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Abstract Particles with Trapcode Form & OBJs

With the recent feedback and requests on my Trapcode Form experiments, I thought I’d finally do a video sharing some tips on how to create some abstract particles using Trapcode Form and OBJ files. This is a rather simple tutorial where I’ll show you how Trapcode Form uses OBJ files, how to model a quick abstract OBJ model, and some quick stylization and camera tips.

The key to pulling this off is to model an interesting object with a decent amount of vertices, and the camera angle you’re going to set in After Effects. When you’re modeling, try to visualize the points on your model and not so much your geometry. Trapcode Form does not render geometry, it renders points at all your intersection vertices on your model. To learn how to subdivide polygons and add more vertices, check out this tutorial.

Abstract Form 1
By using OBJ files, we’re able to achieve a more dynamic and interesting shape very quickly. You could also use an OBJ sequence with Trapcode Form to create an even more interesting animation. With some depth of field, lighting and shading, and some interesting camera moves, you can pull off some beautiful particle renders. Try adding some light lens flares in your shot to add some ambient lighting. It’s best to work in 16bpc to reduce banding and to get some nice glows and highlights.

Check out this video here where Imaginary Forces talks about how they created the Pacific Rim Ending Credits using pretty much the same method – finding an interesting spot, turning on depth of field, and adding the bells and whistles. The tutorial thumbnail was actually rendered using the exact same model we created in the tutorial, just at a different angle, a lens flare, and some tweaking to the grading. The possibilities are endless and you can create a whole different shot just by moving the camera around.

Abstract Form 3
Remember, you can do a whole lot more with this. I only provided you with a quick setup for using OBJs with Trapcode Form. Try adding in lights, turning on shading, adding more instances of Form, and have fun! If you guys have any questions, feel free to post them down below and I’ll get to them as soon as I can.