Trapcode Form

Using Presets

Trapcode Form contains a wealth of expertly designed presets. These can be used as-is, slightly customized, or as starting points for something completely different. Browsing these presets can also be a great way to discover what this incredible tool is capable of.

Presets in the Designer

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Presets in Trapcode Form are accessed through the Presets pane on the left side of the Designer. For more information on the Presets pane, check out the Presets in the Designer page.

These presets are broken up into 8 different categories. A 9th category is created for you when you save your own custom presets.

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  • Basics: These presets contain simple adjustments to Form. They are great jumping off points for more complex forms, or for learning the basics of Form.
  • Bokeh: Bokeh is the term used to describe out of focus highlights in photos and videos. These presets all recreate this beautiful effect.
  • Fractals: These presets all feature Fractal Field distortion.
  • Geometry: These presets all use 3D OBJ models as the Base Form.
  • Landscape: These presets use Form to simulate traversing a virtual landscape, like you might see in a flight simulator.
  • Lines: These presets all use Box - Strings as the Base Form.
  • Shape Grids: The Shape Grid presets all use the Base Form Box - Grid, and also use some version of sprites as the Particle Type. Sprite presets are discussed later on this page.
  • Spin Dots: These presets all use Twist, Fractal Field distortion, and the Glow Sphere Particle Type to create beautiful shapes and patterns.
  • Custom: This category contains all of the custom presets that you’ve saved. Note that this category will not be created until you’ve saved a custom preset.

Other Presets

The presets in the Presets pane of the Designer are for your entire Form object. But there are also other presets for other components of Form. These make faster and more convenient to create popular looks, as well as to see what is possible with Trapcode Form.

Blocks Pane Presets

The Blocks pane contains presets for each component in the Effects Chain.

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OBJ Presets

Form also includes many 3D OBJ files to use as your Base Form. When you select OBJ Model as your Base Form, the Choose OBJ button will become active (both in the Designer and in the Form UI in After Effects).

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Left to right, the Choose OBJ button in the Designer and in the Form UI.

This opens the OBJ window, which contains a collection of 3D object presets for you to use. These OBJ files are organized into 2 categories, with an optional 3rd Custom category created for you when you import a new OBJ using the Add New Obj button in the OBJ window.

  • Geometry: This contains almost 50 different 3D objects for you to use, most of which being 3D primitives and geometric shapes.
  • PixelLab Objects: Containing such 3D objects as weapons, a car, and a spaceship, these 3D objects tend to represent real world objects more than the OBJs in the Geometry category.
  • Custom: When you use the Add New Obj button in the OBJ window to import new 3D files, a new Custom category is created for you. These files will then be accessible to you in all of your projects.

Creating Your Own OBJ Presets

Note that importing OBJ files into this OBJ window (as opposed to importing via the After Effects Project panel) is the best way to import OBJ files. These OBJ files can be viewed in the Designer, while those imported through the Project panel cannot. Simply click the Add New Obj button in the upper right corner of the OBJ window to import a custom OBJ file for current and future use.

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Sprite Presets

When selecting any of the Sprite or Textured Polygon options as your Particle Type (either in the Form UI or in the Designer), the Choose Sprite button will become available.

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Left to right, the Choose Sprite button in the Designer and in the Form UI.

The Choose Sprite button opens a veritable treasure trove of graphic elements to use as particles for Form.

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There are hundreds of sprite presets, organized into 11 categories, with an optional 12th category for your custom sprites, should you import your own.

  • 2D Shapes: these are flat, two-dimensional shapes that contain a single color.
  • 3D Geometric Shapes: 3D objects, many of which are animated.
  • Bokeh: Actual images of bokeh to create beautiful and organic highlights.
  • Dust and Debris: These elements are great for randomness and chaos, containing rotating shards of glass and tumbling rocks.
  • Holiday: Contains a collection of 3D holiday ornaments, and even a peppermint candy, which is great after dinner all year around.
  • Light and Magic: This group of sprites has flares, streaks, lens elements, and more. Great for creating organic light effects.
  • Organic Matter: Contains natural elements like leaves and cells.
  • Smoke and Fire: Contains some impressive fire and smoke elements for creating organic effects with Form.
  • Streak Brushes: Contain Streaklet-like brushes as an alternative way to create the Streaklet effect.
  • Symbols: These 2D symbols, numbers, and shapes are great for creating techy or interface elements.
  • Water and Snow: Contains realistic sprites of bubbles, clouds, snowflakes, and various water droplets.
  • Custom: This category contains sprites that you’ve imported. Note that this category only exists after you’ve imported your own custom sprite.

Creating Your Own Sprite Presets

Simply click the Add New Sprite button in the upper right corner of the Sprites window to import a file to use as a sprite, for current and future use.

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