The Retro Chrome Look in Adobe After Effects | Jake Bartlett | Skillshare

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The Retro Chrome Look 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.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      The 3D Fly-In


    • 4.

      Building the Reflection Gradient


    • 5.

      Adding Distortion And An Outline


    • 6.



    • 7.

      Offsetting the Reflection


    • 8.

      Creating a Faux-Extrusion


    • 9.

      Starting on the Background


    • 10.

      The Foreground Text


    • 11.

      Revealing the Foreground Text


    • 12.

      Building Custom Light Flares


    • 13.

      The 80s Grid


    • 14.

      Adding a Starfield


    • 15.

      Building Atmosphere


    • 16.

      Finishing Effects


    • 17.

      Final Explorations


    • 18.



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About This Class

Who doesn't love the 80s? In this class, I'll teach you how to recreate this iconic chrome text look in After Effects. And even better news: it's a completely procedural effect! That means you can change your text's font, size, position, animation, or even swap it out for a graphic or logo and it the effect will automatically update. 

This look is extremely customizable, and I'll show you how making a few simple adjustments can completely change the look of your design. You'll also learn how to create a faux-extrusion for more depth, create the background and environment from scratch, design custom light flares and glows, and degrade the overall image with some finishing effects to really sell the retro vibe. 

Let's blast back to the past and start making some retro motion graphics! I'll see you in class.

