Mesh Trails Add-on

Sale price $56.00 Regular price $56.00

     Developed by DillonGoo Studios LLC
     Have any questions? Feel free to ask us at!


What is Mesh Trails?

Have you ever wanted to add VFX trails to your animation, but never had the time or energy to manually animate it? Have you ever tried making trails with particles but could never get the look you want? The Mesh Trails addon is a tool that helps you automatically generate clean, fully customizable, mesh-based trails with the click of a button. Mesh Trails has been in development for over two years, with a large focus on integrating it with studio pipelines for stylized VFX, but can be applied to almost any project with a need for trails. It is seamlessly integrated into Blender and is designed to be very easy to jump into. But beyond its base use case, there are endless possibilities thanks to its compatibility with Blender's already impressive shader, modifier, and geometry node systems depending on your level of expertise. We wanted an automated trail generator that could fit our style of animation, but we couldn't find one. So we made one. And now it's yours, as well.


What's included in the Stylized Asset Pack?

With how flexible Mesh Trails allows users to be, we understand that not all users will be familiar with what shaders or geometry nodes are capable of. So we created an asset pack with advanced shaders and geometry node examples which showcase the possibilities for you to use and learn from. We believe these shaders and examples will jumpstart you in pursuing the wide range of use cases that Mesh Trails is capable of. However, the Basic Gradient Shader is also built into Mesh Trails with the click of a button. So even without getting the Asset Pack, it's still perfectly possible to get great looking results and learn how to make your own shaders.

(all compatible with Eevee and Cycles)

1. Stylized Lightning Shader
2. Stylized Fire Shader
3. Refraction Smear Shader
4. Geometry Nodes Fire (with Speed Attribute example)
5. World Space Trail Shader
6. Basic Gradient Shader

Animatable Trail Emitters
Mesh Trails can use any Bezier or Poly curve as the emitter for a trail. This even includes cyclic curves. The curve can be parented, animated, or rigged using hook modifiers, allowing for a fully animatable emitter that can morph based on any character or prop deformation--no matter what shape, size, or movement they have.

Use Any Shader
Instead of using particles or curves like most trail generators, Mesh Trails specifically uses a UV unwrapped mesh to generate the trail, which allows for the full flexibility of using custom shaders to achieve a desired look. This unlocks previously untappable possibilities.
Modifier Support
Thanks to Mesh Trails being mesh based, this also opens up the possibility of using Blender's already amazing modifier stack. This can add an extra dimension of complexity that no other trail generator can give you. This also includes the vast potential of Geometry Nodes.

Why use Mesh Trails?

Manually creating trails for your animation can be tedious, intimidating, and frustrating work. The current methods that exist in the industry revolve around manually offsetting keyframes, duplicating empties, rotoscoping or motion tracking in post, or using incredibly expensive tools that often don't even allow for mesh manipulation. On top of that, there are very few, if any, tools that exist for stylized VFX. For the longest time, we at DillonGoo Studios avoided trail effects because of how much time it would take to feasibly make it look good, especially considering our NPR (non-photorealistic rendering) style. However, we believed it could be automated and set out to create a tool that would make trails feasible for our productions. And after two years, we're finally ready to share it with the public. Mesh Trails far exceeded our expectations of what it was capable of. 

In addition to its incredible potential as a VFX tool, we also prioritized its usability--to make sure anyone on the team could pick it up and contribute to the VFX of any project, regardless of their skillset. This is a testament of its ease of use for any proficiency level. Our goal is to share this technology with the world so everyone can add beautiful stylized VFX to their projects. And we also added several features that were important to us for production that we hope you'll find useful, as well.

"We wanted an automated trail generator that could fit our style of animation, but we couldn't find one. So we made one. And now it's yours, as well."

Realtime Accuracy
Mesh Trails was designed to be FUN to use. This means being able to drag your cursor around and see the mesh trails moving in real time as if they were animated. This allows artists to quickly preview their effects without the need for setting any keyframes.

Baking Subframes
Mesh Trails can also bake its simulation into a cache for final render accuracy. However, it also allows baking to include subframes, giving an even higher level of accuracy to trail shape. Even if one were to tediously create trails by hand without Mesh Trails, there would be no way to easily simulate the accuracy between frames. Mesh Trails does this with the click of a button.
Wind Vectors
Ever wanted to simulate a dynamic jet thruster? Or maybe your background is moving past your characters but your character isn't moving? Wind Vectors let you do this. By adding imaginary movement to the trail calculation, you can get dynamic effects without moving your emitter in world space.

