The VHS Look in Adobe After Effects | Jake Bartlett | Skillshare

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The VHS 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.

      Course Trailer


    • 2.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Luminance and Color


    • 4.

      Custom Contrast


    • 5.

      Displacement Maps


    • 6.

      Light Leak and Edge Static


    • 7.

      Frame Jitter


    • 8.

      RGB Split and Color Drift


    • 9.

      Static Lines


    • 10.

      Real VHS Static


    • 11.

      Real VHS Distortion


    • 12.

      Edge & Lower Distortions


    • 13.

      Horizontal Drifting


    • 14.

      Startup Distortion


    • 15.

      VCR Overlays


    • 16.

      That's It!


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About This Class

If you're as fond of the 80s as I am, than you're gonna love this class! Learn how to make any animation, video or still photo look like it came straight out of a beat up camcorder, and reuse the effect on absolutely any project! 

I'll teach you how to take advantage of using many different adjustment layers stacked on top of each other, advanced blending mode techniques, and unleash the power of precomps. We'll walk through how to use lots of different effects in ways you may not have before, and build completely customizable visual distortions.

I'll see you in class!

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Meet Your Teacher

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Jake Bartlett

Motion Designer

Level: Intermediate

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1. Course Trailer: Hey, there. I'm Jake Bartlett and this is The VHS Look in After Effects. In this class, I'll show you how to build this completely customizable effect that can be applied to anything. I'll be teaching you how to use lots of different effects and techniques to make customizable color adjustments in image distortions, how to use many adjustment layers and precomps together for unique results, and how to keep it all organized within After Effects. I'm also including a free pack of authentic VHS static and distortions that you can use in any of your projects, and I'll show you how to implement them. For the class project, you'll be building this effect and applying it to whatever you'd like. It could be an animation, a still graphic or footage that you want to give that perfect retro look. Once the effect is built, it can instantly be applied to any animation or footage to completely degrade the look and give an authentic retro style. I'll see you in class. 2. Getting Started: All right, here's the title graphic that I'm going to be building the effect on top of. This effect works on anything you want to apply it to. It doesn't have to be an animation or a still image. You could apply this to video and it will still work exactly the same way. As I'm building this effect, I'm going to show you what it looks like on both this graphic and some footage that I have. Just, you can see how the different layers of effects are changing the way that the image looks. I already have my title built out in After Effects. But your first step will be to bring whatever graphic or footage you want to apply this effect to into After Effects. Import that into your project by going to "File", "Import File" and then find whatever source you want to bring in and import it into your project. Then we're going to need to make a new comp. Come up here to "Composition" and go to "New composition" and I'm going to name this comp, VHS look. You can name it whatever you'd like, but this will be the final render comp. Then you have some options when it comes to the resolution of your comp. If you want to be true to the VHS format and make it look low res, then you could just keep it at 640 by 480 for a four by three ratio and that will also cut down on Render times. But if you want to keep this in HD and just give it the downgraded VHS look. That's totally fine too. Another thing you should think about is what aspect ratio you want to work at. I prefer to work at a widescreen resolution, because it's super easy to change the size of your render comp. But we're going to be making a whole bunch of pre comps within that render comp. If we go with the four by three ratio from the start, all of those pre comps are going to stay four by three. It would be really annoying to have to go back into all of those pre comps and change the resolution so that it was 16 by nine instead of four by three. My suggestion is that you work at 16 by nine and I'm going to be working at 1920 by 1080. But again, you could work at the lower resolution to go with a whole downgraded sizing and a really quick way to downsize that while preserving the aspect ratio is just coming over here saying "lock aspect ratio." I don't know what the width would be for a 16 by nine frame at VHS resolution, but I know that the height would be 480. With that locked, I'm just going to type in 480 and After Effects is automatically going to resize the width to match that aspect ratio. There we go, 853 by 480 would be kind of the SD widescreen resolution. But like I said, I'm going to work at full HD 1920 by 1080. The frame rate, I'm going to keep at 29.97 because that's the frame rate VHS tapes would have been working at. Again, this is something that you have full control over. You can choose whatever framework you want. But to be a little more authentic, that's what I'm going to go with. Then for the duration, I'm going to make it very long just in case I ever need to apply this effect to a long clip. I'm just going to say five minutes long and that should be it. Now that I have that all set up, I'll click "Okay." Then I'm going to drag my title into the comp and that's where you'll bring whatever your source footage or graphic is into this VHS look comp. Next, I want to pre-compose this layer by coming up to Layer, Pre compose. You can also do this with "shift" "Command C" or "Shift" "Control" "c" on a PC. I'm going to name this VHS source and then I'll hit "Okay." Then I want to point out that that comp is only two minutes long, but my main comp is five minutes long. I'm just going to jump into that pre-comp that we just made, hit "Command" or "Control K" on the keyboard to bring up the composition settings and then make this five minutes along as well. Press "Okay" and it's okay that the title isn't that long because I'm not going to need it to go past that. But if I were to have a video clip or something else in here that was longer than two minutes. Now it will fit and the VHS source comp matches the length of the VHS look comp. I'll just go back into VHS look comp, extend this out and we're good to go. The reason that we pre-compose that title is because from now on, whatever I put into this VHS source comp will have all the effects that we're about to build applied to it. 3. Luminance and Color: All right, let's start with the little details of this effect. We're going to be using a lot of adjustment layers throughout this class. If you're not familiar with them, that's okay, they're very easy to use. Just come up to the layer, new Adjustment layer and by default an adjustment layer does absolutely nothing. You can know that this is an Adjustment Layer by looking down at this icon right here, the circle that's half filled in, that means it's an adjustment layer. You can actually turn any layer into an Adjustment Layer. What it does is allows you to apply effects to it and those effects are then translated to every layer below it. If I were to come over to my Effects and Presets and just type in glow and then I find the glow effect and double-click. That glow is applied to the adjustment layer, but it's affecting the layer below it. I can adjust the glow, however I like in that will translate to the layer below it. If I had another layer, say a solid, that's a bright red and I scaled that down and I put it below the adjustment layer. Now that glow is being applied to both that red layer and the VHS source below it, that's the basics of how an adjustment layer works. I could also add a mask to this adjustment layer so if I just drew one right here, now only the portion of this adjustment layer that's being masked off is applied to the layers below it. You can also do things like set blending modes to the Adjustment Layer. That will also affect the way the Adjustment Layer applies, any adjustments to the layers below it. They're very powerful and we're going to be using them a lot in this class. Let me get back to just having a regular adjustment layer, know they're layers in this comp and I'm going to rename this one Luma. Let me get rid of that mask as well, Luma is short for luminosity, and I named it that because I'm going to use this adjustment layer to control the brightness of my comp. I'll come over to my Effects and presets and type in curves and apply the curves to that Adjustment layer and now I can adjust the curves just like normal. If you've used the curves effect a lot, you're probably used to the fact that if you increase the contrast, like I just did, the overall saturation of your image will be increased. A lot of times that's an undesired effect that you have to apply some tint or humans saturation to bring that back down but one little known trick about curves when using it with an Adjustment Layer is that if you come to the blending modes and you scroll down, there's one called luminosity. If I select that blending mode, see that my image is no longer being over saturated, if I turn this layer on and off, you see that the color is actually aren't really changing at all, only the luminosity or the brightness. I feel like that blending mode doesn't get a lot of love and it really should, because it's very helpful for creating contrast adjustments without adjusting the colors. One of the most noticeable things about watching any old VHS tape is that the camcorders that were used to film them did not have very good dynamic range at all. The bright parts of the image are almost always blown out and the dark parts are completely black but you also wouldn't get 100 percent pure white or 100 percent pure black on the final image. I'm going to use this Luma adjustment layer to simulate that look. I'll reset my curves back to the default so it's not affecting anything yet. I'm going to start by bringing those whites way down. If you don't know how curves works, this line represents the darks to lights across the entire image. If I were to grab this handle right here and bring it up, that's brightening the overall image, making the darkest pixels much brighter. If I were to bring that back down and grab this handle right up here, click and drag, that's bringing the whites down. If I go in the opposite direction that brings the whites up so it could create some contrast in my image by bringing the whites back and the blacks forward. The cool thing about curves, and the reason why it's called curves is because you can click at any point along this line and drag to make a nice round curve between those two points. If I were to grab right here in the middle, I could bring them mid tones up without affecting the whites or the blacks and I can add more points. If I were to make this s-shaped curve, it adds contrast overall because it's bringing the mid tone whites up and the mid tone darks down. You can also do this for any one of the individual color channels. I can bring the red down, which actually we're not seeing much of an effect