Meet Your Teacher

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Jake Bartlett

Motion Designer

Level: Intermediate

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1. Trailer: Hey, I'm Jake Bartlett and this is the Retro Chrome-look in After Effects. This iconic graphic style is a staple of the 1980s, and in this class, I'm going to teach you how to recreate it in After Effects. Together we'll be building a completely procedural effect that can be easily updated, adjusted, and reworked for any project that you're working on. I'll teach you step-by-step how to animate the text, build the Chrome look, add reflections and degrade the overall image for a more retro feel. What's great about this effect is that you can apply it to not only text but any graphic or even a logo and it'll automatically update. If the '80s isn't what you're after, that's no problem. I'll also show you how to make a few simple adjustments to completely change the way that your reflective material looks, so that you can create exactly what you're after. This class is for anyone with a basic understanding of After Effects. If you've never used the program before, then check out one of my beginner's classes first, like the beginner's guide to animating custom gifts or the beginner's guide to After Effects. I hope you're ready to blast back to the past and learn a whole lot about procedural workflows in After Effects. I'll see you in class. 2. Class Project: The class project for this class is basically whatever you want it to be. The effect is what we're building this chrome looking material, but you can apply it to anything. I'm going to apply it to text, but you could use a graphic or a logo and that will update and work perfectly, and you can change what you're applying this to after the fact. Once it's built, you can plug anything into it and it will work. Now, don't expect to put a video clip into this effect. It's not going to be like a filter on Instagram or anything like that. This effect is going to completely ignore the contents of what you put into it, and give it this shiny metallic reflective property to it. If you're not quite sure what you want to apply this effect to yet, that's no problem, just jump to the next lesson, follow along with me and apply it to some text, and then after the effect is built, you can change out the contents of your source comp and it will procedurally apply this effect to whatever graphic or logo or text that you want to apply it to. Let's take a look. 3. The 3D Fly-In: Let's start with a new project, and I'm going to make a new composition and we'll call it Chrome Look. I'm going to make sure that it's 1920 by 1080. You can do whatever size you'd like. I'm going to stick to a frame rate of 24 frames per second because that's what film is, and I want this to look more cinematic. But again, you can use whatever frame rate you want. The duration, 15 seconds is probably plenty, but to be safe, I'm going to change this to 30 seconds. Then I'll click, "Okay." I'll start by creating a type layer. This is going to be the source of our chrome procedural effect, and it can really be whatever you want. This could be a graphic like a logo, so if you're planning to apply it to something else, that's fine. Just know that this isn't going to work on video. It's not a filter that you're applying to it on Instagram or something, it's all based on the alpha channel of what we're applying it to. It's going to completely get rid of the contents. If you want to use a logo, that's fine, you can start by bringing that in, but I'm just going to use some text. I'm going to just bring up the Text Tool control, or command T, click in my comp and I'll just type out the word Chrome. I'm going to change the font to one called abolition because I like the way this one looks. This is part of Adobe fonts that you can get for free with your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. But again, you can use whatever font you want, so don't feel like you have to use this one. Then I'm going to bring up my Align panel by going up to Window, Align, and then center this in my composition by clicking on the center horizontally and vertically. Actually, while I'm at it, I'm going to switch to my paragraph panel and center justify this so that if I change the text in here, it'll always be centered. Now that that's done, I'm going to have my layer selected and come up to Layer, and then all the way down to the bottom, Pre-compose, the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl Shift C or Cmd Shift C on a Mac. I'm going to do that and then give this composition a name. We'll call this "Chrome", and then I'm going to use this little symbol as a divider, that's a vertical bar. I'm not sure what it's actually called, but it's in the same position as the forward-slash key, just hold down "Shift" and press that to get that vertical bar. I'm going to call this the Source. This is how I plan to organize my comps because there are going to be a lot of pre-comps. That way, I can easily identify that this is for the Chrome part of the overall look and it's the source for this Chrome look. I'll click "Okay" and now that text is in a pre-comp, I can go into that pre-comp and adjust this, do whatever I want to it. I'm going to close out of that and I'm actually going to pre-compose this one more time before I do anything else. With this Chrome Source layer selected, I'm going to use the keyboard shortcut this time, Ctrl-Shift C or Cmd Shift C on a Mac, and I'm going to rename this Chrome 3D move. It doesn't matter which one of these I check because I haven't changed anything, so I'll just click "Okay" and I'm going to jump into that pre-comp. What we're going to do in here is make a 3D fly-in of the text as if it's coming from behind the camera, flying into place as well as rotating into place. I'm probably going to say this a lot, but you have complete creative freedom as to how you want to animate this part in. But for my example, I'm going to have it flying this way. To do this, I'm going to make it a 3D layer by clicking on the 3D layer switch, which if you don't see the switches right here, it's probably because you don't have this little button enabled in the bottom-left corner. Make sure that's enabled, and you'll have the 3D switch, and now this is a 3D layer, or at least two and a half D layer because it's actually a 2D layer existing in 3D space. I can now rotate it in three axes. This 3D move is going to be very simple, I just need to keyframe the position and the rotation. I'm going to open up the layers Transform controls, set a position keyframe by clicking on the stopwatch for that position there. I'm actually even going to separate the dimension, so I'm going to right-click on "Position" and say "Separate Dimensions", and that just gives me a property for each one of these position axes. I don't need it to move left and right, so I'm actually just going to get rid of that keyframe. I just have the Y up and down position in the Z, in an out position. I also want to be able to rotate it on the x-axis, so I'm going to set a keyframe there and then press the "U" key so that I'm left with just those three keyframes that I set. Now obviously, this is what I want it to look like in its final position, so I don't want these keyframes at the start of the layer. Let me zoom in by pressing the "Plus" key, and I want to go forward to about four seconds. We'll say that's how long we want this camera move to go. I'm just going to click and drag these three keyframes over while holding "Shift" to snap to that play head. Then I can move my timeline back to the start, and we can move this into position where we want it to start with the animation. I know that I want to rotate it 90 degrees backwards, so I'm just going to type in negative 90 on the X rotation and it goes invisible since it's perfectly aligned with the camera. But then, I'll move it down a little bit and then back it up on the Z a lot. I want to basically move this all the way outside of the comp so we don't see it, and then it's just going to fly in and rotate into position. Now, this looks a little flat, it doesn't have much perspective, and that's because of the default scene camera. I want this to look like it's pretty big and like we're in a very big environment. One way we can do that is by adjusting the perspective by using a wider angle lens. To do that, I'm going to add a new camera to this scene. I'm going to go up to Layer, New, Camera. In the camera settings, you don't need to worry about all of these crazy settings. I'm going to choose the preset of 24 millimeters. If you're not familiar with focal lengths of cameras and lenses, 50 millimeters is basically what the field of view of your eyes are. Anything smaller than that is going to fit more into the view of the camera than what your eyes would. If I change this to 24, it's a little less than half of 50, it's going to give us some more camera distortion. Now it looked like it zoomed in quite a bit, but that's just because of the way that the 24-millimeter perspective works. I'm going to need to adjust my keyframes a little bit. Let's just bring the Z position forward so that it's right at the edge of the screen again, and now when it comes in, you you see that it looks a lot bigger, and that's because of the distortion from that wide angle on the camera. I like that a lot better. Now I just want to finesse these key a little bit on the easing so that it's not such a linear move. If I play it back, you see that it's very rigid and it just stops right there at the end. Obviously, I don't want that to happen, I want it to ease into that final position, so I'm just going to select all my keyframes and press "F9" on the keyboard to easy ease them. Or you could right-click on them, go to Keyframe Assistant, and say Easy Ease. But now that they're eased, it'll be a lot easier to mess with the graph editor, so I'm going to jump into there. I'm going to switch to the speed graph, which I realize you can't see, but it's right underneath this button, and then just a couple of menu items down is Edit Speed Graph. Now I'll select those three properties again so I can see them and ease into this final value a little bit more quickly, so it just eases in there. It's moving fastest at the beginning of the motion and then it eases into that final resting place. I think that's a little bit drastic, so I'm going to just back this off a little bit, and actually probably don't need much easing at all, maybe 50 percent on that side. That way, it's just this nice slow move rotating into position and that resting place. Now, if we take a look at this on the beginning of the animation, and I zoom in here, I'm at 50 percent now zoom, but if I move into 100 percent, you can see that it's a little soft, and that's because we're scaling up this pre-comp. Once you pre-compose something, even if it's vector inside the comp, it's not going to be continuously rasterized by default. In other words, this vector artwork is no longer vector, it's just pixels. What I need to do is click on this continuously rasterized switch right here, and that will mess up for a second, and that's because if I go into that pre-comp, this layer is not 3D and continuously rasterizing or collapsing the transformations basically disregards whatever you did to this comp and it looks at the contents and applies what it has in there. Inside of this Chrome source, I'm going to turn this text layer 3D as well, then when I come back, it'll be back in place. If we zoom in here, you can see that it's nice and crisp again. Obviously, if I zoom into 400 percent it's not going to be because 100 percent is the magnification that After Effects is rasterizing it for. But if I disable that switch and enable it again, you can see how much softer it is with it off, than with it on. But now that we have it nice and sharp and clean, we can move on to actually building the Chrome look. This is going to be the foundation for the rest of the effect. 4. Building the Reflection Gradient: Now that's taken care of. I've got my 3D camera move, it's nice and clean. I'm going to go back into my main comp and we're going to pre-compose this one more time. I'm going to select that layer, Control Shift C or Command Shift C on a Mac. Again, it doesn't matter if we leave the attributes and move them because there are none applied to this layer in this comp. But I'm going to rename this Chrome Look, and this is where we're going to start building the actual look. I'll click "Okay", go into that comp, and now we can change it from looking like this blank text layer to an actual shiny metallic chrome effect. But before I do that, let's just do some clean-up real quick. I haven't saved at all yet, that should probably be something I do. I'm going to save my project and I'll just call this Chrome-Look_V1. Then I'm just going to make some folder structure real quick for my pre-comps, so I can keep this nice and organized. I've got a folder for the pre-comps and my Chrome Look is my main render comp. The thing that really sells or creates this chrome effect at all is the fact that it is a reflective material. The reason it looks like it's chrome is because it's reflecting everything. If you do a little bit of research, I just went to Dribbble and searched Chrome style logo and found a whole bunch of reference. Obviously, these are modern takes on an '80s effect, but if you just search Google images, even you'll find a lot of examples of this effect, and the signature thing with a lot of them is the sky and ground reflection in the text. You see that in basically every single one of these designs, it's not exactly realistic because the background itself doesn't necessarily have this reflection that we're seeing in it, but it's instantly identifiable as that look. You can do a little bit of your own research if you want and find a look that you like yourself, but I'm going to go with something very similar to this. To make it even easier to replicate this reflection, I'm actually just going to take a screenshot of this section of the image and save it to my desktop so that I can bring it into After Effects. Just import that screenshot and make a new composition that's also 1920 by 1080, and I'll call this one Reflection Source, click "Okay" and then bring that screenshot right into here. What I want to do is basically make a gradient that recreates this reflection. I really like the colors of this effect, so that's what I'm going to base it on. We'll be doing this with a shape layer and a shape layer gradient fill. I'm going to double-click on the rectangle with nothing selected, the rectangle tool, that will make a shape layer rectangle the size of my comp. Then I want to turn off the stroke just by clicking on "Stroke" and then that red line going through it to remove it. Then for the fill, we're going to make it a linear gradient. I'll click "Okay" and I want to bring that screenshot back above this shape layer, so just switch those around. Then I'll mask off the gradient in this first couple of letters. That way I can sample these colors really easily. First thing I need to do is change the direction of that gradient. I'm going to open up that shape layer and go into the contents, into the rectangle and then the gradient fill. There's a start point and an endpoint for the gradient. If I click and drag on these handles, I can freely adjust them, but I just want to set this exposition on the endpoint to zero and probably just adjust the y-values of the start and endpoints. We'll just start with somewhere around there, we'll say negative 250 and 250, it doesn't really matter at this point. But now that my gradient is aligned properly, I can go into that gradient fill and start sampling these colors. At the start point, I want it to be this darker blue color. I'll just grab my eyedropper and pick something about there, maybe a little bit brighter, a little more saturated. Then I want to get to this bright blue color, so I'm going to click to add another color stop somewhere around here. Grab that eyedropper again. Then sample this bright blue. Again, I might make it a little more saturated. I'm not going to worry too much about the positioning right now, but I'll just try and get it close by clicking and dragging that color stop so that it's aligned to about that position. I need to add another stop and make that one, it looks like white, maybe with just a touch of color to it, little bit of pink. Then we've got this hard line between the sky and the ground. I need to add another color stop, but then bring it very close to that previous color stop, and this location value can be pretty helpful with that. If I hold down the Control key, I can adjust this a little bit more finely, so put it about there and then select the next color, which is this dark and deep, bluish purple color, then I'll add another color stop. We'll grab this lighter purply color, maybe bring it down a little bit, and obviously these need to move over, maybe I'll just align that right about there. Then we'll add another color stop and grab this hot pink color, and that actually could have been the last color. I'm going to click and drag this last one out so that this can be the very end. But that worked out pretty well. I'm going to grab this color stop right here and just drag it forward a little bit, just so it's aligned with the top of that text. But obviously all these color stops may need to change based on the size of your font, so there's really no point in me making this line up perfectly. But what I can do is compare how my colors are fading into each other compared to the source materials. You can see that this white streak right here stays brighter a lot longer before fading into this blue than mine does. It's white right here, but it very quickly fades into that blue. To fix that, I'm going to grab that color stop if I can find it, then copy this hex code right here, double-clicking on it and then Control C or Command C on a Mac, add a second color stop. Then paste that same value into it, and now I can widen out this bar a little bit. I'll bring this one back so that it's a nice harsh line right there and a nice division between the sky and the ground. But now I can pull this back a little bit more. I might want to do the same thing for this blue color where I just widen it a little bit more. The way these color stops work is if you click to the right of a color stop, it's going to add another one, the same color. If you click to the left, it's going to go to the one previous. Basically, click to the right of whichever color stop you want to duplicate. I wanted this one to be a duplicate and bring it back about that far just so there's a little bit more of that solid blue before it moves into the darker blue. Then I want to saturate this last blue a little bit more, maybe bring it closer to the actual blue instead of so much teal and maybe make it a little bit brighter. But there we go, that's very close, maybe down here, I'll bring that pink up a little bit and maybe add another purple here just to control those color bands a little bit more. Somewhere around there, looks pretty good. I'll click "Okay" and now I have my reflection gradient. I can turn this screenshot off, close that pre-comp, and in my Chrome Look comp, I'm going to drag that reflection source into it, I'm going to bring them reflection source into my pre-comps as well. Now that that's here, I can use this Chrome 3D Move comp as a matte for the reflection so that the reflection only exists where this text does. To do that, I'm just going to put the reflection below the text, then under the track matte column, which you don't see is this switch right here. Make sure that's enabled. Then I'll change that Track Matte to Alpha Matte, and you see it says Chrome 3D Move. When I do that, it's going to use the layer above it as a mask, basically for that layer. It's taking the Alpha channel of this layer and applying it to this layer, and now the reflection is living right inside the text. You can see that the alignment is imperfect and yours probably isn't either. Again, it's all dependent on what your source comp is. But we can adjust this very easily and be able to see what we're doing very easily. If I just go into that reflection source, I'm going to add an adjustment layer, go up to "Layer", "New", "Adjustment Layer", and I'm going to add an effect called offset to it. In my Effects & Presets panel, I'm going to search "Offset" there it is under Distort, click and drag that to the adjustment layer, and all this lets me do is move the layer's contents around without actually moving the layer. I'm going to now have that ability to shift that around. While I'm at it, I'm going to add the transform effect. I'm going to search 'transform', drag that in, and this will allow me to adjust the scale as well. If I uncheck uniform scale, I can scale this up or down to fit it to my text a little bit better. I'll undo that. To be able to adjust these controls while going back into this comp, all I have to do is click this little lock icon on that Effect Controls panel. Then when I go back to this comp, I still have access to those controls. I can shift this up. I do have to let go of my mouse to see the update, but I can just adjust this slightly, and let's say I want to scale it down a little bit. I'll just grab that scale height, bring it in. Then just fit this to my text a little bit better. While this is a very basic thing that, we're doing, it is already working towards that Chrome signature '80s look, just because of the colors and the gradients and the way that it's set up. But obviously we're going to take this a lot further. 