Creating Digital Background Animation in After Effects

I’m going to show you how to make a digital background without using any plug-ins, just using the effects built into After Effects.

First, we need to create a new composition. Sizes don’t matter. In this project, I will create a 1920*1080 composition. I click the Ok button and what we need is the Effects panel here. Make sure the Effects and Presets option is checked at the bottom of the Window if it doesn’t appear for you. We will use effects, but where do we put those effects? For this, we need to create a new Solid value. I right click on the scene. I choose New > Solid. Let’s make it black. We created our Solid by clicking the Ok button.

Digital Background Effects

The first effect we will use is the Fractal Noise effect. It appears when we write Fractal. I click on the Fractal Noise and drag it over the Solid we just created. You will see an image like a cloud. When you add this effect, we can manipulate it in the Effects Control panel on the left. We can increase the contrast value, for example, for the mosaic effect that we will use shortly, it is important that the contrast value is a little higher. Let’s do 300 and we won’t forget the Evolution part. We will apply here shortly. We will use this to animate the effect we have made.

Now I’m typing Mosaic in the Effects panel. I’m dragging the mosaic effect under the Stylize group onto the Solid Layer as we just did. When we add the mosaic effect, if the gray colors are very close to each other in the image on the screen, we need to increase the contrast value of the Fractal Noise effect a little more. That’s how I made, 600. Of course, in order to achieve the result we want, we need to change the values of the effects we add to the scene. We can also edit these values after adding the effect. I changed the Soft Linear option here to Spline to increase the contrast. We may need to come back here later. Now, the mosaic effect, which is the last effect we added also has two values. These values determine how many rectangles there will be horizontally and vertically. Since it is widescreen, it’ll look like a rectangle even if the numbers are even. Therefore, we can reach the square by increasing the Horizontal value. Again, as I said, we can edit these values later.

Let’s come back to the Effects panel and type Find Edge here and edit to the scene again. When we add this to the scene, it’ll convert the screen image, to cartoon images. By checking the Invert option, we can have the opposite effect, because digital backgrounds are mostly animations on a dark theme, on a dark color, on a black background and the color tone over black is usually green. At this point, when we play with the Evolution value of Fractal Noise, you will see that it is animated. We are going to animate it. But first, let’s make the colors of the lines here green, turn them green. So we can use the Tint effect for this. I type Tint on Effects and drag. It may be enough to change the white color here to green.

As I said, we may need to make changes to it after making the effect, I’ll have to reduce these lines a bit since there are a lot of lines. Here as Fractal type, we can also try other alternatives and you can check if it is close to what you want by changing the value of Evolution after making changes on the effects. Let’s do it this way. I choose Threads, which is one of the options of Fractal type, and tick the Invert sign. I also lower the contrast. This is how digital backgrounds are generally created.

Now it’s time to get into the details of it. By making adjustments on the number of blocks, you can achieve different results. For example, let’s set this value to 1. You can have a digital background with vertical lines. You can do the same for horizontal lines. Let’s go back to the square version again. I got this result in a few tries. You can try to simulate it by examining the values here. Now let’s give an animation. We can give animation by assigning a Keyframe to the Value part. But what we are going to do is, I click on the time icon on the left of the Evolution text by pressing the Alt key on the keyboard and the Expression panel will open. We are going to write something like this on the Expression panel, first I will get the value of Evolution. I’m typing Value, then Enter, and then Time * 100. Since this effect works on Fractal Noise, it can tire the system. This is for if your computer has slowed down. We can make the squares a little smaller here. For example, let’s do 100. Let’s make the top one and the bottom one 80, I made 100 by 80. We can use it this way, too. As I said, you can get different results by changing the values here. Digital backgrounds can be made this way without using any plug-ins.

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