Join Eran Stern for an in-depth discussion in this video Designing opening titles based on the Time Displacement effect, part of After Effects Guru: Time-Based Effects.
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- Now that we understand how the Time Displacement effect works, let's see an example of how you may want to use it in a real project. First, let's see the video that we have over here plus the title that I've already prepared. We have this Laughing Lady, and on top of this, we have also this Title. I'm just going to double-click on the title, just to show you that I have few hold keyframes for this scale. This is what makes this title jump up and down.
I think that we can make it more interesting by taking different vertical parts from the Laughing Lady clip and then create an interesting wipe, which is based on the same pixels by using that Time Displacement effect. But first, we need to prepare a displacement source in order for it to work. Make sure the composition is active and then press command or control y in order to create a new solid. Now, this is very important. I'm going to click on the color swatch over here and make sure that the values for the brightness is set to 50%, so middle gray in this case, and zero for us for the hue and saturation.
This will make sure that, if we're not going to do anything, there will be no displacement because gray means that there are not going to be any shift in time. I'm going to click Okay over here and I'm going to immediately pre-compose it due to the fact that the Time Displacement effect needs to work with the calculated pixels of this source that we are going to create. So pre-compose it, move all the attributes into the new composition, and in this case, I'm just going to call this Source and click Okay.
Now, I'm going to select this gray solid and I'm going to apply the Gradient Ramp effect to it. Double-click in order to apply the effect. Now, I want to make sure that both the start and the end of the ramp will be exactly at the middle part of the horizontal area of this composition. Since I know that this composition is 1920 by 1080, I can actually plug the numbers over here.
For the start of the ramp, I'm going to set it to 1920. This will take it all the way to the upper part of the composition. Then I'm going to divide 1080 by two ... And by the way, you can do it over here. You can say, 1080 divided by two. This will give you the number. At the beginning state, I want the same values for the start and the end. So I'm just going to plug the same thing over here, as well.
This means that both of the colors are waiting for us at the right corner of this composition. What I want to do is, animate only the value for the x of the start of the ramp, so something like this, I want to do it over time. Then we'll add a Posterize effect in order to create those vertical lines. But first things first. Let's move to the beginning of this composition. Then we'll set a keyframe with this value at this point of time.
So it's zero, zero, zero. Then let's move 10 frame forward by pressing shift command or shift control and the right arrow. Then I'm going to change this value to 540. Now, let's hold this value in place for another 10 frames. Once again, let's move 10 frames forward. There is a nice trick if you want to keep the same value without opening the timeline. You can hold down option or alt and you can click on the name of the property.
If you click once, and I'm just going to prove it to you by pressing u in order to see the keyframes, After Effects will add the same value that you already have in the same place. This is what I did over here. Then let's move, let's say, to one second and ten frames. I want to take this guy all the way until I see complete white frame. It doesn't need to be completely white, but I don't want any leftovers from the gradient.
Let's just type down negative 30,000, just to be on the safe side. Now, let's move backward over here. In order to create gray stripes, I'm going to go to the Effect, and from the Stylize category, I'm going to add the Posterize effect. I'm going to set it to Posterize, maybe eight levels, giving us this result. And just going to RAM preview, we can see that we have created almost like an accordion that is just going to do this move.
Now, it's very important that by the end of this transition we are going to return to the unaffected image, meaning that we need the 50% gray back on top of it. I want to actually animate it back to the screen. Since I've already created it over here, I can duplicate another copy by pressing command d. We can say goodbye to both of the effects by shift selecting both of them and then pressing delete, or backspace on the keyboard.
Then I'm going to do a reverse animation over here. Let's say that, for maybe 121, we want to see the unaffected result. Let's add a keyframe for position. If you've survived so far, I'm going to spoil you with another handy shortcut. Press alt shift or option p to not only reveal the position but also add a keyframe for this value. You can use the same trick for the scale, rotation, anchor point and opacity.
We've created this value in this moment in time. Then let's return to maybe 27 frames. I'm just going to hold down shift and drag it all the way to the edge of the composition. Obviously, I already did some testing, so I can assume that this is going to work. But I just want to RAM preview the results so you can see where I'm taking this. This will be our wipe. But remember, this is not a regular wipe.
We are going to use this result with the Time Displacement effect. Since this is a source for the effect, I can turn off the eye for it and then I can reselect our Laughing Lady layer. Let's go to the beginning and then apply our hero, under Time, the Time Displacement effect. We will define the Time Displacement layer to our source layer and we'll set the time resolution. In this case, I can see 29.97.
I will round it up to 30 frame per second. Let's apply five seconds of distortion. Remember, this value is going to set the amount in seconds. Basically, I think that we are ready to create a RAM preview in order to see what we have managed to create. Okay. This looks kind of nice.
Let's improve it by doing the same number for the title, as well. I think it will add a little bit more energy. I'm going to duplicate the same displacement source by pressing command d, and since this is all based upon time, we can actually start the distortion from this point because the title is only going to be visible at one second. So make sure that the Title layer is selected and to it, I'm going to apply once again the Time Displacement effect.
I can use it from here, because this was the last effect that I've used. It is important to set it to the upper version of our source. Once again, you can feel free to play with the maximum displacement time in order to get some different results. I'm going to stick it with the default, but I will change the resolution to 30 because I found that, if you leave this time resolution to 60 or even in just a higher number, it will actually impact the render time.
Okay. Let's go to the beginning. I'm going to go full screen for you and create our final RAM preview. This time, we are also distorting the title, as well, using time. You may recognize where the inspiration of this effect is coming from. This is how they did it in one of the most famous American late night live television comedy show, and now you know. Now you can also create some nice opening titles using the same principles, all based on the Time Displacement effect inside Adobe After Effects.
- Basic time remapping
- Creating synthetic motion blur
- Creating a matter with Time Difference
- Duplicating with Echo
- Using CC Time Blend
- Working with Time Displacement