5. Adding Distortion And An Outline: We're going to add an effect to the reflection source called CC Blobbylize. It's a really silly name and you may not have even used it, but it's going to be perfect for what we want to do. Type in Blobby, and there it is, CC Blobbylize. Click and drag that to the Reflection Source. I'll zoom in here so we can see this nice and clearly. I'll go into the blobbiness. This effect basically makes whatever you apply to look a little bit more like liquid, with rounded edges, but it does it in a way that really lends itself to this effect. It's all based on the alpha channel of whatever this blob layer property is set to. Currently it's set to the Reflection Source. It's not doing much if turn it off and back on. You see it's just repeating itself. But if I change the blob layer from the reflection to the Chrome text layer, suddenly we have all of these nice lighting that's based on the Alpha channel of that text layer. If I turn that off and on, you can see that it's warping this reflection in this really curvy soft way, which helps give this a lot more depth. Now I said that this was based on the Alpha channel. It's actually based on whatever you set it to here in the property value. Currently is set to lightness because the layer was white, it's applying it evenly over the whole effect. But I want to change this to Alpha, just so there's no doubt that it is basing it on the Alpha channel and not the actual color values of the layer. Next, I want to take this cutaway property and just turn it all the way down to zero. There's no need to use it. Basically, it allows you to choke the Alpha channel off the layer, but we don't need to do that at all. I'll turn cutaway all the way off, and then maybe increase the softness a little bit. Now, this is a property that again, is solely based on the contents of your layer. If you have a different font, this could make it look completely different. The softness value that you use is completely up to you. It's a totally subjective value that you should play with and see what it does by turn it all the way off. Can see that we're back to having basically no distortion. But as I turn it up, it makes the reflection look like it's being wrapped around these letters a little bit more, or basically making it look like the text is rounded. I'm going to put this somewhere around 38. I'll just round it off there. You can see now what happened to that straight line. The horizon line is now going up and down around parts of the text based on the shape or the Alpha channel of that text. Just to show you how dependent this is on the source, let me go into the Chrome source comp. I'll duplicate this so that I have a backup and just change the font to something completely different like this, Azo Sans Uber. It's totally different way chunkier. You can see that that now has a completely different look to it. If I were to change this to a font that was really thin like this 10b font. Maybe make it all caps. That's going to have a completely different look as well. You can see that's a much harder to tell that it has any depth to it. I might need to turn that softness way down for a thin line font, so that it wraps that reflection around it a little bit better. Make sure that you play with that softness property and get it looking the way that you want it to. Let me get rid of that second layer and go back to our abolition font. It changes back up to 38 again. I'm happy with the way that that looks, but I want to add a little bit more depth to it. I'm going to duplicate the 3D move comp, Control D or Command D on a Mac. Enable it. We're going to make an outline or a stroke basically for this layer. We're going to do that using a layer style. I'm going to right-click, and go all the way down to Layer Styles, and then all the way at the bottom, you can't see it, but it's at the very bottom of the menu is Stroke. Now we'll just give us a stroke based on the Alpha channel. I want to invert this basically so that the text is black and the stroke is white. I'm going to add a fill effect to that text, make it black, and then go into my stroke, change that color to white. Currently it is aligned to the outside of the layer, and that's probably fine. We might need to change that to the center, but we can cross that bridge when we get to it. I think I'll just bump this up a little bit, make it four points instead of three. Now that I have this as a black and white layer, and if I turn the transparency grid on, you can see that it is black fill, white outline. I can use it to create an outline filled with this same reflection. I'm going to duplicate this reflection source, and change the track matte from Alpha to Luma Matte. Instead of looking at the Alpha channel, it's going to look at the luminance or the brightness values of the pixels of the layer instead, and use that as a matte. Need to make sure that I also disable the visibility of that layer above it. If I turn this one off, you can see that now we have the reflection as an outline on top of the reflection as a fill. To keep track of all this, I'm going to rename this Reflection Outline, and I'm going to rename this one Reflection Fill. To rename a layer, you just click on it, press "Enter" type, and then click off or press "Enter" again. Now I have these two layers, and if I zoom in, you can see that there's just a slight gap. If I turn that transparency grid on and off you can see that slight gap of transparency, that's because of that stroke alignment that I was talking about. Let me go back into the Layer Styles where that stroke is and change the position from outside to center. Now that's going to basically go invisible because it's perfectly overlapped. But we're going to make the outline a little bit more visible by going to that Reflection Outline layer and adding another effect. This time we're going to add a curves. Under Effects and Presets, I'll type in Curves, drag that in to the Effects, and then just to brighten it a little bit. That will make it stand out, but it's all based on the same reflection colors. We're still getting that nice reflective property to the overall text. Now because this is a duplicate of the first layer that we had, it has that CC Blobbylize still applied. That is adding some cool color variation to the overall outline. But it doesn't look all that 3D. I could turn the softness way down, maybe just increase it just a little bit. You can see that that adds a lot more realistic reflections. If this was like a rounded outline, you'd be seeing parts of that pink in that section of the text. I think I like the way that that looks. I think the brightness might be a little bit too much, but I can push this depth even a little bit further by adding a bevel to the outline, just to give it a slight bit more of that highlight and shadow depth effect. But what I need to do first is pre-compose this as an outline because the effects that I'm applying are not taking into account this Luma Matte. I'm going to select both of those layers. Go into Layer, Pre-compose, and I'll rename this Chrome Outline. Click ""Okay". Now I just have this single outline layer with an Alpha channel, no track mattes or anything applied. I can search for an effect called Bevel Alpha. There it is. I'll just apply it to the outline layer. You can see that really chisels it out, it gives it a lot more depth. Now that's a little bit extreme. I don't need to go quite so intense, so maybe I'll make the thickness a little bit less, as well as turn the light intensity down. This is basically just the opacity of how intense this effect is. I just want to add a slight bit of a highlight and a shadow. You can also change the light angle, which I might want to do because the CC Blobbylize effect actually has a lighting section and an angle as well. The light direction for this CC blobbylize by default is set to negative 45. I'm just going to stick with that. You can adjust that to whatever you want. But I'm going to change the Bevel Alpha light angle to the same number of negative 45. That way the lighting should be consistent from one effect to the next. Now we have this outline layer, and it's really starting to make this text look a lot more 3D. 6. Shading: Next, I just want to give a little bit more variation to the lighting of the film, basically. I'm going to start by duplicating the 3D Move layer, enable that, and remember this is just a white version of our text and we're going to use another layer style. I'm just going to right-click on the layer, go to Layer Styles and then Inner Shadow. I'll scroll this back down so you can see. We're going to change the blend mode, from Normal to Multiply. It will basically get rid of all of the white and blend anything darker than pure white on top of the layers below it. Do this off and back on, you can see this is adding a very subtle shadow to the inside of our text. If we go into the Inner Shadow properties, we can adjust this a little bit. On the Distance value, I could increase this so that it's more pronounced. I could also increase the Size, so that it's much softer. Maybe that Distance is too far, but I'll just increase that a little bit. Then on the Opacity, maybe I'll just back that off so it's not darkening it quite so much. That Size might be a little too much too, so maybe I'll just back that off. But now if I turn that off and back on, you can see that we're just adding a little bit more lighting to this text to make it appear even more 3D. Now this layer style also has an angle for the direction of the shadow. Our CC blobbylize and Bevel Alpha are set to negative 45, putting the light source basically at a 45 degree angle up here. I'm going to want to make that Inner Shadow consistent. Let me move that back to negative 45. Now that shadow is coming from that same direction. Actually it looks like that is the opposite of what I want because the shadow, if we look right here, and I just make this really dark so you can see it easily, you see it's putting a shadow where there should be a light. I want the shadow becoming here since the light source is coming from the top left. What this is telling me is that the Inner Shadow layer style, for some reason, doesn't follow the same light source rotation property at default as the other effects. I needed to go, let's see, that would be 180 minus 45, so 135, and now that shadow is placed where I want it to be, let's turn that Opacity back down to something much lower. But now we have that Inner Shadow, that's just adding a little bit more depth overall to the effect. Maybe just increase the size, just to touch more. Now that's a nice soft shadow giving it a little bit more depth. All right, that's looking pretty good. 7. Offsetting the Reflection: Now the Chrome part of this effect is basically built, and I want to show you that if we back this up in time, we can see that that reflection and the distortions are being applied to the text as that text animates in. It does take a bit of time to render. You can tell that my machine is starting to chug a little bit. These are some render intensive effects, so don't be discouraged if playing things back takes awhile. I'm going to be editing my preview render times and just for your sake If not having to sit through this, but know that it will take some time to render. You can always adjust your resolution from fold down half or even third or a quarter to speed up these preview times. But now I can play this back and you can see how that reflection is moving around within the contents. Now there is an issue with this, and that issue is that as this text is rotating, the reflection source is staying in the same spot, and that's not how something that's reflective would behave. When it flatter like this, it's going to be reflecting what's further up than it would when it's looking straight on. If this is what we're seeing when the text is straight on, then as it's rotated it needs to be shifting that reflection around so that we're seeing a different part of the reflection. Well, we've already added this offset control inside of our reflection source comp, and I can't see my effect controls because I actually have two of them open. Remember we locked the controls for that offset and transform. We're going to use a little bit of trickery to get this offset value to link to the rotation of the text, so that we don't even have to bother adjusting the position of the reflection After Effects will do it for us, and we're going to do it with expressions. This is one really great use case of expressions where you don't have to know all that much, but you can make your life a lot easier in After Effects with them. First of all, I'm just going to close that effects controls. We don't need that locked anymore. The property that I'm concerned with is inside of the chrome 3D move comp, specifically the x rotation, because that is what's going to drive the position shift of our reflection. Based on how this text is rotated, I want the offset value of this effect to be adjusted automatically. I'm just going to reset the transform and the offset for now, and we'll fix the alignment of that later. But if you didn't know this, you can actually stack timelines for different comps. If I click and drag on my reflection source, I can move this anywhere in my interface, but I'm just going to drag it down so that it's in the same panel group as the rest of my tabs. But this top purple highlighted section, if I let go of that, it's going to stack those two panels. Now I have two different timeline panels visible. In this first one obviously is the reflection source and then down here I'm going to switch to the chrome 3D move. That way I can see this x rotation property at the same time as adjusting this offset effect. I want to get to that shift centered to property in my timeline, so I'm just going to double-click on it. Give myself just a little bit more room, and I want to create a relationship between this shifts center to property and the x rotation using expressions. This little pick whip right here is called the property pick whip. If I click on that and drag it down to the x rotation value and then let go, it's going to automatically write in an expression on that property and adjust the offset position value. Now, that's not exactly what I wanted, but it made it really easy to be able to reference that particular property in another comp. That's all I needed this stacked timeline panel for, so I'm just going to drag that back down this time to the center of this highlighted section and let go, and that brings all those back together. But what after-effects did is wrote an expression that basically took that rotation value and mapped it to the x and y values of the shift enter to property. As I scrub through here, you can see that it's now animated. Because over the first four seconds of the time in the chrome 3D move comp, we have that rotation value changing from negative 90 all the way to zero. If I look at that reflection source and value, it starts at negative 90 and goes all the way down to zero. I now have this relationship between the two properties without any keyframes on this effect. But obviously I don't want it to just be a direct relationship where I get the exact same value of negative 90 to zero. I want it to end up where we had it before. If I disable that expression that's at 960 by 540, and really all I care about is the 540 value, the y value of that shift center. The x and y doesn't actually change anything since this is just a linear gradient, and that wouldn't be affected by the y rotation anyway. I'll re-enable that expression and we're going to edit it a little bit. I'm giving myself a little bit more room, and we'll start by just clicking on that expression to start editing. To give myself even a little bit more room so we can fit all this without wrapping the lines. I'm going to just disable this switch right here temporarily. But we have two lines of expressions. This first line is defining a variable, which is basically shorthand for a line of code. This temp that After Effects filled in by default is going to equal this line of expression code, which is what references the x rotation for the Chrome source layer inside of the Chrome 3D movie comp. Don't worry, you don't need to know how to write that. That's why we use the property pick whip. But just in plain English, that's what this is saying. Anytime I write temp inside of this expression, it's going to be exactly the same as if I had written out this long line of code. Now, I don't like the word temp, that isn't very descriptive. I'm going to rename this r for rotation. The name of your variable can be whatever you want. I'm going to change it to r, and just to organize this a little bit better, I'm going to press "Return" to give myself a line gap between the variables and the actual expressions. Now this line of the expression is an array. An array is just a way to store multiple values in a single line of code. This particular property has two values in it separated by a comma. This is an array. Making these square brackets is telling After Effects that this is going to be a property with multiple values, and then you can separate each value in the array by a comma. The first value was temp by default, but I can change that to r, same thing for the second value, change that from attempt to r, and now we're going to get the exact same thing, because all I changed was the name of the variable. Let's start by getting rid of the expression driving this first value. Because remember I said it doesn't need to adjust the x value, just the y-value. I can change this first value which references the first value in this property array from r to just say value and then do another square bracket. After Effects will automatically type in the closing square bracket and zero. What does this mean? It means the value of whatever we're applying this expression to, so in this case it's the shift center to property. But because it's an array property, which we just talked about, I need to tell After Effects which part of that value we're looking at. In this case, we want the first value which After Effects assigns 0 to. Zero is the first value in the array, 1 is the second value in the array. If this was a 3D layer and we're looking at the position property, we would have a third value, the Z position, and that would be 2, so 0, 1, 2, it starts at 0. What we're saying is, look at the value of the first property in the array. Now, I can freely adjust that property and it is no longer being controlled by the expression. Again, this doesn't really matter since it's a linear gradient, but it's good to know that's how you can keep the control at the value level of this property instead of driving it by an expression. That was actually the easy part. The next thing that we need to do is re-map the values of this x rotation so that it's more useful to us in this context of this "Shift Center To" property. We're going to do this using an expression called linear. This is one of my favorite expressions because it literally allows you to remap any set of values to any other set of values, and I'm going to try to explain that to you very clearly right now. I'm going to drop down a line and make another variable. This one we're going to call L for linear. Then I'll press "Space" "Equals" "Space" because that's the name of our variable. Now we have to tell it what the variable contains, and we're going to write an expression starting with linear, and After Effects auto-fills that for me, puts in parentheses. Those are important. We're basically saying this is the expression method we're going to use, and inside of these parentheses is where we set all of the values for it. We need to say what are we going to linearize? Well, we're going to use the x rotation value as our linear source. I could put this long line of code in, but that would be silly since I've already stored it in a variable. I'm just going to press the "r" key to reference that long line of code. Then I'll press a "comma", and now what we need to do is choose our minimum and maximum values of that property that we're going to