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Review: Trapcode Mir

Trapcode recently released Mir, a new geometry based plugin for After Effects. Creator Peder Norrby is behind some of the most popular 3rd party plugins for AE, namely Particular and Form. You could think of Mir as an extension to the later.

Mir was designed to address some of the speed issues when trying to produce solid surfaces with Form which required a great deal of particles to generate and could considerably slow down render and preview times.

The basic concept of Mir is similar to Form, but instead of producing particles it generates a grid of polygons to form a solid surface. Here you can see the basic grid in wireframe mode.

Basic grid in wireframe


Just like Form you can displace this grid using 3D Fractal Noise field.

3D Fractal Noise field.


The grid can also be displayed as points that reside on the vertices of the polygons.

The grid displayed as points.


Lastly it can be viewed as a solid polygon surface. In Density mode, the opacity is based on the angle of the surface towards the camera. The higher the angle the more opaque it becomes.

Density mode.


The higher the geometry count, the more detailed and smoother Mir becomes. The big difference is it remains extremely fast to render.

The higher the geometry count, the more detailed and smoother Mir becomes.


Mir is also fully reactive to lights (up to 8 Spots and unlimited Ambient lights).

Mir is also fully reactive to lights.


In Phong mode, Mir generates a solid and realistic surface much like you’d find in a 3D application. The addition of Ambient Occlusion shadows the surface for a more realistic look. This look is achieved using a high fractal noise setting.

Phong mode.


Lower frequency noise will produce a smoother less detailed surface.

Lower frequency noise will produce a smoother less detailed surface.


The grid can also be bent on the X and Y axis to form tubes.

The grid can also be bent on the X and Y axis to form tubes.


Placing a camera to look down the tube can produce some some interesting effects. 

Placing a camera to look down the tube can produce some some interesting effects.


The addition of Fog lets you fade out the geometry based on its distance from the camera. This lets you sell the effect even more as in the real world objects tend to be fainter the further away they are.

Adding Fog.


Using the Scroll function the grid can be moved along the X and Y axis to give the impression you're moving through a tunnel which is pretty cool.



You can also add your own textures to the surface which creates a lot of creative applications for the plugin. 

You can also add your own textures.


There is also an option to displace the grid using an Amplitude Layer which effects the grid based on luminance values. Pre-comping some white text will give you this effect.

 Pre-comping white text.


Playing with Mir for just a few minutes can produce some interesting abstract effects ideal for motion graphics.



If you're already familiar with Form, you’ll find Mir a breeze to use. There are many creative applications to be had here and I think we’ll be seeing a lot from this plugin. Just check out some of the stuff that’s cropping up on Vimeo from some talented designers. Seems Peder Norrby has done it again!





Toby Pitman

Toby Pitman | Articles by this author

For the past 20 years Toby has worked as a professional guitarist, programmer and producer. Clients include Sir Paul McCartney, George Michael, Shirley Bassey, Yusuf Islam, Giles Martin as well as the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. He has also worked extensively in TV, Advertising and Film. As well as composing himself he has also worked alongside many composers like David Arnold, Clint Mansell and Simon Franglen on many major film releases. An expert in synthesis and sound design Toby has also lectured for Apple on their Logic Pro music software which he has used since its days on the Atari. He has also worked as an educator for the International Guitar Foundation and the Brighton Institute of Modern Music teaching guitar. In his spare time (of which there is very little) he moonlights as a motion graphics artist specialising in Cinema 4D and After Effects.

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