because we have this set to luminosity. If this was set to normal see that makes a much bigger difference, I could put a lot more red in, pull more out. Curves is a very powerful tool if you've never used it before. Again, let me reset this, go back down to Luminosity and I'll bring down those whites quite a bit. I really want those pure whites to be clipped off pretty far down. Next, I want to bring those black points up because you can see right in here I have some black and that's still pure black. If I drag this handle up, I can make it a lighter shade of Grey. That took a lot of the contrast out of my image, which is great, here's the before and after. We're already starting to degrade the image, actually want to add another point on this curve right about here, and just lift it up just a tiny bit, it's not too dark, we have before and after. Great, that's all we need for that and Luma adjustment layer. Next we're going to make another adjustment layer and there's actually a keyboard shortcut for this, hold down Option Command Y or alt Ctrl Y on a PC and that will generate an adjustment layer or you can always come back up to layer, a new adjustment layer. I'm going to rename this one by pressing Enter and then typing color, and I'm going to add a hue and saturation effect. I'll come over to my Effects and presets type in hue. Here we've got hue and saturation, and I'll put that on top of the color adjustment layer. You've probably used the hue and saturation effect before just for the simple ability to be able to shift the hue around, adjust the saturation but we're going to use it in a way that you may not have before. If you've never gone digging in this channel control menu, you can actually target specific parts of the color spectrum that these controls will then be applied to, and we're actually going to adjust all of them. For the overall master controls all I want to adjust is the saturation. I'm just going to click and drag that up until it looks about the way I want it to somewhere in there, I've got around 47. Another thing about this effect is that it's completely up to you how extreme you want the effect to come through. We're going to be adjusting a whole lot of parameters and it'll give you a lot of room to experiment and come up with a unique look. You're more than welcome to follow along with me and make the effect exactly the way I am but don't be afraid to play around with things to see how it affects your image. All right, that's all I need for the master control, next let's just go down the list so I'm going to effect the reds and we have some new icons on the channel range and this is telling me what section of the color spectrum that I'm going to be adjusting between this rectangle and this triangle. These controls are faded out and same thing on the other side. The controls will affect everything between the two rectangles exactly the same, and then they fade out on either side. For the red, I want to actually shift the hue back a little bit and I'm going to zoom in here on the color bar so you can see nice and clearly what's happening. Adjusting the hue is only affecting these colors rating here because those are the colors that we have selected in our color range. I don't want to affect it too much, just make it a little more orangey somewhere around there. Then I want to desaturate the reds because they're a little too bright right now. I'll just back that up a little bit somewhere in there, just enough to knock the edge off of that saturation but then I also want to turn the lightness down because it's still a little too bright. I'll come down to the red lightness and I'll back that up a little bit as well, not too much. I don't want it to get super dark but again, just enough so it's not super painful to look at. Here we go, negative 15 works pretty well, now that red is just a little bit duller and a slightly more orange. Next, Let's go to the yellows, again I'm going to shift the hue a little bit to the left, so it goes a little bit more towards the red colors somewhere around there. I'm fine with the saturation of that yellow It's not too hard to look at, but I will turn the brightness down just a little bit, there we go. Then we'll jump down to the greens and the greens, I really want to shift the colors on. I'm going to back that up quite a bit somewhere around there. Before and after, you can really see that on the background right in here, I'm making those greens a lot more yellow. In fact, I think I can even push that a little bit more, there we go and then I'll also turn the lightness of that down as well. All right, let's go to the science. Again I'll shift this to the left just a little bit, these colors are really saturated, so I'm going to back that up quite a bit but I'm going do something a little bit different with the cyan. I'm actually going to lighten them a whole lot. I want them to be super bright but not overly saturated. I'm sure it seems like there's really no rhyme or reason to why I'm choosing to increase the saturation or decrease the brightness of any one of these colors and to be honest, there really isn't. I'm just playing around with the colors to make them look the way that I want to VHS came quarters were not very accurate at reproducing color, so I'm just shifting stuff around until it looks inaccurate and degraded. If some of the settings that I'm doing is making your image look away that you're not happy with, by all means, adjust the settings however you'd like. Next step we have the blues, again I'm going to shift this to the left somewhere around there, turn that saturation down it's a little too saturated for me. Then I'm going to also bring up the blues just like I did with this cyan. You can see that if I would bring that down, it's going to bring a lot of saturation back in there but if I push it up, it dulls it out a little bit and makes the blue's a lot softer. One more, we have the magenta is left, you can see right in here is still pretty saturated and I'm going to pull the hue of this one back a lot. It's much more in the purple range now, I think the saturation is fine, but I'm going to bump up the lightness a lot as well to make it more dull overall. That's all we needed for that humans saturation. Let's take a look at what it was before and after, and let me zoom in again so you can see you nice and close before, after. I've really just completely destroyed the color spectrum, but that's totally fine. I want this image to be really degraded. Next I'm going to add a tint effect so I'll type in tint over on my effects and presets, drag it into that same Adjustment Layer and I want to give the overall image just a little bit of a blue color casts. I'm going to grab the map White to value and change that to just a really over saturated royal blue, Something like that but then I'm going to turn the amount to tint percentage way down, probably only like four or five percent. You can see how that's affecting with it on and off, just giving a very subtle blue cast over the entire image. You can tint this image whatever color you want maybe a yellow or a magenta would be better for your final project, I'm just going to stick with a blue. That's all there is to the color, let's just take a quick look before and after so we can see what we've done so far. I'll turn these two adjustment layers off, here's the before, we've added the contrast adjustment and our color adjustment. Before, after, awesome, we're well on our way to making this look like a terrible VHS tape. 4. Custom Contrast: Let's create another adjustment layer. Again, Option Command Y or Alt Control Y on a PC, and I'll rename this one border. Now, one thing to keep in mind with adjustment layers is that the order that they're stacked in your layers palette does matter. If I kept this adjustment layer at the top, whatever I apply to this will trickle down through the other layers below it, affecting those layers as well before it gets to the final source. For the blur, I want to drag this down below the color and luma adjustments so that the blur we're going to use with it, gets applied to our final source image before the luma and the color adjustments. Then I'll come over to my Effects and Presets and type in Gaussian Blur. Now, let me actually pause right here. If you're using an older version of After Effects, I'm currently on CC 2017, Gaussian Blur actually won't be your better option. In the current release of After Effects, they've optimized the Gaussian Blur effect and you see that there's actually two different versions. In the obsolete folder is the old version, which they just call the legacy version now, and that does not run nearly as quickly as the new updated version. If you don't have the new version, I would suggest that you use a fast blur, which on my version, they've put into the legacy folder. But that is a better choice if you're working on CC 2016 or lower. So since I'm in 2017, I'm going to use a Gaussian Blur. I'll apply it to my blur adjustment layer and I'm going to increase the blurriness to somewhere around probably 10 or 11 pixels. I want to make sure to check Repeat Edge Pixels. If you look right here in the corner, see that it's kind of feathered out. If I turn Repeat Edge Pixels on, that feathering goes away and there's no border around my frame. That's exactly what I want. Now our image is extremely blurry, so we need to add another effect to bring some of that contrast and crispness back in. Again, I'm going to make a new adjustment layer and I want to make it right above the blur layer, so I'll select it and then I'll hit Option Command Y and rename this Unsharp Mask. Now the reason why I'm naming all these adjustment layers is so that I can quickly and easily know which adjustment layer does what, because I think it's very important that you keep your projects organized, so having descriptive titles on every one of your layers really helps that. We're going to apply the Unsharp Mask effect to that adjustment layer. This will help crunch out some of that blurriness that we just applied. I'm going to turn the amount pretty far up, probably somewhere around 250, and then I'm going to turn the radius up to probably something around five. I think I can increase that amount a little bit more. I think I've actually blurred out the image a little bit too much. This line down here is a little too hard to read. Let me go back into that blurriness and then, cut it down by maybe half and that's much better. You can see with combining the blur and the Unsharp Mask, we get this kind of glowy look around the edges of all of our image. I really like pushing this effect a lot so that it's very noticeable, but you can adjust the amount and the radius of the Unsharp Mask if you don't want it to be quite as drastic. You can also turn the blur a lot further down if you don't like how soft it makes your image. Those are two things that are really easy to adjust and fun to play around with to see how they affect your image. Now, I want to bring in some footage so you can see how this would affect an actual photo or video rather than just a 2D graphic. I'm going to import that footage by coming on to my project panel, clicking and then pressing Command or Control I for import. I'll grab that footage and then, I want to put that into my VHS Source pre-comp. Open that up, drag this clip in, and it's just a clip of me being ridiculous with a ridiculous lighting setup. I even shot it at 640 by 480 just to match the resolution of a VHS tape. But I want