Scribbled In Adobe After Effects | Jake Bartlett | Skillshare

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Scribbled In Adobe After Effects

teacher avatar Jake Bartlett, Motion Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      What We'll Be Working With


    • 3.

      Creating the Animation


    • 4.

      Looping the Keyframes


    • 5.

      Making It Smarter


    • 6.

      Dealing With Motion


    • 7.

      Creating an Effect Controller


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About This Class

In this quick class I'll be showing you how a smart and efficient way to create a scribbled, wiggly edges effect in After Effects. It's a super fun effect and you can apply it to any kind of text, graphic or animation. Let's do this!

Meet Your Teacher

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Jake Bartlett

Motion Designer

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: Hey, I'm Jake Bartlett and this is Scribbled in After Effects. In this class, I'm going to quickly and easily show you how to create this really fun effect that adds the scribbled wiggly edges to whatever you apply it to. I'm going to show you step by step how to make a very smart and efficient set up for using this effect. For the class project, you can make a family portrait just like mine and add a little bit of motion to it with this effect. Let's get started. Let me start by just showing you my set up inside of After Effects. I've already placed my artwork the way that I want it. Got a very basic composition just set up to 800 by 600 pixels and a frame rate of 24 frames per second. Got four illustrator layers, a text layer, and then a background solid. Nothing complicated. 2. What We'll Be Working With: The effect we're going to be using to drive this scribbled look is turbulent displace and I want this effect to be applied to everything. I'm going to use an adjustment layer to apply it. I'm going to come into Layer, New, Adjustment Layer and then I'll type in turbulent in my effects and presets and here we go Turbulent Displace and I'll just drag that out onto the Adjustment Layer. The turbulent displace effect is a distortion effect that allows you to generate some random distortion to whatever you apply it to, and to give you a better picture of exactly what's happening. I'm actually going to turn off my artwork for a second. I'm going to make a New Solid and add a Grid to it. I'll turn off the adjustment layer and I'm going to make this a square grid and maybe make the squares a little bit bigger. Okay, now I'll turn the displacement back on. Now you can clearly see what this effect is doing. This is the grid with the turbulent displace off and this is with it on. You can see how it's warping the entire frame. If we look over at the controls for the effect, there are different types of displacement which warp the image in different types of patterns. You can play around with all of those, really any one of them will work for the effect we're building. Maybe not these last three though, those are very specific and only work on certain axis. Stick to these top six and you should be fine. I'm just going to leave mine on turbulent. Then if I come down to amount, I can turn how much its warping everything below it just by changing this value. Undo and then the size controls how big or small this displacement map is. If I turn it way down, you see all these ripples get really tiny. If I turn it way up, now the warping is much more spread out. What I want to do is actually turn this down pretty low maybe somewhere between five and 10 and then I'll use the amount to basically control how much distortion it's applying to the lines. I'm going to turn the size back up just a little bit to show you another part of this effect. There's a value called offset for the turbulence and it's an x and y value. If I move this around, you see that this little anchor point shows up in the middle. I can click and drag this just like any other layer. You see that as I move it up, if you watch this line right here the warping goes with that anchor point. This anchor point is controlling the origin for the turbulence and that's going to be important later on. I'm just going to set it back to the center of the frame. Then we have the Complexity of the effect, which if I crank this up you can see that also adds in some more detail. Most of the time I don't even mess with that, but it's there if you want to play around with it. Then the last part of this effect that will need to know about is the Evolution. If I click and drag this, you see that it changes the displacement map. That's going to be an essential part of this effect. Set it back down to zero, turn off my grid. In fact, I'm just going to delete that layer because I don't need it anymore and I'll turn my artwork back on. 3. Creating the Animation: Obviously, the size is away too big for this artwork. I'm going to scale this down to maybe something around eight. I'll zoom in, so you can see how this is affecting the image a little bit more clearly. The amount is also away too high, so I'll probably turn that down somewhere around 18 and that's looking better. I'll probably be playing around with this in a little bit. But now that I've got this effect setup on an adjustment layer, what I need to do is animate this effects evolution so that we get these wiggling edges on everything it's applied to. First, I'm going to rename this adjustment layer turbulent displace, just so I know what I'm looking at, and then I'll come up to the evolution and at frame zero, set a key-frame. Then I'll press U on the keyboard to bring up all the key-frames for that layer, and I'm going to go forward four