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Radio Waves and Masks

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Willie Frazier
Radio Waves and Masks
on Aug 27, 2012 at 2:04:31 am


So I thought that what I wanted to do here would be relatively simple, but it does not appear to be.

First, a description of what I am trying to do:

I need to create a series of animations that show sound being emanated from a source that will move around a room in top down view. I will need to show the sound reflecting off walls as the source approaches, as well as phenomena such bass loading.

In other animations in this course I am working on, we have used the Radio Waves effect to show emanating sound. Nothing in those needed to be interactive at all, so I hadn't encountered any issues to this point. I started in with making one of these more elaborate animations just now only to discover that Radio Waves doesn't appear to recognize masks?!? It seems that if I create a solid, apply the effect to it, and then draw a mask on said solid, the effect should terminate at the edges of the mask. Well, really I'd like it if the reflective property recognized masks. but since it doesn't a termination would do, and I'd just do more or less the inverse to create the reflective phenomena. However, I am finding that the Radio Waves just continue right on past the mask as if it weren't there, which is truly, truly frustrating.

My question, then, is twofold. First, is there something i am doing wrong here that I can adjust to make Radio Waves respect Mask boundaries? Or, is there a better method of achieving the desired effect? Perhaps some clever plugin, or expression, or just an alternate technique?

I am using After Effects CS6 with OSX 10.7.4 on a 3.06GHz 12-Core mac Pro with 64GB of RAM and 2 NVIDIA Quadro 4000 cards, if any of that nfpormation is pertinent to finding a solution.

Thanks in advance,
- Will

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Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Re: Radio Waves and Masks
on Aug 27, 2012 at 9:50:53 am

Precompose the layer you have Radio Waves on and apply mask to the precomp.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Christopher Louw
Re: Radio Waves and Masks
on Apr 4, 2013 at 9:39:14 pm

hi Tudor "Ted" Jelescu

I am very new to after effects, and am wanting to do the same thing, i was hoping you wouldn't mind elaborating a bit on this? i have been struggling with it for a long time.

simply, all i want to do is be able to edit the radio wave reflection boundaries (i am animating the sound waves of a car driving down a street and want these waves to bounce off the walls on either side, but continue eminating up and down the street) is this possible, and is it the same method as above?


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David Löfqvist
Re: Radio Waves and Masks
on May 20, 2017 at 2:43:57 pm

This is a very old post, but I just wanted to do the same thing with a pond and I couldn't find an answer for it on the web so I thought I'd share a simple method of making the basic effect. Firstly, no. I haven't found a way to make it respect masks in order to make real reflections. (Precomp will only mask it away, not make it reflect correctly). So what you have to do is to distort the borders instead. I've included 2 pictures that should be pretty selfexplanatory. First add the radio waves and make sure they reflect. Secondly add a Bezier Warp and make them follow the path as best you can.

This is the result(Of course you'd want to use it as a displacement map and not comp it directly on top of the picture)

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