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Trying to create cartoony underwater effect

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Robert KornsteinTrying to create cartoony underwater effect
by on Dec 26, 2012 at 1:13:50 pm

I'm trying to create an effect of looking up at a water's surface from below, but cartoony-looking, somewhat like in this video at the 1:45 mark -

I currently have it set up as a Cell Pattern, with Turbulent Displace applied, tied to an alpha matte of Fractal Noise to simulate the refraction of light. However, this is a bit too realistic and "procedural" looking for what I want, and I was wondering if anybody here had any suggestions as to how I could do it differently. Thank you for the help!

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Stefan HinzeRe: Trying to create cartoony underwater effect
by on Dec 26, 2012 at 3:09:56 pm

Try the Cartoon-Look FX (i don´t know the english name) it´s build in AE.
And maybe you want to lower the fps.
Or try lowering Levels.


(take a step back, to see the bigger picture)

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Joseph W. BourkeRe: Trying to create cartoony underwater effect
by on Dec 26, 2012 at 5:42:07 pm

You could pretty easily do this with the Noise plugin - to duplicate the example you've shown, you'd need to make a 3D layer, and align it to the camera so that it's above, almost like a sky, which of course, the surface would be from underwater.

Play with the noise settings, and maybe add a Threshold effect to cut down on the number of "reflections" moving around. You could add a Tritone effect to get your colors, or a Colorama effect could give you a wider range of colors. If you want your "hero" to look as if he's underwater, you could add a distortion map which uses the water layer to distort him, the way water refracts. You might also use a Compound Blur, using the water layer, to blur the hero to match. Depends on the level of reality you want, given that it's a cartoon.

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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Robert KornsteinRe: Trying to create cartoony underwater effect
by on Dec 27, 2012 at 5:30:27 pm

Thanks to both of you for your advice! I altered what I had slightly with the Cartoon effect and played around a lot with the alpha matte, as well as adding some motion to the Cell Pattern to make it look as though the waves were drifting as they changed. I also made the layer 3D and shifted the perspective to be more slanted, which helped A LOT. Thanks again!

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