Trapcode Mir

Material & Lighting Group

The Material & Lighting group adjusts the properties for the mesh's material attributes, as well as how the lights in the scene affect it. Mir supports up to up to eight Point lights, and unlimited Ambient lights. If a Spot light is used, Mir will respond as if it were a Point light.

Color Swatch

Sets the color of the mesh. Lets you choose from a color selection onscreen, or from a pop-up color picker that appears when the color square is clicked upon. Whatever color is chosen will be reflected in the surface of the mesh.

Nudge Colors

Affects the colors at each vertex of the polygon. Can be used to liven up Flat shaded meshes when you have a very square or origami looking object. At low polygon meshes, the Nudge color can add some interesting texture and a slight gradient to the material when increased.

NOTE: Set the Specular settings to 0 and turn up the AE light for best results.

Left to right, Nudge Colors at 0 and 100.

Opacity

Sets the opacity of the mesh. We recommended lower settings more for the Density mode, when the Blend mode is set to Add, but it's best to keep at 100 for the Phong and Flat Shader modes unless you are trying to achieve an overall ghosted appearance with your mesh.

Ambient

Defines how much ambient light the mesh will reflect. Ambient light is a background light that is everywhere and radiates in all directions.

NOTE: Ambient needs to work with an Ambient light in the AE composition so remember to create at least one Ambient light in the comp when using this setting.

Diffuse

Diffuse is the non-directional component of shading, meaning that this determines how much the surface gives away light in all directions. The mesh reflects in every direction, no matter which direction you are viewing the mesh from. This does not tie into any particular light type, but instead affects all lights in the composition. High values make the light brighter while low values make the light duller. Matte surfaces typically have a large diffuse component.

Diffuse Softness

Sets the softness of the diffuse light. A setting of 100 is the default and creates a soft diffusion. A lower setting (of 20, for example) gives a sharp edge where the diffuse lights abruptly changes from completely on to completely off. Lower settings can be used to simulate the sharp diffuse reflection of the moon, or for cartoon-style looks, for example. Higher values than 100 can be set but have no known physical correspondence.

Note that this parameter will not be active if your Shader (under the Shader group below) is set to Density since the Density shader won't be visibly affected by Diffuse Softness. 

Specular Amount

Specular reflection is the mirror-like reflection of light from a surface, in which light from a single incoming direction is reflected into a single outgoing direction. When turned up the mesh texture appears more glossy like plastic or metal.  Turn the value to 0 and the mesh becomes matte and almost paper-like. High values make the mesh look more glossy.

You may need to lower the Diffuse value to allow the glimmer to come through. Specular Amount is sensitive to the position of the Point lights.

NOTE: Specular controls are only available in Phong or Flat Shader modes.

Left to right, Specular Amount set to low and high.

Specular Shininess

Defines how narrow or wide the specular reflection is. Low values create a very graphic effect. High values will affect the highlights. For example, glass may be very narrow and plastic slightly more wide.

Specular Shininess also lets you lower the sensitivity of Specular Amount so it's not as sensitive to the proximity of the light. High Sharpness values make the Amount more sensitive. Low Sharpness values make the Amount less sensitive.

Metal

Controls how the material transforms the color of the reflected light. If set to zero, the colors remain unaffected by the material, such as plastic materials or perfect mirrors. If set to 100 the incoming light will be completely transformed into the color of the material, which is an attribute of metallic surfaces. This setting affects both specular reflections from AE lights and IBL environment reflections.

Fresnel

Sets the amount that the material reflects more at sharper angles, so the more parallel the light rays are to the surface, the more it reflects. Many materials only (or mostly) reflect light in this way. This setting affects both specular reflections from AE lights and IBL environment reflections.

Diffuse Holdout

Increasing Diffuse Holdout will decrease diffuse light in areas where specular and reflected light are high. This can be useful when using texture maps (found in the Textures group), such as specular maps. The image below shows different settings for Diffuse Holdout for two different environments and with a checkered specular texture. 

Falloff pop-up

Decides if and how the light falls off with distance from the light source. The settings behave like After Effects’ new Falloff parameters. The light's layer property sets its light intensity. Light Falloff is what makes that light intensity fall away so that the parts of the mesh that are further from the light are less affected by the Shading. Basically, Falloff controls how light intensity varies with the distance from the surface to the light. Light Falloff only supports Point lights.

There are three Falloff modes:  

  • None: The default setting. It uses the default for AE's lights and does not fall off.
  • Smooth: Gives the user control over both the Radius and the Distance of the Falloff. The Radius controls is how wide of an area the light hits and the Distance is how far down on the surface the light will extend before fading off. The light is constant until Radius and then falls to zero at Distance. This mode gives more precise control of the Falloff.
  • Distance Squared: This is the natural equation for light falloff and the Radius parameter decides how far light reaches. If Falloff is set to the Distance Squared mode, then you can adjust the Radius of the light falling on the texture. Moving the point light in 3D space will help you achieve the desired lighting effects with proper falloff.

Top left to right, Falloff set to Off and Smooth.
Below, Falloff set to Distance Squared.

Light Radius

Sets how wide of an area the light hits from the light source. (Only for Smooth and Distance Squared modes)

Light Distance

Sets how far down on the surface the light will extend before fading off to 0. (Only for Smooth mode)

Image Based Lighting Group

This group allows for placing Mir scene in an environment specified by a spherical environment map. There are several built-in environments installed with Mir for convenience, but any spherical environment can be used to light the scene.

Built-in Environment

This pop-up menu allows you to choose from 8 HDRi maps that ship with Mir. These built-in environments work as HDR even if the project is set to 8bpc.

Expose Environment

Changes exposure for the environment (both reflection and diffuse). Increasing this value by one adds one stop of exposure. When making drastic changes to exposure, make sure the source is HDR and the project is in 32bpc mode. The built-in environments are HDR even if the project is set to 8bpc so they can be drastically re-exposed without going to 32 bpc. This setting may not work as expected when working in Linear Light, as increasing this value by one will not exactly equal a stop of exposure, but it will get brighter.

Rotate Environment

This rotates the environment (both reflection and diffuse) on the Y axis. This corresponds to panning the camera horizontally. This property can be helpful in compositing, as the brighter parts of the environment map can be rotated into an alternate position.

Note that this setting corresponds exactly to Trapcode Horizon’s setting Orientation > Y Rotation so they can be linked with an expression if desired. 

Reflection Environment Map

If Built-in Environment is set to None, you can choose a layer to use as a custom reflection map using this pop-up menu. Any image can be selected, but to make a correct environment map it should be a spherical map (also called a “lat/long map” or an “equirectangular map.” Note that a “sphere map” is something else).

Note that using a very large environment map uses a lot of space on the GPU.

Reflection Strength

Sets the intensity of the environment map reflection, for both built-in and custom environment maps.

Diffuse Environment Map

Allows you to select a layer to use as a diffuse environment map. This is a map that determines where diffuse light hits the object. The diffuse map can be constructed from the reflection map.

Diffuse Strength

Adjusts the intensity of the diffuse map. Higher Diffuse Strength values add more light to the places on the geometry where brighter values are mapped.

Reload Environment Every Frame

This toggle (which is on by default) loads each frame on to the GPU. Uncheck this box to leave the environment (both reflection and diffuse) on the GPU.

If the reflection map is big, this saves a lot of render time, but it may not be desired to hold on to all that memory if other GPU effects are used. Also, if the environment is a video, this box should be checked so each frame is reloaded.