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Creating patterns and textures

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: Creating patterns and textures

Another thing you'll probably find yourself doing very often in After Effects is creating patterns and textures. There's actually a really cool tool for this. I'm going to right-click in this Start composition and create a New > Solid layer. And we're going to be applying an effect called Fractal Noise. And Fractal Noise completely replaces whatever is applied to it. So, go ahead and click Make Comp Size, and it doesn't matter what the color is because it's going to be completely gone once Fractal Noise is applied. So, go ahead and click OK. Then let's go over to the Effects & Presets panel over here on the right, and we'll do a search for Fractal Noise.

Creating patterns and textures

Another thing you'll probably find yourself doing very often in After Effects is creating patterns and textures. There's actually a really cool tool for this. I'm going to right-click in this Start composition and create a New > Solid layer. And we're going to be applying an effect called Fractal Noise. And Fractal Noise completely replaces whatever is applied to it. So, go ahead and click Make Comp Size, and it doesn't matter what the color is because it's going to be completely gone once Fractal Noise is applied. So, go ahead and click OK. Then let's go over to the Effects & Presets panel over here on the right, and we'll do a search for Fractal Noise.

Now if I do a search for Fractal, there is actually two different effects with the word Fractal in their title: Fractal and Fractal Noise. Fractal is not all that awesome. Fractal Noise is extremely powerful and versatile. So, that's the one we want. Go ahead and apply that to the layer. Now a lot of new users to After Effects kind of frown on Fractal Noise at first glance because it looks so much like Photoshop Clouds, which is a really pathetic filter in Photoshop. But this does so much.

One of the things you need to keep in mind, as we are playing around these patterns, is that Fractal Noise is a Grayscale pattern generator. So, everything is in black and white. So, you need to kind of have this eye where you're kind of like coloring things in your brain before you actually do it to really see what its is capable of. Now before we play around with this too much I want to show you what is possible with Fractal Noise. With Fractal Noise, we can make fire, like these cool explosions. As we scrub in time here, we can see that these are blowing up.

That's kind of fun. And I also made this water with Fractal Noise, and that's going to take a little while to render. There we go. There's kind of like a rough quality preview of what that looks like there, nice little glassy water. And then we have this kind of interesting pattern. Here is another a random grungy pattern that could be used as the background for something. And there's also this cityscape thing, where it looks like you're kind of zooming into a city and flying over the city with some clouds and stuff.

So, that's pretty fun. And there's this really popular animated bars look. So, all of these things were done with Fractal Noise and Fractal Noise alone, just Fractal Noise, and that's it. So, that's how powerful and versatile this affect is. So, let's go and talk about this effect a little bit. I'll tell you at the end this chapter how you can get more information on Fractal Noise, because we won't have time to cover every single one of the settings. Basically, Fractal Noise creates layers of noise.

So, that's what giving us this look and allows us to create these rich complex looks. We change the Fractal type from Basic to Turbulent Smooth, Turbulent Basic. Let's say Dynamic, and Max, and you could see how much this changes the way that this effect looks. So, on your own, you might want to experiment with the different types of Fractals. But I'm just going to choose Dynamic Twist for our example here. It kind of looks like some Van Gogh painting or something. I'm going to leave the Noise type to Soft Linear, but you could also take this to Linear, which makes it a little bit more blocky, and then Block, which makes it all the way blocky.

Or, you could take it up to Spline, which takes longer to render but creates much smoother textures. For now, I'm going to leave it on the default of Soft Linear, and I want to increase the contrast. So, if we drag this up, we can increase the Contrast. If we take this down, we are going to decrease the Contrast, like so. Actually, I want this up fairly high, and this is a little bit too much here. A value of 335 is where I've had it. That's kind of an arbitrary value, but we're seeing that the white highlights are blown out so it's a little bit to bright here.

But this is okay because you can Brightness down. And what that does is that it takes the bright levels down. It also adds more black to our pattern. So, we're kind of getting this fiery-looking texture here, like these little sprinkles of fire. Open up Transform. You'll see that this effect has its own set of Transform properties. So, we have Rotation and Scale and stuff like that for our regular layer, but this effect has its own Rotation and its own Scale. Now this effect is based on patterns that After Effects is generating from scratch.

So, you could go into Scale and scale this up really, really high, and you're not going to lose any quality. It looks kind of blurry, but this is the same level of blur that it was when it was actually 100%, so you're not losing any quality. What I'm going to do here actually is uncheck Uniform Scaling, which allows us to scale Width and Height independently. So, I might reduce the Width a little bit. I might increase the Scale Height value a lot to stretch out our texture, which gives us this kind of cool, fiery look.

The Complexity value here controls the number of layers that are being used to make up this pattern of Noise. So, right now, we have six layers. If we took this down to one, it would look very simplistic, just one layer of Noise. Take this up to two, and you could see we have multiple layers here. And as we increase this value, our pattern is getting more and more and more complex. So, now you see we have a lot more detail going on here. You noticed a minute ago when we scaled this up that it was a little blurry.

Adding Complexity is one way to increase the amount of texture and contrast in the pattern. I am going to take this back to a value of, actually 5 I think will work just fine for us right now. And you'll notice that as you take this value down more, there is less layer so things render faster, but things do start looking blurry pretty quick, depending on the settings that you have for Fractal type and other settings up here. Now Evolution is one of the most important properties in this whole effect. It's the thing the thing that brings this to life.

So, as we click and drag on this right value here, this is just like rotation so a number of complete revolutions and then also additional degrees. If you click and drag on this, we could see that this effect is really coming to life. Now as part of the nature of the beast with this effect, because it's using your hardware to accelerate so it goes faster, when you click and drag on it to mess with it, you'll often get these weird artifacts that you're seeing that are not correct. That's just to make it so that it renders faster in the long run.

So, that is normal. My screen is not freaking out. Your screen is not freaking out. All is right with the world. But this is the property that you want to animate to bring this thing to life. Now obviously, these patterns and textures are pretty sweet, but in the next movie, we're going to see how Fractal Noise can be combined with other effects to produce more than just backgrounds.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67691 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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