Trapcode Tao

Path Generator Group

Tao creates geometry along paths, and gives you several options for that path. The Path Generator group creates a path for you.


The Generate Path checkbox creates a path for you to use in one of three shapes: circle, line, or fractal. This option is on by default, so if you would like to use another method to create a path (such as with a mask or a path from a light), you may want to turn this option off.

Shape pop-up menu:

  • Circle: creates geometry around a circular path.
  • Line: creates geometry along a line.
  • Fractal: creates geometry along a path that is distorted by a fractal displacement.


The Size property controls the size of the path, and therefore the overall size of the structure when the Shape pop-up menu is set to either Circle or Fractal. This value is relative to the height of the composition. With Size set to 50 for example, Tao will be 50% of the comp height. Note that fractal displacement allows geometry to go beyond this value, but the bulk of the geometry will still exist in that range.

NOTE: This is not to be confused with the Size parameter in the Segment group, which controls the size of the pieces of geometry along the path.

The Center value controls the center of the path when the Shape pop-up menu is set to either Circle or Fractal.

Rotate X, Y, Z Rotates the mesh around the X, Y and Z axis. This does a 3D rotation that is processed before the transformations in the Repeater and World Transform groups, so these properties only rotate the original path, not the whole world.

  • Rotate X: Rotate forward or backwards around the X axis.
  • Rotate Y: Rotate to the left or right around the Y axis.
  • Rotate Z: Rotate around the Z axis.

When the Shape pop-up menu is set to Line, the path becomes a line drawn from Line Point 1 to Line Point 2, both of which have their own X, Y, and Z position coordinates.   When the Shape pop-up menu is set to Fractal, the displaced path it creates can be adjusted by the following fractal properties.  

  • Fractal Closed Path: connects the starting point to the end point, so that it becomes a closed path.
  • Fractal Length: adjusts the length of the entire path. At higher values, the length of the path might exceed the amount of geometry, causing this property to have no apparent effect. In this case, the Segments value (in the Segment group) needs to be increased to correctly see the entire path.
  • Fractal Complexity: sets the number of noise octaves used to create the path. Higher values leads to smaller details in the path deformation.
  • Fractal Evolution: used to evolve the fractal. This property is typically animated over time when used.
  • Fractal Evolution Loop: used to create a seamless loop in the fractal deformation of the path. With the Fractal Evolution value animated over time, set the Fractal Evolution Loop value to the end value of Fractal Evolution. For instance, if you set a keyframe for Fractal Evolution at frame zero with a value of zero, and then at the last frame of the animation, you set the value to 4.0, then setting Fractal Evolution Loop to 4 will create a seamless loop. Note that the Fractal Evolution Loop value does not need to be animated.
  • Fractal Evolution Offset: Once a seamless loop has been set up, the Fractal Evolution value can no longer be changed. So you can use the Fractal Evolution Offset value to evolve the fractal without causing problems to the seamless loop.

Gridify will constrain path deformations to happen only along the X, Y, and Z axis, creating a grid-like structure.


Enable tapered edges by turning on the Taper Size checkbox. Selecting this options also enables other parameters for adjusting the taper.


Start Path specifies (in percentage) where the geometry begins along the path.

End Path specifies (in percentage) where the geometry ends along the path.

Start Taper determines (in percentage) where the starting taper ends, and the geometry is its normal size.

End Taper determines (in percentage) where the ending taper begins.