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Pete's Kaleidoscope

Setting up a background in After Effects By Stephen Schleicher

There is a pretty good Kaleidoscope effect that comes as part of After Effects 6.5, but it is somewhat limiting for my taste.  As great as many of the After Effects are, there are hundreds of other effects out there to use.  Put on your favorite Ravi Shankar album because in this exercise, Ill demonstrate how the Kaleidoscope effect from Pete Warden can be used to create your own dreamy background. 

First of all, get over to Pete Wardens site and download his plug-ins (www.petewarden.com).  They are very useful and best of all, they are completely free.

The name says it all Kaleidoscope.  With this effect you can create a constantly changing set of colors, or a mishmash of images for interesting results.  Fruitopia this to great effect a few years ago, and in this exercise, well make our own ?pretty colors.

Step 1:  Create a New Composition (Command+N on the Mac, Control+N on the PC).  For this exercise, I will use D1/DV NTSC Preset, with duration of three seconds.  Feel free to make yours longer to fit your specific need.

Step 2:  Create a New Solid (Command+Y on the Mac, Control+Y on the PC).  Make the solid the same size as the Comp, by clicking on the Make Comp Size button.  Color in this instance does not matter.

A Kaleidoscope use bits of colored glass to create the constantly changing pattern.  Since we cant shove bits of glass into our computer (we could but it would hurt), we can use the next best thing.  The Cell Pattern effect can create something akin to broken bits of stuff.

Step 3:  Apply the Cell Pattern effect to your Solid in the Timeline (Effect>Render>Cell Pattern).

In the Effect Control Panel, change the Cell Pattern to Plates, increase the Disperse amount to 1.5, and lower the Size to 31.  This creates a random spread of grey scale cells that will serve as our shards.

To simulate the rotation of the short end of the cardboard tube that tumbles the shards, we can animate the Evolution parameters of the effect.

With the Timeline Indicator at the beginning of the Timeline (press the Home key), set an initial keyframe by clicking the Stopwatch Indicator in the Effect Control Panel.

Move to the Timeline Indicator to the end of the Timeline (press the End key), and change the Evolution to -90.

?But wait a minute! you cry.  ?Arent Kaleidoscopes full of pretty colors?  This looks like boring black and white.

True dear reader, so lets add some random color to our layer.


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Related Keywords:pete warden, after effects, plug-in, effect, schleicher, kaleidoscope, ravi shankar


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