After Effects Halftones that Move! | Joseph Francis | Skillshare

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After Effects Halftones that Move!

teacher avatar Joseph Francis, Check out my classes!

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

3 Lessons (17m)
    • 1. Let's Make Cool Halftones that Move!

    • 2. The Underlying Concept

    • 3. The Main Event

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About This Class


Today we're going to make some cool moving halftones in After Effects without using any expressions or plugins. Are you ready? Let's do it!

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Joseph Francis

Check out my classes!


I started in New York at what is now called RGA Digital Studios, but was then called R/Greenberg Associates. I've worked at many of the top motion graphics and title design companies including yU+Co and Imaginary Forces, and with top creative directors including Kyle Cooper (Prologue).

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1. Let's Make Cool Halftones that Move!: today, we're going to make half tones that move in after effects, and we're going to make them in two styles. One is going to be these circles, which, uh, have a size that's in proportion to the brightness of the image. The underlying image, another way we were going to do it is we're going to have these scan lines thes horizontal lines that are gonna vary in thickness in proportion to the brightness of the underlying image. We're going to do these things without expressions without plug ins, so enroll and check it out. 2. The Underlying Concept: So before we get started, let me explain what we're gonna do. I'm in photo shop now, and what I want to do is take a Grady int. Want to make sure that my colors is set to black and white and take a Grady int And let's go with this one, which makes it's called radio radiant and I'll start approximately in the center. Doesn't really matter cause I'm just kind of demonstrating a technique and I pulled it out and I get this black in the centre and white on the outside I'm going to say control or command I cause I like it the other way around. Now what I want to do is I want to make a new layer and I want to fill that layer with 50% gray. So we have that now. Ah, I'm gonna apply a blend mode to it. Now you'll know that the dark and blend modes in which multiply and these other things are that if you have a white layer and you multiply it or you put it in, that does nothing in the lightened layers Ah, black layer will do nothing in this group. The overlay group Middle Gray will do nothing. So, other words. If you said it toe overlay, then you can see that you have the the underlying images unchanged. If I eyeball that off or on, it doesn't change. So if I go down through overlay soft, light, hard, light, vivid light, linear light pin light, hard mix. All of a sudden there is a big change, even though it's in the same group. For some reason, that particular blend mode has a unique action, all of its own and what it does, I'm gonna show you basically it thresholds. Um, so what I want to do for the time being a sit, respected, normal. And let's look at this gray layer I'm going to Ah, let's do it with curves. I'm going to hold down Altan, find the line between these two layers and I'm gonna click, attaching the curves to that layer alone, just the gray layer. So if I dark in this, you can see it goes like that. And if I lighten it, if I go like this, you can see that it lightens like this and because it's clipped toe only this layer. It doesn't affect what's underneath. So if I set this layer back to, um, remember, Overlay does nothing when it's 50% gray. So actually, let's look at it will overlay 50% gray and let's look at the curve. So if you darken it, you know, you get a bit of a darkening effect, a bit of a lightening effect. But if you set this too hard, mix where you get that hard circle, then if you go back to the curve, notice what happens as I darken it, it gets smaller and smaller. That's a small as I can make it. And if I go the other way and brighten it, it gets larger and larger and larger. Let's try one other thing instead of having instead of having ah, this circle here, I'm gonna solo this layer. Halt! Now we see only that layer. Now I'm going to go to this Grady int, and I'm going to say, Let's try this one here. So let's do this and spin that out. And now let's put the other layers back. And if we play with the, um, brightness and darkness, you can see that we can make that move like a clock Let's try Ault again and maybe we'll try different Grady. And let's try. Let's try this one here. Okay? So Ault again And so we could do that. Let's go Ault again. So low that and let's try this guy here. He's like a pyramid. Um, halt again. And now if we play with that, you can see that it does this. So you get a bunch of squares. I think we've probably done all the good ones. Um, what's this one? That's a just a ramp. So straight ramp and that goes all the way to the top to the bottom. So this is the basis on which we're going to build our effect, and you can probably already imagine that we're going to use an image which has a bunch of different levels of gray in it, to vary a bunch of these grads. So let's look and see in detail how we do it 3. The Main Event: Okay, So first thing is, I have this low resolution footage that I licensed from shutter stock. We're making a low resolution effect, so it doesn't really matter if we don't have, you know, higher. Um, and what I need is for this image to be black and white. So the first thing that I do is I turned a black and white, and I maybe play a little bit with the brightness and sort of see if what works better, you can play a little bit with details, actually wish that she were not so close in value to the background. But what you gonna do? Um, so that's the first thing. So now I take this footage, and the next thing that I dio is I blow it up 800%. There it is, 800%. And the reason I do that is because the hard mix blend mode is fundamentally a jagged, jagged effect. It forces everything to either pure black or pure white. So it destroys anti alias thing. So the only way