Trapcode Mir

Fractal group

The Fractal group controls the fractal noise pattern that is used to displace the mesh. The Fractal controls feature a four-dimensional Perlin noise fractal that generates a noise map in X, Y and Z directions and over time. The values from the field can be used to affect the size, shape and displacement of the mesh.

The Fractal group is used for creating organic flowing shapes, abstract designs, distortions and manipulations across the mesh. The fractal noise defines how the mesh will be distorted in 3D space. This creates a texture effect, kind of like the texture of crumpled paper.

 

 

NOTE: If you already know other Trapcode products like Form, then you will be immediately familiar with this parameter group, though many of the parameters differ from Form.

NOTE: For an excellent description of the complex world of Perlin noise fractals, read this Wikipedia entry. For further understanding how fractal noise works with the mesh, watch this tutorial by Harry Frank explaining the process in detail using Trapcode Form.

 

Fractal Type

The Fractal Type drop down menu allows you to choose select different types of fractals to use in Mir.

Regular: This is the default setting, and creates standard fractal noise.

Multi: Fractal noise made with Multi uses the previous octave of noise to decide how much influence the next octave gives. If there is a low value in the first octave (the lowest frequency noise layer), the higher octaves will not be added to the equation. Multi tends to make "valleys" more flat, and "mountains " more detailed.

SmoothRidge: This adds ridges with slightly smoothed edges to the fractal.

Multi SmoothRidge: This fractal type is a combination of Multi and SmoothRidge, with the smoother valleys of Multi and the ridges of SmoothRidge.

 

Amplitude

The amount of displacement set on the mesh. This controls the strength (displacement) of the Fractal's effect on the mesh; so the farther this number is from 0, the more displacement will occur on the surface of the plane. It is recommended to turn this to 0 when first adjusting the Geometry of the mesh.

 

Amplitude controls the amount of displacement the fractal gives effect to the mesh.

 

 

Frequency

The frequency of the fractal, or how many times the pattern is repeated on the surface. This could be looked at as 'scale' or 'detail'. Higher values create more detail in the fractal noise, since the pattern is scaled down and repeated more in the mesh.

 

 

Evolution

Changes the evolution of the fractal noise on the mesh by altering the fractal pattern from a different seed point. Evolution can be keyframed to animate the fractal evolving.

The fractal in Mir is a 4D noise fractal, so the evolution is just the 4th dimension and X, Y, Z are the first three dimensions. That means evolution acts similar to a random seed for the fractal, but unlike a random seed that normally cannot be animated, Evolution can be animated and results in a smooth shape-changing of the fractal.

Evolution corresponds exactly to the Offset X, Y, Z controls but moves the fractal in the 4th dimension rather than the first 3 spatial dimensions.

 

 

Offset X, Y, Z

Moves the fractal plane along one axis, X or Y or Z. Each Offset control moves the fractal pattern across the plane in different directions, depending on which axis is adjusted.

 

 

Scroll X, Y

This setting is similar to Offset X, Y, Z but this also moves the mesh a bit. When the mesh has moved to a full polygon, Scroll steps it back so an infinite scroll can be created.

While animating the Offset controls, you may notice that while the fractal noise moves through the plane, the actual vertices are not really moving. The Scroll controls move the vertices in the mesh and the fractal. The edges of the mesh may have a slight flickering appearance, so you may want to change the camera position or lighting to hide them in the composition. This is useful for shapes that keep moving across the screen and keyframing the Scroll Y control can create a 'Camera flyover' effect if MIR is set up like a landscape.

NOTE: You should choose to either animate Offset or Scroll. Animating both will lead to strange results. If using Scroll, the corresponding Offset should not be animated. If using Offset the corresponding Scroll should be kept at 0.

 

 

Complexity

Defines the number of noise layers that are used in the Perlin noise fractal. Complexity changes the look of the fractal quite a bit.

Turn the value down to create swirling, smoother patterns. Increase the value to get more detailed noise in the mesh. A high value generates more layers and more fine small detail, which creates a more detailed map. Keeping the Complexity set to a lower number will help speed up your render time, so try to keep this at a low value that gives you the detail that you want.

If the complexity is set high and the mesh's resolution is low, the mesh may not be able to represent the level of detail and may appear as if it is not changing. If that happens, go to the Geometry group and increase the X and Y Vertices. But remember, this will affect the speed and performance of Mir.

 

 

Oct Scale (Octave Scale)

Defines how scale is affected for each noise layer. Adjusting the Octave Scale setting will increase or decrease the scale of the fractal noise patterns and either hide or reveal more detail in the noise without changing the complexity or intensity. High values will increase and hide. Low values will decrease and reveal.

