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How do I create the Donnie Darko Effect?

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Russell LevensonHow do I create the Donnie Darko Effect?
by on Jan 29, 2010 at 6:23:20 pm

I am trying to create something similar to the donnie darko wormhole effect. You know, it's the little watery guide that shows him what to do, similar to this:

I am desperately trying to avoid 3d, and just do this soley in after effects, but I can't seem to find a tutorial anywhere, even in 3d! Can anyone help out?

Thanks so much.

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Kevin CampRe: How do I create the Donnie Darko Effect?
by on Jan 29, 2010 at 8:06:57 pm

cc mr. mercury could create a similar 'watery' effect, but it won't do the 3d aspect too well. if you want to give it a shot, duplicate the footage layer and apply cc mr. mercury. set velocity and gravity to 0 and increase the longevity, then animate the producer point to get an idea of how it may work.

you could use a 3d particle system like particular to create a layer map to use with the caustics effect. a 3d particle system would allow you to animate the emitter/producer in 3d space again your particles would have no velocity or gravity and you'd animate the emitter/producer to leave a trail of particles. in particular, i'd try the smokelet particle type, but you may end up crreating a custom particle. the important thing is to get different gray values for the caustics effect to use to make the footage distort in a watery way.

then, you'd precomp that particle system and apply caustics to it and place your footage under that. try setting the caustics bottom and sky to the footage layer, the water surface to the particle system, the surface opacity to 0 and the lighting to point source for starters.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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