to fit this to the height of my comp. If I right-click on it and go to Transform, I can say Fit to Comp Height. There's also a really long keyboard shortcut to it, it is Option Shift Command G for the height or you could do Option Shift Command H for the width, or Option Command F to just fit the entire thing to the size of your comp. Stretching the image however needs to so that it fits that comp perfectly. I just want to fit it to the height, so I'll click on that and then, I'll jump back into my VHS Look Comp, and here we can see that all of our adjustment layers are now affecting what we have inside that source comp. I'm going to turn off these two adjustment layers that we just set up so you can see that now my footage actually looks really soft and glowy compared to when those adjustment layers are turned on. The reason that I'm blurring it out first before applying the Unsharp Mask is to actually make the image a little bit more soft. If we look at some of the contrasts to areas around my jaw and my lips, when I click this blur, you see that everything gets softer, but then when I turn that Unsharp Mask on, it brings a lot of that contrast back. Again, it's just degrading the overall image quality and making a really unique looking effect. Okay, let's get my ridiculous face off of this source and we'll go back to just our title. Now like I said before, the order of these layers matters. If you were to bring the Unsharp Mask up to the top, that's going to produce a different look. Play around with all these values in the order of the layers to see how it affects your overall image and come up with something that you are happy with. 5. Displacement Maps: Next up, I wanted to store the edges of my frame. Because again, if you take a look at all VHS tapes, the left and right edges are almost always cropped in just a little bit, and more often than that, they have distortion to them. I'm going to start by selecting my source player and duplicating it by pressing Command or Control D. I Can also come up to Edit, Duplicate, to duplicate any layer, then I want to pre-compose this layer. To do that, you can come up to Layer, and go to Pre-compose, or you could press Shift Command C, or Shift Control C on a PC. I want to rename this composition Edge Displacement Map. It's fine to leave all the attributes and I'll hit "Okay", then I'll go into that pre-comp, and I want to apply a fill to our VHS source layers. I'll come on my effects and presets, and type and fill, apply that to the layer, and then change the color to be a 50 percent gray. To get this exactly as 50 percent gray, all you have to do is come over, make sure your hue and saturation is turned down to zero, and then brightness change that to 50 percent and I have a perfectly 50 percent gray. The reason it needs to be gray will become apparent in just a second. Next, I want to scale the source width down just a little bit, so I'll grab the left or right, transform handle and just bring in a little bit, something like that. Then I want to blur out the edges, so I'm going to find the Gaussian Blur, or again, if you're using an older version of after effects, the first blur will work just fine, and I'll turn the blurriness up quite a bit, probably something around 25. This is blurring in every direction right now, but I don't want to blur out the top and bottom, just the left and right, so I'm going to change my blurred dimensions to horizontal. That way it's only blurring left to right, and I have the soft feathered edges on either side of my displacement map. Now it looks like we have black on either side of this gray fill, but if I enable my transparency you can actually see that's just blink. I need to make a new solid by going up to Layer, New, Solid, and I want to make this pure black, makes sure that it's my Comp Size, press "Okay", and then bring that down below the source so that I have a pure black background. That's all I have to do for this displacement map, so I'll exit out of there. I actually don't need to see this in my comp, I just need to reference it, so I'm going to actually turn it off, move it to the bottom of the comp just for organization. Then I want to make a new adjustment layer, so Option Command Y or Alt Control Y, I'll bring it to the top of the layers and rename it Edge Displacement. Then I'll come over to my effects and presets and type out displacement, find the displacement map effect and apply it to that adjustment layer. If you've never used a displacement map, it's just a way that warp your image based on a color channel, a brightness channel, or an Alpha channel of another layer. By default, a displacement map effect is set to use the layer that it was applied to as its displacement map source. Since it's an adjustment layer in this case, it's actually looking at everything below it and using that as the displacement map. To give you a clear idea of how we're going to use this effect, I'm actually going to go back into my edge displacement map. This is not something you have to do, It's just so I can explain how a displacement map works. I'm going to make a new layer and I'll make it white, and I'm going to add the checkerboard effect just so I can get some pretty quick checkers. I'm going to turn off the source just so I have a black and white checkerboard, go back to my VHS Look comp, and I'm want to go to my edge displacement layer, and change the source for the displacement map to the edge displacement map. Now it's a referencing, that displacement map and some weird stuff is happening. If you take a look at the controls, you see that we can adjust the distortion both horizontally and vertically, and we can base these distortions on a whole bunch of different values by default, horizontal set to red, vertical is set to green. Now in our case, the edge displacement map is pure black and pure white, so there's actually a 100 percent red, green, and blue, and the white, and zero percent red, green, and blue, and the black. No matter what I set these two red, green, blue, luminance, it will all affect me image the same. Alpha would not affect the image the same way because it's now referencing the overall Alpha of my source layer rather than the color. If I were to go into that displacement map and turn the black solid off so it does have Alpha to it, now my image is distorted based on the Alpha channel. I'll undo to get back to my checkerboard, I'll come up to my edge displacement, and set these both to luminance again, and I'll turn the horizontal displacement down to zero, zoom in here a little bit so you can see what's going on, and then as I turn my vertical displacement up, you see that it's shifting whatever would be underneath the white part of the checkerboard up and whatever is underneath the black portion down. I can control this in both horizontal and vertical directions. Now if I were to go back into that displacement map and add that same Gaussian Blur, and maybe set it to horizontal and vertical and really crank it up, now I've got some grade values between the white and black values, and if I go back to my VHS Look comp, everything is curved now because that displacement is now being interpolated between the black and white through those gray values. Now I realize a lot of what I'm saying might be super confusing, it's okay if you don't understand, but I'm just trying my best to explain this to you so that you understand how it's used, so that you can think about ways to use it in the future. I'm going to go back into my edge displacement and get rid of that checkerboard, turn my source back on, and now I can tell you why I set this to 50 percent gray. With the checkerboard, we had a 100 percent white and a 100 percent black, and those were the two values that would affect the displacement map the most and least, but 50 percent gray is directly in between white and black. To that displacement map, everything that the 50 percent gray covers isn't being affected at all no matter how much I adjust this. Instead, the only thing that's being adjusted is what's on the very edges where it fades from that 50 percent gray to 100 percent black. Hopefully that makes sense. Now I actually don't want to adjust the horizontal displacement at all, so I'm just going to turn the source to off and the displacement down to zero, so the image is not being shifted to left and right at all based on the displacement map. The vertical displacement is what I want to adjust, and I'm going to set it to negative 15. If you take a look in this bottom-left corner and bottom-right corner, that's just shifted the image up a little bit on the left and right sides. With this solid color background is a little bit difficult to see, so let me just make another solid really quickly, add that checkerboard to it so we have a pattern, and now you can clearly see on the left and right edges they're just being lifted up all the way up the frame, and because I blurred this out on the edges just a tiny bit, it's a curved distortion. If I were to turn that Gaussian blur off, it's a hard edge now, and there's just this split in my image where this part is not being displaced at all and this part is. I'll undo to get the Gaussian blur re-enabled, and now it's a smoother transition. I'll get rid of that checkerboard and we can move on. Now the reason I took so much time to explain to you how a displacement map works, and what exactly it does, it's because we're going to be using it multiple times throughout this effect. 6. Light Leak and Edge Static: Next, I want to make of light leak on the left side of this image. Looking through old home movies, I was noticing that a lot of times the left edge had this bright spot that traveled up and down the entire left side looked like a light leak, that's what I'm going to call it. This time I actually don't need to use an adjustment layer, just a solid. I'll go to layer, new, solid or command or control Y. I want to make this a bright magenta color, just something super pinkish, very saturated. I'll hit "Okay," "Okay" again and then I just want to shift it over to the left side of the frame so that it lines up with that distortion that we just made. I want to blur it out on the horizontal axis. I'll grab a gaussian blur again, apply it to that solid and set it to just be horizontal on the blurred dimensions and then turn it up to probably around 50 pixels, just so it has a soft edge to it. Then I want to turn the opacity down to probably around 40 percent. Maybe it'll blur that out even just a little bit more so it has a nice soft edge to it and then push it over to the left a little bit more. That looks pretty good. Then I want to make sure that I rename this light leak just so I can keep it organized. Next, I want to add a thin strip of static along the left edge of my frame, going all the way up and down. Again this is something that I know it's an old home movies and it just helps to sell the old VCR bad quality look that we're trying to reproduce. I'm going to make another solid by going to layer, new, solid and I want this one to be white. I'll press "Okay" "Okay." Then I'm going to mask off a thin portion on the left side. I'll switch to my rectangle tool, reposition my comp by holding down the space bar, clicking and dragging and then I will drag my mask along the entire height of that comp, making it very thin, just to the left of the edge of that light leak. Let me zoom in here by pressing Z and clicking so I can see exactly where this is. I'll double-click on that mask and then drag