Third-party effects in this category included with After Effects:

  • CC Glue Gun effect

  • CC Light Burst 2.5 effect

  • CC Light Rays effect

  • CC Light Sweep effect

  • CC Threads effect

4-Color Gradient effect

The 4-Color Gradient effect produces a four-color gradient. The gradient is defined by four effect points, the positions and colors of which can be animated using the Positions & Colors controls. The gradient is composed of four solid-color circles blended together, each with an effect point as its center.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Blend

Higher values create more gradual transitions between colors.

Jitter

The amount of jitter (noise) in the gradient. The jitter, which reduces banding, affects only those areas where banding could occur.

Opacity

The opacity of the gradient, as a fraction of the Opacity value for the layer.

Blending Mode

The blending mode to use in combining the gradient with the layer.

Advanced Lightning effect

The Advanced Lightning effect creates simulations of electrical discharges. Unlike the Lightning effect, Advanced Lightning doesn’t self-animate. Animate the Conductivity State or other properties to animate the lightning.

The Advanced Lighting effect includes the Alpha Obstacle feature, with which you can make the lightning go around designated objects.

Chris Zwar provides a detailed description on his website of how he used the Advanced Lightning effect to simulate blood vessel capillaries.

Eran Stern provides a video introduction to the Advanced Lightning effect on the Motionworks website.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Lightning Type

Specifies the characteristics of the lightning.

note: The type determines the nature of the Direction/Outer Radius contextual control. In the Breaking type, the branches are focused toward the Direction point as the distance between Origin and Direction increases.

Origin

Specifies the point of origin for the lightning.

Direction, Outer Radius

This control changes depending on the Lightning Type:

Not In Use

The Direction or Outer Radius control is not available if Lightning Type is Vertical.

Outer Radius

Specifies the distance that the lightning travels from its origin. This control is enabled if Omni or Anywhere is selected as the lightning type. Use it to terminate the lightning at a defined distance from the origin.

Direction

Specifies the direction that the lightning travels. This control is enabled if any of the following lightning types are selected: Direction, Strike, Breaking, Bouncy, and Two-Way Strike.

Conductivity State

Changes the path of the lightning.

Core Settings

These controls adjust various characteristics of the core of the lightning.

Glow Settings

These controls adjust the glow of the lightning.

note: To disable the glow, set Glow Opacity to 0. This setting can speed up rendering time greatly.

Alpha Obstacle

Specifies the influence of the alpha channel of the original layer on the path of the lightning. When Alpha Obstacle is greater than zero, the lightning attempts to wrap itself around opaque areas of the layer, seeing them as an obstacle. When Alpha Obstacle is less than zero, the lightning tries to stay inside the opaque areas, avoiding the transparent areas. The lighting can cross the boundaries between opaque and transparent areas, but Alpha Obstacle values further from zero cause the crossing to happen less often.

note: If Alpha Obstacles is set to a value other than 0, it’s not always possible to preview the correct result in less than full resolution; full resolution may reveal new obstacles. Be sure to check the result in full resolution before final rendering.

Turbulence

Specifies the amount of turbulence in the lightning path. Higher values result in a more complex strike containing more branches and forks, and lower values produce simpler strikes with fewer branches.

Forking

Specifies what percentage of a branch is forked. Turbulence and Alpha Obstacle settings influence forking.

Decay

Specifies the amount of continuous decay or dissipation of the lightning strength and influences where the opacity of the forks begins to fade.

Decay Main Core

Decays the main core along with its forks.

Composite On Original

Composites the lightning with the original layer using the Add blending mode. When deselected, only the lightning is visible.

Complexity

Specifies the complexity of the turbulence in the lightning.

Min. Forkdistance

Specifies the minimum pixel distance between new forks. Lower values create more forks in the lightning. Higher values result in fewer forks.

Termination Threshold

Specifies the level at which a path terminates, based on resistance in the atmosphere and possible alpha collision. At lower values, the path terminates more easily when encountering resistance or alpha obstacles. At higher values, the path more persistently moves around alpha obstacles.

note: Increasing Turbulence or Complexity values causes resistance to increase in some areas. These areas change as conductivity changes. Increasing the Alpha Obstacle value causes resistance to increase at alpha edges.

Main Core Collision Only

Calculates collisions only on the main core. The forks aren’t affected. This control is relevant only if you select Alpha Obstacle.

Fractal Type

Specifies the type of fractal turbulence used to create the lightning.

Core Drain

Specifies the percentage by which the core strength is drained when creating a new fork. Increasing this value reduces the opacity of the core where new forks appear. Because forks draw their strength from the main core, decreasing this value reduces the opacity of the forks as well.

Fork Strength

Specifies the opacity of the new fork. This amount is measured as a percentage of the Core Drain value.

Fork Variation

Specifies the amount of variation in the opacity of the fork and determines how much the fork opacity deviates from the amount set for Fork Strength.