frames. So page down on the keyboard steps one frame forward, so one, two ,three, four. Then I'm going to change the evolution to a random number. It doesn't matter at all what number this is, it just needs to be different. Then I'm going to go four frames forward again, one, two, three, four, change the number again, and as I slide this you can see that my displacement map is changing up here. That's what we're looking for. It's just a change in the displacement. Then I'll go four frames forward again, one, two, three, four. Then I'll go the opposite direction, one, two, three, four, forward the whole bunch. Now I have one, two, three, four, five, unique distortions between these key frames. If I set my work areas out point by pressing M on the keyboard and ramp review by pressing zero on the number pad, you can see that my displacement map is animating between these key frames. I actually don't want any change between key frames, because I want these scribbled edges to be happening at specific times with no interpolation between key frames. What I need to do is select all those key frames, right click and go to toggle hold key frame. Now, there will be no animation between these key frames. It starts at zero and it stays at zero until it's frame four, the next key frame, and then it goes to 302 degrees. Now if I ran preview, we're already pretty close to our final effect. I'll zoom in here again so you can see a clear picture of what's happening. The scribbled edges are animating in kind of a choppy way because I spread out these key frames every four frames. So putting these key frames spaced out every four frames per second in a 24 frames per second composition is essentially making that animation happen at six frames per second, which is the whole basis for this effect. 4. Looping the Keyframes: Now if I zoom out on my timeline and move my work area forward, after those keyframes, that animation stops. Now I could copy these keyframes and go four frames forward, paste, go forward again, one, two, three, four paste. But there's a much simpler and more efficient way to do this. I'm going to back up and we're going to add a very simple expression to the evolution. I'm going to hold down option or alt on a PC. Click on the "Stopwatch" and then type loop. Capital OUT for out. Then open and close parentheses. I'll click off of this. What this is doing is taking all of these keyframes and then looping back to the first one and playing it again indefinitely. Now, one extra step I do need to take is copying and pasting the first keyframe at the end of my sequence. I'm going to copy this keyframe. Make sure I'm four frames ahead of the last different valued keyframe, go one, two, three, four, and then paste. Now, this is at zero, just like it is at the beginning. As soon as the time reaches this keyframe, this expression is going to tell it to jump back to this keyframe and play everything between those two keyframes again, and it'll keep doing it forever. If I extend this out to three seconds and RAM preview, you see that even though there's no keyframes here, the values continue to change. Now one reason why it's very handy to do it this way is because I could go back to one of these keyframes and say that I don't like the way that evolution looks on this keyframe or I could change this number and now it automatically updates the rest of the loop. I could also decrease the number of frames between keyframes here. I could drop all these down by two frames. I'm doing this by holding Option and pressing the left arrow key. Then I'll RAM preview and now that animation is much quicker. Now I like mine spaced out with four frames between each keyframe. I'm going to undo back to that. That's how you set up the entire effect. 5. Making It Smarter: There are a few problems with generating this effect directly onto an adjustment layer. If you're doing a still image like this family portrait, there's no reason why you couldn't do it with an adjustment layer. But if I grab, say, my little portrait here and I'll zoom in, when I click and drag this. If you look right here at the hairline, you can see that the displacement map of the adjustment layer is staying in place while my artwork is moving around underneath it. So the displacement map isn't moving with the artwork. I don't really like the way that that looks, it kills the effect for me. So what I want to do next, is apply this effect to each layer individually. So let me undo, zoom back out. What I'm going to do is copy this effect from my adjustment layer and then paste it on all the other layers, making sure that I go back to the first frame, pace. Then I can turn off the turbulent, this place adjustment layer and run preview. It looks like that's working. If I zoom in here on my artwork and I grab that layer again and move it around. You see that the distortion is now traveling with the artwork. So that's great. That's exactly what I wanted. I can animate this artwork and the displacement maps would travel with it. However, if I come down to this text layer and move it, you can see that displacement map is not moving with it. Now the reason this is happening is because texts layers are by default, continuously rasterised, which means they're basically vector. They're not raster graphics. The way that effects are applied to continuously rasterised layers behaves differently. So if I were to turn on the continuous rasterisation for my illustrator layers and then move it around. You can see the displacement if you look at that eyebrow, it's moving around. So since continuous rasterisation is a big part of after effects, how do we get around that? Well, if you remember, we have an offset value on the turbulent displace