it over to the right just a little bit. Now I want to soften this up a bit so I'll press "F" on the keyboard and then further the mask about 5 pixels. That way it's just a little soft on the edges. Great, but it's a little too perfect, it's just a straight line up and down. I want to add a new effect called turbulent displace. Come over to effects and presets type in turbulent displace and this is very similar to a displacement map, except that instead of specifying the source of the displacement, it's just a randomly generated map. I'm going to drag that effect onto our white solid, which before I forget, I will rename left edge static. Right away you can see how that turbulent displaces warping that line. It's no longer straight up and down. You've got a whole bunch of different controls for this effects, but we only need to worry about a couple of them. First, I'll turn the displacement amount down to 20, and the size down to 3. If I click of the layer so you can see it, now the edges of that line are rough. But I want to add even more detail in there, so I'm going to increase the complexity from 1 to 8. Now it's much more gritty. The texture is where I want it, but I need to turn the opacity down because it's way too bright. I'll select my layer, press "T" on the keyboard and turn this down somewhere around 50, yeah, that looks pretty good. It's just a bright spot on the left edge, but not too bright. The last thing I need to do to this is give it some animation so that it's not just a still texture. I want it to look like static. If I settle of this layer and play, see nothing is happening even though my time is going on. I'm going to go back to my effects controls, go into the evolution options and I want to animate the random seed. You see that adjusting this changes the way that that distortion looks. I'm going to use a very simple expression to generate a random number on every frame. To add an expression, I'm going to hold down option or Alt on a PC and click on the stopwatch for that random seed property. That brings up the Expression Editor for that effect in my layers. I'm just going to delete what's in there right now. In type random open parenthesis 0,10,000, close parentheses. The way this expression works is it saying to after-effects give me a random number between the values of 0 and 10,000. and that will update on every single frame. I'll click off of that expression, and now my random seed is immediately 2915. If I go one frame forward by pressing Page Down, it's a completely different number. If I play this back, now we've got this randomly generated distortion is completely different in every single frame. Now, I think that it might be just a little bit too thick. I'm going to bring my mask back up, zoom in nice and close, and then just pull the left edge in a tiny bit. That looks pretty good. Now let me un-solid that layer so we can see what it looks like on top of everything and I think I want to shift it over to the left a little bit so I'll select that layer and just tap the left arrow once or twice. Preview this just so I can get an idea of what it looks like, and I think that looks pretty good. It's probably a little hard to see on this compressive video that you're watching. But if I zoom in nice and close, you can see that that's giving me a very nice randomly generated static key texture. Exactly what I wanted and I can move on. 7. Frame Jitter: Next, I want to make the overall image of jitter up and down just very slightly and very quickly. So it kind of looks like a bad quality VHS tape that's been run through the VCR one too many times. So I want to come down to my source layer, and open up the position property by pressing "P" on the keyboard, then I'll right-click on position and say separate dimensions. In that way, I can control the x and y position individually. I don't need to do anything to the x position, just the y, so I can animate this going up and down. I'm going to do this with another expression. It's very simple. Again, just hold Option or Alt on a PC and click on that stopwatch to open up the expression editor, and I'm going to use a wiggle expression. So I'm going to type wiggle, open parenthesis, eight, comma, 1.5, close parenthesis. The way that this expression works is by telling After Effects to take whatever value I've set this to, and then wiggle it or randomly shift to that value eight times per second at a maximum of 1.5 pixels in either direction. So this expression is actually going to give me a very little amount of movement, but it's going to be happening pretty quickly. Eight times a second, but only 1.5 pixels in either direction. I'll click off of this to see how it looks. Preview my animation by pressing "0| on the number pad. I'll let that preview say probably 30 frames a second or so, and then play that back. You can see that now my image is just barely jittering up and down. That's exactly what I wanted. So you can adjust either one of these values to get more or less of a jitter, faster or slower, very easily. With that, we've completed all of the details of this comp, and we can move on to the next step of the process. 8. RGB Split and Color Drift: Before we do anything else, I'm going to select all of my layers by pressing Command or Control A, and pre-composing them by pressing Command shift C or Control shift C on a PC. I'll name this Pre-comp, VHS Details. We want to move all the attributes into the new composition and click "Okay." Now that that's pre-comped, we're going to build an effect that splits the Red, Green, and Blue channels and slowly drift them around. The first thing I want to do is duplicate this layer three times by pressing, Command, or Control B. So 1, 2, 3, now I have four layers. I'm going to turn the top one off for now, and then I'm going to rename these three copies, R, G, and B. To rename a layer, you just select it, and press "Enter" and then type. R, G, and B just stands for red, green, and blue. For the red layer, I'm going to add a Shift channels. What this effect allows you to do is adjust where the different color channels are coming from and how they're mixed together. What I want to do is use this effect to turn off the Green and Blue channels and just give me the Red channel for that layer. So I'm going to leave, Take Red from Red, I'll turn Take Green and turn it to Full Off, and I'll do the same thing for Blue, Full Off. So I'm left with just the Red Channel. Then I'll press "E" to bring up my effects, copy that Shift Channels and paste it on the Green, and I'll turn off the ridges for now so we can see the Green. I'll turn the Red off and the Green on. Now we have just the Green Channel, then I'll turn that layer off, paste it again on the Blue, turn the Red off again, and then take the Blue from the Blue. Great. Now I have three layers, each representing their own color channel. To get them to blend together, I need to select the Red and Green channels and change the Blending Mode to Add. Now we're back to exactly what we had before. But if I were to say click and drag the Red channel, you see that I can split the colors and offset them to give me a chromatic aberration effect. Splitting those color channels up, and degrading the image. Let me undo to get those back to where they were so they're all perfectly aligned, and I'll zoom in here a little bit so we can see a little bit more closely. Then I'll select the blue layer, click hold "Shift" so that I just drag in the left and right or up and down. I'm going to drag it over to the left just a little bit. Right there's good. Then I want to take the Red channel, and instead of moving it around by hand, I want to bring up the position by pressing "P" on the keyboard, right-click on the Position and Separate Dimensions. Then I want to add a wiggle expression on each one of these values, so that it's randomly offset and so it animates around as time goes on. So for the X Position, I'm going to hold down Option or Alt and click on the stopwatch and type wiggle open parenthesis 1.5 times per second, 10 pixels close parenthesis. So every one and a half seconds, wiggle a maximum of 10 pixels in either direction. We'll apply that, and then I want to add a wiggle expression to the Y Position as well. I'll click on the stopwatch, wiggle 0.2, 10 close parenthesis. It's a much less frequently than the X Position, it's going to wiggle every 0.2 seconds, but the same amount of 10 pixels. I'm going to zoom in and just preview a couple of seconds so you can see what this is doing. Something I haven't mentioned yet is that we're building a very comprehensive effect. There are lots and lots of adjustment layers stacked out on top of each other using lots of different effects, lots of different blending modes, and that can take a while to render. As you can see, it's taking a decent amount of time to render each frame as I'm previewing this. So from now on, I'm going to be editing out the preview renders just for the sake of time. Just know that it will take a bit of time to render this effect once it's all complete. Let's preview that much, and you can see what's happening. Now the jittering up and down, is happening from the position wiggle that we put within the Details Comp. If you remember, we added that expression on the Y Position of the source. But the drifts, left and right and a little bit of up and down on that Red channel, is coming from these two expressions right here that we just wrote. So you can see what's happening. Now if that's moving more than you want it to or if it's moving faster, you can always adjust these numbers. The key thing to remember is just that with a wiggle expression, the order of the numbers are the number of times you want it to wiggle per second, and the maximum amount you want it to wiggle. This is how I want mine to look. I'm happy with the amount and the speed that that's drifting. But now I want to push it a little bit further by adding a Gaussian blur on all of these layers. So let me collapse all of these layers up, and then I will add a Gaussian blur to all three. You can add the same effect to multiple layers by having them selected, and then double-clicking on the Effect. Then for the Red channel, let me zoom in here again so we can see nice and close. I'm going to increase this quite a bit, somewhere around there. So this is without and with, so you can see that's quite a bit blurred out. For the Green channel, I'm going to increase it even further. I really want to blow that out, probably right around there, and then for the Blue, pretty much the same amount as the Green. We have a very blurred out image right now, and it obviously does not look that good. But that is why we kept this fourth copy up at the top. Now I'm going to turn that on, and I'm going to set the blending mode of that layer to, Luminosity. Now we were basically taking the contrast from the unblurred version and layering it over, top of the blurred out versions that we just created. It brings those hard edges back in, but gives us a nice glow around the edges of all these colors. But something I could do to make this blur a little less dramatic, is by selecting the Gaussian blur, on each one of these and changing the blurred dimensions from horizontal and vertical, to just horizontal. I'm going to quickly do that for all three instances, and what this is going to do is, make the blurred go out to the sides, but not up and down. So you can see at the top of these letters, there's still pretty hard edges, and just the horizontal edges are the ones that are being blurred. So it doesn't kill so much of the detail that way. Then I'll turn that top copy back on and we get those hard edges back with that nice horizontal blur looking good. Next I want to add an effect to this top copy and it's called "Channel Blur." I'll apply that to this layer, and again, I want to set the blur dimensions to just horizontal on this effect as well, and I want to blur the Red and Blue channels. So I'm going to increase this one, not too much, but you can see that the way this is working is that, it's taking the Red channel from that layer and blurring it out. But because I have it set to luminosity, you're not actually seeing the color red coming through that, instead, the luminosity from that Red Channel is bleeding through. If I were to turn this back to normal, you can see that red streak is coming out, but I'm just using it as a way to make a unique looking blur compounded on top of everything else in this comp. So that's a lot more blurred out than I want. I'm actually going to turn it down somewhere around 15, that looks pretty good. I'm going to leave the Green Channel unblurred, but then I want to bring the Blue channel blur up, right around there. So this is before and after. We're just softening those edges a little bit and then making another unique glow using that Channel blur. Looking good. Let's preview that one more time, and there's the completed color drift. 