Trapcode Tao

Segment Group

The Segment group defines the type, size, shape and position of geometry that makes up the path.

segmentgroup_ui

Segment Mode The Segment Mode pop-up menu determines how the geometry is spread along the path.

  • Extrude N-gon: Extrudes a single instance of the geometry along the path. This option uses the Segments value to determine how many segments the path will have. Increase this value for a smoother path.
  • Repeat N-gon: Uses multiple instances of N-gon geometry along the path. This option uses the Segments value to determine how many instances of the geometry will be created.
  • Repeat Sphere: Like the Repeat N-gon option, but creates spheres instead of N-gons. Note that these spheres can be very low poly or smooth, based on the value chosen by the Sides property.

The Segments parameter controls the number of segments/N-gons/spheres along the path, based on the selection in the Segment Mode pop-up menu. Be aware that the Segments value affects the render time, so keep this value at the lowest acceptable level.

The Sides property determines the polygon count of the geometry extruded along the path. For geometry with smoother edges, increase the Sides value.

segment_types_ui

The Break Sides checkbox can be used to create a hard edge when used when the Rendering > Shader pop-up menu is set to Smooth. For the appearance of smoother edges, uncheck Break Sides. Note that this option has little effect when Repeat Sphere is chosen from the Segment Mode pop-up menu.

segement_break_sides

You can create a chamfered (flattened) edge when using N-gons by enabling the Chamfer checkbox. The size of the chamfered edge can be increased or decreased by adjusting the Chamfer Size parameter. NOTE: Chamfer and Caps options are not available when Repeat Sphere is chosen in the Segment Mode pop-up menu.

chamfer_sizes

The Caps option places polygons at the end of repeated and extruded N-gons.

caps

The Size property adjusts the scale of the geometry along the path (NOT the path). This adjustment is a uniform adjustment, scaling up the geometry on all axes equally.   Size X, Y, Z Sets the size (in AE pixels) of the geometry in the X, Y, and Z axis. The X, Y, and Z dimensions correspond to the size of the mesh horizontally, vertically and in Z depth, respectively. When scaling up in size, it may be desirable to add more segments to the path to increase detail.   The Orient to Path checkbox allows you to orient the geometry in the direction of the path. This option is turned on by default and in most cases, should remain selected when Extrude N-gon is chosen from the Segment Mode pop-up menu.

orientToPath

Rotate X, Y, Z Rotates the mesh around the X, Y and Z axis. Note that the rotation occurs around the object axis of the geometry. You can use the Orient Reference Axis pop-up menu to use an alternate axis for the rotation.

  • 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.
You can use the Twist Z property to twist the geometry around the axis of the path.

twist_z

If a texture has been applied to the geometry (from the Texture group), the X Texture Offset Along Path and Y Texture Offset Along Path can be used to reposition the texture along the X and Y axis, respectively. The Debug Normals checkbox draws a line outwards from each vertex normal. When using Fractal Displacement, this option does not function accurately. When using Fractal Displacement, the vertex normals can be accurately viewed by changing the Rendering > Render Mode pop-up menu to Normals.

GPU Optimization The GPU Optimization pop-up menu gives you options for how to best utilize GPU resources for rendering Tao.

  • Off: All geometry is regenerated every frame and sent to the GPU.
  • Auto (default setting): Some geometry may be saved on the GPU if the plugin is sure the geometry will not change over time. This option can save some render time.
  • Static Scene: The geometry is uploaded only once, and then stored on the GPU (unless the driver discards it, in which case it will be re-uploaded to the GPU). This option saves a lot of render time, but should only be used when all geometry is static and only cameras and lights are animated.
 

The Tesselate pop-up menu allows you to choose whether to create the geometry with Triangles (3 sided polygons), or Quads (4 sided polygons).

Randomness Group

This group allows you to randomize the individual segments along the path. In most cases, it works best when the Segment Mode pop-up menu is set to either Repeat N-gon or Repeat Sphere. It is useful for making repeated segments look more organic by slightly changing their individual transform attributes.  

  • Random Pos X: Randomizes the position of segments along the X axis.
  • Random Pos Y: Randomizes the position of segments along the Y axis.
  • Random Pos Z: Randomizes the position of segments along the Z axis.
  • Random Rot X: Randomizes the rotation of segments along the X axis.
  • Random Rot Y: Randomizes the rotation of segments along the Y axis.
  • Random Rot Z: Randomizes the rotation of segments along the Z axis
  • Random Scale: Applies a random scale value to each segment. All axes are scaled uniformly.
  • Random Scale X: Applies a random scale to the X axis of segments.
  • Random Scale Y: Applies a random scale to the Y axis of segments.
  • Random Scale Z: Applies a random scale to the Z axis of segments.
  • Random Seed: Alter this value to get a completely unique set of random values for all properties in this section.

Use the Unique Seeds When Repeated option to apply unique randomness to segments when the path is repeated using the options in the Repeat Paths group.