Audio Spectrum effect

Apply the Audio Spectrum effect to a video layer to display the audio spectrum of a layer that contains audio (and optionally video). The effect displays the magnitude of audio levels at frequencies in the range that you define using Start Frequency and End Frequency. This effect can display the audio spectrum in several different ways, including along a mask path.

Jerzy Drozda, Jr. provides a demonstration of the Audio Spectrum effect on the Motionworks website.

Note:

Audio Spectrum uses the audio source footage without time-remapping, effects, stretch, or levels. To display the spectrum with such effects, precompose the audio layer before applying the Audio Spectrum effect.

Note:

To prevent other masks on the layer from clipping the output of the Audio Spectrum effect, set their mask modes to None. (See Mask modes.)

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Audio Spectrum effect
Original (upper-left), and with effect applied (lower-left and right)

Audio Layer

The audio layer you want to use as input.

Start Point, End Point

Specifies the position at which the spectrum starts or ends if Path is set to None.

Path

The mask path along which to display the audio spectrum.

Use Polar Path

The path starts from a single point and appears as a radial graph.

Start Frequency, End Frequency

The lowest and highest frequencies, in hertz, to display.

Frequency Bands

The number of frequency bands into which to divide displayed frequencies.

Maximum Height

Maximum height, in pixels, of a displayed frequency.

Audio Duration

Duration of audio, in milliseconds, used to calculate the spectrum.

Audio Offset

Time offset in milliseconds used to retrieve the audio.

Thickness

Thickness of the bands.

Softness

How feathered or blurry the bands appear.

Inside Color, Outside Color

Inside and outside colors of the bands.

Blend Overlapping Colors

Specifies that overlapping spectrums are blended.

Hue Interpolation

If the value is greater than 0, the frequencies displayed rotate through the hue color space.

Dynamic Hue Phase

If selected, and the Hue Interpolation is greater than 0, the Start color shifts to the maximum frequency in the range of displayed frequencies. This setting allows the hue to follow the fundamental frequency of the spectrum displayed as it changes.

Color Symmetry

If selected, and the Hue Interpolation is greater than 0, the start and end colors are the same. This setting allows color continuity on closed paths.

Display Options

Specifies whether to display frequency as Digital, Analog Lines, or Analog Dots.

Side Options

Specifies whether to display the spectrum above the path (Side A), below the path (Side B), or both (Side A & B).

Duration Averaging

Specifies that audio frequencies are averaged to reduce randomness.

Composite On Original

If selected, displays the original layer with the effect.

Audio Waveform effect

Apply the Audio Waveform effect to a video layer to display the audio waveform of a layer that contains audio (and optionally video). You can display the audio waveform in several different ways, including along an open or closed mask path.

note: Audio Waveform uses the audio source footage without time-remapping, effects, stretch, or levels. To display the spectrum with such effects, precompose the audio layer before applying the Audio Waveform effect.

Note:

To prevent masks on the layer from clipping the output of the Audio Waveform effect, set their mask modes to None. (See Mask modes.)

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Audio Waveform effect
Original (upper-left), and with effect applied (lower-left and right)

Audio Layer

The audio layer you want to display as a waveform.

Start Point, End Point

The position at which the waveform starts and ends, if Path is set to None.

Path

If set to None, the audio waveform is displayed along the path of the layer.

Displayed Samples

Number of samples to display in the waveform.

Maximum Height

Maximum height, in pixels, of a displayed frequency.

Audio Duration

Duration of audio, in milliseconds, used to calculate the waveform.

Audio Offset

Time offset, in milliseconds, used to retrieve the audio.

Thickness

The thickness of the waveform.

Softness

How feathered or blurry the waveform appears.

Inside Color, Outside Color

The inside and outside colors of the waveform.

Waveform Options

Mono combines the left and right channels of the audio layer. Nonstereo audio layers play as Mono.

Display Options

Digital displays each sample as a single vertical line connecting the minimum and maximum source sample. This option simulates the display used on digital equipment. Analog Lines displays each sample as a line connecting the previous and next sample from either the minimum or maximum audio source sample. This option simulates the retracing seen in the display of an analog oscilloscope. Analog Dots displays each sample as a dot representing either the minimum or maximum audio source sample.

Composite On Original

Composites the audio waveform with the original layer using the Add blending mode. When deselected, only the audio waveform is visible.

Beam effect

The Beam effect simulates the movement of a beam, such as a laser beam. You can make the beam shoot, or you can create a wandlike beam with a stationary start or end point. The beam looks best when motion blur is enabled and the shutter angle is set to 360.

John Dickinson provides a video tutorial and example project on the Motionworks website that demonstrate the use of the Beam effect.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Beam effect
Original (left), and with a simulated beam (right)

The Length control specifies the length of the beam based on a percentage of the Time specified. For example, a setting of 100% means that the visible beam length is at its maximum when the Time control is 50%. Time specifies the time of the beam’s travel from start to end as a percentage. The 3D Perspective control uses 3D perspective based on start and end thickness if Time is animated.

