Trapcode Starglow

Main Controls

Starglow has the following main controls:



Select a preset from the top of the plugin controls. In the list of presets, the first section (Red, Green, Blue) are simple star shapes that use only one color map. The next section is a set of shapes, all with white color. The next section is a set of prisms. Then follows a set of colorful star shapes. When a preset is selected, the image will update. If you change any of the controls in the preset (Individual Lengths, Individual Colors and Colormaps), the preset pop-up will flip back to the "Current Settings" state.

See a full list of presets here.

Input Channel

Use the menu to base the effect on Lightness, Luminance, Red, Green, Blue or Alpha channels in the source layer or clip.

Streak Length

This controls acts as a master slider for streak lengths in all directions. Larger values show very long streaks, while smaller values yield more of a subtle glow.

Boost Light

The Boost Light slider controls the brightness of the streaks to make them look more pronounced.

Individual Lengths

This group of controls let you set the individual lengths of the glow in eight cardinal directions like points on a star or compass. The directions are: Up, Down, Left, Right, Up Left, Up Right, Down Left, and Down Right. This image shows the interface control for Individual Lengths in After Effects.

Individual Colors

This group of controls let you set the individual color maps that are used for each of the glow directions. There are three choices for each direction: Color Map A, Color Map B, and Color Map C. The actual colors for the direction are controlled in the following section: Colormap.

Color Maps

There are three Colormap groups, and each contains controls to set the coloring of the glow effect for a particular direction.

The Preset pop-up offers both color set presets and a choice of using one-color, three-color, or five-color gradients.

One Color
- With this setting, one single color can be picked, and the map is made up of a single color.

3-Color Gradient - With this setting, three colors can be chosen: Highlights, Midtones and Shadows.

5-Color Gradient - With this setting, all five colors can be used: Highlights, Mid High, Midtones, Mid Low, and Shadows.

The 3-Color Gradient presets offer greater color diversity. When one of the presets is selected, the three colors are updated (Highlights, Midtones and Shadows). The colors can be tweaked to your taste.


The Shimmer group contains controls to make the light "shimmer."This means that the ray length is modulated by an animatable fractal so that the rays seem to move in and out and sideways.


This control sets the bias of the shimmer against the glow without shimmer. When the Amount is set to 0, no shimmer is generated, no matter what the other control values are in the Shimmer section.


The detail control sets how fine the shimmer detail appears--higher values will generate thinner lines.

Phase and Loops

Phase controls the phase of the shimmer. Animating this makes shimmering move randomly. To make a seamless loop, check the Use Loop checkbox and set Revolutions in Loop to the desired amount.

For example: if the loop should be 4 seconds long and consist of two whole phase revolutions, then set two keyframes for Phase, one with value 0 (zero) at time 0 (zero). Then set one with value 2 at time 4 seconds. Make sure the last frame (the one at 4 seconds) is not included in the loop. If this was included, there would be two identical frames following each other. Set Revolutions in Loop to 2.

With extremely high Amount (>1000) and high Detail values (>200) you can generate spiky or cloth-like patterns of lines as shown below.

Transfer Modes and Opacity

Starglow offers controls for compositing the glow into the source image using Source Opacity, Starglow Opacity and a Transfer Mode pop-up menu.

Transfer Modes

Starglow output can be composited with the original image using a subset of After Effects' built-in transfer modes. By default, Transfer Mode is set to Screen, which brightens the darker colors in the output while preserving brights. Starglow offers the following modes: None, Normal, Add, Multiply, Overlay, Soft Light, Hard Light, Color Dodge, Color Burn, Darken, Lighten, Difference, Exclusion, Hue, Saturation, Color and Luminosity.

Source Opacity

Source Opacity sets the opacity (the opposite of transparency) of the source. The default value of 100 uses the full brightness of the original source.

Starglow Opacity

Starglow Opacity controls the opacity of the entire glow effect. A setting of zero will result in no glow at all; a setting of 100 will yield the maximum glow effect.