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The Radio Waves effect

From: After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying

Video: The Radio Waves effect

In this next set of movies rather than have one layer track a feature of a piece of footage, we are going to have an effect track a feature and an underlying piece of footage. If you have access to the Project Files go to the Comps folder and open up 03-Effect Track*starter. Go ahead and drag the Current Time Indicator through this footage to become familiar with it. It's a helicopter fly by a series of peaks along the top of this mountain. Let's say we want to pretend that some radio signals were emanating from one of these peaks. Well, to do that there is an effect called Radio Waves.

The Radio Waves effect

In this next set of movies rather than have one layer track a feature of a piece of footage, we are going to have an effect track a feature and an underlying piece of footage. If you have access to the Project Files go to the Comps folder and open up 03-Effect Track*starter. Go ahead and drag the Current Time Indicator through this footage to become familiar with it. It's a helicopter fly by a series of peaks along the top of this mountain. Let's say we want to pretend that some radio signals were emanating from one of these peaks. Well, to do that there is an effect called Radio Waves.

Go ahead and select that and drag it onto your footage. Now, initially it seems like nothing happens, everything went away, but if you RAM Preview, you'll see that Radio Waves emanates a series of concentric circles over your footage. I'll Stop, press End to go to the very end of this footage so I can study what Radio Waves is doing over time. The first section we're going to study is Wave Motion. That determines how the waves propagate out from their central Producer Point.

This is looking a bit light on the number of waves for me, I'd like to have more, so I am going to go ahead and increase their Frequency to get more waves. If it seems to be adjusting too quickly, you can hold down Command on Mac or Ctrl on Windows to adjust by finer increments; maybe I want it somewhere around here say. Another issue is, am I happy with how fast those waves are coming out from the center? If I think they are coming out too fast and therefore going off the edges of the screen too quickly, I can reduce the Expansion so they don't move away quite as quickly.

So I am going to bounce Expansion against the Wave Motion and Frequency of how fast they are being produced, somewhere around there. Another small issue is that these waves are staying on for their entire lifetime as they go outside my Comp panel. Let's say that I want them to fade away, so that after they are produced, we see them just appearing into the ether. Well, to do that I just need to reduce the Lifespan parameter. I take that, pull it down until I have a nice set slowly fading away rings for my center Producer Point.

Now that I have a Wave Motion that I like, let's start playing around with the Stroke or Profile of those waves. Waves dissipate the further they get away from the source. They tend not to stay exactly the same size. So in this case, I am going to reduce the Start Width to a fine line and increase the End Width to a point where they get thick the further they get away. And I have other options in here as well, such as Opacity, Color, and even the Profile or Shape. For example, a Sine Wave creates a more rounded sort of wave; a Triangle has a harder peak in the middle, but we'll stick with Square for now to make sure these are nice and visible.

In addition to producing waves from a Producer Point, a really cool feature of Radio Waves is that it knows where the Producer Point moves over time. So put your Current Time Indicator back at the start of the Comp, go into your Effects Control panel, look for that Producer Point, and Enable the Animation Stopwatch for that parameter. Go a few frames later in time, I am around 2 seconds myself, and drag that Producer Point somewhere else in the Comp. And now you will see you are dragging the creation of those waves to this new point.

If you're having trouble seeing that Producer Point, go ahead and use the Crosshair parameter here to relocate it, or just go ahead and scrub its values. Go a little bit later in your Composition and place another keyframe, such as say maybe around here. Now when you RAM Preview, you will see that each new wave expands out from where it was created, but since the Producer Point is animating, each new wave is being created from a different point in space. That's what creates these really cool overlapping patterns.

Well, we are going to take advantage of this by attaching that Producer Point to one of those mountain peaks by using the Motion Tracker, and that's what we'll do in the next movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying
After Effects Apprentice 12: Tracking and Keying

39 video lessons · 13916 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 
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  1. 9m 2s
    1. Welcome
      2m 38s
    2. The Tracker panel
      4m 24s
    3. Using the exercise files
      2m 0s
  2. 13m 25s
    1. Warp Stabilizer basics
      5m 59s
    2. Warp Stabilizer advanced parameters
      7m 26s
  3. 30m 6s
    1. Setting up a stabilization
      2m 57s
    2. Track points explained
      5m 48s
    3. Performing a track
      5m 11s
    4. Applying a stabilization
      2m 42s
    5. Cleaning up the results of a stabilization
      3m 0s
    6. Performing a motion track
      5m 57s
    7. Applying the results
      4m 31s
  4. 13m 48s
    1. The Radio Waves effect
      4m 16s
    2. Tracking the mountain
      5m 31s
    3. Compositing the effect
      4m 1s
  5. 24m 28s
    1. Perspective tracking overview
      2m 40s
    2. Tracking to a corner pin
      7m 1s
    3. Improving the composite
      5m 39s
    4. Tracking with mocha-AE
      9m 8s
  6. 31m 49s
    1. Tracking in 3D (new in CS6)
      4m 31s
    2. Creating 3D objects (new in CS6)
      5m 12s
    3. Hanging a poster (new in CS6)
      8m 8s
    4. Adding text (new in CS6)
      5m 33s
    5. Using shadow catchers (new in CS6)
      8m 25s
  7. 16m 46s
    1. Tracking dots
      5m 43s
    2. Dealing with obscuration
      5m 12s
    3. Cleaning up the stabilization
      5m 51s
  8. 12m 40s
    1. Basic keying
      7m 20s
    2. Refining the key
      5m 20s
  9. 13m 32s
    1. Quizzler challenges
      3m 35s
    2. Quizzler #1 solution: Stabilization plus masking
      2m 58s
    3. Quizzler #2 solution: Stabilization plus tracking
      2m 50s
    4. Quizzler #3 solution: Copying a camera's motion
      4m 9s
  10. 12m 28s
    1. Tracking for multiple effect points
      4m 44s
    2. Converting to ray-traced 3D (new in CS6)
      7m 44s
  11. 23m 59s
    1. Legacy tracker advice
      8m 14s
    2. Tracking interlaced sources
      5m 59s
    3. Using garbage masks for keying
      4m 51s
    4. Using the Rolling Shutter Repair feature (new in CS6)
      4m 55s

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