Cell Pattern effect

The Cell Pattern effect generates cellular patterns based on cellular noise. Use it to create static or moving background textures and patterns. The patterns can be used in turn as textured mattes, as transition maps, or as a source for displacement maps.

John Dickinson provides an example project on the Motionworks website that demonstrates the use of the Cell Pattern effect in a seamlessly looping background animation.

Richard Harrington provides additional information and examples for using the Cell Pattern effect on his website.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Cell Pattern effect
Original image (left); the Cell Pattern effect creates a displacement map (center), which is used as a displacement map for the Displacement Map effect (right).

Cell Pattern

The cell pattern to use. HQ denotes high-quality patterns that render with more definition than their unmarked counterparts. Mixed Crystals is available only as a high-quality option.

note: The Static Plates option is identical in appearance to the Plates option. However, when evolving, the static plates retain a uniform lightness value, whereas the plates shift the lightness of the cell pattern.

Invert

Inverts the cell pattern. Black areas become white, and white areas become black.

Contrast/Sharpness

Specifies the contrast of the cell pattern when you use the Bubbles, Crystals, Pillow, Mixed Crystals, or Tubular cell pattern. The control specifies sharpness for any of the Plate or Crystallize options.

note: The option chosen from the Overflow menu affects the contrast.

Overflow

How the effect remaps values that fall outside the grayscale range of 0-255. Overflow isn’t available if sharpness-based cell patterns are chosen.

Clip

Values above 255 are mapped to 255. Values below 0 are mapped to 0. Contrast amount controls how much of the image falls outside the range 0-255; higher contrast amounts result in a mostly black or white image, with less gray. Therefore, less subtle cellular detail appears at higher contrast settings.

Soft Clamp

Remaps grayscale values to fall inside the 0–255 range. Contrast appears reduced; cells are mostly gray with few areas of pure black or white.

Wrap Back

Values above 255 or below 0 are reflected back into the 0-255 range. For example, a value of 258 (255+3) is reflected to 252 (255-3), and a value of ‑3 is reflected to 3. With this setting, Contrast values above 100 increase complexity and detail.

Disperse

How randomly the pattern is drawn. Lower values cause more uniform or gridlike cell patterns.

note: If you set the Disperse value above 1.0, set the layer to Best quality to avoid artifacts.

Size

The size of the cells. The default size is 60.

Offset

Determines the portion of the fractal shape used to create the pattern.

Tiling Options

Choose Enable Tiling to create a pattern built of repeating tiles. Cells Horizontal and Cells Vertical determine how many cells wide and how many cells high each tile is.

Evolution

Animating this setting results in changes of the pattern over time.

note: Although the Evolution value is set in units called revolutions, it’s important to realize that these revolutions are progressive. The Evolution state continues to progress infinitely at each new value. Use the Cycle Evolution option to return the Evolution setting to its original state at each revolution.

Evolution Options

Evolution Options provide controls that render the effect for one short cycle and then loop it for the duration of your clip. Use these controls to pre-render cell pattern elements into loops, and thus speed up rendering time.

Cycle Evolution

Creates a loop that forces the Evolution state to return to its starting point.

Cycle

The number of revolutions of the Evolution setting that the cell pattern cycles through before it repeats. The amount of time between Evolution keyframes determines the timing of the Evolution cycles.

note: The Cycle control affects only the state of the cell pattern, not geometrics or other controls, so you can get different results with different Size or Offset settings.

Random Seed

Specifies a value from which to generate the cell pattern. Animating this property results in flashing from one cell pattern to another (within the same cell pattern type), which is not usually the result that you want. For smooth transition of the cell pattern, animate the Evolution property.

note: Create new cell pattern animations by reusing previously created Evolution cycles and changing only the Random Seed value. Using a new Random Seed value alters the cell pattern without disturbing the Evolution animation.

Checkerboard effect

The Checkerboard effect creates a checkerboard pattern of rectangles, half of which are transparent.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Anchor

The point of origin of the checkerboard pattern. Moving this point offsets the pattern.

Size From

How the dimensions of the rectangles are determined:

Corner Point

The dimensions of each rectangle are the dimensions of the rectangle with opposite corners defined by the Anchor and Corner points.

Width Slider

The height and width of a rectangle are equal to the Width value, meaning that the rectangles are squares.

Width & Height Sliders

The height of a rectangle is equal to the Height value. The width of a rectangle is equal to the Width value.

Feather

Thickness of the edge feather within the checkerboard pattern.

Color

The color of the nontransparent rectangles.

Opacity

The opacity of the colored rectangles.

Blending Mode

The blending mode to use to composite the checkerboard pattern on top of the original layer. These blending modes work identically to the ones in the Timeline panel, except for the default None mode, which renders the checkerboard pattern only.

Circle effect

The Circle effect creates a customizable solid disk or ring.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Edge

None creates a solid disk. The other options all create rings. Each option corresponds to a different set of properties that determine the shape and edge treatment of the ring:

Edge Radius

The difference between the Edge Radius property and the Radius property is the thickness of the ring.