9. Static Lines: Next I want to add some noise and static to the overall image. Again, the first step is to pre-compose all these layers. I'll select all by pressing Command or Control-A, and then pre-composing by pressing Command-Shift-C or Control-Shift-C, and I'll name this one VHS, ColorDrift. Hit "OK". Now let's start building some noise. I'll start by making a new solid by pressing Command or Control-Y, and I want this to be 50 percent gray. Again, just make sure your hue and saturation are set to 0 and type in 50 on the brightness, and click "OK". Make sure it's the Comp Size and click "OK" again. Then we're going to add the noise affect, double-click, and then turn the amount of noise all the way up to 100 and uncheck, Use Color Noise. Then I want to just make this a little less uniform and less perfect by just scaling this out a little bit on the width. I'll zoom in so you can see what that looks like nice and clearly. I want to add a Gaussian Blur now to soften up this grain. I'm going to set it to just horizontal again, and then turn the blurriness up just a little bit. I just want to soften that out a little bit in a unique way to give me something that looks a little bit better than just the standard default noise. Next, I need to set this to Overlay. I'll come to my Blending Modes and set Overlay. Now that is being blended on top of my footage, then I want to turn the opacity pretty far down. I don't want this to be extremely noticeable. But again, this is a value that you can play with. If you want your footage to be super noisy, by all means, turn this up. I'm going to turn it down to around, let's say 12 percent. Then I'll rename this layer by pressing "Enter" and typing grain. That's all we need to do for that layer. Because we are using the noise effect, that noise is animated over time. Again, you may not be able to see it very clearly on this compressed video, but you will definitely notice it on your own project. Next, I want to make some static lines that just randomly appear across the screen. You see this a lot in old VHS tapes, and it definitely helps sell this effect. I'm going to start by just grabbing my Pen Tool, setting my stroke color to white, making the width of the stroke 5 pixels, then clicking off the screen holding Shift and then going straight across the screen to make a single line. Then I'll select that layer and pre-compose it, Command-Shift-C or Control-Shift-C. I'm going to rename it Static Lines. Press "OK", and then I'm going to go into that Pre-comp. Next, I want to make a solid so Command or Control-Y, and I want this to be black. I'll hit "OK", "OK". I'll rename this texture. Then I want to add an effect called fractal noise. This effect just generates some random patterns and it has a whole bunch of controls to make some very unique looking textures. We're going to make a unique one right now. First, I'm going to change the fractal type from basic down to threads at the very bottom so we have a different pattern being generated. Then I'm going to turn the contrast up pretty far and the brightness down just a little bit. Maybe bring the contrast up a little bit more. I'm going to turn Allow HDR Results off and just set it to clip. Then I'll open up the Transform properties and turn the scale pretty far down, so we have these nice tiny little details. Right now the complexity is higher than it needs to be, so to help this render a little bit faster, I'm going to cut that in half, set it to three. Then we're going to open up the Evolution options, so scroll down, go to the Evolution options, find the Random Seed, and then we're going to apply our random expression to this value, so hold down Option or Alt and click on that stopwatch and type in random open parentheses, 0, 10,000, close parenthesis. Again, this is just saying give me a random number every frame between the values of 0 and 10,000. If I play this back, we just have a completely randomly generated texture, every single frame. I'll close that layer up. Next, I want to set our line layer to be a Luma Matte of that texture. A Luma Matte just means that it's going to base the opacity on the luminance of the layer above it. Our texture is pure black and pure white with some gray values in between, so that means that some of this image is going to be completely transparent, where the black is, some of it's going to be completely opaque where the white is, and all of those values in between are going to give us semi-transparent pixels. If I set this to a Luma Matte, that's what happens to our line. It looks a whole heck of a lot like VHS line static, but we can make it even better. Playing it back right now, it's just a static line right across the screen, not moving at all. Let's open up the position value of that line and add a wiggle to it. Hold down Option, click on that stopwatch, and type in wiggle, open parenthesis, 30, because we're working at basically 30 frames per second, comma, 540, close parenthesis. Now I got 540 because that's half of the height, so the maximum it could move is 540 pixels up and 540 pixels down. It shouldn't ever really go off the screen. Now, I did not separate the dimension, so it's also going to wiggle 540 pixels left and right, but that's okay, that's exactly what I wanted to do. I'll click off of this and immediately you see that my line is just going all over the place, which is perfect. Now, if I wanted to, I could grab this line and make it a little bit shorter so that it doesn't always look like it's taking up the entire width of the screen. Play that again. You can see what that looks like. Maybe I should bring this over to the right a little bit. It looks like it's living on the left side of the screen a lot. There's something that looks a little bit different. I'm okay with it being the full width, but if you wanted to, you can make multiple lines, wiggle them at different amounts, completely customizable however you'd like it to look. But I'm going to take this a couple more steps further. Next up is the opacity. I'm going to press T on the keyboard to bring up the opacity. This line is actually a little more intense than I want it to be, so I'm going to turn it down to something around 25 so it's less noticeable. But I also want that opacity value to wiggle so I'm going to add another expression by Option or Alt clicking and then typing wiggle 30,100. Now, the wiggle expression is based on whatever the value is already set to. So if I wanted to, I could increase the brightness of this. The wiggle expression will be based off of that number. I could still brighten this if I needed it to be more visible or turn it back down, and that wiggle value is going to adjust how visible that line is. See on this frame it's actually zero because I set the wiggle amount to 100 and the range of the opacity is 0-100. No matter where I set this, there's always the chance that the opacity could be all the way down or all the way up, and that's what I want. I want this to be very random. I'm happy with the way that that looks, but we can take it even one step further, and I'm going to open up the stroke width for this layer. Just twirl the layer down, open up the Contents, open up the Stroke, find the Stroke Width, and we're going to wiggle this value as well. Hold Option or Alt and click on that, and type wiggle again 30 times per second, and then 2. Now, the reason I'm only doing 2 is because a single pixel difference on the stroke width is actually quite noticeable when we're working with thin lines. Now we're wiggling not only the position and the opacity, but the stroke width as well. Just to show you what's happening, I'm going to double tap the E to bring up all my expressions and disable the Position expression by clicking on this equal sign just so we can focus on the transparency and the stroke width. This is what our two wiggle expressions are doing on the stroke width and the opacity, combine that with the luma matte of the texture being randomly generated on every frame, and then we enable the Position expression, and we have a pretty convincing looking random static lines being generated all over this comp. Beautiful. One last thing I want to do is soften this up a little bit just so it looks a little less digital. I mean, find a good frame right there. You can see that it's still pretty crisp, so I'm just going to add one adjustment layer on top, Option-Command-Y or Control-Alt-Y, and then type in Guassian blur, soften it up just a tiny bit, maybe 2 pixels, and then play that back one more time. Even these little details can make a difference. I'm trying to just make this as analog looking as possible rather than digital. I'm going to turn it up just a little bit more. That looks good. Let me preview that one more time, and it looks like we're in business. Let's close this static lines and get back to our main comp. Now we have our grain and static lines layers. Now, because the static lines was generated on top of transparency, we don't actually have to set this to any blending mode. But if you wanted to, you could set it to something like add and it will actually brighten up the image behind it. You can see this is what it was before, this is after. That's completely something that you can adjust to your taste. I'm going to go ahead and leave mine at normal. Let's preview what that looks like so far with everything together. Yeah, this is looking really nice. 10. Real VHS Static: Now that we've generated some of our own static and noise, we can add in some stock distortion from actual samples of VHS static. If you haven't already, you can download all of these static clips for free using the download link in the notes of this video right now. Or you can find the link under the project description. I'm going to bring these clips into my project, but first I want to organize my project up a little bit. I'm going to make a new folder and name it pre comps, and I'm going to move all of the pre comes into that folder, so everything but this VHS look, so I'll select these two, bring it in, all these others, bring them in, and then finally that