Adobe After Effects is a powerful software package that allows creative filmmakers and video editors to construct unique animations and effects, captivating audiences in the process. With a seemingly endless array of tools and resources available, After Effects can be used to create both experimental video effects as well as more popular imagery seen through commercial media today. A waving flag effect is easily created with a few simple steps.
Before you begin to create the wave effect in Adobe After Effects, you'll need to find a suitable image of a flag. Fortunately, almost any image can be used as long as it matches your own preferences and expectations. As a general rule, you'll need to import an image at a resolution which matches your preferred display size. You won't be able to improve the general quality of the image once it's imported into After Effects.
In order to import the image into the software, select the image of the flag on your desktop and drag it to the "Composition" icon within the software. This should successfully integrate the image into your workspace and ensure that you're ready to begin creating the effect you want.
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Preparing Your Effect
Now that your flag image has been imported, you'll need to create a second composition that matches the resolution and file format of your final project. After clicking the "New Composition" button, choose the specific resolution and aspect ratio you wish to use. You'll also need to select the specific amount of time you would like for the waving effect to take place. Input this into the "Duration" box. Once all of your desired settings have been selected, press "OK" to continue.
Creating the Wave Effect
Now that your second Composition has been created, right-click inside it, select the "New" tab from the menu that appears, and choose "Colored Solid" from the list of options available. After pressing "OK," you should notice that a solid shape appears on the screen.
Next, go to the "Effects" menu option, select "Noise" from the available choices and click on the "Fractal Noise" option. If you've completed this procedure correctly, the solid shape on the screen should now appear cloudy. In the top right area of your workspace you should notice that an "Effect Controls" menu is available. Here, select the "Swirly" option in the "Fractal Type" menu and "Soft Linear" from the "Noise Type" menu. Then check the "Invert" box.
Creating the Flag Effect
Open the "Transform" sub-menu. Here, you can create a convincing shadow and light effect by setting the "Height" to 1600, the "Contrast" to 120 and the "Brightness" to 15. Next, you'll need to select the "Key Frame" icon that's placed next to the "Offset Turbulence" text. Move your timeline scrubber to the end of your current video and set the "Offset Turbulence" to 5. After doing so, you need to move the scrubber back to the very beginning of the video and set the "Turbulence" to 0. This process creates the desired wave effect.
Polishing Your Product
To add an extra professional touch to your effect, press the "Alt" button on your keyboard and select the key frame icon again. Select the "Revolution" option and set the value to 8xx. This will ensure that the movements occur repeatedly to properly replicate a flag wave.
Finally, create yet another composition and then click and drag the original flag composition and the fractal noise into it. Click on the fractal noise composition and select "Hard Light" from the "Blending Mode" tab. Finally, adjust the opacity of the composition to a value near 70 percent. Now, you can render the effect to see the final product!