 

 

Oct Mult (Octave Multiplier)

Defines the impact a noise layer will have on the final map. This controls the relative intensity/brightness of subsequent iterations in the fractal noise pattern. Lower multipliers means tighter fractal noise grain, shifting detail from the fractal noise to a more visible area without changing complexity or scale of the fractal shape. A similar example may be reducing the Gaussian Blur on a Fractal Noise layer in After Effects. A high value can lead to more smooth bumps in the map.

 

 

Spiral

Twists the Mir mesh. Because of the amount of complexity possible with Mir, adding a spiral deformation can create unique results, such as simulating a swirling galaxy.

 

Bend X, Y

Bend the mesh post-fractal on X and Y axes. These Bend controls are similar to the Bend controls found under the Geometry group.

The Fractal Bend controls are calculated after the Geometry Bend controls. When using the Geometry Bend controls to create a cylinder, the edges can be matched seamlessly because only the mesh is being bent. The Fractal Bend controls will not create a seamless circle because they also bend the fractal noise.  Using both Bend controls in tangent can create some interesting rounded or vortex-like shapes when setting Mir up originally. The Fractal Bend controls will work even with the Amplitude set to 0.

 

Left to right, Bend X and Bend Y.

 

 

Smooth Normals

Some Mir settings might cause flickering, often caused by surface normals. Adjusting the Smooth Normals parameter reduce this flicker.

 

Amplitude Layer pop-up

Lets you use a custom layer to affect the fractal displacement. The displacement occurs using the grayscale information in the layer, with the pure whites being fully affected by the current Amplitude settings, the gray areas partially and the Black areas not at all. This can be useful when you want to keep certain areas of the plane fixed in certain positions, such as instances using text. The precomped layer can be animated as well.

 

 

A grayscale layer is selected to create the smooth round circle in the middle of this mesh.

 

Seamless Loop

Mir can be set to animate in a repeating cycle without noticeable jumps using the parameters in this section. Six parameters in the Fractal section may be looped when animated: Evolution, Offset X, Offset Y, Offset Z, Scroll X, and Scroll Y.

To create a seamless loop, set a keyframe for at least one of these six properties at the beginning of your composition or work area. Then move to one frame BEYOND the end of your composition or work area. Adjust the animated value(s) to set another keyframe. Then click the Set End Frame button next to the Loop Setup Helper.

Loop Setup Helper transfers the absolute values from the loopable animated properties and adjusts the Loop Evolution, Loop X, Loop Y, and Loop Z automatically. For instance, if you animated the Evolution property from 10 to 150, upon clicking the Set End Frame button, Mir would automatically place a value of 140 for you in the Loop Evolution property. You can also set these values manually.

NOTE: In order to avoid jumps in looping animations, it is important that the animated values have enough disparity between them. If you are experiencing jumps upon the loop after following the above instructions, try creating a larger gap between starting and ending values.

NOTE: Creating a loop for corresponding Offset and Scroll properties (e.g. Offset X and Scroll X) have the same apparent effect.

 

Z Range

The controls in the Z Range section can be used to place limits on the mesh in Z space. This can be helpful in creating effects like plateaus. These settings can also be helpful for controlling and adjusting the effect of the Amplitude Layer on the mesh.

The Z Range drop down menu specifies how the mesh will be reduced.

Unlimited: This is the default setting, and creates no limitations.

Limit: Cuts off the mesh on the Z axis with a hard edge.

Compress Squashes the whole mesh along the Z axis.

The Z Lift property adjusts the mesh along the Z axis. Note that Z Lift adjusts the mesh on the object axis, while the Position Z property (in the Geometry section of Mir) moves the mesh along the view axis.

 

Individual Amp & Freq

 

Amplitude X, Y, Z

Adjusts how much the Amplitude affects each direction. For example, set Amplitude X and Y to 0 to have the fractal only displace the mesh in the Z direction. The mesh can then be rotated to its side and it will appear as a height field, similar to a mountainous landscape.

Top left, Amplitude at 130 and Amplitude X at 130.

Top right, Amplitude at 130 and Amplitude Y at 130.

Below, Amplitude Z at 130 and Amplitude Z at 130.

Frequency X, Y, Z

Set the scale or the detail for each axis dimension. Adjusting the Frequency by X, Y and Z axis will allow you to compress or expand the detail of the Fractal in a specific direction. X moves horizontally or left to right, Y moves vertically or up and down, and Z moves front to back in the depth of the scene.