take a look at or pay attention to. The starting point of the animation, the text has rotated negative 90 degrees. That's going to be our minimum value. I'm going to type in negative 90, and then I'm going to separate that by another comma and we're going to now type in the maximum value that we're going to pay attention to, which at the end of the animation is 0 degrees, so I'm going to type in 0. We're looking at the x rotation value from a minimum of negative 90 degrees all the way up to a maximum of 0 degrees. Then we're going to separate that by another comma and we're going to put in a new minimum and new maximum value. Basically what we're going to linearize or remap these two values to for this "Shift Center To" property. The way you can think about this is when the x rotation is negative 90, what do we want the "Shift Centered To" y property to be? Well, honestly, I don't know what that number is yet. If 540 is the value for it being at the resting point, then we're probably going to need to increase it so that this whole gradient shifts down as the layers rotating back. Instead of 540, let's just do 700. This is totally arbitrary, we're probably going to have to change that, but I'm just going to guess 700. Then we need to put one more comma and give it the new maximum value, which I just said is 540. That's what we want the resting position to be when the rotation of the text is at 0 on the x-axis, then we want the "Shift Center To" y property to be 540 pixels, and that's how you write out a linear expression. I'll go over this one more time, hopefully, to just make this crystal clear. We're going to run a linear expression based on the x rotation of the text layer, paying attention to the values from negative 90 degrees to 0 degrees and remapping those values to 700 pixels to 540 pixels. We need to finish that all off with a semicolon that's just telling after effects that's the end of this line of code, and then instead of using "r" down here for the second value in this property, we're going to use "l" for that linear. Now that that's all done, I'll click off of it and my gradient shifts around, as I click and drag through here you can see what's happening now. Back at the beginning, where the rotation value was negative 90, on that first key-frame for that text layer, negative 90 right there, we're getting a value of 700, which is what we typed in right here. As that animates forward, taking into account all of the easing we did on that rotation animation, it's remapping those values to where we ultimately get back to 540. It's centered position because that's what we put into that linear expression. I really hope that made sense. Even if it didn't, as long as you followed my instructions, you should be getting the same result. But what we need to do now is go into the "Chrome Look" comp and take a look at what is actually going on with that reflection. To make this render a little bit more quickly, I'm going to solo the "Fill" layer and I'm going to change my resolution to half, and now we can see that that reflection is moving. It's not moving quite as much as I had hoped. I think we're going to need to adjust that. But my thinking behind this is that as this text is rotated flat like this, we need to be seeing more of this sky layer, the sky part of the gradient, and not so much of this pink ground material. I think that I just didn't push that value high enough here. Before I do that though, let's go to our resting position. Look at that final resting point with the reflection and adjust the gradient to fit this text a little bit better. Because changing the position of that gradient is going to determine how far we need this reflection to move as the text is being rotated. I'm going to grab that shape layer and get into that gradient fill so that I can just move this up and I'll hold "Shift" so that it just moves on the y-axis, and I want to see what that looks like here. I think the top needs to come down a little bit more so we get that darker gradient coming in on the top side of it. Maybe bring that top-down just a little bit more and I think that's pretty good, and so that to see it as a whole. I think that alignment is working better now. Now that that's set, let's go back to a frame where we can really see that text flattened out. Right about there, we need to be shifting this reflection texture down a lot more. Let's go back on our reflection source, go into that offset expression. I double-tapped the "e" key to bring up the expressions on that layer, and change this value from 700 to something much bigger, say 1200. Click "off" and now that, that offset has really shifted it down, if we go back to our "Chrome Look", there we go. Now we're seeing a lot more of the sky as the text is rotated back, and as that rotates back to its upright position, that reflection is moving with it. I think that value is much better. Let me preview this so you can see what it looks like, and there we go. Now that is a much more realistic-looking reflection because as the texts rotates, the reflection rotates with it. If you've never used expressions before, I realize that was a lot to take in. I know they can be confusing, but this really is a much simpler way of animating that reflection because it's now linked to the 3D move key-frames. No matter what I do to this timing, I could make it three seconds instead of four, I could adjust the easing of that rotation, it's always going to be based on that rotation property. If I preview this again, the reflection is going to be aligned and shift properly no matter what. That's why I went to the trouble of doing it that way. Let me undo these adjustments I just made. But it just makes this whole effect a lot more seamless and easy to adjust without having to change a lot more properties to make it work. 8. Creating a Faux-Extrusion: Next, I want to show you a little trick that I came up with for creating a fake extrusion to a 2D layer. Because remember this is all just 2D layers right now, this is all based on this one-flat solid piece of text. But we're going to add an extrusion here to make it look like it's truly 3D and it doesn't even give that much of a render hit so I think it's a really cool trick. I'm going to go back to my main render comp with this chrome look pre-comp, that's where we just were inside and I'm going to pre-compose this again. Control shift C or Command shift C on a Mac and I'm going to rename this one Chrome Extrusion. Leave all attributes, it's fine, click "Okay." I'll go into that pre-comp, and I'm just going to close these other ones just for organization. We're going to use a couple of expressions for this trick as well, but they're not going to be nearly as complex. We are however, going to make some custom controls using Expression Controls. Let's go up to the Effect menu, down to Expression Controls, and all of these are effects that just give us values that we can tie expressions to. We're going to need a point control, so I'm going to add that and then we're going to go back up to Effect, Expression Controls, and down to Slider Control. These are two empty effects, they don't do anything on their own, they just give me a two value array for a point control and the Slider gives me just a sliding value, one single value property. Next I'll add an actual effect, so I'll go to my Effects and Presets, and type in transform and bring that out. I'm going to go ahead and rename this effect. You can rename any effect the same way that you rename a layer. Just have it selected. Press "Return" to start editing. I'm going to rename this Extrusion Transform and put one at the end, because we're going to be duplicating this and I want to keep track of the numbers. While we're at it, let's rename Point Control to Extrusion Depth and the Slider Control to Extrusion Perspective. It'll make sense why we're naming that in just a little bit. Now, we're going to link a couple of these properties to these two effects using expressions. What this transform effect does, is it just gives you a layer of transform controls, the same as the actual transform controls for the layer. But they're completely independent of the actual layers' transform controls so I can shift the layers, position around, I can scale it up and down, rotate it, skew it, that's one feature that it has that the regular transform controls don't, but it just gives you those transform controls in the form of an effect rather than the actual layer controls. We need to link the position to the Extrusion Depth point control. I just double-clicked on position to bring it up down here in my layers, and I'm just going to grab that property pick whip right here, click and drag up to the Extrusion Depth point value. With that highlighted, I'll let go. After Effects automatically generates the expression, I didn't have to write anything, but now this is linked to that value. Because it had the same value of 960 by 540, nothing changed, but I can now effect it with that point control rather than this value right here. You can think of that property pick whip without changing any of the expression, like parenting properties instead of parenting layers. Next, I want to take the Scale and link that to the Extrusion Perspective Slider. Click and drag on that property pick whip up to the Extrusion Perspective Slider, let go and that is going to change because the slider value was set to zero and the scale needs to be 100 percent to be able to see it, so we basically turned it off. If I scale this back up to 100, we'll get back to where we were. But I actually want to modify this a little bit. I'm going to leave that at zero and we're going to go into the expression in this case, and just modify it very simply. I'm going to click in here to edit and at the beginning of this line of code, I'm just going to type in the number 100 minus, and what that's going to do is basically reverse it, so that zero is now full-scale and as I increase this to 100, that will make it invisible. But I want to make this a little bit more sensitive so that as I increase this number, it doesn't scale down quite so much. I'm going to go into that effect expression one more time, and at the end of this line of code, I'm just going to divide the final value by 100, basically making this a 100 times less sensitive. If I increase this value, you can see that the scaling is happening much more finely. I'd have to go all the way up to 10,000 to get that to be zero scale. If I back it off of 10,000 then it's going to be scaling back up. That'll be really useful in just a minute, but I'm going to reset that back down to zero for now and this is all set, so I'm just going to collapse that. Then I want to add another effect, this time it's called CC Composite. What CC Composite does is basically, duplicates the original layer prior to any effects being applied and sticks it right back on top, at least by default, it's set to composite in front. You can composite this in any one of these blend modes, and it's a super useful effect. I want to make sure that I un-check RGB only so that it includes the Alpha channel and then I'll rename this effect, Extrusion CC Composite 1. That's it for that effect, I'll just close that up. Now, if I grab my extrusion depth and just shift it around, you can see that I basically have two copies even though there's only one layer. This is what I was saying with that CC Composite. It's taking the original unfiltered, unaffected layer, and compositing it back on top. If change it from in front to behind, then it's going to shift it behind. But we want it in front and that's what's going to drive this entire fake extrusion. Let me reset this back down, collapse that up again. What I need to do now, is duplicate this extrusion and CC Composite a whole bunch of times. Just to make this a little bit clearer as to what's happening, I'm going to just bring this point down a little bit and scale it down just a little bit as well. Now, I'm going to grab these two effects, Control or Command D to duplicate them and this is going to be easier to see down here because it doesn't auto expand them. But then I'll just grab those two effects and drag them below so that we have this pattern of the extrusion transform, extrusion composite. I'm just going to keep duplicating these. Take a look at what we're seeing up here, we have multiple copies now and they're each being offset by an incremental amount. If I select these four effects again, duplicate with Control or Command D, drag them to the bottom of the effect stack, it's just going to keep making more and more copies of them, and offsetting them incrementally. I'm just going to do this a whole bunch of times. Let's see, this has about 16 copies, maybe I'll do it one more time. Just grab all of those effects, Control D to duplicate, and then click and drag down so that they all stay in order. Now you can see that we've got this trailing extrusion effect. It's not finished yet, but it's getting there and if we go back to the Extrusion Depth, in fact, let me just select all of my effects in my Effects Controls by selecting any one of them, pressing Control or Command A and then collapsing one of them, and then I'll just click over here to de-select and pop open these two that I care about. Now, if I shift this around, I can really change the way that my extrusion looks, so 540 would be the default. If I just increase this by one pixel, you'll see that it has a pretty drastic effect. But let's say 542, and then I'll shift around this perspective so you can see what that's doing. It's basically, creating more or less perspective on the text. If I want no perspective, I set it to zero, I could set this back down to 540 and then you don't see anything. But if I increase that perspective, even just a little bit, you can see that now we have this text that looks like it's facing the camera perfectly and it's just got that nice clean extrusion. This is all fake, it's all just a bunch of duplicates, but it's doing a really good job of making this text look 3D. Now, I don't want the extrusion to be the exact same colors as the face of the text, so we're going to add a couple more effects at the bottom here. Let's bring up the tint effect, drag that to the bottom of the effect stack, and that's just going to get rid of all the color. But what I want to do is use this to give it a color cast. I want to make both of these colors the same color, probably some kind of a dark blue, purply blue, we'll try that. Then I'll just make the map black color the same by using the eyedropper right here. That's going to basically, fill the layer with that color, but if I use the amount to tint value, I can back it off a little bit so that we still have some of that original color showing through. But what am I going to do about the face of the text? Well, simple, we're just going to add another CC Composite. Let me bring that backup, add it at the very end of the layer stack, make sure to un-check RGB only so that it's looking at the Alpha channel of the original layer as well and that's going to place that first layer right back on top. Now, this did slow down my render time, I probably don't need quite so many instances of all of this. I'm just going to grab a handful of them and make sure that I grab the transform at the top, composite at the bottom, and then I'll just hit "Delete." That is going to take away some of the extrusion so I'll probably change these values a little bit, maybe go to 35 on that perspective. But now that should render a little bit more quickly. Basically, you just want as many copies of this as you need. If I took away a whole bunch of these, let's say all the way up to here, and deleted and then increased that even more, you can start to see the segmentation between each layer and that's what we want to try to avoid. Let me just duplicate a handful of these again and collapse them so it's easier to see and then drag it down, and then maybe do that one more time. Duplicate, collapse. Oops, I just lost my selection by accidentally clicking. If that happens to you just undo, it will go back to before you duplicated. I can duplicate one more time, collapse, and then drag down. As long as you're happy with the way that yours looks at 100 percent, we can call it good. Remember that tint effect is what's driving the shading of the extrusion and to make this even easier to adjust, so I don't have to change one color and then use the eyedropper. I'm just going to double-click on one of these so I can see the effects down here, and I'll grab the Map White To and just use the property pick whip to link it to the black. That way I only have to change one color for them both to update. You can play around with this, choose whatever color scheme you want, and adjust the amount of tint to your own taste. I'll probably make that extrusion a little bit smaller now, but now we have a very convincing 3D effect. The problem is, let me give myself a little bit more room, as this moves back towards the camera you can see that the illusion breaks. That is not how it should be extruded when the text is rotated like that. It's only working when it's straight on. Well, in the exact same way that we linked the reflection offset to the rotation of that text layer in the 3D move comp, we're going to link the extrusion depths y-value to that rotation as well. We'll probably even add in some of the perspective control to it so that once again it ends up like this, but as the text rotates it's going to adjust for proper perspective and extrusion. Let's give ourselves a little bit more room. Bring up the extrusion perspective and the depths expression controls and then go into my project and into the pre-comps, let's move that extrusion comp down there, and we need that 3D move comp again. Let's go into that, and I'm going to drag that to this upper position so we can stack the two timelines again. That way I can reference the properties that I'm concerned with. I just realized I named this Extrusion Depth. I should have named it Extrusion Direction. I'm just going to rename that really quickly. But let's add an expression on the point control by holding Alt or Option on a Mac and clicking on the stopwatch. Let's get a little bit more room here. It's a little tight on my screen recording, but here we go. I need to start by making a variable for that x rotation, so var for variable, and we'll call this r for rotation equals, and then use the expression pick whip to grab the x rotation. I'll finish that line off with a semicolon and then drop down a line. Now remember this is a two-value array, so I need to define a variable just to make my code a little bit simpler so I can target that part of the array. I'm going to say var, l for linear, and then equals, and now I can write my linear expression. Just like before, we're going to say linear and auto fill, it gives me those parentheses, and we're going to target the variable r for that x rotation, comma, and we're going to again put in negative 90 for the minimum value that we care about, comma 0 for zero degrees rotation as the maximum value that we care about. I want to map those two values to again something I'm not quite sure yet for the minimum and 540 for the maximum. Let's say 545 because remember this adjustment makes a big difference in the look of the extrusion. We'll just say 545, 540 because the resting position again is 540 pixels. Then we'll just go outside those parentheses and finish that with a semicolon, drop down two lines, and then write an array. Remember you do that by writing an open square bracket, it'll auto fill the closing square bracket and I'm just going to type in a value [0] for the first value that references this value right here remember, comma l for the second value, this linear expression up here. Finish it all off with a semicolon and click off. Now if we I out a little bit and pan around, we should be able to see that as I backup in time this value is changing and the extrusion is shifting a little bit. It looks like 545 might not be quite enough, so let's back it up to about here where we can see how that extrusion should be shaped and then just edit this expression one more time. Maybe we'll change it five more pixels and go to 550. Apply that. Now that extrusion looks like it might be angled properly. There's a lot of division here, so we might need to play around with how many copies of those effects we have or decrease the amount of extrusion there is, but the angle is really close. I might increase it just a couple more pixels, 552, and I'm basically just trying to imagine this being a 90-degree angle right there. I think that's much better. Let's just call that good for now and scrub through this a little bit. At the start when it flies in it's nice and aligned, and as it's rotating up it appears as if that extrusion is rotating properly with it until it gets to its final resting state right there. I'm going to close out