Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Brainstorm, part of After Effects Guru: Mastering the Timeline.
Another choice that most people overlook is that of brainstorm, which is essentially a way to randomly generate new effects inside of After Effects. As you're working within an individual effects property, or even an animation property, you can have After Effects create variations for you, so you can experiment without having to actually adjust very many properties. Let's say we want to introduce a texture layer here, over the solid, to put a little bit of depth into that background.
I'll add a solid layer. There we go. And we'll just set it to a nice neutral grey. And what I'm going to do is apply. The Fractal Noise effect. Now this effect allows you to create several different types of fractals. Let's choose the Evolution property here and we'll set that and at the end here I'll tell it to do three full cycles.
As well as under Evolution Option I'll tell it to cycle the evolution. As we play that, you see that the noise is being modified. It's creating essentially a seamless, looping texture. What I'd like to do, though, is modify what type of noise. So let's click on the two properties that matter most. Which is the Fractal Type and the Noise Type. I'll twirl down the properties here so I can see them. And I'll just select those in the timeline.
By clicking on the Brainstorm icon, I'm presented with several different options. And clicking Brainstorm will randomize those. You see that each variation there is swapping in different types. If I increase the amount of randomness, I'll get even additional variations. As you find one that you like, you can select it, and choose to keep it in the next brainstorm.
So now as you brainstorm, other ones will start to shift, and you can start to lock some of those in. Remember, keeping multiple ones in the next brainstorm will propagate them, when you click. Now, if you find something you like, or you change your mind, you can always go back through the different ones you've created. When you decide you want to use it, just select it, and click the checkbox to apply it to the composition. What I can do now is play with some of the properties, such as the complexity here.
Let's use that, as well as play with the overall contrast. I'll Ctrl click on those two properties, and re-enable Brainstorm. And you see that I continue to get subtle variations. If I want more dramatic, I just increase that for the randomness, and different properties will load. I like this more subtle one here, so I'll apply that to the composition. And now let's switch it's blending mode. We'll put that into a soft light and drop that to the bottom of the composition.
Let's just put that just above the orange solid, and you see now, it's creating a nice subtle texture. I'm going to enable that as a 3D layer so it's affected by the shadows. And what I've introduced is a subtle texture into the orange that I like. And that's just one example of using Brainstorm. The Brainstorm command can be used with any property that you select in the timeline. And in fact, I often find it incredibly as I'm experimenting with things like text animation, as well as just general properties to add wiggle, or transformations.
This is a great way to add variation and really experiment with what's possible.
This course was created by Rich Harrington. We are honored to host this content in our library.
- Scrolling the timeline
- Switching from frames to timecode
- Using shy layers
- Retiming keyframes
- Nudging keyframes
- Using the Draft 3D, Brainstorm, and Graph Editor switches
- Frame blending with switches
- Splitting, naming, and locking layers
- Using composition markers