Tutorial 1: Create Trapcode Planet from scratch step-by-step


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In this video I’m gonna make similar planet from scratch and I’ll show a few technics wich I used for Trapcode Planet. I know, final result need better color correction and settings need much more tweaks, but I’ll hope you’ll get main idea.
Software: after effects (Trapcode form, trapcode particular, magic bullet looks)
P.S. If you make test based in this tut, please add link on this video tuts in your description. Thanks!


67 thoughts on “Tutorial 1: Create Trapcode Planet from scratch step-by-step

  1. Absolutely brilliant work

  2. nmgmarques says:

    You created the earth with normals obj in C4D. I don’t have C4D :( I can’t make the cool looking towers :(

  3. Louis says:

    Thanks Philipp. That was an awesome tutorial with a great looking result!

  4. Xer01 says:

    Thanks a ton Philipp! Awesome use of the Plugins! Am a noob to AE never knew i could push AE that far!!

  5. Xer01 says:

    Hi Phillip! need help with a small glitch I’m running into. I’m no C4d user so had to download your sphere with normals file from the d-box link above. I’m unable to get the “city2” solid right. My hexagons are all messed up and jumbled up. Realized there must be something missing right from the “city”. stuck up there SOS!!

    • Philipp Pavlov says:

      Hi! Try to set up city2 layer from scratch.
      1. Add form on layer.
      2. Change Base Form to Obj model and add obj sphere in it.
      3. Change particle type to Textured polygon and add your sprite into texture tab.
      After this you should get right textured sphere.
      Hope it will help you.

  6. ivan pedraza says:

    Could you please explain how to rotate the earth globe as in the final video?

    • Philipp Pavlov says:

      You need to animate X/Y/Z rotation in World Transform tab.

      • Victor Fernandes says:

        how ? i’m really new, you can make little video to explain ? I’m trying for hours.

        • Kyle says:

          Victor, I think if you just set the Size Z under Base Form to match the X,Y Sizes it’ll be a perfect sphere that will then rotate and look proper when you rotate it using the World Transform settings.

  7. Агуля says:

    филипп,надеюсь Вы тут,как вы анимировали видео?я даже представления себе не имею,вот сижу учусь по туториалам,хочу хотабы на секунд 30 сделать,помогите,пожалуйста

    • Юрий says:

      Чтобы анимировать планету используйте Bace form X,Y,Z rotation в солиде trapcode

  8. Svetlana says:

    Здравствуйте Филипп!
    Спасибо за такой великолепный урок!
    Надеюсь вы мне подскажите, я застряла на том же месте, которое тут уже обсуждалось – слой “city2”. У меня получается или вся сфера без промежутков между полигонами “city” или эти полигоны как-то пятнами сосредотачиваются. А так как у вас, с равномерными промежутками между полигонами не получается.
    Может это от версии AE заисить?
    У меня и в настройке “Skip Vertex” нет пунктов “Normalize” и “Invert Z”.

    • Philipp Pavlov says:

      Мне кажется у вас старая версия плагина, в которую еще не добавили поддержку Skip Vertex.

      • Svetlana says:

        Спасибо за ответ.
        Ваш урок лучший из всех, которые я находила в инете по АЕ, спасибо вам за такой вклад в наше развитие. Удачного творчества и, думаю, вы будете популярнее Крамера;)

  9. bausmans says:

    houw too get the obj in after effects don’t work

  10. Devan Homis says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, I enjoyed learning the techniques. This is a link to mine, I rushed through it and I still need some work. Im have trouble with the tower part. Ive only recently started to enjoy motion graphics and VFX work. But I plan to work hard at it as I am loving it!

    Thanks again.


  11. BlackRider says:

    If you could make the animation tutorial that would be GREAT !!!

  12. Gary Crane says:

    Hey, I love this tutorial. I am having trouble with the sphere, I rendered it out of c4d using the Riptide plugin, with the normals, but they still arent working in AE. it all is still facing the camera

  13. Salim says:

    Thank you very much, it’s an amazing work!!!

  14. Simon Jago says:

    Hey Phil,

    I tried to download the OBJ file but it just takes me to a webpage full of code and nothing downloads? Please help


  15. Jayve says:

    Great work man. AE just has no ending and trapcode plugins make it so much more exciting. I really love your work, thanks a lot.

