Trapcode Form: Using the Fractal Field

Trapcode Form is a sophisticated software program that helps you create intriguing videos, while adding motion tracks and fields using the fractal field feature. This feature is a 4-dimensional noise fractal able to generate noise maps in X, Y and Z directions. It is a rather complicated task which becomes seamless using the fractal field. The Noise maps are a procedural primitive used to enhance realism in the creation of visual effects. They are useful in creating flowing and realistic motion.

Trapcode Form is a grid-based 3D particle system where the particles have eternal life. The particles do not get born, live and die like in a regular particle system; rather they just exist and can be affected by a number of different maps and fields that make them move around, change size, etc.

Trapcode Form is useful for creating a wide range of effects such as organic flowing patterns, complex geometric 3D structures, audio-driven animations, fire-like animations and 3D grid structures. Trapcode Form comes packaged as a complete software installer. You must have installed one of the target applications: Adobe After Effects (7.0 or CS3). The installer will automatically place the required components on your hard drive and guide you through the process of installing the plug-in.

Below are few characteristics of Fractal Field in Trapcode Form

The Affect Size

This feature allows you to define how the noise map affects the size of particles. If you want a large particle, you set a large value.


The opacity allows you to define how much the fractal will affect the opacity of the particle.


This feature helps you define the displacement of the fractal field. You can apply it in all dimensions or individually for each one of X, Y and Z.

Flow Evolution

When creating a fractal field, you have a fourth dimension which can give the impression of random motion. The particles will appear as if they are flowing giving this way the visual impression you want.

The Offset Evolution

In this case, you can begin the field from another point. When you change this value, you can generate a different fractal map and experiment the way you want to get the effect you need.


This sets the density of the strings. Higher settings produce denser strings and take longer to render. The default value of 15 will generally produce good results, while values lower than 10 will cause the strings to degrade into dots. Very high values in the hundreds will cause dense glowing lines because of the default add transfer mode used to composite the Particles.

Size Random

This controls size randomness for the strings so that some strings are thicker and some thinner, by varying the size of the particles that make up the string.

Size Rnd Distribution

This controls the (random) distribution of smaller and thicker strings, and generates lines that appear randomly thicker or thinner across the form.

Taper Size

This allows for tapering string thickness at the ends of the strings with two settings: Smooth and Linear. The Smooth option offers a taper that starts closer to the center of the form and the falloff is more gradual. Linear produces a linear falloff model and will cause the taper to only begin near the edges of the form.