one. Okay, now that this is a little bit more clean, I'm going to bring in all the VHS static clips. I'll click on that project panel and press command or control I for import, and here's my VHS static folder. I'll select that and click "Open," and that brings in all of my clips. Now, all of these are from actual home videos from my childhood, and you can use them however you'd like in any kind of project that you'd like, no attribution necessary, and the first one I want to work with is this one at the bottom called VHS static loop. If I bring this clip out into my main comp, you can see that it's only about five seconds long, but you can actually tell After Effects to loop a video by right-clicking on in the project, going to "Interpret Footage", and then click on "Main". Then down at the very bottom, it's actually hard to see on my screen because about small it is, you can tell it to loop a certain number of times, so I'm just going to type in a big number like 99 and press Enter, so now that's going to loop 99 times, and if we look in our comp, you can see that now I can extend this clip out as long as I'd like. I'm just going to zoom out and make it the full length of the comp, and now that will just continue to loop. All right. If you notice up here, like I mentioned in the beginning, the standard resolution for VHS tapes was 640 by 480 at 29.97 Frames per second, so that is why we're working at that frame rate and resolution. Again, you can adjust that to whatever you'd like. I'm just trying to stay as authentic as possible. Now there are a couple of different ways that we can work with this static. The first is to just scale it up so that it fits the entire comp, and you could use those shortcuts again that "Transform" "Fit to Comp" "Fit to Comp Width", or "Fit to Comp Height". Then you would just want to set this blend mode to screen, so only the white part of the static comes through and all the black gets blended out, and that might look just fine. Let me preview this, and that looks fairly decent. But one thing about scaling it up that large is that the noise obviously gets a lot bigger, and I'm not really that happy with how big and blocky all of that static is. What I'm going to do is reset the Transform by opening up the layer and just clicking Reset next to Transform, so it goes back down to 100 percent. Then I'm going to add an effect called motion tile, and I'll double-click that to apply it, and motion tile is just going to allow me to repeat this layer horizontally and vertically. I'm going to come down to the output width and increase it, and just so this is clear, I'm going to turn the blending mode off so you can see what's happening. I can adjust the output width until it fills the entire screen, and then I'll increase the output height so that it fills the entire screen as well. I play this back, you can see the static is now covering the entire frame, and because it's a random static, you don't notice that this is just a loop or a tile, but it eliminates the need to scale the layer up and keeps that static pretty small. That's exactly what I want, so now I'm just going to turn this blending mode back to screen. I'm just going to turn the Opacity down by pressing T to bring up Opacity and turn it down around 75 percent, something like that. I'll preview that. Let me zoom in so you can see nice and clearly what's going on with that layer. Very nice. Now I think is still a little bit too noticeable, so I'm going to add a curves to this layer, and I'm just going to pull the mids down a little bit. You see if I bring the mids up, it really blows out the whites. Instead, I'm going to bring it down just a tad, so that's not quite as dramatic with that static. Again, these are values you can completely customize to tailor this look, however you'd like it to be. Very nice. 11. Real VHS Distortion: Now I'm going to duplicate this layer and take a look at the clips that we have access to. I'm just going to quickly open this up in my finder so I can just preview through them very quickly. This first one is called VHS_Drift. I called it drift because that happens. A lot of static appears right there and then just drifts down the screen, gets a nice VCR looking distortion, and then it goes away. Next we have a VHS_Glitch That's pretty short. I would use this just to do a hit of random static every now and then, you can place it randomly anywhere that you'd like a distortion to appear in your comp, and I have a couple of these. This one is much longer. You can see that we have some footage from, I think a basketball game actually coming through. But if you set this to screen, it will pretty much be unrecognizable, and it's just such a nice random analog looking distortion. It can really sell this effect very well. Then we've got another glitch here that has some horizontal drifting going on. Again, just a nice little thing that you could add randomly in the middle of any clip or put it up at the beginning. You can play around with these clips however you'd like to come up with unique looks. Then I have two static hits that start big and then kind of fizzle out into a standard static just like the loop. I noticed a lot of times when a new clip started on a VHS tape, it always had this big static hit. So that's why I've included those two. They are slightly different, so you can have a little bit of variation if you're using more than one in the same project. Then finally, we have the static loop, which you can just use as long as you'd like. Now that you see what all of those clips look like, why don't we bring out one of the static hits to see how that would affect our overall image. You can replace any layers source in After Effects by selecting it and then coming up to your project panel, clicking the clip that you want to use, dragging it down while holding Option or Alt on a PC, and then letting go. Now the source has been swapped out. But all of the effects in the transform properties, the blending modes, everything else is preserved from the original. I'm going to solo this layer just we can see what's going on. Because we're using the motion tile, you actually can see that pattern. But it only is a visible really for that first frame, and it's going to go by so quickly that I don't think it's going to be a problem. Let's play that back soloed, so we can just see what's going to happen. Now, let's unsolo it and see how it affects our overall image. Very nice. If you want it to be less subtle, we could turn the opacity up. Then to get it to go away a little bit quicker, we could actually key frame the opacity. So it looks like right about there is where it gets to the standard static amount. I'll just key frame the opacity there. Then a little bit further ahead, I'll turn the opacity all the way down. We preview that, and there we have a nice little static hit glitch that looks very analog and adds a nice little touch to the overall distortion. Now, this doesn't have to go up at the very beginning. Like I said, you could push this forward so that it happens randomly throughout your animation or your video that you are applying this to. There you go. Maybe that static hit isn't the one you want to use anymore, so I could come up to this first glitch and then again hold Option or Alt, replace that footage. I don't need this opacity animation anymore, so I'll just delete it. On this one let's say I don't want to use the motion tile because that pattern is pretty noticeable in this case. I'll just open that up, delete the motion tile, and then fit it to the comp by right-clicking, going to Transform, and saying Fit to Comp. Now, it's scaled up to be the entire width. Let's preview what that looks like. Very nice. Now, one more example I want to show you is this VHS_Drift, and we're going to apply it in a little bit different way than these other two static layers. I'm going to bring it out on its own, this time not replacing a source, and this time I don't need to scale it up. I'm actually going to use it as a displacement map, so I'm going to drag it to the bottom of the comp and turn it off. Then I'll add an adjustment layer at the top Option Command Y or Control Alt Y, and I'll name this Drift Displacement. I'll add a displacement map effect to that layer, and I'll set the source to the drift video. Now, let me zoom in here so you can see that we're getting all this weird distortion based on that static drift. But if you'll notice, it's only happening in the portion of the frame that's being taken up by that static, which isn't going to work. What I need to do is go into my displacement map and then go down towards the bottom where it says displacement map behavior, and instead of saying center map, I want to say stretch map to fit. That stretches the map to fit the layer that that effect is applied to. We can see that now my distortion and is being stretched out just the same as if I were to have fit this video clip to the comp. I'm going to drag that back down to the bottom. The horizontal and vertical displacements are set to the red and green channels. Again, I want to turn the vertical displacement off. I just want horizontal displacement, so I'm going to change green to off and max vertical displacement to zero. Then I'm just going to adjust this max horizontal displacement so you can see how it's affecting the overall image. I'll set it to something around, say, 15 pixels. Leaving it on the red channel is just fine, but you could play around with the different channels to see if it has much of a difference. It really shouldn't because the distortion is so random. I'll just set this to luminance. It really doesn't matter as long as it's one of the color channels or the luminance. We've got some very nice distortion, and that's great. But I want to combine that displacement with the static itself, so I'm actually going to drag this drift displacement adjustment layer down to just above the source. It's just affecting the image and none of the grain or the static below it. Then I'm going to drag the VHS_Drift source up above all of that stuff so that is back up with these static and glitch clips. I'll turn the visibility on, and then I want to fit that layer to the comp. So I'll right-click on it, go to Transform, and say Fit to Comp. Then again, I'll set this to screen. Just so I can clearly see what's happening, I'm going to turn off the other glitch and the static loop. Now the only static we're seeing is coming from that drift. If I pause it right at the beginning, you can clearly see now that this static from this drift clip is what is affecting the displacement of the source, and they're in sync, so as I play this back, the distortion from the displacement map that matches the static from the drift clip. If I go forward in time to where that big drift hits the screen, it's much more apparent that as this big horizontal bar is moving down the screen, the distortion gets less and less because the way that displacement map is working is all this random noise is generating a bunch of noisy displacement. But then once this big black area comes in, it gets much more solid because there's so much less noise in that black. Let's play back that much of the animation. That's looking great. The only thing left to do is at the end of this clip. If I go past that clip, you'll notice that that drift displacement is still affecting the overall image. It's holding on to that last frame of that clip. I want that distortion to be gone once this clip is done. What I actually need to do is