Thickness

The Thickness property sets the thickness of the ring.

Thickness * Radius

The product of the Thickness property and the Radius property is the thickness of the ring.

Thickness & Feather * Radius

The product of the Thickness property and the Radius property is the thickness of the ring. The product of the Feather property and the Radius property is the feather of the ring.

Feather

The thickness of the feather.

Invert Circle

Inverts the matte.

Blending Mode

The blending mode used to combine the shape and the original layer. These blending modes behave like the blending modes in the Timeline panel, except for None, which displays only the shape, without the original layer.

Ellipse effect

The Ellipse effect draws an ellipse.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Eyedropper Fill effect

The Eyedropper Fill effect (formerly the Color Picker effect) applies a sampled color to the source layer. This effect is useful for quickly picking a solid color from a sample point on the original layer or picking a color value from one layer and using blending modes to apply this color to a second layer.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Sample Point

The center of the sampled area.

Sample Radius

The radius of the sampled area.

Average Pixel Color

Which color values are sampled:

Skip Empty

Samples the average RGB color values, excluding the color values of transparent pixels.

All

Samples the average of all RGB color values, including color values of transparent pixels.

All Premultiplied

Samples the average of all RGB color values, premultiplied with the alpha channel.

Including Alpha

Samples the average of all RGB color and alpha channel values. This setting results in the sampled color also containing the average transparency of the sampled pixels.

Maintain Original Alpha

Maintains the alpha channel of the original layer. If you choose Including Alpha in the Average Pixel Color menu, the original alpha is stenciled over the sampled color.

Blend With Original

The transparency of the effect. The result of the effect is blended with the original image, with the effect result composited on top. The higher you set this value, the less the effect affects the layer. For example, if you set this value to 100%, the effect has no visible result on the layer; if you set this value to 0%, the original image doesn’t show through.

Fill effect

The Fill effect fills specified masks with a specified color. If you want to add both a stroke and a fill to a closed path, the order in which you apply the stroke and fill determines the visible width of the stroke: If the fill is applied before the stroke, the full stroke brush size is visible; if the stroke is applied before the fill, the fill appears on top of the stroke, obscuring the half of the stroke that falls inside the path.

This effect works in 32-bit color.

Fractal effect

The Fractal effect renders the Mandelbrot or Julia set, creating colorful textures. When you first apply the effect, the picture you see is the classic sample of the Mandelbrot set; the set is the area that is colored black. Any pixel outside the set is colorized, depending on how close it is to the set.

This effect works with 8-bpc and 16-bpc color.

Fractal effect
Spaceship layer (upper-left) composited over layer with Mandelbrot fractal with Lightness Gradient palette (lower-left) and Julia fractal (lower-right)

Set Choice

Specifies the set used. Mandelbrot is the typical Mandelbrot set. Mandelbrot Inverse is the Mandelbrot set mathematically inverted. Julia always changes depending on the center point from the Mandelbrot set and can produce the set of all possible Julia sets. Julia Inverse is the inverse of the Julia set. To see a Julia set, you may want to set the magnification to a negative value, because these sets tend to fill up the complex plane outside the normal boundary. Mandelbrot Over Julia is the same as Mandelbrot, except that it changes when the Julia center point changes. Mandelbrot Inverse over Julia is the same as Mandelbrot Inverse, except that it changes when the Julia center point changes.

Mandelbrot, Julia

Specify the settings for the specified set. X (Real) and Y (Imaginary) specify the pixels at the center of the image for either the Mandelbrot or Julia set. Magnification specifies the magnification of the effect. Escape Limit specifies how many times the calculation looks for a color for a given pixel before it assigns the color black. It also sets the maximum number of line segments the Selection tool can use when tracing the path of a point. Higher numbers require longer render times.

Color

Specifies the color of the effect:

Overlay

Displays a ghosted version of the opposite set. For example, when viewing the Julia set, use this control to display a ghosted version of the Mandelbrot set. When you select Overlay, a white cross hair with a black drop shadow appears so you can see the exact point at the center of the opposite set. This control is useful because the Julia set depends on the center point of the Mandelbrot set.

Transparency

Specifies whether black pixels are transparent. If you choose Solid Color from the Palette menu, this control specifies whether everything inside or outside the set is transparent.

Palette

Specifies the palette to use when drawing the set. Lightness Gradient creates a gradient that ranges from black to white, passing through the hue specified by the Hue control. Then it applies the same gradient eight more times, each time using the hue 45° away on the color wheel. The Cycle Steps control specifies the number of colors in the gradient. Hue Wheel uses all the color from the Hue color wheel, with maximum brightness and saturation. Black And White uses alternating bands of black and white. Solid Color turns everything transparent except the inside of the set, which uses the color specified by the Hue control. Select Transparent to get the opposite result.

Hue

Specifies the hue for solid colors and the starting hue for color gradients. This control works well for creating smooth color changes or for cycling through the palette. Cycle Steps specifies the number of bands of different color that appear before the cycle starts over. Cycle Offset specifies where, other than the beginning, a cycle starts.

