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Multiple Forms take all of the power and complexities of Trapcode Form and multiply and compound them. The Designer allows a much easier and visual way to work with Multiple Forms, and also contains a wealth of Multiple Form presets to use. Individual Blocks for each component of each form can be quickly disabled or deleted. And, as creating a new form from the Form UI in After Effects launches the Designer anyway, the Designer should be thought of as a hub for both creating and adjusting Multiple Forms.
On the left side of the Effects Chain, there is a Forms area which displays all of the forms you are currently using. This area also gives you a great deal of power for creating and adjusting forms.
The Designer gives you several ways to add additional forms to your effect.
Method 1: The Add a Form Button
You can quickly add a new form by clicking the blue plus sign icon in the Forms area (on the left side of the Effects Chain in the Designer). This creates a new form somewhat similar to the default Form settings.
Method 2: Option/Alt+Clicking Single Form Presets
Another quick method to adding additional forms is by Option/Alt+Clicking any Single Form preset to add them as an additional Form within your form chain. Using this method you could potentially combine Multiple & Single Form presets!
The Form Pop-up Menu
You can click on the right side of a form selector (or right click anywhere on the form selector) to get a helpful pop-up menu. From this menu, you can choose to create a duplicate form. This creates a new form with the same settings.
To select the different forms in your project, click on the name of the form in the Forms area. Selected forms are white, while deselected forms are gray. When you select a form, its Blocks become brighter and full size, showing the thumbnail for the Block in the Effects Chain. Deselected forms have gray Blocks, and have their thumbnail temporarily hidden.
Top to bottom: with the Master Form selected, with Form 2 selected.
Working with Forms
From the forms pop-up menu (discussed above), and in other parts of the Effects Chain, you have a great deal of control over Multiple Forms.
To change the visibility of a form, you can click the eye icon next to the form selector in the Forms area of the Designer. A white eye icon indicates that a form is visible, while a gray eye icon with a slash through it indicates that the form is currently hidden.
The eye icons indicate that the Master Form and Form 3 are visible, while Form 2 is hidden.
When you have a form that is not visible, a message is displayed indicating that a form is hidden. To restore visibility to all forms, choose Unhide All Forms from the form selector pop-up menu.
It’s frequently helpful to see just one form at a time, or in other words to solo it. There are several ways to solo a form.
You can choose Solo Form from the form selector pop-up menu. When you only have one form visible, a message is displayed indicating that you have a form that is soloed.
Alternatively, you can also solo a form by holding the Alt/Opt key and clicking the eye icon to the left of the form selector.
Occasionally you might want to reset just one form back to the default settings for a particle form. Simply choose Reset Form from the form selector pop-up menu.
Note that this will reset to the defaults of that selected Form, NOT of the Master Form. This means that nothing will be inherited from the Master Form in the newly reset form.
You can delete a form in the Designer in one of three ways.
When you create an additional form, it creates a new form with the nearly the same default settings in Form. But for secondary forms (i.e. non-Master Forms), you can cause attributes to be inherited from the Master Form by deleting Blocks. We’ll look at exactly how to do this later on this page. But for now, let’s look at a very brief tutorial to understand how this works.
I’ve created a new simple particle form. It’s just a bunch of blue squares.
Now, I’m going to add another form. Notice the white Form particles over the top of my blue squares.
Now I’m going to go to the Blocks in the Effect Chain for Form 2, and I’m going to delete the Color Block (which we’ll look at how to do later).
By deleting the Color Block on Form 2, it tells Form to “inherit” this particular attribute (i.e. color) from the Master Form Block. Thus, it turns blue, using the Master Form’s color instead of its own color.
Understanding this idea of attribute inheritance is essential for getting the most out of using Multiple Forms and the following features on this page.
Disabling Form Blocks
For secondary forms (i.e. non-Master Forms), we can delete Blocks, or simply disable them. When we disable Blocks, Form gives us a chance to see what that Form Block would look like using inherited values instead of the values of that Block.
To see this, let’s go back to our previous example of a Master Form with big blue squares, and a newly created Form 2 with the default settings.
Now I’ll disable a Block. To disable a Block, click on the circle/slash icon in the upper right corner of a secondary form Block.
In this case, I’m going to disable the Particle Type Block on Form 2 (the one with the default Form settings). This will cause all other attributes to stay the same, except for Particle Type. By disabling this block, it will no longer use its own settings (that of sphere), and will use the Particle Type of the Master Form (which is Square in this case).
Remember that this is only temporary. To turn the Block back on, simply click the icon again. To permanently use the inherited values for a Block, delete it.
Deleting Form Blocks (trash can/block)
Deleting a Block from the Effects Chain of a secondary form will cause the settings for that Block to be inherited from the Master Form. You can delete a form Block in two ways.
If you have deleted the Block accidentally, you can immediately press Ctrl+Z/Cmd+Z to undo that action.
Adding New Form Blocks
When a secondary form is inheriting attributes from the Master Form, there will be a plus icon in lieu of a Block.
If you want a Block in a secondary form to become a proverbial “form adult” and make its own choices and have its own set of values, you can click the plus icon and choose a Block preset setting. This will create a new Block for the secondary form, which will function independently from the corresponding Block on the Master Form.
In the following example, the smaller squares are being generated from Form 2, a secondary form. As you can see here, Color is being inherited from the Master Form.
But if I click the plus icon in the Color Block area in the Effect Chain, the Blocks pane will open. When I select a new Block preset, it creates a new Color Block for Form 2, giving it its own color, independent of the Master Form settings.
Saving Form Presets
In the Presets in the Designer page, we looked at how to save your own presets by clicking the Save Multiple Forms preset button at the bottom of the Designer.
This handy button saves all of your forms and settings for later use by going to the Custom folder in the Multiple Form Presets tab of the Presets pane. But what if you don’t want to save all of your settings, just one form? To save just a single form, go to the form selector pop-up and choose Save Form Preset.
This will save a Single Form Preset for that form only. It will then be accessible for current and future projects in the Single Form Presets tab of the Presets pane.