animate the max horizontal displacement so that it slowly fades off near the end of this drift clip. I'll backup to right around here. I'll go to the drift displacement and set a key frame on the max horizontal displacement, and then go forward in time to right where that clip ends and set it down to zero. Now, if I press U to bring up the key frames and preview just that portion, you can see how that displacement is now being key framed off, so we get back to our original undistorted frame. Looks great. I'll turn my other static layers back on and then I'll preview this whole thing. Beautiful. That's looking really nice. The last part of this step is to select all of the layers and pre-compose them, and I'll name this comp VHS Static. Click "Okay", and we can move on to the next step. 12. Edge & Lower Distortions: Next thing I want to do is crop in those left and right edges so that it matches most of the home videos that I watched. A VCR just seems to crop in these black bars on the left and right sides. I'm going to duplicate this layer and rename it by pressing "Enter" and I'll call it Edge Matte. I'll set the first layer to be an Alpha Matte of the second one. Then I'll scale this layer in a little bit, so that it matches the edge distortion that we made in our first details comp, so somewhere around there. But I don't want it to be so perfect and straight like this, so I'm going to add an effect to the Edge Matte, called Roughen edges. I'm going to turn my border up to around 12, turn the edge sharpness down, and the scale up a little bit. You can actually see this roughen edges on the top and bottom and I don't want that to happen. I'm actually going to scale that Edge Matte up a little bit more so that you can't see it on the top and bottom. Just on the left and right edges. Then I'll open up the Evolution Options and we'll again apply our random expression to the random seed. So Option or Alt click on the stopwatch, and type in random, open parentheses, 0, 10,000. Then let's preview to see what that looks like. You can see that we've got these wiggly distorted edges on the left and right side of the screen. Very nice. Another thing that was very common among the VHS tapes that I was looking at, is that there was this lower distortion that I'm assuming was being produced by the VCR, right at the base of the frame. Let's reproduce that with an adjustment layer. Command+Option+Y, CTRL+Alt+Y, and I'll rename this Lower Edge Distortion. Then I'll add a transform effect to that adjustment layer. I want to move the anchor point to the bottom of the frame, so that I can scale this image down from that point. My comp's height is 10, 80, so I need the anchor points Y position to be 10, 80. You can see that anchor point is down there now. The way that the transform effect works, I also need to adjust the position value for the Y as well. I'm going to set that to 10, 80, and now the image has not shifted around. But if I uncheck uniform scale and adjust the scale height, you can see that it is now scaling down from the bottom of the frame. Now, I don't want this to affect the entire image, so I'm going to add a mask by clicking on my rectangle tool, and then dragging a box around the base of the frame. Then I'll scale the height down. Now you can see that that is just affecting the lower portion of the frame that I masked off. I'll scale it down to around 30. Then I want to increase the scale width just barely, not too much, but you can see that this pushes the edges out of alignment just a little bit. It's a little bit more noticeable, then I want to blur that section just a tiny bit. I'll add a Gaussian blur, and set it to about five pixels. I want to make it a little bit more distorted. I'm going to add a turbulent displace, and I'm going to change the displacement from turbulent to just horizontal, and I'll turn the amount down to 40 and the size down to 10. Zooming in here so we can see nice and close, this is what the turbulent displace is doing. It's giving us some random distortion. I want this to be animated randomly, but instead of having a completely random distortion on every single frame, I actually want to animate the evolution. Instead of going into the evolution options and then making a random value using the random seed, I can animate the phase of this evolution and it will be a more smooth looking random distortion. To do this, I'm going to go to the first frame of the animation, set a key frame for the evolution, press U to bring up keyframes and go forward maybe four seconds, and I'm just going to increase this a whole lapse. Lets say four times around, preview what that looks like. I think that could go a little bit faster, so I'll bring that back in and preview how that looks. Yeah, I think that's a pretty good speed. It's a little hard to see exactly what's going on because of all the distortion that we have behind it, but once you're happy with the way it looks, we need to do one more step, by adding an expression to this value. Hold down Option or Alt and click on the stopwatch. We're just going to loop this animation. I'm going to type loop capital, O-U-T for loopOUT, open parenthesis, close parenthesis. Then I'll click off of that. What that expression is going to do is as soon as it gets past this keyframe rate here, it's going to loop back to the first keyframe and play that animation again, and it will continue to do that animation forever. Finally, I want to brighten up this bar a little bit so it's a little more noticeable. I'm going to add a curves to this adjustment layer, and I'm going to do a reverse S curve. Instead of adding contrast like this, I'm going to reverse that S curve, bring the highlights down a little bit, the mid tones up little bit, and that might be a little too extreme. I don't want to go overboard. Something like that looks pretty good. Just enough to make it known that this is definitely distorted footage and not looking the way that it should be. I think I want to increase the scale of this distortion a little bit more, so I'm going to go back up to the transform and just bring that up a tiny bit. That way this is clearly being distorted and offset. I also might bring this bar down just a tiny bit by selecting my mask and dragging it down. Yeah, I think I'm happy with the way that looks. 13. Horizontal Drifting: Now, let's add some vertical displacement to simulate bad tracking on a VCR. I'll start by collapsing all my layers. I'll make a new solid that's 50 percent gray. I'll hit "Okay" and then pre-compose this Command Shift C or Control Shift C and I'll rename this, Horizontal Bars Displacement Map. Click "Okay", then go into that pre-comp, and I want to make another new solid Command or Control Y, and this time I want it to be white. Click "Okay" "Okay" again, and I'll scale this down pretty far. Remember the reason we're going to use 50 percent gray is because that portion of the displacement map will not affect the image beneath it. Anything brighter or darker than that gray will, but this will be a neutral color. I'll open up the position by pressing P on the keyboard, go to the first frame, set a key frame, and then drag this up off-screen. Then I'll go forward a little bit in time, not too far, probably around four seconds, five seconds, and then I'll bring it down to the base of the screen, so it goes completely across the screen from top to bottom. Let's play that back to get a sense of the speed. It's pretty slow, maybe a little too slow. I'm going to bring that in a couple of seconds. I think that's a little better. Then I want to add my same loopOut expression to this position value. Option I'll click loopOut(), and now as soon as that second keyframe hits, it just loops on forever. Then I want to open up the opacity by pressing T on the keyboard. I want to wiggle this value, so I'll hold down Option Alt Click and type wiggle, three times a second, 80 percent. Now, if I preview, see that bar is just flashing in and out on its transparency. The strength of that bar is going to be randomized using that wiggle expression. Next, I'm going to duplicate this bar, open up the keyframes by pressing U on the keyboard. I'm going to make this one take a little bit longer. I'll just stretch it out, and then I'm going to scale it down so it's much thinner. Then I'll do the same thing again. I'll duplicate that solid, adjust the timing, maybe make this a little bit faster and again, scale it down even smaller. Now I have three random lines. They all have an opacity wiggle and they move down the screen at different speeds. Last thing I need to do is make a new adjustment layer, Option Command Y or Alt Control Y and add a Gaussian blur over everything. I can soften out these bars quite a bit. I need to make sure that I check Repeat Edge Pixels, and we can preview that again. Now we have very soft bar is running down the screen. Let's close this Comp. Bring that displacement map to the bottom of the Comp and turn it off, then make a new adjustment layer at the top, rename it Horizontal Bars Displacement, and add a displacement map effect to it. Then I will select the Bars Displacement Map as the source. I'll go to a point in time after all of that static has happened and turn this layer on and off, so we can see what's happening. I just want the horizontal displacement, so I'll turn the green off down to zero and set the horizontal displacement to luminance. I can turn this up or down. You can see those bars are now distorting my image. Now, this time I do not want this to be a static number, I actually want to wiggle the value. I'm going to add an expression to the max horizontal displacement Option Alt Click on that stopwatch, wiggle five times a second at a max value of 10. We can see on the edges here and in the middle of the text, it's a little easier to see. This distortion is happening horizontally, pretty randomly. But I want to make it a little bit more noticeable. I'm actually going to bring that horizontal bars displacement map back up to the top, and enable it again, and then set the blending mode to overlay. That just leaves the white bars, which we can see travel along the screen now. Now, these are way brighter than they should be, so I'm going to open up the transparency by pressing T and turn that way down. I don't want it to be all that noticeable. In fact, I wanted to be very subtle. Somewhere around eight percent, even that is a little too much. Maybe four percent would be better. Just so it's enough to notice that those spots are a little bit brighter and point out that horizontal displacement a little bit easier. That displacement might be a little bit too much, so I'm going to go into my horizontal bars and set my maximum horizontal displacement down to say two and again that wiggle, works based on whatever value you have the source set to. That turns the overall displacement down just a little bit. That still is a little too much for me, I'm actually into turning it down to zero because the displacement can go in either direction, negative or positive. I'm going to set it at zero, and then I'm going to adjust my expression to be a little bit less intense. Instead of 10, I'm going to say maybe five. Now, that displacement distortion is just a little more subtle. It's still giving distortion, but it's not too distracting. Now, I want to do a very similar process, but instead of having multiple bars, I just want one very large bar. I'm going to go into my project, grab these couple of pre-Comps that need to be dragged my