Trapcode Form

Effects Chain in the Designer

The Effects Chain shows the building blocks that are being used for the current effect. There are 8 groups that correspond to the building block groups in the Blocks pane. The Particle, Disperse and Twist, and Spherical Field groups can contain more than one Block, while the others (Base Form, Shading, Fractal Field, Kaleidospace, and World Transform) can only have one Block at a time.

To create your Effects Chain, simply apply a preset, a Block or select a Block in the Effects Chain and adjust its properties in the Block controls area.
Note that thumbnails for Particle Blocks that contain Curve graphs visually change to reflect changes that you’ve made to them.


Left to right, the original Opacity Curve, and the Opacity Curve after an adjustment.


You can choose to start building your effect in the Form Designer or in the main Form plugin in After Effects’ Effect Controls panel. The changes you make in the plugin will carry over (or “roundtrip”) to and from the Designer.


Settings in the Designer


After roundtripping settings from Designer back to After Effects

Special Handling

There are a few instances where settings cannot be previewed in the Designer. In some cases, the Blocks causing the issue(s) will have little warning icons next to their names in the Effects Chain.

The Designer will attempt to preview what it can, making substitutes for the preview in some instances. Below is a list of the special handling the Designer will use to modify the preview of your settings. Note that your settings remain unchanged and will roundtrip to and from the Designer, even if the preview has been altered.

  • Layer Maps do not preview in the Designer. No warning is given in the Effects Chain.
  • Lighting from AE lights cannot be previewed in the Designer. This means that when Shading is enabled, the Designer might not be able to preview it accurately. No warning is given in the Effects Chain. The Designer can, however, preview Shadowlets.
  • 3D OBJ files loaded from the Timeline panel will not preview in the Designer. No warning is given in the Effects Chain. However, if custom OBJ files are loaded from the OBJ browser (or by clicking the Choose 3D MOdel/OBJ button in the Block controls area in the Designer), the OBJ files will preview correctly.