Join Owen Lowery for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a master grunge-texture animation from stills, part of Creating a Handmade Look in After Effects: 3 Compositing and Reusing Elements.
- It's time to get all grungy. I have a series of eight grunge texture images that I'd like to import into After Effects as an animated piece of footage so I can composite it as a master grunge texture over my entire MasterEdit. I'll open up the Assets folder and I'm going to create an all new folder by selecting Assets and hitting the little folder icon here. I'm going to name this Grunge. I'll go ahead and twirl this open and I'll hit Command + I on my keyboard to open up the Import menu.
I'm going to go back to my Exercise Files and go into my (Footage) folder. Under Assets, I have a folder labeled Scans. This is where I scanned in my eight grunge texture files. I'll click on the first one, but I don't want to import it just yet. I want to make sure I have this JPEG Sequence setting selected. I also want to make sure that I have Force alphabetical order selected. This way, in case there are any inconsistencies in the numbering or maybe I deleted a file, it will still import them and play them in order.
I'm going to hit Open now. And inside my Grunge folder, I now have this new icon called Scans. I'm going to rename them to GrungeLoop. If I click on my GrungeLoop, I can hit the Spacebar and preview it in my Footage window. Now, it is going crazy fast. I'm going to pause this and I need to make some changes right away. I'm going to right-click on my GrungeLoop and I'm going to go into Interpret Footage and go to Main.
Right in the middle here, it says Assume this frame rate is 30 frames per second. Now that's just much too fast for eight frames of grunge. I'm going to go ahead and change that to eight frames per second. Then I'll go ahead and hit Return to enable that. Now if I double click on this and hit the Play button, we can watch it playback at a much slower, more gradual stop motion, eight frames per second. But here's the problem. We only have eight frames.
That's only one second of footage at eight frames per second, so we need to make this longer. We're going to go right back to where we left by right-clicking on this GrungeLoop, going to Interpret Footage, going to Main and down at the bottom, we have this Loop option. Right now it's looping one time, which means it plays once through, but we can set that for as long as we want to. Because we have eight frames of grunge playing at eight frames per second and our composition is set to eight frames per second, if we want to cover our entire composition, we need something, like, 45 loops.
Just to be safe, I'm going to set this to 60. That gives us one full minute of GrungeLoop. I'm going to hit Return to save that. And now, if we look at the Footage window, we can extend this way out. That looks pretty good. I'm going to go back to the Composition window and then grab this GrungeLoop and pull it down into my timeline. It's really, really big right now, so I'm going to hit S on my keyboard to scale it down just to figure out what I'm working with.
And I need to rotate it a bit. So I'm going to hit R to rotate and I'm going to go ahead and just type in 90 to rotate it 90 degrees. I'll hit S to go back to my scale and I want to scale this up so it's just about covering my entire composition. I'll hit Command Minus to zoom out a little bit and I'll even go a bit farther just to make sure that any of those edges that might have scanned in that weren't the actual grunge paper aren't included in this. I'm going to hit Command Plus to zoom in again.
And as I kind of scroll through, I can notice there's some actual color in here and I don't want any actual color, so I'm going to go into the Effects & Presets window and search in the word "hue". Down here, I can see the Hue and Saturation. I'll go ahead and click and drag that on and I'll bring down the saturation, maybe not all the way, but most of the way, about 80% to 90% to get rid of most of that coloring that I don't want.
Next, I kind of want to heighten the contrast between some of these elements. So I'm going to go into the Effects & Presets, double click and type in "levels". I'll scroll down and find the Levels effect and just drag this onto my GrungeLoop as well. I'm going to stretch open this window just a little bit so I can see everything. And then I'll start to crunch the blacks and the whites until I really get some contrast. I don't want to go too much with this because obviously, it's just getting rid of all of my darks, but I'll play around with the settings until it really starts to look how I want it to.
Grungy, but not too crazy. That looks good for this one, but let's click around a little bit to keep seeing how it looks on the others. Oh, I'm seeing some fingerprints. I'm already excited. In fact, I think I'm going to take the scale down just a little bit more. I'll click on Scale here and bring this down to 65. That seems safe. If I notice any of these scanned edges come into screen, I can always move it over a little bit or scale it back up.
But right now, this is looking pretty good. A lot of variety, a lot of different kinds of grunge. I'm so happy. The last thing I need to do is change this color mode to something else, like, Multiply. And now, that looks really grungy, guys. I'm going to twirl this close and I'm just going to eyeball this GrungeLoop on and off. Oh that makes a big difference. I'm going to click around a little bit.
Oh, I can't really notice it here, but let me eyeball it off. Oh, I do notice it. This makes a subtle difference in a lot of different scenes. Some scenes, it's more obvious than others if they have a lighter background, but overall, it's going to be one of those extra little special things that just helps push this over the top. I'm going to lock the GrungeLoop off and I'm going to hit the Spacebar so I can preview the entire animation with our GrungeLoop. (rock music) ♫ Oh ♫ Oh, yeah! This is some grungy.
Oh, no! Robots? Stop motion, crazy, havoc, dirty, gritty, greatness. When I preview the MasterEdit, the grunge texture only pops when there's a lighter background, but it kind of sinks in everywhere else. I might have to lighten it a little bit later on, but I'm pretty happy with what it looks like right now and I just don't want to. We want this to be engaging and to pull everything together and not be too distracting, so I'll come to this later and decide how extreme I want this to be.
I could easily just shift the opacity of the GrungeLoop down maybe to 90% just to take the edge off. Still, I'm not going to. And just so you know, what we literally did here is considered legit stop motion animation. You're all legit stop motion animators. This isn't faking or mimicking the style at all. After Effects is a great tool for working with stop motion. I even included a few examples from stop motion shoots that I've imported as JPEG sequences.
Let's go ahead over to my Project's window and inside the Assets folder, there is a Stop Motion Examples folder. I'll go ahead and double click on Carpet Stop Motion and if we hit the preview, we can see the red carpet rolling out. Oh, that's going to be a fancy affair when it's keyed off that green screen. If I click on Soft Drink, we've got ourselves a spinning off brand cola that was probably really flat by the time this was taken because stop motion takes a while.
And last, but certainly not least, we've got a tie unrolling itself. I'm going to close up my Stop Motion Examples and close up my Assets folder. I'll exit the Footage window of this awesome animating tie and then just go ahead and preview once more through OhNoRobots to basking its grungy glory before I move on and grunge things up just a little bit more.
Want to create the lo-fi mograph effects seen in this course? Check out Creating a Handmade Look in After Effects 02: Design and Animation.
- Saving animation presets
- Repurposing assets
- Compositing effects
- Creating custom vignettes
- Creating a grunge texture with a scanned image
- Adding imperfections to frames
- Exporting your animation