I'd like to hear from other after effects artists, how they might approach recreating some of the basis of these effects inside after effects, particularly the undulation and pulsing of the shapes and colors, and the eventual color shifting and bleeding. I would be very interested in any innovative ideas that could allow me to take video or stills, and make them breathe and bleed in this organic, hallucinagenic way.
Any and all suggestions and thoughts are much appreciated! Below are some more notes from the article, which describes a top line about how the visual effects were done.
One of the film’s most memorable moments depicts an LSD experience. Julian Sancton in Vanity Fair called it “the best visualization I’ve ever seen of an acid trip.” Movieline says it is “a stunner [with] overlapping pastel lighting effects, green-screen animation, shifting film speeds, lens trickery and undulating CGI…” “LSD affects each of the five senses,” says Taylor, “and we needed to portray this overwhelming experience using visuals alone.”
The acid trip begins with the main character, Elliot, inside a van mesmerized by a painting, which appears to come alive as he watches it. “We wanted the ‘trip’ to come on slowly – to gently coax the audience into the hallucinogenic experience,” said Taylor. “In our research, we found that one of the common things users describe is a definitive ‘pulsing’ when they are on acid.”
Acid SceneThe team at Mr. X used this pulsing effect on the colors in the painting. At first the colors start to move very subtly. This was accomplished by keying out individual colors – red, turquoise or yellow – and then rhythmically applying carefully calibrated displacements on them. There were three different visual motifs within the acid trip sequence. First, there is the scene with the painting in the van. Then Elliot leaves the van and the effects of the drug really begin to take hold. Finally, we come to the climactic scene where the concert stage transforms into a giant nebula that spins out towards the audience. “
It's funny how the protagonist looks like an average college boy and an acid trip later comes out dressed like a hippy.
I can only speak from what I saw in the clip, but I think they also split the painting into various layers in depth, because there seems to be some paralax. In the close up with that blue sea weed thing it's particularly obvious.
As a simple solution I'd just apply turbulent displace to the layers I want to move, keyframing the evolution (or time* expression..)
Maybe some glow on certain colours would work to, as the orange looks pretty intense.
Another thing I noticed was the swinging her hair and the motion followed like sand and flames. But that's a different chapter..