effect, which is acting as the origin for that displacement map. What I want to do is link this value to the position value of the text. So wherever the text moves, that anchor point stays with it. So this is actually very simple to do. I'll go into my Effects, for that text layer, open up Turbulent Displace and finally the Offset value. Then I'll hold down option and click on the Offset and type in another very simple expression. I'm going to type it transform.position and then click off. Now what this expression is saying is very simple. It's just saying, find the position property of the transform controls for this layer and then put that value into this value. So if I bring up the expressions for this layer by double tapping a, there's the expression we just wrote. Then I'll hold down shift and press P to also bring up the position value. You see that the position and the offset are exactly the same. If I click and move it around, the position value changes and the offset value changes. So as I move this around, you can see the displacement map is moving with it. So the distortion doesn't change regardless of where this layer is, which is exactly what I needed. The great thing about that expression is that it's relative to whatever you place it on. So if I copy this effect and paste it on all the other layers, that expression is now referencing each layer individually, not the text layer itself. So if I move any of these layers around, the displacement map now moves with it. They need to be careful when you're copying and pasting effects that have key frames applied. I wasn't paying attention in my timeline scrubber was here when I pasted. So if I press U to bring up the key frames, you can see that all my key frames are now starting in the wrong place. It looks like my text layer was fine, but I need to just make sure that I back all of these up to the front. Otherwise, if these were all offset, then the displacement map would not be animating at the same time increments for each layer. I'll run preview just to show you what I mean. You can see that the distortion isn't changing uniformly. So it's important to make sure that all of these key frames are happening at the same time across all the layers. 6. Dealing With Motion: I'm going to delete the turbulent displace layers since we don't need that anymore. I'm just going to quickly animate these four layers on. I'm going to go maybe 12 frames forward. I'll set a position keyframe by holding Option and pressing P. I'm also going to set a rotation keyframe by holding "Option" and pressing R. Now, I don't need to see the effect key frames anymore, so I'm going to hold down shift and press E to hide all of the effects and I'm left with just position and rotation for those four layers. Then I'll back up to the first frame and I'm going to rotate my head this way and push the layer out to this corner. Rotate Jamie's head this way and move it up that way. Rotate Pixel's head, move it down, rotate Eliot's head, and move him down and out. Then I'm going to grab my pen tool, which you can get to by pressing G on the keyboard and I'm going to modify the motion path of each one of these layers so that they curve in as they animate. I'm going to click on each layer, switch to the pen tool, and then change the motion path. All right, so let me run and preview that. Looking good. So now what I want to do is to ease the final keyframes on each of those animation. So I'm gonna select the second set of keyframes, then go into the graph editor, press F9 on the keyboard to easy ease, and then really crank up the ease on that speed graph handle. Then I'll run preview. Now I've got this very simple animation. But I don't want all of them to happen at the same time. So I will offset them each by two frames. So I'm going to do that by holding Option or Alt on a PC and pressing Page Down. That will offset my selection of layers and now they're each two frames apart. I'll extend my work area out a little and run preview and now that's working great, but there is one problem. If I bring up my keyframes and get rid of my position and rotation by pressing shift P and shift R. I've just accidentally done what I didn't want, which is offset the key frames of the effect as a result of offsetting the layers in time. So once again, my layers are not animating the turbulent displace at the same time. The effect isn't working as well as I'd like. There's actually a way to control all of these layers at once from a single control layer. 7. Creating an Effect Controller: What I want to do is add a new null object. I'm going to come up to layer, new, null object. A null object does not render. It's only visible when you're working inside above after effects, not once you actually export anything. It's there to control other properties. Most of the time it's used to parent other objects to it. You can animate the null object rather than individual layers. But the way that I'm going to use it, is by applying the turbulent displace and using that effect to control the turbulent displace copies on all the other layers. I'll start by just copying and pasting the effect from one of my existing layers. I've got turbulent displays on this layer. I'll go back to the first frame and paste it on that null. Now I'm going to rename this null scribble control. I'm going to move it off to the side, just so it doesn't get in the way of my artwork. In fact, I don't even need to see it, so I'm going to hide the visibility. What I do need to see is the effect itself. I'm going to press E to bring up the effects and then twirl down the turbulent displace. Now the offset expression that we wrote for the other layers doesn't apply to the null object. I'm