this Chrome 3D move so that we can see the comp a little bit cleaner, and I think it looks really good. Maybe I'll turn down that extrusion depth a little bit, and I'll do that with the extrusion perspective control. Honestly, this is probably what I could have named extrusion depth, maybe that makes more sense. I'm going to rename that extrusion depth, and now those controls just make a little bit more sense. I don't want this to still look extremely thick, so maybe I'll back that up just a little bit more just so that we have that nice extrusion there, but that should take care of seeing those divisions as it gets closer to the camera. But as I'm backing up, you can really see those division cell as it's closer to the camera. Now I'm realizing that's just because this is not real 3D, so After Effects does not know that the extrusion should be different when the text is closer to the camera than when it is further away. Let's just borrow this expression we just wrote on the extrusion direction point control. I'm just going to select it, Control C or Command C to copy it, and just put it onto the extrusion depth and modify it slightly so it works with this value. Let's remember that we want the final value to be 25. I'll alt or option-click on the stopwatch to add an expression and paste, and then just give myself a little bit more room. We can modify this so that it's not in an array because this is a single value, it's not an array. I'm going to just get rid of this part of the expression. Since it's only a single property, I can actually get rid of this variable and drop this down as my expression. Now, this is not going to give me the correct values because these are the pixel values for the point controller and we need a slider that ends at 25. I know that the maximum new value should be 25 at its resting point, but I have no idea what the minimum value should be. Let's go back to where we can see that text rotated again, and this is obviously way out of work because it's set to 552 when the x rotation of the text is at negative 90. This should probably be something smaller than 25. Why don't we try 15 and see what that looks like? Yeah, I think that looks a little bit better. Let me just disable this expression by clicking on this equals sign and show you that this isn't exactly the extrusion depth. Now that I decided to actually name it that, it's just changing the scale of all of these transform effects. For what we need I'm pretty sure 15 and 25 is going to work fine, but I'm going to need to modify the extrusion direction expression just a little bit as well, because it's a combination of these two effects that gives us this extrusion. Instead of 552, let's dial this back to, say, 545 again. This might just take a little bit of back and forth between the two properties. Now that that is a little bit more compact, it's not such a big extrusion. I think that I need to shift it forward just a little bit more, so maybe we'll go back to our extrusion depths and change the minimum value to 10 and that's looking pretty good. If I just back this up to where we can just start to see that text, I can verify that that extrusion is looking pretty good. I think I'm happy with that. I'm going to preview this so we can take a look at it as a whole. There we go. That is looking pretty convincing as a 3D extrusion, but it's completely faked with just a whole bunch of transform effects and CC composite effects. Very cool. Now, you can modify these values to end up however you want. If you don't want to be able to see the extrusion at the resolve of this logo, then we can just change the extrusion depth from 25 to 0, and it's basically going to disappear as it gets to that resting point. We'll see the extrusion at this point because of our linear expression, but as it rotates to zero degrees it disappears. Play around with that, modify these values to be whatever you want. One thing that I did notice as I was previewing this, if I switch back to my full resolution and zoom in here on the extrusion, it's pretty soft and that's probably just an artifact of the way that all of the CC composites are working together. So I'm going to add one more effect to this effect stack. I'm just going to search for levels and I'm going to use this right before the tint effect, so I'm going to drag it right there. What this is going to allow me to do is basically crush up or add contrast to the alpha channel by switching my levels channel from RGB to alpha. Then I'm just going to crush that alpha by bringing these two control points towards the center of the graph. You can see how that really sharpened up the edges of that extrusion. If turn that off and back on, you can see the difference. It's softer there, much sharper there. I don't need to overdo this, it doesn't need to be super crunchy, but that just made everything a little bit tighter there. Because of the way that we set this up, you can put anything before this final CC composite effect and it will only affect the extrusion. If you wanted to make this hot pink and have a crazy glow to it, you could do that really simply just by grabbing this and putting it just before the last CC composite. To make it really nice and shiny, you could turn down the tint amount a little bit to get more of that original color in there. It's totally up to you what you want to do with that extrusion. I'm going to get rid of that glow, turn this back to a dark blue color. But I do like being able to see some of that reflection in there, so maybe I'll just leave that tint value a little bit lower and dark in that blue color a little bit. Looking good. That's it for my trick for making this faux-extrusion inside of After Effects. 9. Starting on the Background: Now that we've got a pretty decent chrome looking effect, let's go back to the main render comp and start adding in a background. I'm just going to start by making a new solid layer. New, Solid layer. I'll just name this BG for background. Make sure it's the comp size and click "OK" and drag that to the bottom of the layers. Then I'll just add a ramp effect, a gradient ramp to that layer. I'm going to fit this to my window up to 100 percent. That way, I can see the whole layer. Then I'm going to change the start and end colors. The start color, let's make it a lighter purple somewhere in here. The end color, I'm going to do a deep blue, maybe with a little bit of green in it, something like that. Then bring that up a little, maybe bring the purple down a little. That purple is probably a little too bright. You get a little more red. Something like that. Click "OK". Then I want to make it a little more interesting than just a linear gradient. I'm going to add an adjustment layer just above it; Layer, New, Adjustment Layer. I'll call this BG Brightness and add a curves effect to it. Curves in the Effects and Presets, drag that out. Now I can just click and drag to add a point and make this a little brighter. But I don't want to affect this entirely as a whole. I want to just mask off a section of that background gradient to make a portion of it brighter and just add some variants to it. I'm going to just click and hold on my rectangle tool to get to my Ellipse Tool, and then click and drag to make an ellipse mask on this adjustment layer. Then I'll hold the space bar to move this around until it's about where I want it. Let go of the space bar and let go of my mouse. Now that adjustment layer is isolated to that mask, I want to make it a lot softer. I'm gonna go into my Mask Controls, into Mask Feather, and really crank this up somewhere in the 400s probably. Now I have this bright spot that I can manipulate using this mask and the curves layer itself. If I just click and drag this point around, maybe increase the contrast just a little bit. That might even affect the saturation of the underlying colors. Just make it a little more interesting. Let me grab these handles just to make it a little less perfect, just so it doesn't look so computer-generated. Fit this to the window one more time and take a look. I think that purple on that background is still little too bright, so I'm going to bring that down. I don't want the background to be too distracting and maybe increase the saturation of that blue a little bit, and make it a little bit more purple. I've got the start of a background there. Next, let's add a vignette around the corner so they get a little bit darker. I'm going to add another adjustment layer. Layer, New, Adjustment Layer. Leave this at the top and rename it Vignette. Add another curves effect. This time, I'm going to darken it, but I'm going to also add a mask to it. This time with that Ellipse Mask Tool, I'm going to click in the center, drag, hold down Control while also holding Shift, so that I make a perfect circle, scaling from the center and move it out to the basically outer edges of my comp. Then I need to go to my mask itself and change it from add to subtract, and then again into the Mask Feather, and increase that to a much higher number somewhere in 400s again. Now I just have this nice vignette that might be a little too extreme, but we can always modify that later. That's looking pretty good. Now let's make the whole thing glow a little bit. Let's add another adjustment layer. Layer, New, Adjustment Layer. We'll just add a simple glow effect. Nothing fancy. Just bring that out. I'll probably bring that below the vignette because I want that to affect everything in the comp. I'll just increase the radius a lot so that we've got this nice glow coming from the text. We could adjust the threshold, don't want that to be showing up in the background there. Maybe just keep it in that sweet spot right around 50 percent. The intensity might be a little bit too much. I'm going to drag that back to somewhere around 0.5 or 0.6 and that's going to give us this nice halo around the text. Maybe I'll increase the softness a little more. I'll rename this Effects. This is the start of a cool look, but now we have an actual background to work with and see the actual chrome text in the context of the environment a little bit more. We're going to take this a lot further in a later lesson, but this is a great starting point. I'm just going to lock up these layers right here so I don't accidentally adjust them. We can move on to the next lesson. 10. The Foreground Text: Now I want to add a second text layer in front of this chrome text that is more of a neon-looking retro font. We're even going to make it look like it's reflecting in the text behind it. Let's start by adding a new text layer and type out something like "radical", something nice and '80s, and I want to change the font. First of all, I'm going to make sure that it's not all caps. The specific font that I want to use is called lakeshore. That is also an Adobe font, if you want to sync that to your Creative Cloud membership. I'm going to change the paragraphs so that it's left justified. The first thing I'll do this text, is pre-compose it. With that layer selected, Control Shift C, and I'm going to name this comp Foreground Text Source. Click "Okay", and then I'm going to pre-compose this again, Control Shift C or Command Shift C, and rename this foreground text neon. Click "Okay" and then drag that just above the chrome extrusion layer. Now, obviously, this text is not aligned where it needs to be, so what I'm going to do to make it easier to position is actually make a null object in this comp that will drive the position of the text in its comp. I'm going to go up to Layer, New, Null Object. If you've never used a null object, it's a completely empty layer. It does not render, but it gives you all the same transform controls as a normal layer. I can parent things to it and use it as a controller. I'm going to rename this Foreground Text Controller. Bring up the position by pressing "P". I'll also bring up the scale by pressing "Shift S", as well as the rotation by pressing "Shift R". Then I'll jump into my foreground text neon comp and into my foreground text source comp. I want to stack this on top so I can see both that comp timeline and the chrome look timeline at the same time. Basically, I just want to link up the transform controls that I just opened up on this null object with the transform controls of the actual text layer in this comp. I'll grab the position property pick whip, and grab the position on the null object. Do the same thing for the scale, as well as the rotation. Now, whenever I move this null object, and let me give myself a little bit more room so we can see this nice and clear. Even though that text is in another comp, it's going to follow this null object. I can place this down in the bottom-right. I can rotate it a little bit so that it just has a little bit of variation compared to the chrome text. I could even scale this up and down while holding Shift, if I wanted to, but I think the scale was okay. So I'm going to leave that just as it is. Now that that's all linked up, I can close this up. Now I'm going to jump into that foreground text neon pre-comp, and we're going to build a glow, a neon glow around this. I'm going to rename this first one Core. That'll be our white core to the neon effect. Then I'll duplicate this and rename it Glow 1 and change the mode to Add, which is down the list just a little bit. The blending mode set to Add. If you don't see those blending modes, make sure you have this switch enabled right here. Then I'm going to add a fast box blur effect. Let me expand this so we can see that again. Drag that onto Glow one and just increase the blur radius a little bit, and that's going to give this nice glowing effect. But I don't want it to be white. I want it to be a nice, hot pink color, so I'm going to add a fill effect to this glow. Just drag it out and change the color to that super hot, bright pink color and maybe make that a little bit more dramatic by crushing the Alpha channel. I'm just going to add a levels effect. Drag that out, switch the channel from RGB to Alpha, and then just crush the Alpha. That will make that all a lot more bright. Maybe bring it down just a little bit on this side so it's not too extreme. Something like that. Then duplicate that effect, increase the blur radius a little bit more, and maybe crush that Alpha just a little bit as well on that layer. Now we have a neon-looking effect on that text. Back in this comp, that's looking great. I can sell this effect even more by changing the blending mode of this layer from Normal to Add as well. Now those colors really blend into the background a lot more. I think the second layer could have less of this crushing of the Alpha and maybe even make it just a slightly larger blur. That's really making that glow, and it looks like it's an actual light source. Now we need to get that to reflect in the chrome text. This is actually really simple to do since we put this all in a pre-comp. To get it to show up in that reflection, I just need to go to the reflection source pre-comp. Let me grab these foreground text pre-comps and move them into the pre-comp folder and open up that reflection source. Remember, whatever is in here is what's showing up in this reflective text. I can just drag my neon text pre-comp into this comp just above the gradient, and let's rename this Gradient. I can get rid of that screenshot, and that's going to show up in the exact same spot in this comp. I'll go ahead and set this to Add, as well, so that the color is really bloom out there. But now if we jump back to our chrome look, look at that, we've got the foreground text reflecting in the chrome text. It's showing up in all different places and warping around that text because of the way that we built it with the CC Blobbylize effect. This is where it gets really fun because if I click and drag the position, the text is going to update in the reflection of that chrome. This is why I love procedural effects. Once you have it built, everything just starts to work. Now if we wanted to, we can make this look like it's a little bit further away in z-space, closer to the camera than the reflective text, just by going into the reflection source and just scaling this down a little bit. If I click and drag on this transform handle while holding Shift, I'll just scale it down a little bit, not a whole lot. Go back to the chrome look, and you can see that offset where the reflection is. If I basically center the text, you can now see that the reflection is scaled down a little bit, which is how a reflection would actually behave. If I scale it down a whole lot, then it's going to look like that text is a lot closer to the camera than the reflective text. I didn't need to scale it down that far, so I'm going to undo that and reposition the text. But you can do whatever you want to that reflection source to change the properties of that reflective material. If I wanted to, I could go back into my reflection source and on this adjustment layer, I'll just add a fast box blur and really blur this out, making sure to repeat the edge pixels. Now if I jump back to the chrome look, this looks like a much more matte reflective material. It's not a perfect chrome mirror anymore. You can do whatever you want. You could add in a bunch of noise, if you wanted, to make this super grainy. That's going to change the overall look of that metal as well. But because it's procedural, this is all going to update. No matter what you put into the text layer or font you use, the colors that you adjust, it's all going to update automatically. Let me get back to where we were. I like that perfect mirror look, so I'm not going to bother blurring that out or adding any grain or anything to it. Then I just want to position this so that it's nice and legible. Maybe something like that. That foreground text is done. 11. Revealing the Foreground Text: Now, I want to actually animate this text in. I want to do some very simple but pretty retro at the same time. The way that I want this to play out is the logo comes in, let me switch to half resolution so this renders a little quicker. I want the logo to fly in and then probably right about this point is where I want the radical texts to basically wipe in from left to right. That's why I'm going to align at the foreground texts layers in points. I'm going to select those two layers and press the left bracket to shift those two layers in points to my play head. Then I'll jump back into my Foreground Text Source and create this transition in. The way I'm going to do it is stupid simple. I'm just going to make a new solid layer call it Matte. I make it a gray color so I can actually see it and click "Okay." I'm going to parent that to the text while holding shift so that it inherits all the transformations that's already been applied to the text layer and then bring up the position. I'm going to use this as a Track Matte to reveal the text. I'm just going to grab the Track Matte column and change it from No Track Matte to Alpha Matte. That way it's only going to show up as the solid is passing over it. But I don't want this to be a straight sharp transition. I want it to have some softness to it. I'm going to add a Fast Box Blur to that Matte layer and just increase the blur a little bit. Then I'll back this up before the text layer, set a position keyframe. This should go by pretty quick, maybe 10 frames in total. I'll go forward 10 frames, shift this over so that it reveals all of the text and then just play this back. Very simple but I think it goes along with the retro effect, so we're going to call that good. If I go back into the Foreground Text Neon, you can see that that is preserved there. Now we have that text being revealed right here. But there is an issue. We can see that text and the reflection. That's because I haven't changed the timing inside of the reflection source comp. At three seconds and 12 frames is where I have it start in the main comp. That's exactly the same spot I needed to change here. Three seconds,12 frames, left square bracket with that layer selected now that will be revealed in the exact same place. Now that should line up. It does. Now I want to make that transition just a little bit more interesting by adding a nice light flare at the starting point of where this transition is happening. It looks like a nice light burst as it's being revealed. Let's go back into the Neon comp. I'm just going to duplicate one of these and remove the effects. Quick way to do that is selecting the layer and pressing "Control Shift E or Command Shift T ", on a Mac and change the blend mode back to normal just for now and on my source layer name, but if I click on that, it'll just switch back to what I had already renamed the layers. I actually want to pre-compose this one more time. I'm going to press "Control Shift C" or "Command Shift C" on a Mac. I'll rename this Foreground Text Flare. Leaving all the attributes is fine. Click "Okay," and I'll rename the actual comp Flare