Edge Highlight

Highlights the edges between color bands. This control requires low-quality mode. If you want to use high-quality edge highlighting, use the Find Edges effect instead.

High Quality Settings

Specify the oversampling settings for the effect:

Oversample Method

Specifies the method used to oversample the effect: Edge Detect-Fast-May Miss Pixels performs a simple edge detection and oversamples only those pixels. This option is the fastest, especially in areas with a lot of solid color, such as black, and it generally produces results indistinguishable from Brute Force. Brute Force-Slow-Every Pixel oversamples every pixel in the image. It is slow but precise.

Oversample Factor

Specifies the amount of oversampling to perform. For example, a value of 4 specifies that each pixel is sampled 16 times (4x4=16) and that the average color is used. Higher values produce better quality output but require longer render times.

Use tools with the Fractal effect

When the Fractal effect is selected in the Effect Controls panel, you can use After Effects tools in the following way. (If you don’t want the Fractal tools active, deselect the effect before using tools.)

  • Use the Selection tool and click while holding the Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) key. If the path leads out of the bounded rectangle (-2, -2, 2, 2), it has gone into infinity; in such a case, the starting-point color is based on how many line segments it takes to reach infinity. If the path ends within the rectangle, it’s colored black.
  • Use the Zoom tool to zoom in or out on a particular point, or hold down Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS), click and hold the Magnifying tool over the center of the image, and navigate from the center. For example, to zoom straight in, stay in the center; to move up, drag up a little and then quickly move back to the center.
  • Use the Hand tool to pan the image. Press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) to pan the opposite fractal. For example, when viewing the Julia set, press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) to pan the Mandelbrot set and see how the Julia set depends on the center point of the Mandelbrot set.
  • Use the arrow keys to pan the center point by 1 pixel. Press Shift as you press an arrow key to adjust the point by 10 pixels. Press Ctrl (Windows) or Command (Mac OS) as you press an arrow key to adjust the center point of the opposite set.

Gradient Ramp effect | CC

The Gradient Ramp effect creates a color gradient. You can create linear or radial ramps, and vary the position and colors of the ramp over time. Use the Start Of Ramp and End Of Ramp properties to specify the start and end positions. Use the Ramp Scatter control to disperse the ramp colors and eliminate banding.

This effect works with 8-bpc, 16-bpc, and 32-bpc color.

Note:

Ramps often don’t broadcast well; severe banding occurs because the broadcast chrominance signal doesn’t contain sufficient resolution to reproduce the ramp smoothly. The Ramp Scatter control dithers the ramp colors, eliminating the banding apparent to the human eye.

Grid effect

Use the Grid effect to create a customizable grid. Render this grid in a solid color or as a mask in the alpha channel of the source layer. This effect is good for generating design elements and mattes within which other effects can be applied.

John Dickinson provides a video tutorial on his Motionworks website that demonstrates the use of the Grid effect.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Note:

Use Grid with the Advanced Lightning effect to create lightning forks that follow a grid pattern.

Anchor

The point of origin of the grid pattern. Moving this point offsets the pattern.

Size From

How the dimensions of the rectangles are determined:

Corner Point

The dimensions of each rectangle are the dimensions of the rectangle with opposite corners defined by the Anchor and Corner points.

Width Slider

The height and width of a rectangle are equal to the Width value, meaning that the rectangles are squares.

Width & Height Sliders

The height of a rectangle is equal to the Height value. The width of a rectangle is equal to the Width value.

Border

The thickness of the grid lines. A value of 0 causes the grid to disappear.

note: The anti-aliasing of the grid borders may cause the visible thickness to vary.

Feather

The softness of the grid.

Invert Grid

Inverts the transparent and opaque areas of the grid.

Color

The color of the grid.

Opacity

The opacity of the grid.

Blending Mode

The blending mode to use to composite the grid on top of the original layer. These blending modes work identically to the ones in the Timeline panel, except for the default None mode, which renders the grid only.

Lens Flare effect

The Lens Flare effect simulates the refraction caused by shining a bright light into the camera lens. Specify a location for the center of the flare by clicking anywhere inside the image thumbnail or by dragging its cross hair.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Lens Flare effect
Single lens flare (lower-left) and multiple lens flares (lower-right)

Paint Bucket effect

The Paint Bucket effect (formerly Basic Fill effect) is a nondestructive paint effect that fills an area with a solid color. It works much like the Paint Bucket tool in Adobe Photoshop. Use the Paint Bucket effect for colorizing cartoon-type outlined drawings or replacing areas of color in an image.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Fill Point

The effect fills an area that contains the Fill Point. The area is determined by analyzing pixels that neighbor the Fill Point and expanding the fill area by adding matching pixels. How far the fill color spreads depends upon the Tolerance setting, as well as the option you choose from the Fill Selector menu.