going to get rid of that. I want to keep the evolution key frames. Then what I'm going to do is select that effect, come up to edit and say copy with property links. Now I believe this is a feature that came into play in CC 2015. If you're using an older version, I'll show you how to get around this in just a second. But this is a very quick way of linking properties between layers. I'm going to click on copy with property links. Then I'll go to my other layers. Remove all of the effects by holding Command Shift E, and then paste. Now if I hold down turbulent displace, you'll notice that all of the values are red. That means that there's an expression on each one of them. What copy with property links did, is automatically linked all of the properties on that affect to what I had copied it from. All of these values are going to be exactly the same as what the scribble control layer is set to. I don't need any of the keyframes on the turbulent displace for these layers. If I select all of them and press U, and then hold Shift and press P and R to get rid of the position in rotation key frames, I can select all of these key frames that are the turbulent displays evolution, and hit delete. I want to make sure I get all of them. But if I ran preview, you see that that turbulent displaces still animating because my scribble control is what is driving that turbulent displace effect on all of these artwork layers. If I go to this point in the animation and I turn the amount up on my scribble control, you see that it's applying itself to all the other layers. That goes for all of the controls within this layer. Now let me just quickly show you what you need to do if you don't have copy with property links, I'm going to take off the turbulent displace effect on the text layer. I'll zoom in and then re-apply that effect without any of those expressions. Then I'll twirl down turbulent displays for that layer. As well as for the control layer. The values that you really need to link together are the amount, the size, and the evolution. You could link all of them if you wanted. But those are the three that I find myself changing the most. To link these together, I'm just going to expand my timeline, so I have plenty of room and I'm going to come to the text layers, turbulent displace, hold down Option or Alt on a PC. Click on amount, and then use the expression pick width. Click and drag up to amount on the control layer. I'll do the same thing for size. Go up to the size on the control layer. Then the evolution. Now those three properties will be exactly the same as what the control layer is, no matter what. But if I move my text layer around, you see that the offset turbulence is still messing up. The same is true for these layers. That's because when I copied with property links, it also copied the offset from my scribble control and got rid of the transformed position expression that we wrote. I need to quickly rewrite that expression on this layer. I'll come to the text layer, go down to the offset, hold Option or Alt on a PC and click on the stopwatch, and once again type in transform. Dot position, click off. Now that displacement map is stuck to the text, but everything else is based on the control layer. Since I have this one set up exactly the way that I need it, I will copy that effect, just a normal copy. Then I'll collapse all my layers and paste that effect on top of all the other layers. Now because there's already a turbulent displace and I'm copying a single turbulent displace, it's going to replace this one. But just to be safe, I'm going to remove all the effects by holding Command or Control Shift and then E and then paste. Now, all of these layers are linked to the scribble control, except for the offset property, which is set to transform position. So moving them around, even though they're continuously rasterized, we'll move that displacement map with the layer. It is important to note that if you do not need to continuously rasterized your layer, you don't need to apply that expression for the displacement map to move with the layer. All right, let me go back to seeing my entire comp. I'll expand it out, collapse all my layers, and bring up the keyframes for the scribble control ram preview. Now everything is working exactly the way that I wanted it to. If I change the duration of the keyframes that updates across all of my layers regardless of their position in the timeline. Now that I've got this working very efficiently and I haven't control layer. I can make adjustments to things like the amount even while it's RAM previewing because I'm using CC 2015 and I'll be able to see my adjustments very quickly. If I get the amount and the size to about where I want it, I can zoom into 100 percent to see how it's affecting the text. Very clearly see how it's affecting the edges of my artwork. Maybe I want to change the size a little bit. Maybe I'll drop that down to a three and increase the amount to maybe 20. This is where you can play around with how pronounced you want the effect to be. Because it's all being controlled by one single layer, it's very easy to play around with. Once you're happy with your effect, you can apply it to anything you want. That's all there is to this effect, guys. I hope you enjoy this class and I can't wait to see how you apply it to your own projects, if you post any of your work using this effect to social media, be sure to tag me and Jacob motion. I would love to see your work. As always, feel free to ask me any questions related to this class on the Ask Me Anything discussion on the Community page. I would love it if you left me a review and thanks again so much for taking this class. I'll see you next time.