Trapcode 3D Stroke

Overview

Trapcode 3D Stroke can either reference pre-existing paths within your project, or you can use preset shapes and paths existing within the plugin, and arrange them within a virtual 3D space, allowing you to rotate or move through them within 3D space.

It uses the path from one or more masks or a set of built-in SVG shape presets to render strokes that can be rotated and moved freely in 3D space. Below are the Trapcode 3D Stroke effect controls as they appear when the plug-in is applied in After Effects or Premiere.

  • Shape (Premiere only) allows you to load an SVG file for 3D Stroke to reference.
  • Path (AE only) allows you to select a mask within the current layer to reference as the shape used for your 3D Stroke; this parameter cannot be selected if Use All Paths is enabled.
  • Use All Paths  (AE only) is a toggle which enables 3D Stroke to refer to all of the paths available in the current layer the plug-in is applied to.
  • Presets contains an assortment of presets for you to utilize, you can preview these in the preset gallery.
  • Scale X and Scale Y (Premiere only) adjusts how much of the canvas you'd like your imported SVG file to occupy.
  • Stroke Sequentially a toggle which only works if Use All Paths above is checked. If checked, it means that the Start and End sliders below will affect the paths sequentially. This is handy for a "text reveal" effect.
  • Color affects the color of the stroke using a color swatch as a reference.
  • Thickness adjusts the width of the stroke. Note that, because your stroke can appear in 3D space, the thickness may appear to adjust depending on its distance from the camera.
  • Feather adjusts the softness between the stroke and its edges.
  • Start and End both adjust where the stroke's appearance starts and ends, percentage-wise, along the path(s) it's been mapped to.
  • Offset will offset the starting point, percentage-wise, from the Start point created from the parameter above. Note this can go above 100% to accommodate multiple paths or strokes within your project.
  • Loop toggles whether or not the stroke will loop back around the paths it's been mapped to when it's reached past the end point. Negative values for the Offset parameter above can reveal or hide the stroke when Loop is on.
  • Taper
    • Enable toggles whether tapering is turned on or off.
    • Compress to fit toggles whether your tapering adjustments will restrict themselves within the Start and End parameters set above.
    • Start and End Thickness determines the thickness at the Start or End of the stroke; 0 meaning the stroke tapers to a point, while a value of 1 would result in a rounded edge that approximates the stroke's width.
    • Taper Start and End controls where on the stroke the tapering begins on the Start or End points. 0 will result in the tapering beginning at the Start or End, where 100 begins more toward the midpoint.
    • Start and End Shape controls the shape of the tapering on the Start or End sides.
    • Step Adjust Method contains a dropdown of two choices, which affect the steps of your stroke-- steps being the individual points that the 3D stroke is generated upon. The Dynamic option means the step size is adjusted to lesser or greater values along your tapered stroke to give a precise falloff to zero without revealing any of the individual stamps; None means the step size is fixed, which can result in the appearance of individual steps/points.
  • Transform
    • Bend will bend your path around the Bend Axis set below. At 1.0 the path forms a half circle, 2.0 results in a full circle. It can be set up to 100 to create numerous looping strokes.
    • Bend Axis adjusts the center for rotation that dictates how the Bend parameter affects your 3D Stroke. When set to 0 it has no effect, at low Bend settings, this can offset the stroke a lot.
    • XY position controls where the center point is for your stroke; by default this is centered with the layer it's applied to.
    • Z Position controls the absolute distance of the stroke from the camera; negatives result in being closer to your camera, positive moves it away.
    • X, Y, Z Rotation sets the rotation of the strokes about their X, Y, and Z axes respectively.
    • Order controls the order of operations for the 3D Stroke. The default being Rotate, Translate -- which is useful when synchronizing with a 3D layer. Translate, Rotate is useful when offsetting the rotation center of the stroke.
  • Repeater
    • Enable toggles the repeater on or off, which allows access to the controls below.
    • Symmetric Doubler makes two symmetrical repetitions of the stroke(s) on opposing axes (ex. a value of 2 in the Instances parameter results in 4 repeated strokes)
    • Instances sets the number of repeated strokes that are generated.
    • Opacity adjusts the transparency that would remain for each repetition.
    • Scale sets the relative size of each repeated stroke. The default of 100 makes each repeated stroke the same size as the original; lower or higher values cause the repeated stroke to become exponentially larger or smaller than the original.
    • Factor adjusts the Displace and Rotate values set below. Use this to create exponential growth or decay for each repetition. A value larger than 1 will create growth, smaller than 1 creates decay.
    • X, Y, Z Displace controls the displacement in pixels on the X, Y, and Z axes for each instance.
    • X, Y, Z Rotate controls the rotation in degrees on the X, Y, and Z axes for each instance.
  • Advanced
    • Adjust Step: Since the stroke is made up of filled circles executed in steps, this will adjust the step length between the circles. Steps are calculated using the stroke Thickness and Feather settings, the value you set here is the percent of the calculated step length that will actually be used. This setting normally stays at 100, but in special situations it can be adjusted to produce a different result to your liking-- for example, if you find that you can actually see the circles of your stroke, try decreasing this value a bit to reduce that effect.
    • Exact Step Match toggles whether 3D Stroke calculates the length of the stroke, and then tries to find a step size so that the last circle is drawn exactly on the endpoint of the path (this can remove endpoint flickering that sometimes appears with animated paths).
    • Internal Opacity controls the opacity of the circle stamp used to draw the stroke. Lowering this can give a volumetric or unfocused appearance; it can also be used to increase feathering if set between 85-100.
    • Low Alpha Sat Boost will boost saturation in areas of low alpha. In order for this to have any effect, the Color parameter should have a desaturated color, and either Feather has to be close to 100 or Internal Opacity must be low.
    • Low Alpha Hue Rotation controls the change in hue within areas of low alpha. In order for this to have any effect, the Feather has to be close to 100, or Internal Opacity must be low.
    • Hi Alpha Bright Boost will boost brightness in areas of high alpha. This appears best when the Feather is close to 100, or Internal Opacity is low.
    • Animated Path is a toggle that, when checked, paths animate normally. If unchecked, they will only animate along with the Path Time parameter below.
    • Path Time sets the time for the path. This is useful if you have a path that takes up a number of shapes and would like to switch/morph between them freely.
  • Camera
    • Comp Camera (AE only) will enable whether you utilize the built-in composition camera or 3D Stroke's camera.
    • View contains a drop-down list of angles to view 3D Stroke from; this setting overwrites whichever camera controls you've currently set, and can be used to (temporarily) see the relationships between strokes in 3D space.An overhead view of what occurs during clipping.
    • Z Clip Front controls where the plane clips close to the camera.
    •  Z Clip Back sets the clipping distance far away from the camera.

