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in this video, I'm gonna show you how to create looping 2d smoke animations all in After Effects
let's begin
now if you want a really quick smoke animation you
can quickly draw a pillar shape using your pen tool, add the effect wave warp
change the direction, adjust the height and width and you've got something like this
and this can be really useful in some circumstances but if you want a
more realistic smoke effect that's just a bit more flexible I'm going to show
you how to build this effect over here on the Left which we're going to build
with simple shape layers and then add some really neat effects to get this result
and we're gonna start in exactly the same way in a new pre comp creating
a new shape layer by drawing a pillar shape with our pen tool there's just a
little bit more narrower at the bottom now let's add our first plume of smoke
making sure that we've got nothing selected by clicking off that layer
let's draw a round shape that's not quite an exact circle
and let's named that plume o1 because we always label our layers now let's move
that down to the bottom of our pillar on the left here and press P to bring up
our position properties let's make a keyframe right at the start and then
about 14 seconds later let's drag that up
off screen a bit so it's completely out of view and play that back
that seems like a good speed for this smoke now let's add some scale keyframes by
opening up s on a keyboard make a keyframe at the end here and have a
start I'm gonna make it pretty small and then maybe move its position in a little
bit as well so it can fit completely within that smoke here now let's go up
to our pen tool and select the convert vertex tool and we're gonna adjust
the animation path of this plume if we just simply click and drag this out here
we'll create a new Bezier handle and our plume will now animate in a slight arc
and just pop out of the side of the plume a little bit sooner there we go
that's looking good I'm gonna trim this at 14 seconds by holding alt and the
right square bracket on my keyboard and now we're gonna start making the plumes
on the right so I'm gonna select this and duplicate it with ctrl + D and then
I'm going to move its position just by clicking and dragging at the start and
then at the end here and this last keyframe I'm gonna drag it over to the
right so this animation path follows the right side of our pillar there we go and
I want to select a pencil back again and I'm just gonna make a few adjustments to
the shape of this plume on the right just so
they don't look too similar and identical and like we've just copied and
pasted them even though we have and I'm going to come back and do this a few
times during this project excellent they look different enough now I'm gonna move
this layer of cross about two seconds maybe just a bit before so that way it
starts animating just a little bit later and we get this nice F shape in a smoke
pillar now let's select both of these layers and just get them both with
control D I move them up in the effect stack and then slide them over again
about the same amount just under two seconds and then make some small
adjustments to their shapes again now link is a good point to jump back into
our top smoke composition work and compare it to our first example
now this comp I've made 20 seconds long and the first 10 seconds is just each of
the sort of plumes popping up into the smoke and then slowly getting to the top
and then from 10 seconds step 18 seconds we've got a full loop of the smoke here
on the left with plumes all throughout the smoke which we're going to duplicate
in our second spoke very shortly but the main thing that we need to do is round
out our smoke on the right well we don't have all of these sharp corners and it's
nice and rounded like this one on the left and to do that we're gonna add a
few effects of this yellow layer the smoke to lay here we're gonna add a
Gaussian blur we're gonna make the blurriness about 100 so now we don't
have much information about the sharpness of this corner to work with
which is good and then we're gonna add the levels effect now instead of using
the levels to adjust the color the brightness theme I normally do we're
going to change its channel from the RGB to the Alpha Channel and we're gonna
crush and increase the contrast of that alpha Channel now we do that by taking
the two outside triangles and dragging them closer and you can see as we do
that we start to lose the gradient of this blur here but we also lose the
corner as well which is great so let's continue to drag these close to the
center until we get a nice shape that we like now you can go too far and it
becomes really crunchy if you pull them in all the way and you get this aliasing
which we don't really like so let's just keep that a tiny gap open so there's
still the slightest blur there wonderful now the amount of blue you have before
you crush the levels is gonna change how round these corners are if we set it to
50 they'll be less rounded and we set it to something much higher it'll be way
more blobby I think 100 works well for us here you should know that these two
pre comps have been up slightly in this composition that is
because of these effects that have got going on here also affect the very top
edge of the comp and you can see we get some weird funny results when I smoke
reaches the very top so the best thing to do is just hide them above with the
composition and pretend they don't exist and just make sure you make your pre
comp a little bit bigger than you think you need to and make the smoke plume
just a bit taller than you expect and you should be fine and I'm just playing
how we get a stroke around the shape a little bit later after we add in some
more details and plumes to this smoke we can see that on the smoke on the left
