Last week during an After Effects class I’ve shown one of my prototypes where I had a flowing lines background, 2 of my students asked me how I’ve done that, I was a bit stunned, I thought that everyone should know how to create that effect by now, ok I was wrong, no blame on the students..
Anyway I’m taking a few minutes time to write down this tutorial showing how you create this effect.
First of all, let us start with a fresh new composition, size, framerate and length is not a matter since you will anyway change it to match your own project, for our example we are going with a PAL D1/DV preset with a length of 10 seconds.
Next we need to create a new solid, name it to lines and make it the same size as the composition by pressing the Make Comp Size button, apply the Fractal noise filter to your newly created solid, by either rightclicking on the Effect Controls window or by browsing through the menu Effects -> Noise & Grain -> Fractal Noise
We need to achieve this effect
For it we need to change some of the settings on the Effect Controls panel, if you don’t see the Effect Controls panel, you can bring it to front by going to your menu bar and select window -> Effect Controls, let’s start changing some of the values.
Here a the list of attributes I’ve changed:
Move your playhead back to time 0 and click on the stopwatch besides Offset turbulence to create a keyframe so we can animate our lines to move from left to right, if you would like to move the lines from top to bottom, then you would need to change the Y axis and the offset turbulence instead of the X axis like in our example. Also create a new keyframe for the evolution property by clicking on the small stopwatch besides the Evolution property, keep all the other settings as they are.
If you followed my indications you should pretty much have the same image like on my screenshot (keep in mind that Fractal Noise is randomly generated, so you will never get the same “cloud buildup” again.)
Let’s animate this still lines by moving our playhead to the 10seconds mark and change our Offset turbulence and Evolution values to:
By pressing 0 on your keypad and RAM preview your clip you will see your lines flow on your screen, pretty neat huh?
Now since you know how to create this effect, let’s enhance it a bit by applying a glow to your lines, for it just be sure to have the Lines solid selected and by either right-clicking on the Effect Controls panel or going through the menu bar select Effects -> Stylize -> Glow
Let’s change some of the settings of our Glow effect:
Now you should have your lines glowing light blueish, here my screenshot for you as reference
That’s it, we’re done with our flowing lines tutorial, if you want to enhance it, just duplicate your Lines solid a few times more, and change the glow colors and you will have a real cool colourful effect to use for your next breaking news background
[flv:/video/flowingLines.flv 320 256]
Take care and have fun