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Radio Waves

A loony background for your interstitials By Stephen Schleicher
Radio Waves is one of those After Effects plug-ins which at first seem to be kind of lame. However, when you start experimenting and going beyond the basics, interesting results are sure to follow. In this After Effects tutorial, well briefly explore how Radio Waves work and then create a unique background for a childrens television network.

The default Radio Waves setting is pretty straight forward, concentric rings emanating from a central source. After applying the effect to a layer in the Timeline, open the Effects Control Window and you will see that there is more to Radio Waves than meets the eye.

Basic Radio Waves are kind of boring, until you know what all of the controls are and start doing magic.

First, lets tackle the basics of Radio Waves.

Only having a round radio wave can be kind of limiting. Fortunately, there are several different shapes the wave can take when it is created. The default is a Polygon, and if you twirl down the Polygon Control, you will see that the number of sides is set at 64, which gives you a round shape. However, you can lower this value and create waves that are octagons, squares, and even triangles. By adjusting the curviness of the corners of the polygon, and even create star shaped waves.

Tweak the Polygon Controls and you can end up with a retro rounded square...

...or a star with any number of points.

In addition to geometric shapes, you can change the Wave Type to either Mask or Image Contour. By selecting Image Contour, Radio Waves can use any channel in a layer as an emitter. By default the Alpha channel will be used and by creating interesting shapes, a totally different effect can be achieved. By using the Mask Wave Type, any mask in the layer can be an emitter.

Radio Waves reads the Alpha channel of an image and generates a wave of the exact shape.

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Related Keywords:radio waves, after effects, tutorial, animated background, schleicher, adobe


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