as well. Now if I jump into this, we just have the Foreground Text Source as a pre-comp and that's what we need. What I'll do to isolate the front part of this motion is just duplicate the layer, shift it forward in time by one frame. Just click and drag that one frame forward. Now I just have two copies of this layer offset in time by one frame. Next I'll take the lower layer and change the Track Matte to Alpha Inverted Matte. That will leave me with basically the difference between the two layers. It's subtracting the second layer that's offset forward in time one frame. But it's not doing it perfect job. We're still seeing a few semi-transparent pixels. To fix that, I'm going to grab this front layer and add a Simple Choker effect. Click and drag that out. Instead of choking it inwards to make the Alpha Channel shrink, I'm going to change it to a negative number to expand it. That will hide all of the semi-transparent pixels. Let me turn this layer on and solo it so you can see what's happening. With the simple choker off it's a no more layer, but with it on. If I turn on the transparency grid, you can see that backing this up as basically expanding the Alpha Channel. We only needed to do a tiny little bit because of those semi-transparent pixels being so small. But now it's basically making those transparent pixels go away. We're left with just this little section of the text revealing. Now that we have that we can use it to generate a Flare back in our Neon comp. This is again right on top. It's not being composited at all I change this blend mode normal, but actually I'm going to switch that back to Add and add another Fast Box Blur and soften this up. But this time instead of going horizontally and vertically, I only want to go vertically. If I change that blurred dimensions to vertical, now its going to streak out upwards. I want to use that same color as before. I'm going to grab the fill color copy with Control C from this other glow layer and paste it. Maybe we'll make it just a little bit less saturated so it's a little brighter. Add A levels and crush the Alphas so we can shape this Flare a little bit more. Bring the Alpha Channel up a little on that side and down just a little bit on this side. I don't want to lose those streaks. But basically I can now play with crushing the Alpha and increasing the blur amount. As I increase that blur, I can back off this handle right here to get more of that Flare visible. It's now we've got this nice vertical flare. I'm going to rename it Flare 1 and duplicate it one more time. Maybe increase the saturation of this one, make it a little bit more red. I'm just arbitrarily changing all these values. But basically I just want to make it bigger and I want it to make the Flare a little bit brighter. Playing around with these values until we get something that looks like that. But just tweaking those values gives me something that just generates this nice streaking flare over the front of that reveal. If I go back to the main comp and preview this, we can see how that looks in context. That's just a really cool what can affect it shows up in the reflection of the text as well. I think it just really fits the vibe of this overall Chrome look. 12. Building Custom Light Flares: Next I want to create a similar flare to what we just did for this foreground text before the actual Chrome text in the background. I want it to happen as it's coming in, but I want to isolate it around the outline of the text. This is something that you'll see a lot in these older '80s looking logos. They'll have these really cool lens flares going around the edge of this really shiny metallic text. To do that, we're going to go into the pre-comps and find the Chrome outline pre-comp, and I'm going to pull that down into the new comp button. That's basically breeding another pre-comp and this one I'll rename flare. Now we just have the outline version of the text as its own layer. What I want to do is isolate the brightest portions of this text. To do that, I'm going to use a Track Matte. I'm going to start by duplicating the layer Control or Command D, and then go to the Track Matte column and change it from none to Luma Matte. What a Luma Matte is, is basing the Alpha channel of this layer on the brightness values or the luminosity on the layer above it. Wherever the brightest pixels are here, on this layer is where the most opaque or least transparent pixels are going to be on this layer right here, it's using it as a mask based on the brightness values of the pixels. Now with the transparency grid on, you can see that these are just semi-transparent, they're not completely gone, but that is probably fine. We're going to do something in the next step that will probably get rid of those pixels. Let's add a new adjustment layer, which by the way, the keyboard shortcut is Control Alt Y or Command Option Y on a Mac. Learn those keyboard shortcuts. On this adjustment layer we're going to add a Fast Box Blur so that we can soften this up. Does not need to be much, probably just around 1.5 or something, which by the way, this effect is super sensitive. If you hold down the "Control" key, it makes your adjustments much finer, so you can really dial this in. Probably right around 1.5, make sure to repeat edge pixels. Then I'm going to use a levels to crush the Alpha. This is how we're going to isolate it to the brightest pixels. Let's go to Alpha on the channel and then bring the brights up and crush the darks, so we're left with just these brightest lines basically of that outline layer, so it's something like that. That looks pretty good. I might even be able to increase the blur radius a little bit more. I'm going to go around to maybe 1.8, 1.9 and then see if I can dial this in a little bit more. These aren't so streaky so that the lines aren't so tall. I have a bunch of lines now that I can use as a source for my flares isolated to those brightest portion. Let's go back to the Chrome Look comp and drag that flare comp right above the extrusion. It's really hard to see, but let me switch to full resolution. If I turn it off and back on even then it's really hard to see. I'll solo the layer and you could see the line right there. What I want to do do is change this blend mode to add and then add a Fast Box Blur. Let's blur that layer out, and it's very, very subtle, but that's just because of how tiny of a source we're working with by solo this you can see that just blurring it out a little basically makes those pixels go away. We need to crush the Alpha, same way we have been this whole time. Let's add a levels and go into the Alpha channel and bring up the brights, may be crush the darks just a little bit. But that way we're left with just these little bright spots. Now that's much more visible. Now that's probably more extreme than it needed to be, so I'm going to soften that a little bit, but I also want to change this from horizontal and vertical to just horizontal, just like we did with the foreground text flare. Now, we're just blurring it out horizontally. We can create these really cool looking flares. It is pretty subtle still, so I might need to pump this up. But as I go a little too extreme, we really see these jagged edges so we can't push it quite that far. Instead, I might need to go back into my flare source, find some of those spots and then maybe dial this back a little just so there's more information to work with here. Then I can play around with that a little bit more. So we'll call that good for now. Then let's duplicate that layer and change it from horizontal to vertical. Now we're getting a cross blur, a starburst that looks pretty cool when you combine it with the horizontal flare. That's pretty skinny compared the horizontal blur. I could duplicate the Fast Blur and reset it and then blur it out just a little bit so it's a little more consistent, but that's totally up to you if you want to do that to make it a little bit more soft. I don't really mind it being super sharp, but maybe I'll just add like a point to blur to it just so it's a tiny bit softer and then I can adjust the Alpha in the levels as well. Now that might be a little bit too tall, so I'm going to back that off just a little bit, but I do like the shape that it's creating. If I solo both those layers, you can see this cross starburst flare, looks pretty cool. Now I want to duplicate that flare one more time and instead of using the Fast Box Blur, I want to add in a glint that's going at an angle, which you can't do with Fast Box Blur; that's only vertical, horizontal, or both. I'm going to get rid of those two blurs and then add in a directional blur. I could bring that in and I'll put it before the levels then I can blur it out and then I have complete control over the direction of this one. I'm going to move it to maybe about 12 or 14 degrees, that works pretty well and just adjust this blur length so that it's tight, it doesn't have to be super long. Maybe increase the angle just a little bit and then mess with the Alpha, so it's not quite so harsh. I want it to be soft like the others. Just a push and pull between the Alpha and the actual blur. If I zoom in nice and close, you can see what this looks like. I think I might want to actually combine this with the Fast Box Blur, so let's do that. Fast Box Blur, put it at the top and just blur this out ever so slightly first before adding in that directional blur and that just makes the whole thing a little bit softer. But now we have this three-part customer lens flare basically, I'm going to shorten it just a little bit and let's take a look at it in context. There we go. We've got this really cool retro looking flare, which is completely customizable. If I wanted to make the vertical one a little bit longer, I could do that. It's completely up to you. You could even add colors to these. If I wanted to make that one directional flare, let's say a hot pink, I could just add a fill effect and change its color to be super saturated, bright pink. I can zoom in here, I'll turn that off and back on and you can see how that basically tints the flare. Maybe I do the same thing to the others, but I could change the color up instead of the pink color. Maybe we do a tealish color for the vertical one and for the horizontal one let's change that to be a little bit more of a purply blue. Now we're creating this multicolored RGB flare. It's totally up to you how you want to style these. Maybe you want it to be more of a gold theme. You could just change all these to orangey yellow colors and make it reflect a little bit more gold. Of course, that would probably make more sense if our text was reflecting gold or if it was a gold material. Again, all you'd have to do for that is go into the Reflection source and change your color scheme. Maybe we should match the colors of this text a little bit more and just keep them all nice and bluish colors. I'll do that for this vertical one. For the horizontal one, let's just make it a little bit more visible, something like that and then for that diagonal blur, let's instead of going hot pink, change that to being somewhere in this yellowish, greenish, blue spectrum as well. Isolating those three layers, this is what it looks like. So that's cool. Let's take a look at this in motion and see how it actually looks. So there's what it looks like in motion. Obviously the flare looks cool when it was stationary, but now that we can see it in motion, there's just way too much of it and it's flickering a lot so what can we do to handle that? Well, we need to basically just tone down how much of this text is getting the flare. Let's go back into the Flare Comp. This is why we're seeing so many flares, is because that highlight across all of the text is being displayed because the way that we've set this up. We're going to tone this down by adding a layer, new solid and click "Okay" and we're going to add an effect called Fractal Noise. Bring that out and this is just a generated noise pattern that we can customize. Now, by default, this might work, so let's just try using it as is. We're going to use a special blending mode that's all the way down at the bottom of the list. I know you can't see it, but it's at the very bottom. It's called Stencil Luma. Go all the way down towards the bottom Stencil Luma. What this does is uses the brightness values just like the Luma Matte does of this layer to generate transparency or the Alpha channel for everything below it; because it's a blending mode, it affects everything below that layer. If I zoom in here nice and close and turn that layer off and on, you can see that it's affecting the way that these pixels are being displayed. Now it's pretty uniform at this point. Let me just for a second turn this back to normal and you can see that we've got a low contrast fractal noise pattern. I want to go to the contrast value and increase that so that there are much brighter portions and much darker portions. Pixels that are 100 percent white and pixels that are 100 percent black. Because anywhere there's black pixels, it will be completely transparent, anywhere that there's white pixels it'll be completely opaque. I'll switch this back to Stencil Luma, and now you can see that that's really carving out more of those pixels and making more of it completely transparent. Now I just want to adjust the brightness and bring it down even further, messing with the contrast and that brightness so that we're isolating a lot more of that outline text. If I play this back, you can see there's a lot of flickering happening and that's probably due to the size of the texture. If I switch back to normal just so we can look at this and go into the transform controls. I can scale this up and I can even turn down some of the complexity so that it's not so textured, so that it's a lot smoother and then maybe increase the contrast a little bit more. Scale it down just a little bit and then set that back to Stencil Luma. That smooths everything out a little bit more and we should now have a smaller sample of pixels to be generating the flares off of. This is before and this is after. Let's take a look at what that did to our main comp. Now these flares are a lot less uniform. There are points where there are a good number of them, but there are also points where not really any flares is showing up, so right here at the beginning it's hitting on that point. But further down there's flares showing up over here, one right there, so this is really helping us tone down how much of those flares are actually being created. Now let's preview that one more time and see how it affected the overall flares. That looks much better. It's smoother, it doesn't flicker as much, and it's much more isolated. We still get some nice and bright flares showing up, but it's not nearly as uniform as before. This is again something that you can completely customize, you mess with it however much you want. If you want the flares, if you don't want them, you can leave them off. It's totally up to you and if you don't like where they're showing up, you can always go into the Chrome flare, into the Fractal Noise, and go back to those transform controls because you can actually offset the turbulence. Let me turn this back to normal and if I just offset it, you can see that that's changing where it is. If I get it back to Stencil Luma and just shift it over, then the brightest points at this resting resolve a state will be more over here, so my flares are going to show up more over the M. This is a way that you can really fine tune where those flares are going to show up. But overall, I'm pretty happy with the way that turned out. 13. The 80s Grid: Moving right along. We're very close to the end of this effect, but we need to add some more interest to the background here. We have only added just some gradients basically. Let's make this a little bit more interesting and give it a few more Signature Retro 80s Vaporwave Effects. First of all, we got to put a gradient here. A grid is a signature element of this look. Let's just go up to layer new solid. I'm going to make this a square solid. I'm just going to go ahead and make it 2,000 by 2,000. I'll name this, grid. The color doesn't really matter. We'll click "Okay", and then add the grid effect. So generate grid. Then I want to change the size from to a width slider, because that just makes it easy to scale it up or down. We can always adjust this if we don't like the size. But we'll say that grid size is good for now. I just want to drag that grid down below basically everything but the background. Before I go any further, I'm going to pre-compose it, Control Shift C, and we'll name this grid. This time I don't want to leave the source attributes in this comp. Because what that will do is pre-compose the solid, but leave the effect on this layer here in this comp. Instead, I want to move all the attributes to the new composition and click "Okay". One problem with that is that it made that pre-comp the same size as this comp. Let's go back into that grid pre-comp, go to the composition settings and change it to be 2,000 by 2000. Click "Okay", and there we go. Now that grid lives in a pre-comp and we can decide what we want to do with it here. Well, I know that I want to offset it in 3D space so that it looks like it's basically a floor underneath all of this text. The easiest way to do that is just to enable the 3D layer switch. I'm going to do that, and then I'm going to rotate it on the x-axis. I could open up the rotation and change the x rotation, but there's this handy little grip right here on the 3D Gizmo. If you just click and drag it, then you can rotate it freely in a 3D space. Let's make it about that angle. But again, we're using a scene default camera that doesn't have much perspective. Let's add a new camera. Go to layer, new, camera. Again, let's use the preset of 24 millimeters and click "Okay". You can see how drastic the perspective shifts just by changing the camera type. Now I'm going to scale this grid down just a little bit. We'll call that good. Maybe move it down a little bit on the z-axis. We need to change the color. I don't want it to be white, I want it to be probably a Tealish color. Let's add in a fill effect, bring that to the grid and change it to being this, let's say, probably that color right there. Something nice and bright. Tealish, the little bit of green. Click "Okay", and then let's make it glow. I'm going to duplicate it and I'll rename it, grid glow 1. Zoom in nice and close, add a fast box blur. Blur it out just a tiny little bit, so we've got a little bit of a glow. Make sure the blend mode is set to add, and then duplicate it. Blur that duplicate out even a little bit more. That's pretty nice. Why don't we make the center of it look a little bit hotter, just like we did with the neon text up here, and change the fill from being the super saturated teal to being a little bit more white. That way it looks like a brighter light source. That's looking pretty good. Next, I want to isolate this and basically feather it out so that we're not seeing the hard edges. We could make this grid expand the entire width of the comp. I could just grab all three of those, scale it up so that in the back there we can see that it extends beyond the comps width, and then maybe shift it down a little bit, so the horizon line is a line to the center of the comp. Then maybe I'd go into the grid, adjust the grid to be much smaller, and maybe even change the border down to say, three instead of five. Now it looks like we have more of a floor. But I actually want to isolate it a little bit more and feather it out so it's not so distracting. I want the focus to be on the text here. I'm going to move that grid back up a little bit. I don't mind the size being smaller. But I also want to move it back in Z space. I'm going to grab this green Y handle. You see as my mouse hovers over it, it switches to a Y. If I click and drag, then I can basically just shift it back like a floor. I want to line up that anchor point to where the text is. That way I know that whatever I do in this comp, the center of this is aligned with where the text is in this comp. Let's go back into that grid comp. I basically just want to isolate and feather out the center of this layer. Now, with the grid effect applied, masks do not work, so I actually need to use a matte layer. I'm just going to duplicate this one with Control or Command D, delete the grid and then add a circular mask. Grab your ellipse tool, click and drag while holding Control, as well as the Shift key to make it a perfect circle. Doesn't have to be perfect, but that's what I'm going to try. Then press "F" on the keyboard to bring up the mask feather and really feather that out. Then I just need to switch the grid's track matte to be an Alpha matte of the layer above it, and now I'm isolating it to just that circle. Let's take a look at how that looks in this