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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. Motion Graphics

Creating Bulb Fluctuation Using Expressions in After Effects

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:ShortLanguages:

In this tutorial I'll show you how to make an effect of bulb fluctuation in After Effects using simple expressions. You can then control the fluctuation manually or automatically. 

Preview

1. Creating Elements in Photoshop

Step 1

Open Photoshop.

Open PhotoshopOpen PhotoshopOpen Photoshop
Open Photoshop

Step 2

Press Ctrl-N to create a new composition. Set the Width and Height of the document as 1280 and 720 respectively.

New compositionNew compositionNew composition
New composition

Step 3

I have a bulb image which I import in the composition. Rename this layer as Bulb.

Bulb imageBulb imageBulb image
Bulb image

Step 4

With the Bulb layer selected, press Ctrl-J key to make a duplicate layer of it. 

Make a duplicate layerMake a duplicate layerMake a duplicate layer
Make a duplicate layer

Step 5

Rename the copied layer as Bulb Glass.

Rename the copied layerRename the copied layerRename the copied layer
Rename the copied layer

Step 6

Turn off the visibility of Bulb layer. With the help of Eraser tool, erase the bottom part of the bulb in the Bulb Glass layer.

Eraser toolEraser toolEraser tool
Eraser tool

Step 7

Turn on the visibility of the Bulb layer. 

Turn on the visibilityTurn on the visibilityTurn on the visibility
Turn on the visibility

Step 8

Press Shift-Ctrl-N to create a new layer. Rename this layer as Slider.

Shift-Ctrl-N Shift-Ctrl-N Shift-Ctrl-N
Shift-Ctrl-N 

Step 9

Make a shape of slider in the Slider layer as shown in the following image.

Slider layerSlider layerSlider layer
Slider layer

Step 10

Following the same way, create a new layer and rename it as Slider Button. Create a button like shape in this layer as shown in the following image.

Slider ButtonSlider ButtonSlider Button
Slider Button

Step 11

Press Shift-Ctrl-N to create a new layer. Rename this layer as Filament.

Shift-Ctrl-NShift-Ctrl-NShift-Ctrl-N
Shift-Ctrl-N

Step 12

With the help of Brush tool, paint the filament with the white color.

Brush toolBrush toolBrush tool
Brush tool

Step 13

Save the file as Bulb.PSD.

Save the fileSave the fileSave the file
Save the file

2. Compositing in After Effects

Step 1

Open After Effects.

Open After EffectsOpen After EffectsOpen After Effects
Open After Effects

Step 2

Press Ctrl-I key to open the Import Files window. Select the saved Bulb.PSD file and click on the Open button.

Import FilesImport FilesImport Files
Import Files

Step 3

A small option window appears. Select Import Kind as Composition and then click on OK.

CompositionCompositionComposition
Composition

Step 4

All elements of the Bulb.PSD layer get imported as Bulb composition. Double click on the Bulb comp in the project window. You get all layers on the timeline.

Bulb compBulb compBulb comp
Bulb comp

Step 5

Make an elliptical mask on the Background layer. Increase the feather amount of the mask to make the corners a bit dark. 

Background layerBackground layerBackground layer
Background layer

Step 6

With the Bulb Glass layer selected, go to Effects > Generate > Fill and apply the effect.

Effects  Generate  FillEffects  Generate  FillEffects  Generate  Fill
Effects > Generate > Fill

Step 7

Choose a very light yellow color as the fill color. The bulb’s glass adapts the color accordingly.

Choose a very light yellow colorChoose a very light yellow colorChoose a very light yellow color
Choose a very light yellow color

Step 8

With the Bulb Glass layer selected, go to Effects > Sapphire Lighting > S_Glow and apply the effect. Increase the Glow Width amount to 120 and Brightness amount to 2

Effects  Sapphire Lighting  S_GlowEffects  Sapphire Lighting  S_GlowEffects  Sapphire Lighting  S_Glow
Effects > Sapphire Lighting > S_Glow

Step 9

Follow the same process with the Filament layer also. With the Filament layer selected, go to Effects > Sapphire Lighting > S_Glow and apply the effect. Increase the Glow Width amount to 36 and Brightness amount to 5.

Effects  Sapphire Lighting  S_GlowEffects  Sapphire Lighting  S_GlowEffects  Sapphire Lighting  S_Glow
Effects > Sapphire Lighting > S_Glow

Step 10

With the Filament layer selected and Alt key pressed, click on the stop watch of Brightness property. It opens the expression editor. Here write the following code:


ExpressionExpressionExpression
Expression

Step 11

Follow the same procedure for the Opacity value of the Filament layer. With the Alt key pressed, click on the stop watch of Opacity property. It opens the expression editor. Here enter the following code:


ExpressionExpressionExpression
Expression

Step 12

Follow the same procedure for the Opacity value of the Bulb Glass layer. With the Alt key pressed, click on the stop watch of Opacity property. It opens the expression editor. Here enter the following code:


ExpressionExpressionExpression
Expression

Step 13

If you want automatic fluctuation, then with the Alt key pressed, click on the stop watch of Position property of the Slider Button layer. It opens the expression editor. Here enter the following code:


Wiggle Expression Wiggle Expression Wiggle Expression
Wiggle Expression 

Step 14

Move the Y position of the Slider Button layer. The intensity of the filament and the glow of the bulb can be controlled with the movement of the slider button in Y direction. 

Keep playing with the values of the yMin and yMax to get different types of results. 

Play the animationPlay the animationPlay the animation
Play the animation

Conclusion

Although some knowledge of mathematics and scripting is required, though you can do amazing and complex works easily with the help of expressions as it saves your a lot of time. 

Keep watching this space as I will come up with some more tutorials based on expressions.

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