Wow. What a welcome back to VFX! I don’t think the lesson has been so busy and the coverage been so much! Where to start?

Let’s begin with the swirlys. The actual, technical name is ‘particles’ or controlling particles with null effects but my simple mind this afternoon prefers the term swirlys.

So to begin, we created a new composition, a new solid layer with a colour of our choice and a new null. Selecting the dropdown box under ‘null’ and Alt+clicking on ‘Position’ allowed me to write some text in the box next to it: wiggle(1,400), which, well, made the null move around the screen and wiggle, like so;


Clicking on the ‘Null’ to highlight it and pressing ‘P’ on the keyboard brought up a hidden ‘Position’ submenu which allowed me to connect the red solid to the moving null. To this solid I attached an effect (Effect>Simulation>CC Particle Systems II) and this produced a trail, however this took up the majority of the screen and I couldn’t see a thing. Altering the effects’ fundamentals(?) such as reducing the gravity, X & Y radii to zero etc, I created a moving particle that crated a trail as it moved then I altered the colours of it slightly to yellow and red. After this I highlighted the Red Solid layer on the lower control panel and duplicated it before moving the position of the new, second layer over to the side to crate a second trail. I changed the colours of these to a purple and blue to contrast the red and yellow of the first and came up with something I find very pleasing.


As with quite a few other things I done so far on this course, I’m not entirely sure just how I’ve managed to get this looking quite like I have but I do like it a lot. Another one of Peter’s “Happy Accidents!”

The next piece of work we did involved Motion Sketch. For this we created a new file with another new composition. For this, I was going to write or draw something; I’d chosen to write my name. Creating a new null, selecting the Motion Sketch toolbox (Window>Motion Sketch) and using the pen tool, I recorded the writing of my name by click the “Start Capture” box which gave me the below screen.


By hitting ‘spacebar’ to play back what I’d recorded I had the computer write my name in lights, finally! Oh yes before I forget, the capture speed you can see at the far right in the image above is how fast the recoding took place – moving the speed down to 1 would result in the actual animation moving like a snail and, although I haven’t seen it personally, I’m assuming that 100 will make it move like Superman on steroids.

Anyway, similar effects were added like those in the swirlys above (along with the same process of linking the solid to the null) and before I knew it I had my name being written in colour. It looks cool too!

After this and while the rest of the class was catching up I thought I’d try this again and draw something a bit different to see what I could do in the 8 or so seconds we were given at the start of this section.



The final task of the day was to trace some wording. for this we took a picture file off the colleges’ network and traced it in exactly the same way as I did with the name and drawing above.

Once the writing had been generated I changed its colour to pink and made some alterations in its settings; for example I reduced the opacity and thickened the stroke width slightly. I then duplicated that layer, reduced its opacity further while adding a Gaussian Blur which when combined with the first layer, game a very neon effect.

Don’t say strip club. I know you’re thinking it but you don’t need to say it.



Being honest here, Visual Effects isn’t something that I’d thought would take my interest but it is growing on me. I enjoy seeing things like this come to life and it could be something I may take on further later in the course along with the designing of videogames which I also enjoy a lot. The only thing is, will I be able to re-create these things and better in the future without notes? Time will tell.






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