July 8, 2009

The Secret Menu of Radio Waves in After Effects

A few months ago Satya Meka posted a cool method to Create an Ethereal Morphing Letter Canvas over at AETuts.com. He cleverly used the Radio Waves filter built into After Effects to control Autotraced text masks.

He shared more thoughts in The Secret Menu of Radio Waves in After Effects at his blog Gutsblow. Here's an excerpt:

"So, where exactly is the secret menu? It is right in front of you, in the main Radio Waves Effects Panel, but it is
hidden in the form of Frequency, Opacity, Fade-in and Fade-outs. Yes, with proper tweaking you can produce some amazing results using the Radio Waves plug-in. Let me give you some brief tips so that you can utilize, the plug-in much better. Remember, this is not a tutorial, but just a brief guide which helps you to create better organic forms using Radio Waves plug-in.
  • The more the frequency is, the more continuous your form looks. Also, your frequency depends on the size of your composition and also the Expansion(Distance Between Consecutive waves).
    • For general NTSC DV Compositions with SD resolutions, the frequency is almost equal to the wiggle amount if your form is moving. Otherwise, it is just a quarter of the width.
    • For HD Resolutions, the frequency should be atleast a quarter of the width of the composition. Also, if you are seeing bands/random deformations, make sure you increase the opacity and reduce the spin. I generally don’t recommend animating the spin at HD resolutions.
  • Wave Type, while animating masks, make sure you get the mask transformations(if any) right before increasing the frequency. Also remember, the more number of mask transformations you have, the more complex organic shapes you get.
  • Quick Animations , if you are planning to do some really quick transform animations, try to avoid keyframing any orientation/spin properties as it leads to rapid jagged movements and your form looks so chopped!
  • Don’t forget, most of these organic shapes are forms can be achieved only if you insert wiggle() expression in the producer point of radio waves."
There's more at Gutsblow.

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