Trapcode‘s Particular, or as I lately have been calling it Tadpole Testicular *lol* is an odd tool in terms of its development.
I loved the original version back then in 2004 and I loved v2 just as much, but powerful as it may be, this plug-in is one of those tools that didn’t evolve as quickly and comprehensively as it perhaps could have. It always seemed as they simply couldn’t be bothered to add new features no matter how much requested because ultimately the plug-in seemed to sell itself. There simply were no better alternatives for After Effects. It was the go-to tool for anyone needing some sort of reasonably decent particle effects. As a result, there’s like six-year gaps between every major version. Fast forward to 2017 and here we are finally arriving at v3.
Why are we even here? To be brutally honest, I think the only reason we ever got to see this version is because there is Stardust. They likely would never admit it and of course tell you they long had plans for the new features, but I really think that last year’s newcomer put a thorn in their side and as a minor helped to speed things along considerably or else this might only have come out next year. Of course some things are super-obvious, long-standing feature requests like OBJ-based emitters that people already took advantage of in Form or that unified 3D space. Those would have made it into the plug-in one of these days regardless of any other features.
I’m not sure about the OpenGL rendering, as there’s always that thing with resources and I’m sure it will budge when you have too much stuff going on and your hardware isn’t up to the task or other plug-ins like Element 3D, Plexus or their very own Tao and Mir are used as well. Likewise I still have some reservations about the preset system, as it may take longer to tweak them to fit your scene than to create them from scratch. Admittedly, though, with multiple emitters and cascading/ nested effects it makes some crude sense, be it just for getting rough setups to get a feeler for how things might look.
So for what it’s worth, this seems a rather useful update and if I had a current Trapcode Suite license, I wouldn’t think twice about upgrading. Still, I’m wondering if we might have to wait another six years for v4? And did I mention that I like the medusae/ jellyfish like structures in the promos? ;-) Reminds me of some stuff I used to have on my long-deceased download site…