      Note: Clipping can be inspected in the ortho views available in the View parameter above, and is typically used to make or give the appearance of intertwinings and intersections. Know that clipping only occurs in View space, which means you'll want to take care when moving the camera.
    • Start Fade, when set to a value lower than the Z Clip Back parameter above, affects the position wherein the stroke fades out in opacity.
    • Auto Orient toggles whether 3D Stroke's camera always points to the center, regardless of its position. Note that this cannot be interacted with if Comp Camera is enabled, and that this setting is still affected by the Rotation settings below (allowing you to do things like always orient the camera 30 degrees left of the center). Typically Rotation parameters are left at 0 when using Auto Orient.
    • XY Position and Z Position both determine 3D Stroke's built-in camera position along its X, Y, and Z axes respectively.
    • Zoom sets 3D Stroke's built-in camera's zoom and therefore its Field of View.
    • XY, and Z Rotation affects the camera's rotation around its X, Y, and Z axes.
  • Motion Blur
    • Motion Blur contains a drop-down selection for whether you want motion blur OffOn, or Comp Setting (AE only): If On is selected, you can then use the controls below to adjust the shutter.
    • Shutter Angle controls how long the virtual shutter stays open to capture one frame; 360 would mean it's open the entire duration of the frame, while 180 means it's open for half the duration. The maximum value is 720, allowing you to go up to twice the frame time, resulting in exaggerated motion trails.
    • Shutter Phase controls when the shutter opens, 0 meaning the start of the frame. If this is set to negatives while using the Comp Camera toggle above, then your camera layer needs to start one frame before the layer that 3D Stroke is applied to.
    • Levels sets the number of samples generated per frame for the motion blur. Higher values create a smoother blur, but can result in longer render times. If the stroke movement is very fast, this value should be high so you get smooth images. If movement is slow, this should be set low (or set Motion Blur to Off) to reduce render times. Keyframing this can help optimize performance.
    • Opacity sets how transparent the stroke appears.
    • Transfer Mode contains a drop-down with standard options for how the 3D Stroke blends over whatever it's been stacked upon or is currently in front of within 3D space.