  16. Jayve says:

    Hey Phil. The page only save as text doc. no obj file. must I install C4D first. please help. thank you.

    • Philipp Pavlov says:

      Hi. Save this page as .obj and it will work. Or just rename .txt to .obj.

    • JB says:

      to save the object file, hover over the link and right click and select ‘save as’ or ‘save link as’ (or whatever similar option your browser has). that will download it as a .obj file

  17. Narasimha says:

    Hi phioipp palov did not take layer map not highlated forum what can I do please Helpe me

  18. JM says:

    Hi! I’m near the end of the tutorial. I have a question… when I activate all the layer after created City and City 2 I can’t see the whole thing. I just see the two city layer. I’m basically new to After Effect. I have the latest updates of Trapcode Form. Can you help me with that?

    Thank you

  19. galvatron says:

    Love this tutorial. I’m creating this globe with specific city locations. I made a black and white map. With a white dots that represent a city on a black background. Form generates the dot but it’s not very exact. Some of my dots are missing. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Have you come across this issue?

    • Philipp Pavlov says:

      I guess your dots are too small. Try to increase dots in black and white map. Or try to increase form resolution. If you have 2000x1000px map, you should set 2000×1000 resolution in Form’s sphere.

      • galvatron says:

        I’ll give that a try. Thanks!

      • galvatron says:

        Okay so I noticed that my form size is x-720, y-720 and z-720. My map is a 8333 x 4167 png. If I change my Form size to x-8333 and y-4167 it stretches my sphere for obvious reasons. What am I doing wrong?

        • Philipp Pavlov says:

          Size? I mean “Particles in X/Y” set to 8333 and 4167

        • galvatron says:

          Oh well since I am using an OBJ the Particles in X, Y and Z are grayed out in the Base Form. Am I looking in the wrong place?

          • Philipp Pavlov says:

            Oh… I thought you are making it for Form’s sphere. In obj there is small issue. I can’t figure out how to use layers on obj properly.
            I think you could make your white dots bigger…

          • galvatron says:

            Yes I’ve made the dot bigger but now instead of one particle I get more then one and sometimes in different sizes. It’s not working right but I guess it a limitation in Form?

          • Philipp Pavlov says:

            I want to believe that it is just limitation. But maybe there are some small trick which i don’t know…

          • Chris Macgregor says:

            In case anyone was still wondering, I figured this out – essentially you have to map UV’s to the geometry when you export as well, I tried cylindrical mapping but was a bit off. Spherical mapping worked perfectly.

            My cities are where real cities are, and they face the right normal direction.

            I also turned on ‘Invert Z’ as it seemed to come in reveresed

  20. Soko says:

    Super sick.

    The nerd in me would be upset if I didn’t mention the fact that the planet is rotating in the wrong direction.

  21. Ivan says:

    Hey Phill. Liked your tut. Thank you. Could you please help? When i’m importing .obj to apply with plexus nothing is happens.

  22. Shakeel says:

    Hi philipp Pavlov…… i like ur work and for this project I want to ask, how this particles a moving very slow from where i can find the control of speed

  23. Phill says:

    I’m afraid I don’t have C4d and I would love to finish this tutorial. I saw a link at the top with the OBJ but its not working for me. Any chance you could provide the OBJ?

    Awesome Job with this, I’ve learned so much!

    • Philipp Pavlov says:

      Hi, just save this page with numbers as .obj and it will work. Basically “obj” is a simple text file with point position, that’s why browser opens it as text.

      • Phill says:

        Doh! Please forgive my dumbness.. lol You’re the man! DO you have any other tutorials anywhere? Very inspiring! Thanks

  24. Aaron says:

    Could you explain the motion side of things a little more? I figured out how to make the planet spin and have somewhat of a zoom going on too, but when I zoom in too far (with the camera zoom), I start to see too much of a shadow on the planet (the aperture maybe?)…I’d like to be able to get right alongside it how you do in your video…a tutorial on the motion side of things would be awesome!! Thanks!

