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Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects

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Michael Tammaro
Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects
on Nov 9, 2015 at 10:05:08 pm

Hello Experts:

I'm tasked with creating an animation that shows the "ripple tank" interference as you see in the two youtube videos to which I've linked below.

I've used After Effect quite a lot, but I'm surely an amateur by most standards. My idea is to use a combination of the Caustics and Wave World effects. I've tinkered with it, but am at a dead end.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Mike









(Start at 0:53 in the next video.)







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Kalle Kannisto
Re: Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects
on Nov 10, 2015 at 8:03:06 am

Would be easier to do it by animating the waves as black and white straight lines (gaussian blurred) animating in from one edge of a comp, then using polar coordinates to make them circular. Once you have one such comp, you can duplicate and offset it for a double wave and blend the layers in difference blending mode. Depending on what type of final output you want -- whether you just need the interference pattern or if it needs to look more realistic -- you can then add a displacement effect and/or glass to make it appear more like water.


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Ken Teutsch
Re: Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects
on Nov 10, 2015 at 10:34:10 pm

One possibility:

Two copies of a solid with the radio waves effect, both laid over a blue solid, will create a similar interference effect. Use color dodge or multiply blending mode and slap some blur on it.

It doesn't look like real water, but it would illustrate the concept.


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Michael Tammaro
Re: Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects
on Nov 11, 2015 at 12:03:45 am

Thank you both for your replies, and I like both of your suggestions.

This doesn't have to look like water or realistic. The pattern of shadings is what's important. Suppose, for example, light shading represents locations of constructive interference (where the wave is strong) and darker shading represents locations of destructive interference (where the wave is weak). There will be light shading, then, where the peaks of the individual waves overlap and dark shading where the peak of one wave overlaps a valley of the other. I was encouraged when I discovered the Wave World simulation effect, which has two "producers" that I can separate and adjust frequency, amplitude, etc. Then I could apply the effect to a solid layer, and maybe the Caustics effect might make it look like real water. The problem is that I can't find a tutorial that shows me how to bring these elements together. I would probably benefit from leaning some basics about displacement maps and such things. I'll keep tinkering and will also consider your suggestions.

Ken, I've tinkered with the radio wave effect, and I like your suggestion. I wonder, however, if it would produce the constructive/destructive areas correctly. I'll have another try at it.


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Ken Teutsch
Re: Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects
on Nov 11, 2015 at 1:01:37 am

Yes, I actually tried it after writing the post, and I see that creating either the constructive OR destructive effect is easy with the radio waves effect, but getting them both to show up is a little more involved.

Definitely read up on displacement maps.


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Michael Tammaro
Re: Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects
on Nov 11, 2015 at 4:50:58 pm

Here's what I have so far:







I basically have two compositions. The first contains a black solid on which I've applied the Wave World effect. On the other I've applied the Caustics effect and added the first composition and used it as the water surface. Very promising!


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Michael Tammaro
Re: Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects
on Nov 11, 2015 at 6:25:46 pm

I had trouble getting Wave World to behave properly, so I used the Radio Wave effect, and here's how it looks when applied to the Caustics comp:







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Michael Tammaro
Re: Creating Wave Interference Using After Effects
on Nov 11, 2015 at 8:37:44 pm

Finished product:







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