to really get high quality anti alias thing is to work at a much higher resolution. I like to work four times higher, but even two times higher would be, you know, one improvement. But I like to work at four times higher and then shrink it down. And that basically kind of Reese restores theano tie alias ing that the hard next blend mode destroys. So the next thing that I do is I create a mosaic effect, and right now I have it set to 42 blocks horizontally and 24 blocks vertically. If you look at the footage itself, you could see that it is for 26 by 2 40 I actually shave off in this composition. I shave off six pixels so that I make it in even for 20 by 2 40 And that way, the, um it's easy for me to do the arithmetic necessary to keep track of how big the blocks should be. So it's Ah, for 20 by 2 40 Divide by 10 as 42 by 24 that's where I get those numbers that I'm using for my a mosaic. Um, when you look at this, don't get fooled by, um, the hardware sort of way of showing things because it will show you non square mosaics if you look at it 100% you will realize that the squares are all, in fact, that they're all squares. Whereas if you look at it at a smaller thing, you can get fooled because someone said it approximates them differently. So I have this mosaic effect, and those are the gray values that we use in order to threshold and to make the hard mix blend mode thing work. Now we need tohave. Ah, an array of dots. So the next thing I do is I start with a dot and I take that dot and you can see it's a Grady and ramp and I take that dot and I make an array of it. I'm gonna turn this off for second. It's the hard mix blend mode kicking in. So I make an array of dots and I use, um, a particular thing called Sisi. Repeat tile. Repeat tile or reptile. You could even se um, but I think it's repeat tile. And so, you know, right now it's at 16 80 but you can see that it you can shrink it, the number of repeats that you want, and you can shrink the number of repeats that you want in the other direction. And so what you want to do is you want to get it out, and you want to get this out until they are where they need to be in terms of filling the screen. Now, when they do, you'll probably find that the centers of dots are in the very corners. And so you need to shift the whole thing over by half a dot in with and half a dot in height so that they line up with the ah squares in the mosaic. So they're the dots and there is my mosaic. And here is the hard mix blend mode. So if I turned them both on, you can see that that's basically what we're doing now. This is the high resolution, so this is 50%. We look at it 100%. You can see if we're going to even closer. You can see how Jaggi they are. This is the nature of the hard mix blend mode, and this is why I work at an extra high resolution, Um, than the other thing is that if we let's say we don't, it's because it's an easy thing to do. Let's say you forget to mosaic or, for some reason, figure While I'm not gonna mosaic the thing you can. You can do that. Um, it'll still work, but here's what happens when you mosaic it. Each circle sees a constant gray, and it doesn't see any variation. And so every circle stays a perfect circle. If we lock this and we go over to, um, where the mosaic occurs and I turn that off, you can see what happens. There is on, off, on off. So what happens is these circles they hit different levels of gray because there's variation in the underlying image. And so the threshold occurs differently across the circle, and it doesn't stay a circle anymore. So, um, ears on. There you go, perfect circles, all still centered. So that's the purpose for the mosaic. And there's one last at all. Also here. Sometimes when you look at this small, you'll see these in perfect circles with lines going through them, and you may think, Oh, I've done something wrong here again. You gotta look at it 100% because it's the same error. Now there's one last thing that's kind of so actually so for output since I took the whole thing and I blew it up 800%. I now shrink it down 400%. And if we look there, there's are nice circles, their anti alias. They have nice graze in them. So if you look at 100% they don't have any sense of Jaggi. Nissen them. Um, if we go back here, there's one last thing that's kind of cool, and that is that everything we just did still works. If you take the footage and you don't turn it black and white, so there's the color image. And that's what happens when, um, we take it through the whole process. It does the same thing. So you get red is its own deal. Green is its own deal, and Blue is its own deal. And so what happens is you have a large red circle Ah, smaller green circle, and the two of them are on top of each other. They'll form yellow, and then a smaller, still blue circle that'll form Ah, smaller white circle in between. So if we watch this, you know you can see a little bit of blue tinge ing there and depending on what it is and where we're looking. And if we go back to the sort of nice quality for output and we watch this, that's the effect in color, which I think is also kind of interesting. So I hope you enjoyed this little trip through the hard mix blend mode. Oh, you know what? I promised another. I promised another way of doing it. So let's do that really fast. Um, so let's see. We go back to shutter back to this element, which is the shutter stock element. I turn it black and white again, and then we go over to the Now, remember, it looks like that when we're done, we go over to the dot and instead of a dot let's make it a radio ramp. We're gonna make it a linear rap, and we're going to We have to move the center because the radio RAM wants to start in the center. The linear ramp wants to go from top to bottom or bottom to top, and I think it looks better if we swap the colors. Which means top like that. So now, um you know from what we looked at in photo shop that the tiled dot is going to look like this. And if we that's what it looks like. And if we do the hard mix blend mode, we get that effect. And that is our second half tone, one made of lines. So I hope you enjoy this course and I look forward to seeing your projects. Thank you.