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I'm gonna show you my technique for creating and animating gradients like this in After Effects
to start I've got a color palette to reference and an otherwise empty comp so
first let's create a new solid with control Y the color doesn't matter for
now the let's call it gradient yellow because we always label our layers and
I'm gonna add a fill effect to that layer and let's move that below our
pallet i'm adding a fill effect just so it's easier to change the color we can
simply click our eyedrop and select a color and that changes color in just the
fewest clicks that i've found and then we select that pen tool from up here and
draw a mask around an area of our shape if you're doing this on a shape layer
make sure tool creates mask is selected up here so you don't accidentally draw
another shape now let's press F on our keyboard to bring up our mask feathering
options and let's drag this up till we get a nice faded gradient now if these
borders of the mask are too close to the edge you're gonna see the layer
underneath creep in so let's give that a wide berth by pulling these out of touch
now to give us animating we're gonna add a turbulent displace effect I'm gonna
find out evolution property here hold alt or option on our keyboard and click
to bring up our expression window and we're just going to type in time * 200
and that will just increase the value of that property so now we've got
it continuously animating now we can adjust our amount and size here to
create the look that we're after the size of 350 works well I think here you
can also change this expression to time * 100 which will just make it animate a little slower
there we are that's kind of bit nicer and more gradual
so to add another color I'm going to duplicate this layer with control D and eyedrop our
pink color and then I'm gonna select that pen tool and then I'm just gonna move our mask
there we are you might not be able to tell so clearly here but
the turbulent displace will be warping both of these layers in the same exact
way so to get a bit of variation between them we just need to go into evolution
options and choose a different random seed as long as it's different than the
other one it'll be fine and now there's a bit more variance
between them they overlap a bit more in some parts so it's a bit more random and
then we continue duplicating these layers adjusting the masks and changing the color
it helps to pick colors that are gonna blend well nicely
if you've got a green going into a pink that will probably create a bit of
muddiness and the brown in between the layers which is you know if you want
that that's great but to avoid this kind of muddiness best to stick to colors
next to each other on the color wheel you could also add the effect gradient ramp
to any one of these layers and move the start and end of the ramp so now
you've got a gradient within your gradient
and after we've duplicated those layers and adjusted the masks a few times we end up with this this is
all on composition called gradient wand let's go back into our main comp and see
how we're gonna use this we've got this comp as a background here and I'm gonna
make this palette a guide layer as well just so they doesn't show up in our main
comp back in our main comp we've got this gradient 1 layer as a background here
I've also got a duplicate of that background layer here which I've
duplicated and flipped vertically and I'm gonna use that as an alpha matte for
this shape here which just covers the bottom half of the composition so we
set that to alpha matte and then I've also added a wave warp effect to that
shape layer you never get a nice wave happening throughout the middle of our
comp and this bottom section is serving kind of like a reflection in the water
of this gradient sky and then to create a border I've got a shape layer which is
just a square that I've been a scaled down a bit further from the total size
and width of the comp and then I've got another copy of our gradient comp here
that I've rotated 180 degrees I want to use that frame out as an alpha
matte I'm going to choose alpha matte inverted so now we've got a nice frame
around the whole thing and two gradient sections so now with just one comp and a
couple of mattes we've got this sort of gradient effect going on now I'm going
to show you how to add gradient shading to this character here I've got him in a
separate comp where there's no animation and we've got his body his mouth and his
eyes pupils and the whites of his eyes on separate layers I'm gonna duplicate
his body comp, add a fill effect to that and select that pink from our palette
over here let's rename that body shading and now with that pen tool selected
making tool creates mask is selected I'm gonna draw a mask on the bottom right
hand of him, where his shadow would be and let's
feather that as well there we are already starting to look
alright now let's draw another mask to make this shadow for one of the eyes
let's make sure we feather that one that looks a bit scary there we are and let's
tuck that underneath we don't need that to be too too severe we just want a
subtle shading under here and this mask we just drawn I'm gonna make sure
that it's selected down here in our timeline and I'm gonna duplicate that
with control D it's important to make sure that the mask is selected and not
the layer because if you do that while the layer is selected its gonna create a
lots and lots of layers often I'll be trying to duplicate a layer I'll be
pounding ctrl D like a mad man thinking where on earth is this layer that I've
summoned but I've had the mask or a shape selected and then now somehow I've
got 400 duplicate shapes or masks inside that layer so check what you've got
selected if pressing ctrl D and duplicating isn't acting how you think
so now we've duplicated our masks we can see here down here in the timeline we've
got three in total but we can still only see two masks in the composition window
because it's duplicated and sitting exactly on top of that other mask so if
I double click up it will select all the points that mask and now we can drag it
over to our other eye I'm also gonna add one more mask to create some rim
lighting on the bottom right here so I'm going to draw this one very close to the edge
now the moment nothing appears to have happened that's because we need to
change this mask to subtract rather than add and then it will cut out this
shading layer and reveal the yellow layer underneath let's add some
feathering to that layer and let's make that one really small maybe only 12
pixels there we are I've also added a highlight layer which is filled white
acting on the top left here using the exact same method and it also added some
shading to the eyes as well because both of the pupils were on the same layer
I've managed to shade them both just using one mask a real pro move there if
you ever see a mask drawn like this all over the place you know that that
animator is the real deal it's the equivalent of carrying all the groceries
for the house in one trip back in our main comp
I've got a few effects on a new adjustment layer that I put
on top of everything I've got a posterize time set to 12.5 frames
per second because I love that 12 frames per second look and also added a noise
effect as well this is because you can get some pretty nasty bending effects if
you're using gradual gradients and it's compressing a lot so adding noise and
increasing the color depth of your project as well over here are the best
ways to avoid that if you're an 8 bits per channel and maybe go up to 16
or maybe 32 if you feeling really adventurous I've also made a bunch of
experiments that were made just using that gradient Comp layering it and then
using a bunch of effects to animate it in different unexpected ways I'll be
going through all of those in a separate video coming out next week
I 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 please consider
subscribing if you'd like more of these videos every week
subtitle: Zoe J Marriott