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Spread the Love

Parts of Hearts Part 1 By Ko Maruyama
If you're a designer, Valentine's Day isn't just flowers, candy and a romantic dinner with your significant other. It's also the time when, once again, you need to come up with new ways to represent graphically that old symbol of love, the heart. There are always a few more tricks left to help you get the job done, hopefully with enough time left over to pick up a little something nice for your loved one.

To this end, I've come up with a series of techniques for designing Valentine's Day icons that you might never have tried before. I'll take a look at methods that utilize Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, as well as Maxon Cinema 4D. This week's twist: Using the oft-overlooked Fractal plugin to produce layers of texture in the design.

Although I've used Fractal Noise in several other examples and tutorials, Fractal (not the "'noise" variety) produces an image and color cycle based on a fractal formula that After Effects calculates.

There are two available sets of fractals in AE.  Julia set and the Mandelbrot (named for Benoit  Mandelbrot) set.  Basically, Mandelbrot sets are points derived by a quadratic recurrence equation.  On the other hand, Julia fractals are (in AE) connected sets.  You can hunt out the equipotential curves if you want--I just scrub the numbers till it looks like something.

I've outlined the steps to make the first heart in this February series in the following pages.

Because there isn't a UI solution to changing the formula to a cardioid formula in AE, I employed the Mandelbrot formula over itself.

1. Applying Fractal to a layer
First create a square comp.  Because the Fractal plugin will create the heart on its side, you'll have to rotate it 90 degrees to stand on its tip.

Fractal comes with the standard plugin bundle.  You can find it by pressing cmd-5 and entering "Fractal."  Make sure you apply the version from the Standard Effects folder, not the one from the Professional Effects folder (noise). In AE 6.5, you can find the plugin in the pull-down menu under Effects > Render.

Apply it to a solid, and you'll wind up with the default Mandelbrot formula.

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Related Keywords:Hearts, Fractal, Valentine, Adobe, After Effects


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