comp. That looks pretty cool. It's still a little too big so I could scale the mask down, but instead, I think I'm going to grab these three layers and just scale them down. That's looking pretty good. I'm going to shift it back on the Y axis a little bit and just scale it up a little bit more and play around with the position. Now that feathering is probably a little too extreme so let's go back in the grid and turn that mask feather down to around 300. I think that looks a little bit better. We've just got this isolated area underneath the text and we can adjust this however we want. If I wanted this to be a little bit flatter on the front, just bring that back. You can play with this to your heart's content, making the grid look however you want. But now let's take a look at how it's going to come in, how it will transition in. Because I don't want it to be there before the text is. I'm going to switch to half resolution so this renders more quickly. Let's say when it gets right about there, is where I want the grid to appear. I'm going to grab those three layers, press the left bracket to snap the endpoints to the play head. Then I need a transition of that grid in somehow. I'm going to do that in the grid comp just to make things easier, and I think I'm going to use a very simple technique. I'm just going to use the mask expansion property in this mask matte layer. What this does is basically shifts the bounds of your mask in either direction. I can back this up to where we don't see any of the grid, want to make sure I go far enough to where we truly don't see anything. Add a key frame on the mask expansion, and then go forward maybe two seconds, three seconds, and then set that expansion back to zero. Now it's just going to animate out. Just for good measure, I'm going to easy ease into this key frame pressing the F9 key on the keyboard. It's just going to softly fade in, growing from the center out as that text is resolving. Now that might be taking a little bit too much time. It could probably start a little bit sooner. Why don't we bring these back to about here? That grid starts animating on sooner. Then let's have it resolve right around the time that the text is coming in at the foreground. Right about there. If I double click, After Effects will bring me into that comp in the same point in time as the main comp. I'll just grab that key frame, hold down Shift to snap to my play head, and now it just animates in a little bit more quickly. Let's just play that back. There we go. Very nice. Make sure that you preview this at full resolution so you can see exactly what those lines look like. Because at half resolution, they get a lot more transparent. Just always check every so often at full resolution if you're doing little details like that. 14. Adding a Starfield: All right, Next I want to add some stars to this whole scene. Make it look like it's in outer space. Again, this is something I'm doing, you do not have to follow along if you don't want to do a space scene. But I'm going to show you quickly how to make some stars really easily in after effects. I'm going to drag that grid precomp into the pre-comps folder, and I'm going to make a new solid. Let's just make sure we're in the comp layer, new solid, and we'll call this stars, and this can be the comp size. I'm going to make it the comp size and click "Okay." I'm going to go ahead and pre-compose this. So Control Shift C, Command Shift C, and we'll just call this star's source and leave all attributes, move all attributes. It doesn't matter at this point. But then I'll jump into that comp and we're going to add a fractal noise to this solid. This is going to be the base texture or the base properties for our star field. We're going to use a levels affect to crush all of these values so that we can isolate basically tiny little dots. I'm going to bring the blacks way down, increase the whites a little bit, and what we want to do is basically just isolate tiny dots throughout all of that fractal noise. Let's play around with maybe the complexity and turn that down a little bit. You can see higher values are giving us a lot more texture, but if we turn this down to a smaller number, then we're going to get more rounded shapes. We can also take the transform controls and scale it down so that we have a lot more source information for our stars basically. That's looking pretty good, but I'd like to make them more rounded so that they look like actual stars and not just a texture. I'm going to add a Fast Box Blur. This is how we'll soften everything up. I'm just going to add a little bit of blur here so that they all get nice and blurred out. Make sure Repeat Edge Pixels is turned on. Then I'm going to add another instance of levels to this time crush the RGB values so that I can get rid of some of the dimmest stars. But then as I crushed this, you can see that they turn into much more rounded blobs. That might have been a little bit too much blur, so I'll dial that back a little bit. The overall size of these stars is probably a little too big. Let's go into the fractal noise and adjust that scale to be down even further, so maybe five or even four. Now we have a pretty decent star field. From here we can play with things like the original levels to determine how many of those stars are really showing through. Again, this is subjective, but I don't want my background to be distracting. I want the text to be the hero of the main comp, so I'm going to dial it into something like that, and then go back to the Chrome Look comp and move these stars all the way to the bottom behind the grid, behind everything but the background color, and change the blend mode from normal to add, just like everything else that'll blend out all of the black and make those white dots really stand out. But I don't want to have just white dots, I want to add in a lot of color to those stars to make it fit with the rest of these retro, kind of vibrant colors that we have on everything else. Let's go back into that Star's source. I'm going to make a new solid, or actually I'll just duplicate this one and delete all of the effects. I'll press E to bring up the effects. Click shift, click and delete, and we're going to add actually another fractal noise. Let's add Fractal Noise. What I'm going to do this time is turn the complexity way down, probably to around two, so that we just have these big blotches of color. Maybe increase the brightness and contrast, and just adjust this so that we kind of have half and half, half black, half white with a few in-between color. Then maybe turn the scale up a little bit. Next, I'm going to add a tint effect, so tint, bring that over. This will let me re-map the colors from black and white to anything else. I want my stars to have kind of a pinkish, purpley color on a lot of them, and for the other stars, I'll do more of a tealish- greenish color here. Something like that. I realized this does not look like my star. If I go back to the main comp, I completely destroyed the stars. What am I doing here? Well, I just want to use this as a map for the colors of the underlying stars. I can do that using a blend mode. If I go into my blending modes, again towards the bottom is another one that's called color. If I do that, my stars come back, but if I zoom in, you can see that the colors from this layer are now being blended on top of the colors beneath it.. A lot of my stars are green, a lot of them are purple or pinkish, and honestly that might be a little too noticeable. But let's just go to the Chrome Look comp and see what happened. Now all of my stars have this color cast to them and it's a lot more interesting than just white dots. But I'm not too happy with how black sheet is. Maybe I pushed that fractal noise a little too far. If I solo the layer, I can see the texture again, and I'm going to increase that complexity a little bit, so that we have more values in between, and instead of the tint, I'm actually going to try another effect called tritone, which is almost identical to tint, except that you have controls for not just the highlights and the shadows, but also the Midtones. With the highlights, I'm going to just grab that green again, the shadows, I'm going to grab the pink. But now we can control these Midtones and add in a third color. Maybe we'll do a bright bluish color like that. Anything that's 100 percent white gets the pink, anything that's 100 percent black, gets the green, everything in between gets this blue, and I can adjust how harsh these changes are just by lowering the contrast and decreasing or increasing the brightness to get more variation here. Now that I have a much wilder looking texture, let's un-solo it and see how that affected everything. All right, that looks pretty cool to me. It might be a little bit too saturated. What I could do is use this blend with original slider by turning to a 100 percent you see it takes all the color away. But I can just turn the opacity basically of this effect down a little bit, maybe 34, 35, so that the colors aren't quite so vibrant. I'll get rid of that tint effect while I'm at it. Then jump back to the Chrome look and see that now my stars have nice, pretty colors, but it's not too overwhelming. Very cool. But just like everything else, I love flares, so why don't we make some of the stars have a nice cool looking flair to it as well. We're going to do that in basically the same way we did with the other two flares. I'm going to grab this Star's source, drag it into new comp, and rename it stars flare, and then drag both of these into the pre-comps. Next, I want to isolate basically just the biggest stars, so you see this one is much bigger than this one, and to do that, we're going to use our favorite two effects, Fast Box Blur, drag that out and levels, bring that out. Then I'm just going to blur everything out a little bit, does not need to be a ton, and then crush these values, bring the blacks down and bring the whites up. This is really going to help me isolate those brightest stars. I could probably push this even further so that I'm left with just a few compared to before we added those effects. Now we have this source for just the brighter stars. I'm going to duplicate that. Set the blend mode to add and add another Fast Box Blur. We'll change this to horizontal and streak this out a little bit. If I zoom in here, we can see what's happening. I'm going to duplicate my levels here and bring it below that second Fast Box Blur. If we look at the effects that we have, the original Fast Box Blur and levels just to isolate stars, then we have fast box blur for the flare and levels to crush that. I'm going to reset the effect so I can see it a little bit better. Remember we're dealing with pixel values. There's no transparency here, so switching to the Alpha channel would do nothing. We're just using the RGB values to shape this flare, but I'm going to blur it out a little bit more and crush that value. Let's colorize this too. Now I can't do a fill because these aren't transparent pixels, that would just make the entire layer filled with that color. Instead, let's add a tint effect and just change the map white to, to whatever color we want, so let's do this tealish- bluish color for the horizontal. That looks pretty cool. I'll just rename this flare one, duplicate it again and repeat the process on the vertical instead of horizontal blur for our Fast Box Blur. So switch that to vertical, maybe make it a little bit bigger, maybe make it a little bit more pronounced, and adjust the color to something fun. Maybe we'll make it purply, and actually I like that purple color better, so let's go to this first flare. I'm going to make that more of a purple color too. Cool, so the whole goal with this is just to have some subtle flares on the brightest stars, and I think that's working. Just because I really like the diagonal flare on the Chrome text, I'm going to do that again here. Remember just duplicate the layer, get rid of that Fast Box Blur and we'll add in a directional blur just before the levels. Change the angle and then increase the flair so that we have something that looks like that. Then adjust the levels to make it more of an appropriate brightness. Something like that is looking pretty cool. I'm just going to change the color of this slightly to maybe be a little bit brighter, something like that. Cool. All right, now we have some flares on those stars. If we go back to our Chrome look, we need to actually bring that pre-comp in. Let's go find that pre-comp for the stars flare and drag that down to just above the stars source. Again changing the blend mode to add. Now if I zoom in here and find one, there we go. There's a nice bright star with a cool lens flare streak to it. It just adds a lot of personality to the overall design, and that is a pretty cool-looking start field. 15. Building Atmosphere: The last thing I want to do to my background is add in some fog basically, some clouds, some space dust if you will. I'm going to add another solid layer. Control Y or Command Y on a Mac is the keyboard shortcut and I'm going to call this fog. Comp size is fine. Click ''Okay''. We're going to use the same effect fractal noise to generate a cool fog pattern. Let's make this maybe a little bit bigger. We're going to drag this down to probably above the stars, but below the grid and set the blend mode to add. Now I can play with the brightness and the contrast to dial back how much of this fog we're seeing. I don't want this to be crazy visible, but this should be a pretty good starting point. I can always turn down the opacity of the overall layer so that it's not so visible, and I think I'm definitely going to do that. But I don't want this to be a single fractal noise layer because that looks very fractal noisy. It looks like the effect, because that's all it is right now. I'm going to pre-compose this Control Shift C, and I'll call this fog, move all the attributes and click ''Okay'', and I need to make sure I set that blend mode to add again. But then I'll go back into that pre-comp and I want to add some motion to it. There's some really cool controls in the fractal noise effect that allow us to do this. One is evolution and if I just click and drag that, you can see how it just very organically shifts this texture around and that's great. I'm just going to set a key frame on the first frame, go to the last frame and just really increase this. I went around six times, I added a whole bunch of change to this and let's just play it back to see how fast it moves. That's probably too fast. Let me press U to bring up the key frames, and then double-click on this key frame to adjust the value and we'll change the revolutions down to say three instead of six. Click ''Okay'', and play that back again, and now it's moving at about half the speed. Honestly, I think that's still too fast, let's change that from three down to one. Because again, this is a background element. I don't want it to take focus away, but I do want to have some of that organic movement to it. Now that's moving a lot slower, but it gives a really nice looking effect. So I like that. But we can also go into the transform controls and adjust this a little bit, and maybe I'll shift the fog over time. I'll go to the first frame, set an offset turbulence key frame, and then go to the last frame and then shift this over to the right a little bit and maybe even a little bit up. It doesn't need to be much I don't want it to be incredibly noticeable. That probably could be a little bit more. But just something to give it a little bit of variance over time. Then I'm going to add an adjustment layer, go up to Layer, New, Adjustment layer, and add a new effect one we haven't used yet called turbulent displace. What turbulent displace does is allows you to distort what you're applying it to using a turbulent field. A lot like the fractal noise. But instead of adjusting the brightness values and giving us black and white and grays in-between, we're displacing what's underneath it. So actually a really easy way to visualize this is to add a grid layer. Let me add that real quick and I'll make it squares so we can see it nice and square. I'll put it below that adjustment layer. So you can see now what this displacement is doing. It's just really giving a very random turbulent displacement to the overall texture. But we also have this evolution control, which allows us to just cycle through very organic looking distortions. So what I want to do is make the size of the displacement very big and turn the amount. It doesn't need to be very extreme. So probably down in the 20s, somewhere around there and maybe the size is a little too extreme. I'll turn that down a little bit, somewhere around there. But what this is going to allow me to do is just oscillate the shape of this fog over time in a very organic way. So we're layering on all of these different types of fractals and displacements to make something much more unique than the default settings these effects give us. Let's add an evolution key frame at the start, go to the end, and then just increase this a little bit. This one, I definitely don't want to be all that noticeable. I think that looks pretty good. Maybe you can go a little bit more quickly, and I think that's looking pretty good. But we can take this even one more step further and duplicate the fog. I'll just duplicate it and instead of add, I'm going to set this to screen and just so it doesn't blow out the highlights too much. Now we can go into the evolution options and just change this random seed value. That's going to give us a completely different state for this fractal noise. So it's totally random, but it's animating in the same way as before. But I'm going to change the transform controls so that it's a little bit bigger, as well as adjusting the contrast and maybe the brightness. This way we're adding layers of fractal noise on top of each other so that we're getting something that looks a lot more original. Maybe I'll turn the complexity up a little bit. But that just adds an entirely new layer of fog to this entire animation and makes it much more dynamic. Now that that's done, we can go back to our main comp and see that this is obviously way too intense. So I'm going to just bring up the opacity by pressing T on the keyboard and really dial this back. I don't want this to be all that noticeable. Just give a little bit of atmosphere, maybe eight or nine percent maximum. It's just giving that atmosphere to this space void and giving a little bit of interest to that background as the rest of this animation plays out. Remember the hero is the text that the chrome effect, we don't want to take away from that. To tone down that fog even a little bit more, I'm actually just going to draw a custom mask using the Pen tool on this layer and press F to bring up the feather, feather this out about 300 pixels, and now that fog is isolated to the center of the frame. I might bring this out a little bit more so we can see it towards the edges a little bit. But this way it's not just a flat, evenly distributed fog. We have something now that just a little bit more organic and unique. With that, I'd say that our background is finished. 