I don't have a video example of what I'm trying to achieve but I will try to describe it!
I'm making a playful short film which is exaggerated in a cartoonish/anime sort of way.. Just for fun and to learn After Effects.
There is a man doing some carpentry, and it gets more and more intense. For the final blow with the hammer I want it to look like it's as powerful as a nuclear blast. So I have been thinking about different visuals I want to see.
I'm thinking of a shockwave/heatwave sort of thing that starts at the impact point, (maybe it kind of implodes inwards for a second first before it explodes), and then expands out, distorting and wrenching reality as it moves, in slow motion. And maybe cut to a closeup of his face which gets liquified flaccid in a funny way. And then maybe cut to a long shot where we see the force disintegrating the rest of the scene.
So the first thing I'm wondering about is if there is a good way to achieve the shockwave effect.. I have tried with Ripple and Bulge, but it isn't exactly what I'm looking for... Suggestions for the next steps is also welcome.
Try out a Displacement Map with a precomp of your shockwave.
Using a white solid, add a circle mask and animated the circle to expand and collapse. When you're happy with the timing, you can copy the mask, but use Expansion to reduce it's size and set it to subtract. This will give you a donut. Feather the outer mask a little and the inner mask a lot, to give you a leading edge look.
Then precomp this and use a diplacement map on your animation (either directly or an adjustment layer). See if that gets you closer to the look you're after.