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Displacement Map Movement and Work-arounds

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John Clayton
Displacement Map Movement and Work-arounds
on Feb 6, 2012 at 10:37:02 pm

Hi there! I am using Adobe After Effects CS5.5 to create doughnut shaped 'shockwaves' as a visual effect to go along with a muzzle flare. I have animated the 'doughnut' shape which expands and fades out with a turbulent displace and fractal noise effect. I then pre-composed this 'doughnut', added a displacement map effect onto my source footage and used the pre-comp as the displacement map, creating a nice little shockwave effect. In order to create multiple shockwaves, I would need to repeat the entire process and spend ages trying to position each shockwave with the gun muzzle by jumping back and forth out of the 'final' comp and into the 'shockwave' comp due to the fact that for some reason displacement maps cannot deal with simply moving the composition as the actual displacement effect stays in the exact same place. I have seen multiple videos on YouTube with hundreds of these shockwaves rapidly blasting out of a gun. So my question is: is there any way to move a comp with the 'doughnut' shape in around inside another comp and have the displacement map effect 'update' or change its self depending on the way I have changed it? Because at the moment the displacement effect is staying right where it was. Or will I have to manually create each and every shockwave and then spend ages for each one attempting to position it? Surely there is an easier and more efficiant way of creating this effect.

Thanks in advance,

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Roland R. Kahlenberg
Re: Displacement Map Movement and Work-arounds
on Feb 7, 2012 at 2:14:21 am

The displacement effect is centered because the doughnut/ripple hasn't changed. The Displacement Map works by reading greyscale information from a secondary layer and it then displaces pixels within the layer with the Displacement Map applied.

Therefore, it all depends on how you've created the doughnut/ripple. You can use a Shape Layer, Radio Waves or Wave World - as options. They allow you to control and animate the rate and size of the doughnut/ripple as well as its position.


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