  25. Aaron says:

    And also, is there a way to make the particles in “force line 2” look like they only go from continent to continent and not just all over the planet? Trying to make it look like they’re radio waves or something transmitting from one continent to the other…

  26. nakaut says:

    Автор еще тот наебщик. Следовать этому “туториалу” никому не рекомендую, особенно начинающим таким как я. Это первое что я сделал в After Affects. Итак это не туториал а просто видео, как есть видео как кто-то играет в GTA так и это видео как кто-то визуализацию делает. В видео полно халтуры, сначала планета выглядет так а через секунду по другому, что автор сделал непонятно. Потом еще нужно догадываться ставить кучу гребаных плагинов, еще и Cinema 4D и еще и к нему плагины. Я больше недели мудохался через все терни, и вот под конец вообще как издевательство. Все начинается совсем по другому вырисовываться, не так как у автора. Некотрые композиции ну просто с нуля как начинаешь делать они уже не такие как у автора. Некоторые действия автора вообще в запись не вошли. В общем не для новичков и вообще непонятно для кого, кто работает с этим тут ничего сложного. И финальное видео ради чего я все терпел и шел до конца, совершенно не такое как на коротком ролике. Автор не ресурсов на проект не вылажил, ни сам озвучивал. Это тупо видео – не туториал.

    • lilaila says:

      Если руки правильно заточены , то все отлично получается. Спасибо за замечательный урок.

  27. amira says:

    Hi, it is a nice animation you did. I’ve tried myself to make this awesome piece but I’ve stumbled with a problem. I hope you can answer me coz I know this video was made long time ago. The problem is when I tried to put my city 2 fx which is the tower in trapcode layer, it hid my city1 fx which is the city map. Can you let me know what did i do wrong? Thanks

  28. Mattehuee says:

    Hi! I’m having a problem on the part when you used the plug in “edge finder”. My png file just became blank white when you adjust the view setting to outline, the channel to lightness and the edge mode to raster. I don’t know what do anymore! Please please please reply to this comment. I’ll be so much grateful. Thank you! :)

  29. Bnu says:

    hello Philipp Your work is absolutely brilliant. Thank for really inspire to everyone in After effects community. I did my own project following your amazing tutorial. But how to animate my trapcode planet Step by step explain it to me. If you answer me your gonna make my whole week … Best Regards

  30. Patrick says:

    Hi Philipp,

    I’m having trouble with the layers blending. Only some of the form layers will blend then others restrict the other layers from showing. I must be missing something but not sure what.


  31. David says:

    This is a fantastic tutorial. I’ve been following it very closely, but I’ve finally come across an impassible snag… If you could help me out with this problem, I’d be very grateful.

    When you were making the hexagon cities for your Earth in Form, you put the base as a .obj sphere so that the hexagons could face toward the center (33:30). When you did this, the layer map in Form functioned perfectly, and all the hexagons were placed exactly as they should. But mine do not. I don’t know how this is happening, but it seems that my layer map is split into 2 duplicates across my sphere in Form. In other words, my layer map is of a picture of the continents like yours is, but my sphere is displaying 2 sets of continents across its surface.

    In essence, I cannot get things in their correct place with this .obj base in Form. Using a simple layered sphere as the base works perfectly fine, but the particles orient themselves towards the camera instead of towards the sphere’s center. But as soon as I introduce the .obj, things go haywire.

    I’ve been researching a solution to this problem for several hours to no avail. I’d appreciate any help you can offer.

    • Philipp Pavlov says:

      Hm, hard to tell… Check your particle type (Form -> Particles -> Particle Type) it should be set to “Textured Polygon”, not sprites. If problem still there, send me a file, i will inspect it (make Collect files for project). My mail is on Contact page.

      • David says:

        Well, the particle type is indeed set to “Textured Polygon” and not sprites. But even changing the type to simple default spheres still leaves me with this duplicating issue.

        I sent you an email with an attached example After Effects project I built where I was able to replicate the issue. Hopefully the solution will become clear once you take a look.

      • David says:

        It works!

        So the problem was the uv mapping? That’s very strange, because I know I already tried including uv with a .obj sphere already, and it didn’t work. Perhaps it has something to do with Cinema 4D (I’m using Maya, and I’m not too well-versed in 3D software, so I guess there might be a difference in exporting between the two).

        Well, I imported your attached .obj into After Effects, and everything works like a charm. For some reason Trapcode Form seems to rotate the layer map 90 degrees clockwise when I apply the .obj sphere, but it’s extremely simple to correct: just re-rotate it in World Transform. I can’t tell you how glad I am that this issue is finally fixed. Thanks again!

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