Fill Selector

Which values to operate on:

Color & Alpha

Specifies that the effect fills the RGB and alpha channels of the fill area with the new color.

Straight Color

Specifies that the effect fills only the RGB channels of the fill area with the new color.

Transparency

Specifies that the effect fills only the transparent areas near the fill point. You must set a fill point in a transparent area for this option to work.

Opacity

Specifies that the effect fills only the opaque areas near the fill point. You must set a fill point in an opaque area for this option to work.

Alpha Channel

Specifies that the effect fills either the opaque or transparent areas in the whole image, depending upon the alpha channel value at the point you set the fill point.

Tolerance

How far the color values of a pixel can be from the Fill Point color values and still match. Higher values expand the range of pixels that the effect fills.

View Threshold

Shows what pixels match—that is, which pixels are within the Tolerance value of the color values of the Fill Point pixel. This option is especially useful in tracking leaks. If a small gap exists, the color can flow over and fill areas not intended to be filled.

Stroke

How the effect treats the edges of the filled area:

Antialias

Anti-aliases the edges of the filled area.

Feather

Creates a feathered edge for the filled area. Feather Softness values create a more gradually disappearing edge.

Spread

Expands the area of the fill color. The Spread Radius value indicates the number of pixels the fill color extends beyond the edge of the fill area.

Choke

Contracts the area of the fill color. The Spread Radius value indicates the number of pixels the fill color shrinks from the edge of the fill area.

Stroke

Confines the fill to only the border of the selected area. The Stroke Width value indicates the width of the stroke, in pixels.

Color

The fill color.

Opacity

Opacity of the filled area.

Blending Mode

The blending mode to use to composite the result of the effect on top of the original layer. All of these blending modes operate like the blending modes in the Timeline panel, except for Fill Only. Use Fill Only to show only the fill.

Note:

If you apply multiple instances of Paint Bucket to a layer, be sure not to set more than one to use the Fill Only blending mode. If you set more than one instance to use this blending mode, only the first application of the effect is shown.

Radio Waves effect

The Radio Waves effect creates radiating waves from a stationary or animated effect control point. You can use this effect to generate pond ripples, sound waves, or intricate geometric patterns. Use the Reflection control to make the shapes bounce off the sides of the layer. You can also use Radio Waves to create realistic wave displacement maps that work well with the Caustics effect.

Satya demonstrates animation of the mask that the radio wave shape is based on. He also demonstrates that you can get smooth, organic contours (rather than discrete waves) by using a very high value for Frequency, together with carefully chosen Fade-in Time and Fade-out Time settings.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Radio Waves effect
Polygon wave type with square stroke profile (lower-left), and Image Contour wave type with Sine stroke profile (lower-right)

Producer Point

The point from which the waves appear.

Parameters Are Set At

Specifies whether parameters can be animated for individual waves. Birth specifies that each wave maintains the same parameter settings over time. Each Frame specifies that the waves change as the parameters change. For example, if you create a star wave with an animated rotation property, select Birth to offset each star from the previous one to create a twisting tunnel, or select Each Frame to make all the stars rotate in unison as the rotation property changes.

Render Quality

Controls the quality of the output. Radio Waves creates smooth, anti-aliased shapes by rendering high-resolution versions of the shapes and then scaling them down by oversampling. For example, to create a 100x100-pixel image, it may generate a 400x400-pixel image and then scale it down using 4x oversampling. Oversampling provides high-quality results but results in long render times. This option works only with Best quality mode.

Wave Type

What to base the wave shape on.

Polygon

What kind of polygon to use for the wave shape. These controls are available if Polygon is chosen for Wave Type.

Sides

Three sides create a triangle, four create a square, and so on. Size values above 64 result in a smooth circle. You can also approximate a circle by setting Sides to 3, Curve Size to 1, and Curvyness to about 0.62.

Curve Size

Specifies how much of each side is curved at each point.

Curvyness

Specifies how extreme the curve is at each point of the wave.

Star

Specifies that the polygon is shaped like a star. To change the number of points on the star, change the number of sides.

Star Depth

Specifies the angles of a star by controlling the distance between inner points and the center of the star.

Mask

Specifies the mask used to create a wave. This control is available if you choose Mask from the Wave Type pop-up menu.

Image Contour controls

You can base the wave shape on the contours of an image by choosing Image Contours for Wave Type.

Source Layer

The layer to use as input for the creation of the image contours. Select an animated layer to emit moving shapes. A well-defined outline, high-contrast grayscale layer, or alpha channel works well as a source. The Radio Waves effect detects edges and converts sources into outlines.

Source Center

Specifies the center point of the shape, relative to the source layer. For example, if you isolate a shape that is positioned in the left half of the frame, the shape radiates to the left by default; you can move the source center anywhere on the layer.

Value Channel

The color attributes of the source layer used to define the image contours.

Invert Input

Inverts the chosen value channel option.

Value Threshold

Specifies the threshold for the chosen value channel. It determines the percentage value at which everything below it or above it is mapped to either white or black. This control can make a big difference in the shape of the wave.

