Adobe After Effects Forum
The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
by Rajarshi Basu on Apr 3, 2018 at 5:36:27 pm

Hi Guys,

Just came across this wondeful main title design. There is a sort of ink flowing effect happening on the faces. Is this done in 3D/ particles? To get the colour and texture move ?

Or is this an effect which can be pulled off in 2D ? Trying to wrap my head around it!


Re: The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
by Kalleheikki Kannisto on Apr 3, 2018 at 5:47:31 pm

Looks rather complex. I would say a skillful combination of effects, which may include displacement mapping, liquify and mesh warp. Perhaps even Freeform Pro. And quite possibly real footage of melting/burning through film or similar material.

Kalleheikki Kannisto
Senior Graphic Designer

Re: The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
by Steve Bentley on Apr 3, 2018 at 5:58:40 pm

There was some ink and oil and water stock footage we used a while back that looks exactly like the displacement effect on Jared Harris's face. (after working with the footage for a month it gets sort of burned in to your retinas and becomes recognizable in other spots when you see it). So it could be as simple as that.
There were a number of titles that used other stock ink effects over the years but I think every one got bored with the same patterns appearing over and over again. Then we started looking for other ways to do it.
We like Turbulence FD but you can get pretty much the same effects (to use as displacement elements) out of Blender (its the smoke generator).

Re: The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
by Rajarshi Basu on Apr 3, 2018 at 7:32:31 pm

Hi Steve,

You mentioned Turbulence FD, and the use of the displacement channel. Thats the key.

Do you load an image in any channel to get the image values ?


Re: The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
by Steve Bentley on Apr 3, 2018 at 9:30:47 pm

Usually you have to crush a copy of the source footage (the live action) with levels or curves otherwise the effect happens everywhere. Then we usually add the displacement map effect and feed the flowing ink layer into it as the displacement channel. It looks like that opener also used a bit of turbulent displace on the effect layer as well. Then you can overlay the effected stuff over top of the original and use one of the blending modes to layer it in.
Depending on the look you are after you could also use one of the original source footage channels, blurred, as the matte to over lay the effect (luma, hue, red, green , blue etc) to keep the effect from showing up everywhere or reveal the background, and if the motion is right, a time offset of the source with the echo filter - that way the effect is confined to the actor's motion by the motion of the actor himself.
If I was doing this I might have revealed/ghosted in (ha!) skull footage under the effect every so subtly (especially given the subject matter). They've done a nice job with it because they haven't just overlayed it they have used the effect to reveal through to something else.

To direct the flow a bit you can use the liquify effect to literally draw on sweeps to distort the flow even more.

Finally, you if you have particular you could have the source emit particles from one its channels and use that "flow" as your distorting layer. It really depends on the feel you are going for.

Every scene is going to be different and I find that trying to force one technique on a series of shots is usually more frustrating that finding a unique combo of techniques for each scenario.

Looking back the comp we used that stock footage on I'm not sure if it was ink now - I think it was something similar to using a heat gun on a stretched piece of cut-up balloon. I think we added an extra layer of ink stock to enhance it.

I love the "through ice" effect in the spot (again just displacement). Or maybe I'm still hallucinating from the fumes of the heat gun on the cut-up balloon.

Re: The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
by Richard Garabedain on Apr 3, 2018 at 10:25:26 pm

this looks like a complex version of Video copilots new glitch tutorial

Re: The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
by Steve Bentley on Apr 3, 2018 at 11:15:57 pm

You might be right Richard. I was thinking there was a growing shard element in there (keeping with the show's icy theme) that was adding to the displacement, but it could be the glitch effect.
However I don't know if that's allowed - I don't think a show caller "Terror" can use a VC effect - it would have to be retitled "Very Exciting!"

Re: The Terror Main Titles Flowy Look
by Rajarshi Basu on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:19:40 pm

Wow, thanks Steve, for in depth workflow. Trying it out ASAP ☺

I am sure it will be helpful to everyone. !

I never thought of using the Time/ Echo filter!