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Customizing Trapcode 3DStroke

Customizing Trapcode 3DStroke By saby - Last updated on Sunday, January 15, 2012
15101 Views :: 15 Comments :: Article Rating (Total Votes: 8)
Category: Studio 1-15 Tutorials / Plugins  -  Previous tutorials
Published on Sunday, January 10, 2010
Created on Monday, November 30, 2009 7:18 AM
Overview :

As we announced in our news Pinnacle Studio 14-15 HD, Ultimate and Ultimate Collection, and Pinnacle Studio 15 review, Studio 14 & Studio 15, in their Ultimate Collection version, have been equipped with various plugins from Red Giant. Among these, Trapcode 3DStroke.

3DStroke is a graphics generator in the form of lines moving in three dimensions. Of course, it is a lighter version of the plugin for us. But many parameters allow us to modify it at will.

A video worth a thousand words, here are some examples of graphics that you can include in your videos :

Here, I voluntarily put a black background so that the graphics are more visible, but of course everything can be overlayed on your videos.

Setting the plugin :

Like any Studio plugin to apply to a video you must open the video toolbox and choose the video plugins category :

Apply plugin

Then in the category Red Giant Trapcode 3DStroke choose 3DStroke and validate with OK :

Plugin selection

The simplest is to use one of the many templates provided by default. There are for SD images and others for HD :


Immediately the animation is visible in the preview window of Studio.

In fact 3DStroke uses for all its animations drawn shapes. There are forty delivered in the plugin. If you want to create your own animation, it is necessary to first select one of these shapes in the dropdown menu Shape :


Let's choose Basic Square. That is what appears in the preview window :

Basic square

Firstly you can change the color of the outline with the eyedropper or the color selection dialog box of Windows.

You can then modify the line thickness with Thickness. Either with a slider, or by returning a numerical value.

Then comes the parameter Start. It can change the starting point of the outline on the square. If we set it to 15, that's what will look like our square :


The red arrow I added indicates you the path followed by the beginning of the animation in this change.

With End, we have the same effect for the final point of the animation :


Another image for you to understand better :

Path followed

Point 1 is the starting point of the square. Point 2 is the point where the animation will start. Point 3 where animation ends. And point 4 the final point of the square. The whole turning in a clockwise direction.
By playing with the Start and End parameters is adjusted length of the outline which follows the square.

With the Offset parameter, we keep the same length, but it shifts the same way the points start and end. For example :


The parameter Taper reduces the thickness of the beginning and end of the outline :


The parameters Bend and Bend Axis can bend the outline. For example :


Bend Axis determines according to which axis (X, Y or Z) the outline is twisted and Bend determines the level of twist. The outline above may end up like that :

Exagerated torsion

The parameters Position X, Y, Z and Rotation X, Y, Z are explicit enough that I do not need to make you a drawing, not ?

With Repeater we add copies of the original outline. Of course if you look at the square facing you, you won't see many things :


But if we rotate the whole, it becomes immediately more attractive :

Rotated repeater

With Instances we multiply the number of duplicate frames :


Opacity, as its name suggests, adjusts the opacity of the duplicate images:


While Scale adjusts their size :


Factor manages their spacing :


Last settings : Opacity again but for the whole animation and a Transfer mode menu that determines how pixels in the animation must be mixed with those of the original image. Try different settings. You will see that sometimes the effects are amazing !

And if we went a little further ?

The personalization I mentioned in the title of this tutorial does not stop changing the settings plugin. I wanted to talk about true customization. Something that does not exist in your neighbor's videos. For example this :

You want to be able to do so ? If yes, follow me !

The drawn shapes which uses 3DStroke are all in SVG format (Scalable Vector Graphics). It's vectorial drawing. That's why 3DStroke is able to deform at will drawing with geometrical operations more or less complex. The langage format of SVG can describe an image as a file of type XML.

As I said above, when installing the plugin, forty shapes were installed. They are all in the form of SVG files in C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio 14\Plugins\RTFx\TC3DStrokeSE\Trapcode\SVG\ (or C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio 15\Plugins\RTFx\TC3DStrokeSE\Trapcode\SVG\ for Studio 15).

If in your PC the path is C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio 14\Plugins\RTFx\MBLooksSE\Trapcode\SVG\ (or C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio 15\Plugins\RTFx\MBLooksSE\Trapcode\SVG\ for Studio 15), write to me. I would be glad to learn that I am no longer alone in the universe to have this configuration on his PC (private joke). 

I think you have guessed by watching the video above that I created my own drawn shape (the "handwritten" Déclic Vidéo) and that I made a SVG file with it.

I can cite two softwares capable of creating such images, but there are others. Those have the advantage of being free :

Gimp and Inkscape.

In Gimp, create a new image with a white background. With the pencil, black color, draw what you want. With the Select by color Tool create a selection corresponding to your drawing. Then in the window Paths, right-click + Selection to path. Again right-click, Export path, give it the name you want but with the .svg extension.

In Inkscape, it's even easier. Create a new document, select the tool Draw freehand lines (or F6). Then File, Save as and choose .svg extension.