Pre-Blur

Smooths out the value channel before the value threshold is sampled. If you have a high-contrast image, such as white on black, and you want the wave to follow the edges very closely, set this option to 0.

Tolerance

Defines how tightly the wave conforms to the layer. A high setting results in sharp corners; a low value can make the wave shape more sensitive to noise.

Contour

Specifies the shape in the source layer that you want to use as the emitted wave. Contour numbers the shapes by their order in the frame from top to bottom, left to right. The shape in the upper-left corner is number 1.

Wave Motion controls

Wave Motion controls specify how the wave emits from the center point.

Frequency

Specifies the number of waves per second flowing out of the producer point.

Expansion

Specifies the speed at which the wave travels from the producer point once it is born. This option doesn’t affect the number of waves per second.

Orientation

Specifies the rotation of the shape at birth around its center point. To animate the rotation, use the Spin control.

Direction

Specifies the initial direction of a wave if Velocity is greater than 0. By default, particles are emitted from the producer point in an expanding radial pattern.

Velocity

Specifies the speed at which the wave moves in the specified direction.

Spin

Controls the continued rotation of a shape after it is born.

Lifespan (sec)

Specifies the time, in seconds (including the fade-in and fade-out times), that the wave exists.

Tip: To prevent waves from abruptly disappearing when their lifetime ends, use the Fade Out Time control.

Reflection

Specifies whether the waves bounce off the edges of the layer and back into the scene. This option is effective for generating displacement maps for use as water ripples.

Stroke controls

Stroke controls specify the appearance of the stroke of a wave.

Profile

Controls the appearance of the stroke that defines the shape. The outline of the shape is animated in the wave that emanates from the effect point. The quality of the stroke is defined as a 3D wave type.

Color

Specifies the color of the stroke.

Opacity

Specifies the maximum possible opacity of the stroke. The actual opacity of the stroke takes into account this setting in conjunction with the Fade-in Time and Fade-out Time controls.

Fade-in Time

Specifies the amount of time it takes the wave to fade into view. Fade-in Time is measured in seconds and begins with 0 opacity at birth. For example, if the Lifespan is 3 seconds and Fade-in Time is 1 second, the stroke is completely transparent at birth and fades smoothly to full opacity at 1 second.

Fade-out Time

Specifies the amount of time it takes the wave to fade out of view. Fade-out Time is measured backward in time from the end of the Lifespan. If the Lifespan is 3 seconds and Fade-out Time is 1 second, the wave begins to fade out at 2 seconds. If the sum of Fade-in Time and Fade-out Time is greater than the Lifespan value, the intersection point of the two fades is calculated so that the wave doesn’t reach full transparency. If either Fade-in Time or Fade-out Time is longer than the Lifespan, that amount is truncated to equal the Lifespan.

Start Width

Specifies the width of the shape at its birth. End Width specifies the width of the shape at the end of its lifespan.

Stroke effect

The Stroke effect creates a stroke or border around the path defined by one or more masks. You can also specify stroke color, opacity, and spacing, as well as brush characteristics. Specify whether the stroke appears on top of the image, on a transparent image, or if it reveals the original alpha channel. To use a path created in Illustrator, copy the path and paste it into a layer in After Effects.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Andrew Kramer provides a video tutorial on his Video Copilot website that demonstrates the use the Stroke effect to reveal an image as if it is being written by hand on a wall.

Steve Holmes provides a tutorial on the Layers Magazine website that shows how to create and prepare vines, swirls, and flourishes in Illustrator and then import, reveal, and animate them in After Effects using the Stroke effect.

Stroke effect
Original (upper-left), with mask (lower-left), and with effect applied (lower-right)

Brush Hardness

Specifies the edge quality of the stroke, between hard and soft.

Spacing

Specifies the spacing between stroke segments.

Paint Style

Specifies whether the stroke is applied to the original layer or to a transparent layer.

Vegas effect

The Vegas effect generates running lights and other path-based pulse animations around an object. You can outline just about anything, surround it with lights or longer pulses, and then animate it to create the appearance of lights chasing around the object.

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

John Dickinson provides an example on his Motionworks website of an EKG (electrocardiogram) simulation created using the Vegas effect.

Stroke

What to base the stroke on: Image Contours or Mask/Path.

Image Contours

If Image Contours is chosen from the Stroke menu, you specify what layer to take the image contours from and how to interpret the input layer.

Input Layer

The layer whose image contours are used. High-contrast, grayscale layers, and alpha channels work well and are easy to work with.

Invert Input

Inverts the input layer before creating the stroke.

If Layer Sizes Differ

Determines how to adjust the layers if the size of the input layer differs from the size of the layer to which Vegas is applied. Center centers the input layer in the composition at its original size. Stretch To Fit scales the input layer to match the layer to which Vegas is applied.

Channel

The color attribute of the input layer used to define the contours.

Threshold

The percentage value at which everything below or above is mapped to either white or black. This property is important in determining the location of the edges that the effect strokes.

