Trapcode Form

What is Trapcode Form?

Words dissolve into sand, a logo catches on fire, and now 3D sequences explode into particles. Form 3 keeps the beautiful organic shapes that you love while adding a Designer for quickly and easily creating complex Form objects. Form is useful for creating a wide range of effects such as organic flowing patterns, complex geometric 3D structures, audio-driven animations, fire-like animations and 3D grid structures.

Give your base form endless 3D possibilities by importing OBJ models, OBJ sequences or starting with our professionally designed presets. Supercharge the form with popular Particular features like Textured Polygon particles and Shading for AE lights. Form 2 has tools that work for the high-end motion designer, the professional VFX compositor and every artist in between. With its reorganized interface and better integration into After Effects, Form has grown alongside your creative needs.


Quickstart for Form 3

Form is a grid-based 3D particle system where the particles have eternal life. The particles do not get born, live and die like in a regular particle system. Instead they exist and can be affected by a number of different maps and fields that make them move around and animate over certain properties.
It is easy to get started with Form 3. Choose a preset in the Designer to start playing with the settings, and moving about your new form in 3D space.
Or, if you’d like to start from scratch making something beautiful, try this brief tutorial.

  • 1. Launch After Effects.
  • 2. Create a new composition (Ctrl/Cmd-N).
  • 3. Create new comp-sized Solid layer (Ctrl/Cmd-Y). This solid should never be moved from center to move the form around. Instead, use the controls inside the effect.
  • 4. Apply Effects > RG Trapcode > Form to the solid.

5. Go to the Base Form section at the top of the Form interface in the Effect Controls panel. The Base Form is the structure that arranges the particles. Let’s make it a bit smaller. Take the Size XYZ value down to 300. This keeps the particles the same size, but reduces the size of the overall structure.


6. Close the Base Form section, and open the Particle section. This area controls the look of the actual particles themselves. In the Particle Group, find the Color property. Click the color swatch next to the Color property to open the color picker, and choose a color for your particles. I chose a bluish color with RGB values of 50, 150, 250.


7. Next, let’s make this look interesting. Close up the Particle Group and open up the Fractal Field Group. This allows us to use a fractal noise pattern to distort the shape of our form. That probably sounds pretty technical, but essentially this just moves some particles one way and other particles in a different way, creating beautiful patterns. In the Fractal Field Group, try taking the Displace value to 100. Now we’re getting somewhere!


8. Finally, let’s polish this up a little. I don’t want to see all of the little particles so much. I want this to feel a little more like a solid mesh. The way that we fix this is to add more particles. So close up the Fractal Field Group, and reopen the Base Form Group. This is where we control the number of particles in our form structure. Increase both the Particles in X and Particles in Y values to 200.

And because the Fractal Field evolves over time by default, click the spacebar on your keyboard to preview your animation. This is looking pretty great, and it only took a few steps. What would it look like if you adjusted the particles with settings from the Particle Group? What if the particles were larger? What if you experimented with the Opacity, or the Opacity Randomness? Keep learning about Form and playing with it to see what kind of magic you can create.