In the motion graphics business only one thing is true: Everything comes back – sometimes with a vengeance – every few years and just like lens flares will never die out (I’m already expecting another onslaught of fan made videos heavy on this stuff after everyone has watched the JJ Abrams-ified version of Star Wars), so won’t dancing smoke and light trails. That and of course with Christmas being not so far away, we’re all going to need some bling-bling soon, so it’s only fitting that the Trapcode Suite just got updated.
Of course Particular still stands out and while I perhaps have used it only twice in the last 5 years, it will always have a special place in my heart. I too vividly remember bugging my boss about it in 2004, when I was trying out the demo on my notebook while doing tradeshow stuff in some dark closet room. Anyway, for years it looked like nobody cared much other then keeping it compatible with whatever would be the latest version of After Effects, so it’s nice to see them giving it some love and care.
I actually got a big grin on my face seeing that they finally changed the mini-graphs to be “normal” curves. The preset system is one of those “Why even bother?” things, since despite its complexity I always found it easy enough to just dig into the parameters and tweak them, which you will probably still have to do a lot to achieve certain effects. Sometimes only really insane combinations of e.g. Wind and Gravity will give you that specific look you’re after.
The other thing is of course Tao. It seems kind of okay, though reading the final feature list I was a bit disappointed. There’s just that last bit of *umph* missing that might potentially make it more useful, though in fairness I can’t quite put my finger on it what exactly it is. The rest of the suite got some mini-updates like 3D integration in Shine, but as whole it’s clear that, regardless of their still being useful (and people still buying them a lot), some tools have moved past their zenith and begin to look old. Even Particular, which I had hoped would one day be a real modular and powerful system like Plexus…