Pre-Blur

Smooths out the input layer before the threshold is sampled. Set this option to 0 if you have a high-contrast image and want the stroke to follow the edges very closely.

Tolerance

Defines how tightly the stroke conforms to the input layer. A high value results in sharp corners, while low values can make the stroking sensitive to noise.

Render

Specifies whether to apply the effect to a selected contour or to all contours in the layer.

Selected Contour

Specifies the contour to use when Selected Contour is selected from the Render menu. Contours are numbered from upper-left to lower-right; the contour with the highest point is number 1, the second highest point is number 2, and so on.

Shorter Contours Have

Specifies whether shorter contours have fewer segments. By default, the effect breaks each contour into the same number of segments. For example, if you apply the effect to the letter R, the outside contour may look fine with 32 segments, but the inside contour may be almost solid. To resolve this issue, select Fewer Segments.

Mask/Path

The mask or path to use for the stroke. You can use either closed or open masks.

Segments

Specifies the number of segments used to create each stroked contour. For example, if the effect is applied to the word Vegas and Segments is set to 10, the outline of each of the letters, plus the inner contours of e, g, and a, are broken into 10 segments.

Length

Determines the length of the stroke of a segment in relation to its maximum possible length. For example, if Segments is set to 1, the maximum length of a stroke is one complete trip around the object outline. If Segments is set to 3, the maximum length of a segment is 1/3 of the total outline, and so on.

Segment Distribution

Determines the spacing of the segments. Bunched puts the segments together like boxcars in a train: The shorter the segment length, the shorter the overall length of the train. Even spaces the segments evenly around the contour.

Rotation

Animates the segments around the contour. For example, to create the appearance of running lights, start with a large number of segments set to 50% of their length, and then animate Rotation to move the lights around the shapes.

Random Phase

Specifies that the stroke starting point is different for each contour. By default, the effect strokes a contour beginning at its highest point on the screen. In the event of a tie, it starts at the leftmost highest point.

Blend Mode

Determines how the stroke is applied to the layer. Transparent creates the effect on a transparent background. Over places the stroke over the existing layer. Under places the stroke behind the existing layer. Stencil uses the stroke as an alpha channel mask, filling the stroke with the pixels of the original layer.

Color

Specifies the color of the stroke, unless Stencil is chosen for Blending Mode.

Width

Specifies the width of the stroke in pixels. Fractional values are supported.

Hardness

Determines how sharp or blurry the edges of the stroke are. A value of 1 creates a slight blur; a value of 0.0 blurs the line so that few solid areas of color remain.

Start, End Opacity

Specify the opacity at the beginning or end of the stroke.

Mid-point Opacity

Specifies the opacity of the midpoint of the stroke. This control works in terms of relative opacity, not absolute opacity. Setting it to 0 makes the change in opacity smooth from the start point to the end point, as if there were no midpoint at all.

Mid-point Position

Specifies the location of the midpoint within a segment: Lower values move the midpoint closer to the beginning; higher values move the midpoint closer to the end. Use this control to move the midpoint opacity from the center of the stroke.

Write-on effect

The Write-on effect animates strokes on a layer. For example, you can simulate the action of hand-writing of cursive text or signatures.

note: A convenient way to animate Brush Position is to use Motion Sketch to create Position keyframes on a new solid layer and then use an expression on the Brush Position property to link it to the Position property on the new solid layer. (See Sketch a motion path with Motion Sketch and Add, edit, and remove expressions.)

This effect works with 8-bpc color.

Other methods of animating paint strokes and text are also available. For example, you can animate text by using the type tools and text animators, and you can animate a paint stroke applied with a paint tool. Paint strokes can have a Write-on Duration setting, which you can use to create similar results as with the Write-on effect. You can also animate shape paths for a similar result with the Trim Paths operation. (See Animating text, Animate and edit paint strokes, and Shape attributes, paint operations, and path operations for shape layers.)

Brush Position

The position of the brush. Animate this property to create a stroke.

Stroke Length (secs)

The duration, in seconds, of each brush mark. If this value is 0, the brush mark has unlimited duration. Use a single, constant, nonzero value to create a snakelike movement of the stroke. Animate this value to make the stroke expand and contract.

Brush Spacing (secs)

The time interval, in seconds, between brush marks. Smaller values produce smoother paint strokes but take more time to render.

Paint Time Properties and Brush Time Properties

Specifies whether paint properties and brush properties are applied to each brush mark or to the entire stroke. Choose None to apply values at each time to all brush marks in the stroke. Choose a property name for each brush mark to retain the value for that property at the time that the brush mark was drawn. For example, if you choose Color, then each brush mark keeps the color specified by the Color value at the time that the mark was drawn.

Paint Style

How the paint stroke interacts with the original image:

On Original Image

Paint stroke appears over original image.

On Transparent

Paint stroke appears over transparency; the original image doesn’t appear.

Reveal Original Image

The original image is revealed by the paint stroke.

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