For example, here is my "Déclic Vidéo" in Inkscape :

"Déclic Vidéo" handmade

Despite a careful reading of the file Trapcode3DStroke.xml I have not figured out how to simply add my .svg to the forty . svg already installed. It is therefore necessary to substitute. If some readers, gifted in XML, find another solution I am tenant.

For example, in C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio 14\Plugins\RTFx\TC3DStrokeSE\Trapcode\SVG\ (or C:\Program Files\Pinnacle\Studio 15\Plugins\RTFx\TC3DStrokeSE\Trapcode\SVG\ for Strudio 15), create a backup of Moon.svg rename it in MoonBackup.svg for example. Copy in this directory the .svg you created and rename it in Moon.svg.

From there, in 3DStroke, once you select the Moon shape or a preset using this shape it is your .svg to be displayed. That's how I made my animation helping me with about twenty keyframes to spice it all.

If you want to go back you will just replace Moon.svg by MoonBackup.svg you've previously renamed in Moon.svg.

That's all for today.

Share/Save this article

Frank Stone By # Frank Stone @ Sunday, January 17, 2010 9:39 AM
I tryed the steps shown but was not able to get my line drawing to show.

Have these steps worked for anyone else?

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Sunday, January 17, 2010 11:53 AM
Hello Franck,

Can you please better describe your problem, so saby can help you ?
Have you done a SVG ? Which program did you use ?

Frank Stone By # Frank Stone @ Sunday, January 17, 2010 5:32 PM
Thanks to the GREAT Tec Support from Declic-video, I was able to create "typed text" to get the same effect. I first tried to use a "text" object in my Inkscape program. However, the effect did not work.

The correct procedure is: Your *.svg file needs to be a "drawings". If you use Inkscape, first create your text object. Then you must select (in the menu) Path, Object to path, so your text becomes a path and not just typed text.

This is GREAT !

Pasteldepizza By # Pasteldepizza @ Saturday, April 17, 2010 9:22 AM
I also followed the steps mentioned above. My drawing just won't appear in Studio. I tried different programs (Inkscape and Gimp) and converters, and even followed Frank Stones hint. I even tried to simply copy an existing SVG and rename it to Moon.svg, but it still won't appear...
All I get to see is a black screen.
I tried to find a forum also, but nobody seems to have problems with it...
What else yould I try?

saby By # saby @ Sunday, April 18, 2010 3:38 AM

You said "All I get to see is a black screen".

You mean even the main video doesn't appear ?

Can you check the value of the last Opacity slider ?

Pasteldepizza By # Pasteldepizza @ Monday, April 19, 2010 4:00 AM
Thank you very much for your answer!
The main video becomes black when I try to use the customized picture in 3DStroke, but not when I use one of the presets. I tried to use the opacity slider, because I also thought that might be the problem, but nothing happens - the screen just stays black...
It also happened once, that even tough the old "Moon.svg" was renamed to "MoonBackup.svg" the original moon appeared on screen - instead of my customized SVG. But normally I just see black...
I checked my SVGs if they have paths and are not too complex, but even a single path consisting of a line doesn't appear.
And reinstalling 3DStroke would not make much sense, because the presets are working fine, right?
This is just really weird. :-)
If you have any other ideas, they are very welcome!
Thanks again!

saby By # saby @ Wednesday, April 21, 2010 3:29 PM
I've just contacted you by e-mail.

J By # J @ Tuesday, May 4, 2010 3:34 AM
Have the same problem, everything stays black screen, tried to use trapcode shine with a text but only thing that happens is that the text disappears together with the black background.. that's it.. :(

saby By # saby @ Tuesday, May 4, 2010 1:49 PM
You're talking about Shine while my tutorial deals with 3DStroke. It iss not the same thing.

J By # J @ Tuesday, May 4, 2010 2:06 PM
But it's the same with the 3D stroke, black screen is all I get.
Only particular and sound keys work..
Any idea how to solve it?

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Saturday, May 8, 2010 5:55 AM
I assume that your customize picture is not correct. Saby will get in touch with you to check.


saby By # saby @ Sunday, May 9, 2010 3:00 AM
@ J

I've just contacted you by e-mail.

Dragonhawkform By # Dragonhawkform @ Thursday, March 3, 2011 7:09 AM
same here with me no luck at all!!

echarlotte By # echarlotte @ Wednesday, June 8, 2011 1:18 PM
I recently bought Studio 15 HD Ultimate Collection, but for some reason the 3 Red Giant Trapcode effects aren't appearing in the studio effects list. The program file shows that they are installed.

Here's my system info if it helps:
Graphics card: ATI Radeon 512 MB
Processor: AMD Athlon XP 3200+ MMX 3D Now ~2.2GHz
Memory: 2048 MB RAM with Pinnacle installed
DirectX 9.0c

Thanks for any help

Déclic Vidéo FX By # Déclic Vidéo FX @ Sunday, June 12, 2011 2:08 AM
Hello echarlotte,

I suggest that you get in touch with Pinnacle for solving your problem, it's probably due to a bad file in the install program or similar.


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