underneath the main plumes we have this sort of arc that kind of cuts in towards
our main pillar and these little holes that form as well now these are two
things that I think really sell this effect and make it look more realistic
and believable so we can see on smoke one on the left and underneath these
plumes we have this little arc that sort of cuts in towards the main pillar so
when the smoke pulls away from the main form a larger pocket of air fills up
that space so we maintain the same volume of the smoke as it adapts and
moves away and some holes appear as well doing the same thing now these two
elements are what I think really sell this effect make it much more believable
and realistic so let's jump back into our smoke to comp and make some of those
I'm gonna draw another blob with our pen tool creating a new shape layer and this
time I'm going to make it a little more elongated and more like a squashed ball
and change the fill so it can tablet it's a bit different and I'm gonna call
that hole by one and I'm gonna move that just under our first plume so that
overlaps our fair bit with that pillar then I'm also going to parent that to a
plume on using the pick whip so now it will follow plume on up as it rises and
now we're going to set this blending mode to silhouette alpha which will make
everything below that in the composition transparent so now it cuts away into the
main pillar making a sort of smoke armpit and if we toggle on a
transparency grid you can see there is nothing underneath that it is all
transparent now what I also want to do is have this increase in scale over time
so I'm gonna add some scale keyframes so that it goes from about 50 to maybe a
hundred and fifty over its lifetime that's maybe adjusted shape slightly so
it's not quite as squashed there I think that's good at the bottom here you can
see it doesn't look great but our blur is gonna cover all of that so that'll be
seamless so I'm going to duplicate that four times with control D I'm gonna
parent whole tube to plume to whole three two plume three etc
I'm gonna slide them over to their respective plumes and then I'm gonna
move them into place so they sit just underneath where they need to be and
then adjust their shapes a tiny bit as well to keep them looking a bit more
organic wonderful now we've got four plumes rising up and little hole forming
underneath each one that gets a bit bigger as it floats upwards to give
these extra little holes it's a pretty similar process so back on our main comp
I'm gonna duplicate holo one and remember the whole Oh 1b I'm gonna
adjust its shape to be quite a bit more circular and move it over to the right
so it starts to eat away at this larger plume here now let's see how that looks
this one looks kind of all right but it kind of it's a bit too low so it kind of
makes this hole at the bottom here which I don't really like so I'm just gonna go
in and finesse that and maybe move it up a bit and do a bit of a trial and error
until I get the result that I want but it doesn't take too long to sort of
figure out what works and what doesn't now that we're happy with that I'm gonna
duplicate that and attach it to another plume and now we've got all of our main
forms that we need to loop so to do that I'm gonna select all of our layers in
this comp duplicate them with ctrl + D take them to the top of the layer stack
and then drag them over at 8 seconds in so they will start appearing after our
first ones finish duplicate them again and then slide these ones over to 16
seconds so now we've got enough overlap in the middle here so we've got a full
loop happening and we're going to our main comp that should happen between 10
seconds and 18 seconds now to add our stroke to add the stroke I'm gonna
duplicate smoke go to and hide the bottom one for now and I'm gonna add the
effect Vegas now Vegas adds these sort of cycling kind of trim pathy looking
little gradient lights that go around any shape but we can kind of hack this
effect to give us a stroke on any layer with an alpha Channel so firstly in a
control panel over here change the rendering mode to transparent now we can
see the effects a little better and then we need to change the color too I'm
gonna choose wipe you can choose whatever you want and then we need to
change the end opacity which is sort of the end of these gradient strokes and
just change that to 1 and now we have a stroke so let's turn back on
ah bottom layer here and tennis transparency down so looks a bit ghostly
and I'm also going to add a new adjustment layer and add the effect at
least rise time and I'm gonna say that 212 which is gonna lower the frame eight
to twelve frames per second and that's just gonna mimic a more traditional
frame by frame animation look which I think suits this effect really well now
from here you can use these comps do a few more interesting things you could
use the filter comp as a mat for a blur adjustment layer to create this nice
effect as if your vision is being distorted by the smoke and then of
course added to your own 2d or even 3d scenes really interested to see how
people make with this effect this effect wouldn't only look good as smoke I think
it looks good steam which is you know smoke light and also maybe some rolling
clouds as well it could work out or even fire if you want a big blobby stylized
fire so please don't forget to tag me had been underscore married underscore
on Instagram so I can see all the work you've made and please dig deep into the
working files that I've provided and it highly encourage you to take we've
learned here and apply it to your own work and your own style and make
something new I've made a short playlist of some related videos that'll think
you'll enjoy if you've made it this far I'll see you in the next video and
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