Creation Glitch Effects is an Adobe After Effects template that contains everything you need to simulate authentic-looking glitches for your video footage, ranging from corrupt digital TV signals to a low-quality webcam to a skipping DVD. No plugins are needed. All effects are customizable with easy-to-use slider controls, giving you complete control over the timing, look, and behavior of your glitch. The template allows users to build unique glitch-looks by combining any of the 200+ effects. Or, for editors in a hurry, they can simply drop in their footage and immediately export any of the 19 finished glitch-look presets.
Included in the Creation Glitch Effects template:
- 46 Digital Glitch Effects for your Footage
- Over 5 Minutes of Audio Glitch Effects
- 51 Glitchy Transitions Effects with Audio
- 16 Glitch Stock Footage Clips
- A "Digital Static" Generator
- 19 Finished Glitch-Look Presets
Also included is access to a high-def video tutorial that walks you through the entire template, so you can get the most out its many features. This template was designed with ease-of-use in mind, but written instructions are also found throughout the template, in case you want to understand an effect more. Creation Glitch Effects is compatible with After Effects, versions CS3 and up. No plug-ins are required.
First, make a copy of your template so you can always revert back to the original settings if needed. The instructions below are categorized by the main folders in the project. Before exploring the folders, your first step is to import your footage and place it inside the Your Footage comp at the top of the Project panel. When this is done, you can preview any glitch effect or preset with your footage.
Digital static is the backbone of most of the effects in the template. Open the Digital Static folder and you'll see a Stock Footage folder inside, with 16 different video clips of different glitches. A few of these were made with the template but most of them weren't faked, meaning they are authentic glitches made by altering the code of video files. These files can be be edited into your footage, composited over your footage, or used as track mattes for your effects.
Right above the Stock Footage folder is a comp titled Digital Static Generator. Inside you'll find multiple layers that, when turned on, create random, flickering blocks of various sizes and colors. Many different looks can be achieved by showing different combinations of layers and by customizing their look and behavior using the slider controls on each layer (select a layer, then adjust the slider control values inside the Effect Controls panel). As with the glitch stock footage clips, different versions of this digital static comp are used all over the template as track mattes and displacement maps.
There are a few slider controls common to all digital static layers that you should understand, because they appear all over the template. They are the Frame Freeze controls and the Auto On/Off Blinking controls. If you play the Digital Static Generator comp with the default settings, you will see that the block design changes every frame, freezes momentarily, and then continues to change. This random pause-and-play behavior is how digital glitches tend to behave. This behavior can be customized using the Frame Freeze controls. Note there is a Minimum Freeze Time, Maximum Freeze Time, Minimum Play Time, and a Maximum Play Time. These values are in seconds and every thing is random within the boundaries that you set in these controls.
The Auto On/Off Blinking controls can be used whenever you want glitches to appear randomly or sporadically over your footage. Similar to the Frame Freeze controls, you have a Minimum and Maximum On Time, and Minimum and Maximum Off Time. These values are in seconds and they determine how much the layer turns on and off, or, in other words, how often the glitch is seen. By default, on-times are typically set to 100 seconds and the off-times are set to 0, resulting in layers that are constantly visible.
Another feature of the Digital Static Generator is Global Control. At the top of the timeline is a CONTROL LAYER. In the control layer you will find another set of Blinking controls, as well as Freeze controls. Each set of controls have a checkbox control, to turn them on. These are called Global Controls because they control multiple layers together. If the global controls are off, and if you have multiple layers visible, they will all blink on and off, or freeze and play, independently of each other. In designing your digital static, you may want multiple layers to freeze and play in unison, or blink on and off in unison. To accomplish this, just turn on the global controls. In the case of the global Frame Freeze controls, the global settings will override the individual Frame Freeze settings on each layer, and it will make them all freeze in sync. In the case of the Auto On/Off Blinking controls, the global settings don't override the local settings, but rather they just add an extra level of blinking on top of the individual, or local, blinking settings for each layer. The individual settings will still work, and the result will be a greater degree of randomness and control in the blinking.
If you need a digital static comp quickly, there are nine unique digital static presets in the Presets folder.
Creation Glitch Effects has 45 unique and customizable glitch effects which you can apply to your footage. In the Glitch Effects folder, open the Glitch Effects Preview comp to view the effects. There are two types of effects: Copy-and-Paste Effects (yellow layers) and Precomp Effects (blue layers). Your footage is the bottom layer of the comp, so to preview any effect you can unhide the layer and do a RAM preview (0 key on numpad).
Copy-and-Paste Effects: To use any copy-and-paste effect, copy a yellow layer, go to your Main Comp, and paste the layer above your footage layer. You can use any combination of copy-and-paste effect layers. Each copy-and-paste effect has customization options. To customize an effect, select the layer, go to the Effect Controls panel, and adjust the slider controls. Each effect will have Auto On/Off Blinking controls to make the effect turn on and off randomly, as well as other controls for changing the look of the effect. If you want to understand an effect better, you can read the marker notes on any layer by double-clicking the marker.
