After Effects Repeater and Light Emission

After Effects Repeater and Light Emission

Once you’ve created a quilted shape with your repeater effect, it’s practically irresistible to add light transmission to your mosaic. Having this same geometric pattern appear will take on an ethereal quality when it is reflected against your chosen backdrop.

Like the repeater effect itself, adding light transmission and casting a shadow against a backdrop is quite easy. The effects you produce are amazing. Granted, some of the 3D dimension calls for new visualization and perspective but this is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the multiple views available in After Effects.step and repeat

What is really exciting for me is that this all is built on one single object and even the light transmission, casting shadows, when applied to one single object, is propagated to the repeated mosaic. You produce this fabulous geometric pattern but you also create a shadow image complete with color and opacity. If you want to play Hollywood and use multiple lights, your mosaic can be cast on multiple surfaces.

Once you’ve established and tested your pattern, adding light transmission is the same procedure you use for a single object.

Many of the After Effects techniques and procedures can be a bit subtle and with that, confusing. Often there is a single setting that makes the difference between getting the effect you are looking for to work but the objects you are working with have many settings to adjust. Sometimes we find ourselves playing ‘hunt and peck’, knowing this worked before, moving through several settings turning them off and on hoping to ‘rediscover’ how it worked.

When I am faced with that, in After Effects or life in general, I bring my project down to the bare skeleton of what it takes to make this technique work. Create only the objects you need to produce the effect you want, adjust the settings that make it work, and at that simplest level of definition, make a note of exactly what was necessary to produce your desired result. Then you can build adding more objects, more complexity but you have your core effect defined and working first. This was the case for me with light transmission and yes it does get propagated with a geometric grid so let’s get light transmission working for a single object first.

In a new project, create a shape. This is going to be the wall receiving your light transmission so make it nearly the complete size of your composition. We’re going to shift it’s orientation to easily receive light and we want it to be easy to see so make it a light color. To shift it’s orientation and have ‘material’ qualities it must be a 3D object so be sure and check the little 3D box once you have defined it.

Orient your box about 310 degrees on the ‘Y’ axis, reflecting it as if it would become a left wall. You are going to project your image against the ‘wall’. Once you have defined it as 3D and oriented away from a flat view, After Effects is very flexible in allowing you to simply move and scale it with your cursor. In this exercise it is a backdrop so it’s size, shape, and angle aren’t critical but with your cursor, move it ot the left of your drawing board, scale it go completely from top to bottom. Open ‘Material Options’. Note that ‘Accepts Shadows’ and ‘Accepts Lights’ are on by default.

Create a new shape. This is going to be the source of your grid and also project it’s image against this wall so make it much smaller; visualize this producing a 10×5 grid, 10 columns by 5 rows and that can guide your sizing. This new shape can be anything but why don’t we stick with our ‘keep it simple’ approach and make it a square. Remember when you are defining a rectangle, simply holding down the ‘shift’ key while defining it’s width and height will force a true square. Your backdrop is a lighter color to easily display the light it receives. Make this square a brighter color, to easily see your light transmission. Execute the same steps here. Your shape projecting light must also be 3D, oriented at the same degree.

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