DNA Chain

DNA Chain

Posted on 28. Jun, 2009 by in After Effects

You think you need a 3D application to create something like this? Well… think again. Nice DNA chain made entirely in After Effects and Trapcode Form.

Three dimensional shapes are pretty hard to create in After Effects. Tea Cups With Lids Amber Rings Wholesale Tea Trays Toddler Sleeping Bags Usually you are forced to use some 3D application like 3D Studio Max, or Cinema4D. But there are exceptions. As I mentioned in my blog post [intlink id=”125″ type=”post”]More 3D stuff coming soon[/intlink] some time ago I will be posting more of these tutorials to show you how much of 3D you can actually have in After Effects.

This tutorial was originally made for AETuts.com. It focuses on using Trapcode Form and it’s layer maps as a main tool to create an illusion of three dimensional shape.

Download: Tutorial project file (After Effects CS4)

Download: Tutorial project file (After Effects CS3)

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46 Responses to “DNA Chain”

  1. Michal Janowski

    28. Jun, 2009

    Is there any chance to post also CS3 files?

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      28. Jun, 2009

      I would have to rebuild it. If I’ll find time I’ll do it. For now just follow the tutorial. Cheers.

  2. Joey

    28. Jun, 2009

    WhoOO! Finally! I’ve been waiting for this one. Oh and I love the new site!

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      28. Jun, 2009

      Thanks a lot. I’ve put a lot of heart and effort to make it work. Glad you like it.

  3. Andrew

    29. Jun, 2009

    Is this any different from the one you posted on AETuts?

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      29. Jun, 2009

      No. I just wanted it on my site as well. But there is going to be a follow-up tutorial to this – extending the look with Particular and Photoshop, so stay tuned.

  4. A3

    29. Jun, 2009

    Great Tutorial and awesome tips !!! Thanks!

  5. Name (required)

    30. Jun, 2009

    Great tut. I always enjoy watching them. Props to the new look for your web page. Finally, I have a fav-icon for your page on my Bookmark toolbar .

  6. peter

    30. Jun, 2009

    hey great. but no SWF player for the FLV?

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      30. Jun, 2009

      I’m running a very low end server. It takes a while to actually load all the little scripts and widgets. Just give it some time after the seems to be loaded – it will work just fine. Hope that helps.

  7. Amit Zinman

    30. Jun, 2009

    BTW, the DNA thingies are called “Strands”.

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      30. Jun, 2009

      Aaaaaaaah. I knew I should have known that. Thanks. Next time I do a tutorial on that I will use the proper name. Take care.

  8. PioPi0

    01. Jul, 2009

    Thanks Jerzy, eh po prostu świetny tutorial, tak trzymaj!

  9. ALtitude29

    02. Jul, 2009

    youre a great after effecter…
    nice tutorials, you really are pro…

    greatings from the Philippines

  10. Melkoret

    02. Jul, 2009

    wow. Thats ridiculously cool. RIDIGEROUSH!

    I have a question for you Jerzy.

    Can we know the specs on your computer you use to render and make your tutorials on? :)

  11. Dwelle

    07. Jul, 2009

    Sweet. Great tutorial and really helpful

  12. Marko

    12. Jul, 2009

    congratulations , i’m new at after effects and i’ve one of your tuto on youtube and then i find this awsome site and i’ve to say that i love it… so much great tutorials. take care and continue the great work.
    P.S: i am not english or american, so sorry any bad english =)

  13. tskssh

    22. Jul, 2009

    I’s realy cool,thx

  14. chloe

    27. Jul, 2009

    Type your comment here…

  15. Furansu

    29. Jul, 2009


    First I want thank you for all these great tutorials, but I’ve one major problem with this tutorial.

    Because when I use the Form Trapcode and do all these settings, I get stucked by setting: Layer Maps> Size> Map Over> XY. When I set Map Over to: XY, my box on the screen gets black.

    When I set it to None, the DNA stripes/pattern box returns back on the screen.

    I’ve tried a few things to make it work. But I’m new with After Effects and I really want to learn it by these tutorials.

