doddleREVIEWS: TRAPCODE SUITE 15 from Red Giant Software

Trapcode Suite 15 - Featured Image

By Kevin P McAuliffe

With all the different effects packages out on the market, you always have your “go to” effects.  One of my “go to” effects that I use all the time is Trapcodes Shine, as it is the absolute best “God rays” effect out there today.  With the evolution of the Trapcode Suite, from Red Giant Software, more and more of the effects in this package are becoming more of my “go to” effects, as the versatility of them is growing with each release.  Let’s take a look at what’s new in Trapcode Suite 15.

One thing that’s important to keep in mind about this package is that not every effect gets updated with each release of the suite.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how much better Shine, 3D Stroke, StarGlow, Lux, Tao, EchoSpace and Horizon can get, as they more or less serve a singular purpose, and do a fantastic job at that.  What’s been updated in Trapcode Suite 15 is Particular, Form and Mir, as these effects have such a wide spectrum of uses, every update sees them pushing their boundaries farther and farther. Let’s start out looking at what’s new in Particular.


Particular has always amazed me with its extremely realistic looking particle, and presets, and with the release of Trapcode Suite 15, Red Giant is pushing Particular’s particles farther than ever before.  The first thing you’ll notice in the Effects Controls window in After Effects once the effect is applied, is the Designer, which has been updated for version 15. Once clicked, you will be brought to one of the most in depth preset designers you’ll come across in the market today.  

Trapcode Suite 15 - Particular Designer

From here you add presets, designer your own particle looks and systems, and basically have complete control over just about every aspect of what your design is going to look like.  Speaking of presets, new to version 15 is 335 presets for you to get yourself rolling in the right direction. Last, but certainly not least, version 15 adds the Fluid Dynamics engine that will have your particles behaving as if they are moving through real fluids with 4 customizable fluidic behaviors to choose from!

Trapcode Suite 15 - Fluid Dynamics


If you’re unfamiliar with Trapcode Form, it’s a 3D Particle Grid generator, with the ability to import .OBJ  files, and use them as the particle grid, to create some very stunning particle animations.  It’s feature update is the same as Particulars, with the updated Designer interface, Fluid Dynamics and over 150 new presets to get you rolling in the right direction.

Trapcode Suite 15 - Trapcode Form Designer


Mir was always a bit of an enigma to me.  What its initial purpose was, was to let you create terrain inside of After Effects.  It always seemed very one dimensional to me, especially for someone like me, who never really needed a terrain builder in After Effects, but with the updates to Mir, Red Giant Software has added some new features to it, that make it a more interesting and usable (for me, at least) effect to add to your toolkit.  

New in version 15 is the ability to import .OBJ files directly into the interface, and light and animate (via After Effects’ 3D camera) them super quick and super easy (3D Camera and Light support has been with Mir pre version 3).

Trapcode Suite 15 - Trapcode MIR

Also the addition of new surface presets will have you setting up shaders, textures and materials in no time flat!

With these new feature updates, the big question for your is “Should I update?”, and the answer is a big “It Depends”.  If you don’t really use any of these three effects, the answer would be no. None of the other effects other than Particular, Mir and Form have seen an update in version 15.  

If you are a Particular user, the the updating of the Designer and Fluid Dynamics is worth the $199 alone. If you’re a Form or Mir users, your decision will be based on the updates to the Designer, as well as the new presets offered.  If you’re a long time Red Giant user, you’ll notice that what RG is doing is bringing its effects with “builders” up to the high standards that Magic Bullet Looks set a long time ago.

For me, it’s really the industry leader when it comes to the layout of the designer, the simplicity of accessing presets, and the extremely dynamic way you can get in and create particle looks and effects.  If you’re new to the Trapcode Suite, it is one of the better After Effects bundles out there, as each effect goes beyond what you’d expect them to, and will add a Shine (no pun intended) and polish to your animations that they have never had before.  If you’re new to Trapcode Suite, or just want to check out the new features in Particular, MIR and Form, you can download a free trail at this link!




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