Fractal Noise: The Wonder Filter

after effect

For the last 5 years, After Effects has been my go to compositing and motion graphics application whenever I need something beyond the depth of my NLEs. AE has the ability to do a lot of amazing things that would probably take pages just to list. With the filters and options that come bundled with it, the user can take on common to complex post production needs. One filter that I believe stands out above the rest is the Fractal Noise filter. This filter has been the basis of many creative and complex effects. On its own, you can create a myriad of assets such as backgrounds, overlays, textures and more. Of the many templates I’ve used, Fractal Noise has been used in about 80% of them. Within its parameters, a user can manipulate its parameters and create something unique. Used with other filters such as glow, blur and more, the possibilities are expanded. I’m going to show you 3 breakdowns of Fractal Noise designs you can use on your next project.

Background

In this example from author Chad Perkins‘s book Cheat in After Effects 2, I have a fractal noise background which looks like bars of light. The solid is set to 1920 x1080. Within Fractal Noise parameters, the fractal type is basic, the noise type is set to block, the contrast and brightness are modified, the transform settings are modified drastically, complexity is between 2-4 and the evolution is animated over 5 seconds. Combined with the Tint and Corner Pin filter as well as an adjustment layer containing the glow and curves filters, you get this cool animated bar background you can use for a high action title sequence.

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Streaks Overlay

This mograph element is relatively easy to accomplish using the Fractal Noise filter. From this example of Harry Frank‘s Form Backgrounds, he accomplished this by manipulating these fractal noise settings. With composition set to 3000 x 1080, he set the fractal type to basic, noise type to soft linear, modified the contrast and brightness between -100 to 200, transform settings to get the streak look and animated the evolution over 9-10 seconds. He also set an expression for offset turbulence that would affect its position over time. When combined with the Tritone and Glow filters, you get a streaks overlay you can composite into your footage or animations.

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Texture

One of the best ways to use Fractal Noise is when you need an animated texture. With this text layer in my composition, I will place an animated fractal noise solid into my text. Here is my settings and result of my fractal noise below.

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With my text layer above it, I will set my fractal noise beneath to Alpha Matte. Now, my text will inherit the fractal noise as a texture and with some further tweaking, I can get a unique text design that looks something like this.

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As you can see from these breakdowns, Fractal Noise is a versatile filter. On its own, it can create a lot of items. Grouped with other filters, it becomes an enigma of creative awesomeness. Next time you are in After Effects, play around with the Fractal Noise filters and see what you can create. You might create something quite amazing.

I’m the NLE Ninja with AudioMicro asking you to stay creative.

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