Customizable Taper Shape
While Mesh Trails comes with a default rectangle shape which does the trick for most things, it's also entirely possible to customize the shape of the trail. A custom curve allows you to give unique shapes to the trail without the need for any shader knowledge.    
Camera Space 
Sometimes world space movement isn't what you want, and we recognize that. So we added the ability to calculate trails based on the object space of any object. The most common use for this is to calculate trails based on Camera Space. This simulates a low shutter speed effect common with light trails that move relative to screen space.   

Speed Calculation
Thanks to new updates to Blender 3.0, Mesh Trails can now dynamically calculate the speed that which the emitter is traveling, which is accessible in any shader. This gives an incredible amount of power to the artist to make shaders that react organically to movement.
Beginner Friendly
We developed Mesh Trails with the UI in mind, making it as easy as possible to add your VFX no matter your proficiency level. It only takes two clicks to create a Mesh Trail from any curve emitter. And the tutorial provided also walks you through this process.

Asset Pack
Due to the wide range of possibilities Mesh Trails offers in Blender, we know it can seem a bit intimidating to figure out what you can do with it. So we've decided to provide some demo files with shader and geometry node examples to help you get started.
Studio Compatible
Because Mesh Trails was created for use at DillonGoo Studios, the tool was built from the ground up with studio pipelines in mind. The baked cache allows trails to be predictable at render time, and the cache file is separate and easily maneuverable. And we always have a support email available to contact if needed.

Who can use Mesh Trails?

Firstly, Mesh Trails can be used for any Blender project. And because Blender is free, open source, and has so many different features, this includes a huge array of projects. The Mesh Trails add-on is great for quickly adding trails to any animation animated in or imported into Blender. It excels at providing the flexibility required for recreating stylized hand-drawn effects, but using shader nodes, it's completely possible to create some realistic-style effects, as well, sometimes even faster and cheaper than standard simulation methods. However, Mesh Trails will not be able to create "fully convincing" realistic simulations, for which I would recommend actual physics simulations. To understand if you need Mesh Trails, simply compare the alternative method of what you want to do. For most, the only alternative to Mesh Trails is to animate a trail by hand, or by method of offsetting pre-baked keyframes manually, which can be inflexible and doesn't allow for a carefree creative process. It's also not nearly as accurate. Particle based trails do exist, but don't have the shader flexibility Mesh Trails does. However, if visual flexibility, accuracy, or time saved is not important to you, there are certainly other options.

Secondly, and it may come as a surprise--but thanks to Blender's impressive motion tracking and rendering capabilities, Mesh Trails can also be added to any Live Action or 2D animation production pipeline if desired. Importing an image sequence or movie file into Blender's viewport, motion tracking the animation or hand keying the motion, and generating an automatic mesh trail with a fully customizable look can be rendered out as an image sequence to use in any 2D production. Not only that, but Mesh Trails also has a "camera space" option to only generate trails based on the motion the camera sees in screen space, which more accurately simulates an exposure-based light trail, if desired.

After the latest update, Mesh Trails can now ALSO be exported out of Blender as an Alembic sequence. This means the animated geometry can be exported to other software!

Mesh Trails cannot be used on particle systems at this time.

Affordable Industry Technology

The only other mesh-based trail generator in the industry right now is 100 USD, and is only available for a software that costs 2000 USD per year. Mesh Trails is incredibly affordable in comparison, especially being made for the free open-source software, Blender. We believe in making this technology accessible to more people for the first time to help elevate people's art without breaking the bank.

For a one-time purchase of 56 USD, you will gain access to the full Mesh Trails product which includes all future updates and customer support. Not only that, but every purchase also supports the team behind this add-on and supports further development for more tools and assets like this. Industry-grade tools for stylized rendering are few and far between, and we believe we can contribute a lot to the NPR community if people are interested enough in what we do.

What you get:
  • The Mesh Trails addon installation file
  • 7 Demo files with shaders and geometry node setups
  • Tutorial video
  • Access to all future updates and new features

System Requirements

  • Windows, MacOS, or Linux operating system
  • Blender 2.9+ or 3.0