16. Finishing Effects: Now, that's really the end of all of the elements of this effect, but what I want to do now is some finishing effects to make this look like it was a little bit more created in the 80s. They didn't have HD resolution back then, they didn't have digital displays like this. What can we do to degrade the look of this entire effect and just give it a little bit more of that retro charm? Well, let's change the colors a little bit so they're not so perfectly crisp and clear and bright even. Let's add a New Adjustment Layer. I'm going to rename this one Color Correction. I'm going to drag that, let's say above the effects below the vignette. I'm going to add a curves effect, bring that out. This is one of my favorite tools for color correction. I want to basically make the contrast a lot softer. I want to take contrast away so that the brightest parts of my image are not quite as bright. I'm going to grab this top right handle, which is the highlights of the image, and just bring it down a bit. We're just taking that brightness down. At the same time, I want to increase the brightness of the darks. I don't want to go crazy with this and wash it out completely, but just give it a little bit of a lift so that we wash out the overall image. Then I could grab this point on the curve and just increase the highlights a little bit. Maybe grab down here, bring those darks down just a little bit more. Now, we've got a more washed-out look. But I also want to adjust the colors a little bit. Let's switch from adjusting all three color channels and isolate just the blue channel for a second. If I zoom in here and you look at these brightest pixels, and then I grab the highlights of just the blue channel and bring it way down, you see that makes everything really yellowy. I don't want to make it that yellow, but if I drop it down just a little bit, it's going to add a little bit of yellow to those whites and just make it look like it's aged a little bit. Then if I go to a darker portion of the image and grab the darks of that blue channel and lift it, then it's going to add more blue to the overall image. Again, I don't want to go crazy, but I'm just going to lift it up a little bit so that my darks have more of a blue tint to it. This is without, and this is with. Just with one single curves effect, we've really drastically changed how the overall color grade looks on our effect. I think that fits this 80s retro vibe a lot better. I'd also like to make this look a little bit more cinematic. Why don't we add in some film grain? I'm going to go back to the effects adjustment layer. We're going to add an effect called noise HLS. You might be familiar with just the standard noise effect, but the noise HLS effect gives us some more controls that I really like. I'm going to drag that out. We'll put it below the glow so it happens after the glow. Then I'll just zoom into one section of the comp. This gives us controls over how the noise is applied, whether it's uniform, squared, or grain. But then it allows us to apply that noise to the hue, the lightness, or the saturation of the overall image instead of just everything all at once. That's why I like this effect. If I grab the hue, I can increase the noise. You see that's adding noise to the hue. It's basically shifting the hue values in this noise pattern across the image. By undo that and change it to lightness, then it's not adjusting anything to do with color. It's just the brightness values of these pixels. Some are darker, some are brighter. Then finally we have the saturation. Same thing here instead of adjusting the lightness or the hue, it's just taking saturation away or adding saturation in using that noise pattern. I want to just use lightness. Let me increase that so we can see it nice and clear. Then I'm going to change the noise from uniform to grain. I just like the quality of this grain. It has a nice shape to it, but it also gives us a grain size property so we can really fine-tune how much grain is showing up and how chunky that grain is basically. I'm going to turn the lightness down I don't want it to be crazy noticeable, but just something that gives it a nice gritty texture. Maybe around 12. That's without and with. It is pretty noticeable, but that's okay. I want 100 percent, it's a lot less noticeable. Once this has been compressed and uploaded to the Internet, it's obviously going to have a lot less drastic of an effect on the overall image. But one thing about this effect, it's not very apparent right now because of how long every frame is taking to render, but it doesn't animate by default. I actually need to animate this noise phase control to be able to have animated random noise on every frame. There's a really simple expression that'll allow me to do this automatically. I'm just going to hold the Alt or option key on a Mac and click on the stopwatch, and then down here start typing my expression. The expression is just random and After-Effects will auto-fill it. Then in between the parentheses, I just put in a value and this will be how random this value will change every frame of the timeline. I'm just going to type in a big number, 10,000, and click off. Now, it's just going to generate a random value anywhere from between 0 and 10,000 every frame of the animation. That's going to give us an animated noise pattern. If I just go one frame at a time, you can see that changes every single time. That green is done. Next up, I want to add some lens distortion. I'm going to go into my effects adjustment layer again. I'm going to add an optics compensation effect. I'll put this up at the top of the layer stack. I want everything else to be applied after this effect, but what this allows me to do is basically add a lens distortion to the overall image. This is the opposite direction that I want it to distort though. I'm going to check this box right here, reverse lens distortion. That's way more distortion than I need. I'll probably put this around 30. I'll turn that off and back on so you can see how that just distorts the image around the outside edges in a radial way. That just simulates lens distortion. Looks very cool. Finally, let's add some black bars at the top and bottom to make this more of a cinematic aspect ratio. I'm going to make a new layer, come up to layer, new solid. I'll make the layer black, and I'll call this aspect ratio. Click "Okay", and then pre-compose this layer Control Shift C. I'll just rename this aspect ratio and click "Okay." Then I'll go into that comp, and I want to make these black bars at a 2.35 to 1 aspect ratio, which is a super-wide ratio. To do that, I'm going to make another solid layer, new solid. To figure out what the pixel value would be, I'm going to do a very simple trick. Remember, I said that the ratio is 2.35. To one, I'm just going to say 235 -100 and you can see right here my aspect ratio is 2.35. Then I'll just lock that aspect ratio and change the width back up to 1920 and After Effects does the conversion for me. The height needed to be 817 pixels for that aspect ratio within a 16 by 9 comp. I'll click "Okay" and then I'll use that layer as Inverted Alpha Matte for this first layer. If I turn on my transparency grid, there we have the black bars in that aspect ratio. Go back to the Main comp. There we have those black bars. I'll make sure it's at the very top and go ahead and lock that. Now I have this cinematic aspect ratio within the traditional 16 by 9 HD frame, along with all of the other effects to create something that looks really retro, really cool. You can stop at any point with this, but I just love layering effects on effects. I'm going to keep going. I have a few more things that I want to do to this to degrade the look a little bit. Right now, it's still pretty clean and crisp. It looks very digital, which is fine, but I want it to look like it was digital in the 80s. I want to soften everything up a little bit. I'm going to go back to my effects and just collapse these ones so I have more room up here. I'm going to bring in a Fast Box Blur, bring that in, repeat the edge pixels and then change the radius to a very small number. I don't want this to be even a whole pixel. If I do that, then it's going to be way too soft. Maybe 0.5, and that'll probably be plenty. Then I want to sharpen it up again because right now it just looks blurred. That's not the effect that I wanted. I'm going to use an effect called unsharp mask and apply that right after the blur. Actually, I think I'm going to move both of these effects above the noise and the glow because effects are applied from the top down. I want the lens distortion and then I want this soft sharpened thing that I'm doing, then the glow and then the noise because I always want to be able to see that noise. I don't want this blur and sharpen to affect that noise. That film grain that we created should be applied last. But anyway, what's happening here? We're applying just the softest little blur, and then we're using an effect called unsharp mask to sharpen it back up again. Which it doesn't really look like it's doing all that much right now if I turn the amount up, what this effect is basically doing is looking for points of contrast in your composition and giving it even more contrast. If I really crank this up, the maximum value is 500, then turn it off and back on, you can see that even in this blurry image that we just artificially created, it will really crunch that contrast up a lot and it looks like a degraded image. If I turn those two effects off, this is where we were, turn this back on, that's where we are now. Now, we can also increase the radius. If I increase this to two, three, even six, you can see that that's basically increasing the distance that this effect is sharpening based on the points of contrast. Add an amount of 500, that's obviously a turn. If I make that radius really big, then we're just going absolutely crazy. This isn't the look we're after at all. There is a threshold value. We could increase or decrease that if we wanted to. But honestly, I'm just going to reset this, turn that amount up pretty high, and then maybe change the radius to two at the most. Even that is too much actually, let's just stick with one. Turn that off and back on and that's really giving us a lot of contrast. As always, these are subjective effects. If you don't like the way that makes your graphics look, don't apply it. But I'm happy with the way that that's working. If I just turn the effects and the color correction in the vignette off. I mean, look at how far we've come with this, just turning those on and off. It's really degrading the image, making it look like it's an older graphic that was not created in the 21st century. It just gives a really cool aesthetic quality to the overall image. But let's go another step further. Let's add another effect to this effects adjustment layer. We're going to use that same turbulent displace that we used to animate the fog in the background, put that in. Instead of using the displacement of turbulent, I want to just go to horizontal displacement. Basically, I want to add a little bit of horizontal distortion to the overall image, but in a really, really fine amount. I'm going to turn the size way down, probably all the way down to the minimum of two, and then turn the amount down as well. I don't want it to be a turn of displacement, but if I turn that off and back on, you can see right here on this line that it's basically just roughening up the edges. Maybe I can increase the size to four. Honestly, that's too much, I want this to be subtle. I don't want it to be distracting just like everything else. But I do want to animate this. Fortunately, we have under the evolution options, a random seed, which if I adjust, just completely gives us a new noise pattern or turbulent pattern to distort on. I'm going to just add an expression, Alt or Option, click on that random seed and we're going to do that same random expression as before. Type in random and after-effects gives us that auto-fill. In the parentheses just put 10,000 so we get a random number between zero and 10,000 on each frame. I'll preview this for a little bit so you can see what that's doing. There you go, you can see it's just adding a little bit of distortion there. Maybe I could turn the size up to something like 10 and the amount down to say three. Now it's more of a wavy distortion that's a little bit taller, could probably increase the amount to maybe six. These are just values that you've got to play with and get a feel for to see if it's something that you like. I think that's adding a nice quality to it, it makes it look like it's on an old VHS tape. I'm happy with that. One last effect I want to do to cell that VHS tape look or old film look actually is to add an offset effect. I'll drop that in. Just like the Fast Blur and the unsharp mask, I'm actually going to drag both the turbulent displace and offset effects above the glow so that the glow and the grain are applied after. What I want to do is basically shift this on the Y position up and down to simulate the film gate slipping that you would see in movies that were actually shot on film just because the nature of film are running through the gate of a film camera. To do that, we're going to add an expression to the shift center to property. I'm going to "Alt" or "Option", click on it. This expression is a little bit different. We're going to need to create an array because this is an array property with two values here. Opening square bracket, and we'll just type in value another opening square bracket and the number zero to target that first property. Remember, zero is the first, one is the second. Then separate the array by a comma and for the second value, I want to use a wiggle expression which just basically vibrates or oscillates this value by an increment that we determined. I'm going to type out wiggle after-effects again auto fills that for us and puts parentheses. Then we have to define the frequency of this wiggle and the amplitude of this wiggle. The frequency I want to happen, probably half of the frame rate. We're working at 24 frames per second. I want it to happen 12 times a second, which is a pretty quick wiggle. It's basically every other frame. Then I need to add in at the amplitude. I'm going to add parentheses to separate these two. The amplitude will be how much this value can actually wiggle. I don't want this to be a lot, 10 pixels is probably too much. Why don't we just start with five and see what that does. There's one last thing that we need to do to this expression so that it is only applied to this part of the array and we don't get an expression error. That is simply adding another square bracket and the number one. We're referencing the Y value. Then finally we need one more closing square bracket. The reason I know that is because with my cursor next to this square bracket, these two are highlighted green, meaning they go together. If I click on this one right here, it turns red. That red indicates that there is not a closing square bracket. If I apply this effect, we're going to get an error because of it. I'm going to go to the very end and add one more closing square bracket. Now that's green. This one is green as well and I can click off and our expression is successful. I'm going to preview this so you can see what's happening. Now my frame is bouncing up and down it's vibrating. I think it's way too much. I'm actually going to half this frequency from every 12 frames to every six frames and see how I like that. Okay, I think the frequency there is better, but it's still moving too much. I'm going to change the amplitude from five pixels to two pixels, and see how that looks. Better but honestly, it's still too noticeable. I want it to be more subtle. I'm going to change this down to one pixel and that will probably do it. I'm just trying to give it a little bit of vibration up and down, but I don't want it to be too noticeable. If I zoom out to look at this at 100 percent, we'd just get that little tiny vibration, that little bit of horizontal distortion, and I'm pretty happy with that. Let's take a snapshot so we can compare it to before we added any effect. That was our aftershot. Let's turn off the vignette color correction and effects and the aspect ratio. Then just show this snapshot to see before and after. You can really see what an effect, all of those distortions and degradations that we're applying gives to the overall composition and the effects that we've created. I'm really happy with the way that this ended up. Let's take a look at it in full motion so we can really see how it all came together. Awesome. This is all of our hard work paying off to create a very retro looking effect, which is completely procedural and you have lots of ability to get in there and fine tune this to be whatever you want it to be. 17. Final Explorations: Now that we've completed this effect and you've seen all that goes into it, I just want to show you how flexible it is, so that, hopefully, you can start thinking about other ways that you can use what you learn in this class to create other really cool looking metal effects. I'm just going to walk you through a few more examples. Here's one where I literally just tinted the colors. I use the same gradient, I just changed the font and then made it all gold. If I jump into my reflection source, this is what the gradient looks like now. It's just yellows and golds and I changed it using the tritone effect. I didn't change the highlights or the shadows, I kept those where they were, but the mid-tones, I just made this goldy-orange color, and it makes for a pretty convincing looking gold effect. This next one, I just change the font to be this super retro thing and then change the color scheme of my gradient. It's just a different arrangement of those color stops to make a gradient that looks like this, and that gets procedurally wrapped around this text. This next one, I wanted to play with the different looking font that had a lot of detail to it with this inline style, and I made a gradient that's actually at an angle. It's a little bit difficult to see but there's the stripes that comes, was brighter here, and then more of a shadow here. Let me show you what that reflection looks like. That's right right here. I even blurred that one out with an adjustment layer. Now, I didn't build this in a way where each one of these to work through the entire comp, I built it so that each frame I could just show you something different, but I just have an adjustment layer here. It's actually the same one with the offset controls. I just added a Fast Box Blur to just blur it out a little bit so it looks a little bit softer than if it was just perfectly clear. The next one, I wanted to try and make something that had some variation to the reflection. If you look at the reflection of this radical text, some of this text is perfectly clear, but then other parts are cloudy and blurred out. The way that I achieve this was by using a compound blur to make this frosted looking texture and it's being applied on top of these gradients in the background. This adjustment right here is giving us the texture, and then this comp right here is what's giving us the gradient. The way that the compound blur works is, it's basically going to blur whatever you apply it to based on a luminance map. I have this layer right here that has two fractal noises applied on top of each other and blended with the screen mode to give us this unique looking texture, and then the compound blur is referencing this layer. That layer doesn't even need to be enabled, but it's referencing the black and white values. Whatever is white is getting blurred out by this number and anything black is getting nobler. Everything in between is getting a different percentage of this maximum blur. I can play around with the brightness and the contrast of these two fractal noises to really custom dial in a blur that makes it look like frosted glass or even ice. It gives us this cool looking texture. But I really like the way that that reflection is interacting with the text, especially right here, where we can see that there's some parts that's just really clear and other parts that are super blurred out. That's it for my examples. If you're interested in which fonts I use, let me just run through those real quick so you can grab them. They should all be Adobe fonts. Obviously, this one is Abolition. That's the one we were working with the whole time. This one is called Funkydori. We've got HWT Mardell, and this one is called Industry Inc, and it's using the in and out version so that we have that inner line, and then the last one is called Ethnocentric. You can grab all of those on Adobe Fonts if you're trying to recreate any one of those looks. But really get in there, play around with this, add some effects, customize this and create something completely unique. 18. Thanks!: That's it. Thank you so much for taking this class. I hope that you feel like you've learned a lot. I really tried to cram a lot about procedural workflows in this class. It's pretty amazing what you can do in After Effects with some blurs and adjusting Alpha channels to create some really unique looking effects. I really want to encourage you to get in there and start building your own reflections so that you can create something that looks completely unique and play around with animating the reflection. If you create something that's not perfectly linear, maybe it has some edges to it, like some mountains in the distance or something that the text is reflecting, and then you just shift that texture across on the x-axis, it'll look like the environment is rotating around that reflective text in the render comp. You can really experiment and play around with that reflection to get some really unique results. If you're not already, follow me here on Skillshare so that you can see when I post new content. Also check me out on Instagram, @jakeinmotion. I usually post behind the scenes stuff as I'm building classes there. Also, check out my YouTube channel where I have free tutorials for anyone to view. That's Let me know what you thought about this class. Leave me a review, good or bad, so that I can know what you liked about the class and what you think I might be able to do better. I'm always trying to improve my teaching. If you have any questions about this class, feel free to post a discussion. I check those on a regular basis and I will respond as soon as I can. Thanks again for taking this class. I really appreciate it and I'll see you in the next one.