Visuals – the making of

To make my visuals, I have been using After Effects with the Trapcode plugin. The Trapcode plugin is very useful, because it includes Form and Particular which are both particle based systems, meaning a wide variety of visual effects can be created from building up the particles in different ways. It also has Mir and Tao which is based on building up more geometric shapes; a low amount of vertices will give a more abstract/low poly effect, or a high amount can give a more realistic effect, such as flowing water.
However, the most important part of the Trapcode plugin for me, is Sound Keys. Sound Keys analyses songs/audio meaning anything can be made audio-reactive. Firstly in Sound Keys, a track needs to be selected from the composition:

Once the track is selected, an audio waveform then appears, and using the spectrum adjustment tool, up to 3 different ranges of the audio can be selected for analysing. In the image below I am using two ranges so I can get two different beats in the song to react to the audio.

Sound Keys will then generate an output in keyframes for that range that has been selected, which can then be used to make any part of the visual audio reactive.

In this example, I have made the amplitude of my visuals link to Output 1, and the Offset Z react to Output 2. This was done by making an expression and using the Pick Whip to link with the output.

With this as a basis, anything can be made audio reactive – for example the things in my visuals that I have made audio reactive are:
– intensity of glow on a composition
– x and y positions of an emitter
– fractal displacement of a sphere
– amplitude and offset of geometry
– fractal displacement of a particle field
but there are many more possibilities that I would like to explore over time.


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