    Anyway I hope I explained it in a clear way, so you understand the situation :)

    Thanks already for looking too my problem.

  16. luis T.A

    30. Jul, 2009

    Hey, Tank’s for this tut, you are great happy aftereffectingman,
    jaja, tank’s again..

  17. Brian K.

    31. Jul, 2009

    Great tutorial, I am impressed.

  18. sentinel

    19. Sep, 2009

    holy shit!!! been waiting for this, thanks bro

  19. ball

    23. Sep, 2009

    Great tutorial.

    (Rozwiazanie Problemu z rozmyta krawedzia particli miales tuz pod myszka – typ particla byl “Sphere” – nizej wartosc “Sphere Feather” – ustawiona blizej “0”, powinna zadzialac)

    [“can`t see the forest for the trees”] ;)

    You Rock.

  20. illd

    19. Nov, 2009

    Hi Maltaannon,
    thanks for this nice tutorial. Shortly I used this technique on a project with costum particles and a big problem occured. The Particles started to flicker (just like it sometimes in Trapcode Particular does), no matter if I used loop or still frame in the costum particle settings. I found a solution by animating the twist of the DNA with the rotation and twist parameters instead using a quickmap like you did. But can you tell me why this flickering happens ? – I also have that often in particular 2.

    • Jerzy Drozda Jr

      19. Nov, 2009

      Never happened to me. Try sending me a project file over skype. We’ll see if your setup is a glitch of particular, or is it your machine.

      • illd

        20. Nov, 2009

        Strange thing: I just prepared the project to send it to you and replaced my prerendered Videofile (QT Animation) for the customparticle with an proxy (QT Foto JPG): Now its runnig smoothly… Maybee my XP dont like that codec, I dont get it.
        Anyway, thank you!

        • Jerzy Drozda Jr

          20. Nov, 2009

          No. It’s just that I scare the hell out of After Effects. I’m like Chuck Norris.

          • illd

            21. Nov, 2009

            Huh? i always thought you are the polish Steven Segal ;)

  21. Anil Bishnoi

    15. Dec, 2009

    Really its a very nice tutorial…..

  22. ankush

    22. Jan, 2010

    hey u r g8t…….

  23. ali

    08. Mar, 2010

    thank you

  24. erkin

    22. Mar, 2010

    дабоп сигип кетем

  25. falconer

    03. May, 2010

    youe are the one in AE

    I love your way in AE

    better than anyone

  26. Psyco

    17. Aug, 2010

    this is cool
    i’ve made something similar to this using trapcode
    but is more cool

  27. the digital taoist

    01. Sep, 2010

    Mr Maltaannon… Can you P L E A S E provide a 1080HD version of this ae-proj… or give a quick advice on the key aspects to a successful upscaling of the build elements… it’s just not quite workin for me


  28. lecrash

    07. Sep, 2010

    Just finished this, let me tell you, it DOES look pretty cool. But I’m having one problem. When I export it, the speed on the chain goes up exponentially and by the time it gets to 6 seconds, it’s just way too fast. Is there anyway to fix that? In the video the chain has a constant speed. =(

  29. lecrash

    07. Sep, 2010

    Nvm, fixed it… But, how do I change the bpc from 8 to 32?

  30. mets

    12. Sep, 2010


  31. james vijendar

    15. Sep, 2010

    i have learned the coolest tricks……. thank god i watched your tutorials… else i would have been the worst vfx artist in this commercial world…………

  32. sajad

    12. Oct, 2010

    thank you

  33. melusine

    18. Jan, 2011

    Very good tuto mat, thanks a lot :).

    How did you generate the “dna chain” (preview.jpg) ?
    did you reduce the blur and took a screenshot ?

  34. vick

    09. Mar, 2011

    i haven’t any trapcode plug-in in my AE cs4.
    wht should i do now??
    whr from i can got it?
    pls do mail on my id…
    thnks in advance

  35. vick

    09. Mar, 2011

    n even whn i download ur dna tutorial project file (cs4)…its showing a error of missing file of ‘form’
    wt should i do now??
    thnks again

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  37. ali

    26. Sep, 2012

    thank youy