom… it’s worth it.

Recently, I was checking out Vimeo, and I found this amazing Lovett music video, called Eye of the Storm, that is a beautiful blend of both live-action and CGI:

Personally, I’ve never been into the Steam-punk thing, but this is such a great piece of visual storytelling with a great soundtrack, it’s quickly become one of my favorite pieces produced in recent time.

I watched this fantastic “Making Of” video and caught that one of our customers, Wes Ball, of OddBall Animation, headed up the visual Effects.

Trapcode Suite Products used were: Particular, 3D stroke, Starglow, and Shine for atmosphere.

Wes told me he did the lightning with Trapcode Particular and 3D stroke, so I asked him if he would do a QuickTip on that. He was kind enough to oblige, and here it is:

Red Giant QuickTip #33: Particular Lightning Bolt

Wes has taught at fxphd, and if you check out the OddBall Animation website, you’ll find a lot of his company’s work, including some amazing 3D shots Wes is working on for personal projects, as well as a fantastic roto reel. Definitely worth checking out!

I asked Wes, why he uses Red Giant’s products and he said: “The short and sweet answer; Red Giant gets us to final faster.”

Personally, I can’t think of a better reason.



Showing Great Form – 1.1.1 Update Available Now!
By Andrew Cheyne
Published on Monday, February 14th, 2011


Announcing Trapcode From 1.1.1 :

This update to Form fixes several issues, including:

  • Loading older projects or using presets caused ram-preview, undo, and orthographic views to have problems.
  • Odd moire patterns in dense particle grids.

As always, you can find updates for all of our products here:

IMPORTANT: This fixes bugs found only in the CS5 version of Trapcode Form. If you are using Form in CS4 or older, you do not need to download this update.


New FREE Trapcode Presets from Mattias Peresini
By Aharon Rabinowitz
Published on Thursday, February 10th, 2011

Mattias Peresini, AKA Mattrunks has been at it again, creating some brilliant FREE Red Giant People presets for Trapcode products.

Cell Shading Experiment

Download it HERE from Red Giant People. 

Particles on Erlend

Download it HERE from Red Giant People.


Download it HERE from Red Giant People.


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