pre-Comp folder, and duplicate the horizontal bars displacement map. I'm going to rename this Horizontal Big Displacement Map and open it up. I'll get rid of all but the first bar and scale it up quite a bit and increase the blurriness quite a bit. Then I'll just open up my keyframes by pressing U on the keyboard and make sure that this actually starts completely off-screen and ends completely off-screen. Then I'm probably going to want to make this a lot slower. That might be a little bit too big, maybe I should scale that down a little bit and increase my blurry even more. Let's play that back to get a sense of the speed. I like that speed, but I'm going to turn the opacity down just a tad. I don't want this to be too intense of a displacement. I'm also going to turn the wiggled down because I think that's a little too much. Instead of 80, I'll set maybe 20. That should make a much more subtle displacement map. Let's go back out into our main Comp. Drag that displacement out to the bottom. This time I do not want to see it, so I'll just turn it off. I'll duplicate my adjustment layer with the displacement already set up and rename it Horizontal Big Displacement. Change the source to be that Big Displacement Map. Then adjust the wiggle expression by double tapping the E to bring up the expressions, and changing the wiggle to be much slower. Instead of five times per second, I'm going to say 0.25 times per second, but then I'm going to increase the amount a lot, so we'll say 25. Now the displacement is going to go either direction and a max value of 25 displacement, which is pretty large, but it's moving at a slower pace, so it will be less noticeable. Let's preview that. Now, we have all these nice horizontal displacements happening, traveling down the frame, really degrading the quality of this image, and making for a very nice-looking effect. 14. Startup Distortion: Now the entire effect has been built and we can add some finishing touches to the overall animation. First thing I want to do is add a startup distortion at the very beginning, that just really kicks off the entire effect. I'm going to make a new adjustment layer and I'll rename it Startup Distort. I'll go to the front of the animation by pressing the home key, and I'm going to add a motion tile effect to this adjustment layer. I want to bring this adjustment layer down to just above the edge Matt. It's only affecting the footage and none of the adjustment layer is above it. Now if I grab the y position on this tile center, and drag it up or down, you can see that I'm able to shift this image around, and it just loops around on itself. What I'm going to do is keyframe this value. I'll set an initial keyframe, and press "U" to bring that up, and then push it forward maybe 20 frames by holding Option Shift and pressing the right arrow twice, or Alt Shift on a PC, and then I'll just drag this down quite a bit, so that the frame is just completely misaligned. Then I'll go forward in time and then maybe bring it even further than it was initially, and just Easy Ease these last two keyframes by pressing "F9" on the keyboard, or you could right-click and go to keyframe assistant and say, "Easy Ease." Let's preview what that looks like. That's exactly what I wanted to just adrift that happens at the beginning, what I do want to do now, is go back into where we put this drift distortion and retime it to clear up at the front of this animation. So 20 frames is where I want this startup distortion to end. I'm going to trim the layer to that point by holding" Option Alt" on a PC, pressing the right bracket to trim that layer. But then I want to go through my precomp stack, to get to that point where we have that drift static layer to retime it to match this startup distortion. I'll go into my VHS static comp, find that VHS drift, Zoom in by pressing the plus key on the keyboard, and then back it up to where it has that nice big static glitch rate there, and clears up on that 20th frame. It's going to end right there, and that should now line up with this distortion that we just added. A whole bunch of crazy stuff's happening right up front, and then it all clears up at the same time that drift ended. Let's preview that very nice. Next, I want to add a turbulent displace. Let me select that adjustment layer again, turbulent displace. I'll change the displacement to horizontal only, make the size just slightly larger. Then I just need to set some key frames on the amount, so I'll have it start out at 50, but by the end of this startup distortion, I want it set to zero. Again, I'll press U to bring up the keyframes, so that I can Easy Ease into that keyframe. I also want to do the same thing with the evolution. Now I want to give it a little bit more movement, and I can do that by keyframe the evolution as well. Now, this does not need to end at zero. I'm just going to set a key frame at the beginning, go to the end, and then randomly change this so that there's flow with that distortion, as it animates from 50-0. Let me bring up the keyframes one more time and makes sure that phase is also Easy Eased, and play that back very nice. We have a whole ton of crazy distortion happening at the beginning. Next, let's blur this a little bit, and instead of using Gaussian blur, let's add a different type of blur. A box blur, and it's actually the fast box blur. I'll double-click that, and as always, I'm going to set this to just horizontal. I'll turn the blur radius up, not too far, maybe around 10. Set a keyframe, go to the end, set it back down to zero, press "U" to bring up all of the key frames, and Easy Ease so that blurred animates from being pretty blurry to not blurry at all. Finally I'm going to add an unsharp mask. I'm going to crank these values up quite a bit, especially the radius, something like that. See, keyframes for both of those. Press "U" twice to bring up those keyframes and go to the end. Set both of those numbers down to zero, and again, Easy Ease them. Now let's preview that entire thing and see what's happening. Up at the front, we have this very contrasty, oversaturated, distorted image that eases out at the same time that static drift hits. Let's preview that whole thing, and we have a very nice kickoff to this entire look right up at the front, and I think that turned out super nice. 15. VCR Overlays: The entire effect is built and all that's left is the very final touch of adding the VHS date and time. Now this is completely optional, but it's something I'm going to do just as this final touch to sell the VCR effect. I'm going to go into my "VHS Source", and there's a free font that you can find online called VCR OSD Mono. I'll put the link in the notes of this video, as well as in the class description. I'll switch to the text tool. Bring up my guides by pressing the apostrophe key on the keyboard. I'll just click right here. The format that usually shows up on a VHS is it would say AM or PM first and then the time, so just some random time. Then on the next line it would have the date, abbreviated with a period. I'll just put it in the year 1988, so it really seems super retro. Then I want to scale that up a little bit, that's a little too small. Maybe not quite so much I don't want it to overtake my title. Then I'll duplicate this layer by pressing "Command" or "Control D" and drag it up at the top and I'll just type out play. Then I just want to make a little triangle icon next to that play. I'm going to click and hold on my "Rectangle Tool" and go down to "Polygon". Make sure none of my layers are selected and double-click to generate a polygon. Then I'll open up that polygon, go into the path and change the points down to three. I'll click on the "Fill" type and set it to white, and then rotate it so that the point is going to the side at 90 degrees. Scale it down, and line it up with that play text, something like that. Then I'm going to have those two layers, the play text in the arrow last for about four seconds, and then they turn off. It's like you're starting the tape in your VCR, that play happens and then it turns off, but the date stays the same. Let's go back out to our main VHS Look comp. Go to the beginning and see how that looks. Awesome, that looks super authentic, definitely VHS and it really finishes off this entire effect. Now I realized that was a ton of effects layered on top of each other using adjustment layers for all this displacement and distortion. But now that it's all put together, it's completely adjustable however you'd like. Whatever you put into this VHS Source comp will have the effect applied. Just to show you how easy that is, I'm going to open up "VHS Source" and again and bring this clip in of me being ridiculous. Scale it up so it fits the comp height. Go to that final comp. There we go, a completely distorted VHS Look and actually let me go back to the source, I should have put that below all of my overlays. There we go. We've got the effect applied on top of that footage. Now I'm going to turn off the title just so you can clearly see this is actually a four by three frame. That means that I have some adjustments that need to be made. First of all, these overlays need to be brought in. Let me shift them over a little bit. But the bigger problem is that I have my light leak and these edge distortions going to fit a 16 by 9 frame rather than a four by three frame. I need to go into the details "preComp", and bring that light leak and left edge static into the right so that it overlays the footage at the right place, somewhere around there. Now if I go back to my VHS Look, that's aligned to now. But then I also need to adjust my edge matte, by just scaling it in so that it lines up with that distortion as well, something like there. I could also crop this comp to be if four by three resolution now. So 1,440 by 1,080 is the four by three HD resolution. That will give me a better idea of how much I need to crop it in, something like that. Then again, I should bring that left edge in a little bit further. There we go. One weird thing that I just noticed is that my rough and edges on the edge matte is giving me some weird holes in the right side of that frame. That's because I have that edge matte set to be an alphabet for the VHS source below it. If I turn that edge matte back on, you can see that I've got all this weird stuff happening on the right side of the frame. I'll turn that back off and go into that edge matte. If I turn the transparency grid on, you can see that these are actually semi-transparent pixels on the right side. I need to have a solid black background behind everything. I'm just going to add one black solid, set to this comp size and then send it to the back by holding "Command Shift" or "Control Shift" and the left bracket. Now that is a solid background instead of transparent, those holes go away. I have a nice four by three frame with the updated distortion. That is the completed VHS Look. 16. That's It!: That's it. Congratulations on making it through this class. Now that you know how to build a VHS look, you can apply it to whatever you'd like, so once you have something you'd like to show, be sure that you post it to the class project. If you share it anywhere on social media, be sure to tag me @jakeinmotion. If you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to ask them on the Community page. If you're not already be sure to follow me on Skillshare and I would love it if you'd let me review for this class. Thank you again so much and I'll see you next time.