Precomp Effects: The blue layers in the Glitch Effects Preview comp are precomp effects. These effects are generally more complex than the copy-and-paste effects. They don't fit on a single adjustment layer, so they exist in their own separate comps, with multiple layers inside. Each precomp effect has their own individual folder within the main Glitch Effects folder, and each of those folders also have their own Your Footage comp, which should contain your footage by default. To change the footage that is affected by the precomp effect, replace the default footage in the Your Footage comp.
To customize a precomp effect, open the effect comp within the precomp effect's folder and select the CONTROL LAYER. On the control layer, you willl find slider controls for customization. Another way to customize a precomp effect's behavior is by customizing the digital static comps, as explained in the previous section on Digital Static. Most precomp effects use one or more digital static comps as a track matte, or sometimes, as a map. If you are not familiar with track mattes and how they work, you can watch this video tutorial from Adobe.
Once you've finished customizing a precomp effect, you can drag the main precomp effect's comp into your main comp. Or, you can copy the blue layer straight from the Glitch Effects Preview comp, and paste it into your main comp. Since the precomp effects already contain your footage inside them, they can replace the default footage layer in your main comp. You can then add any copy-and-paste effects on top of your precomp effect layer.
Combining Multiple Precomp Effects: You may likely want to combine multiple precomp effects. As previously mentioned, each precomp effect has its own Your Footage comp. Combining precomp effects is done by nesting compositions. So to combine precomp effect A and precomp effect B, put the effect comp for precomp effect A into the Your Footage comp for precomp effect B. Then put the effect comp for precomp effect B into your Main Comp. This nesting of compositions can be done with as many precomp effects as you like, or as many times as your system can handle.
Note: Do not duplicate any of the precomp effect folders to run your footage through an effect twice. The effect's expressions will not update for a second folder, and the effect will not work.
For the editor with a deadline, Creation Glitch Effects includes 19 finished glitch-look presets which allow you to simply drop in your footage and export. The presets combine multiple precomp effects and copy-and-paste effects into a single complex, cohesive glitch-look. You can control the intensity of all the combined effects in the preset with a single slider control.
If you open one of the preset folders, you'll see the main preset comp for exporting. There is also a Precomps folder, and inside there are typically multiple folders - one for each precomp effect that is used in the preset. The precomp effects are numbered in the order that they are combined. Precomp #1 is always a Your Footage comp. Your footage must be in this comp before you can export the preset. To control the intensity or strength of any preset, open the main comp for the preset and select the red CONTROL LAYER. Then, in the Effect Controls panel, adjust the Threshold slider control. Use the Auto On/Off Blinking controls to make the glitches turn on and off randomly.
Creation Glitch Effects has 51 transitions to choose from. These consist of 30 copy-and-paste transitions and 21 precomp transitions. You can view them in the preview comps, or watch them all in this preview video.
If you open the Copy-and-Paste Transitions comp, you'll see 60 yellow layers. Each transition effect consists of a video effect layer and an audio effect layer directly underneath it. As the marker notes indicate, the actual transition effect happens at the 5-second mark. Once you find a transition effect you want to use, copy the two layers together (effect layers and audio layers share the same name), then go to your Main Comp and paste them above your footage layer. The final step is to line them up over the cut in your footage. Sync the layer markers to the first frame of the second shot in your cut. TIP: Use multiple copy-and-paste transitions on a single cut to get a more complex and more interesting effect.
The precomp transition effects can be previewed in in the Precomp Transitions folder. When you find a transition you want to use, locate its folder inside the main Transitions folder. Inside that folder is a Your Footage comp for placing your footage with the cut. Again, the transition will occur at the 5-second mark, so line up your clip(s) so a cut occurs at 05;00. Your finished transition effect can then be dragged from its folder, or copy-and-pasted from the Precomp Transitions comp, into your Main Comp, above your footage. Since the effects are generally under 2 seconds long, you can trim the layer if you want. Lastly, slide the transition effect layer over so that it syncs with your existing footage layer.
The Datamosh transition effect works somewhat differently from the other precomp transition effects. To see how the datamosh transition is used, refer to this datamoshing video tutorial.
Inside the Audio Effects folder are two folders - Audio Effect MP3's and Effects For Audio Track. The folder you will likely need the most is the MP3's which you can edit to your glitches or add to your preset comps. Inside are 37 audio sound effects, and a preview comp for listening to them. Most of the audio effect MP3's are about 10 seconds long. The clips are set to loop continuously, so they look longer in the preview comp. The best way to preview them is turn a layer on and then hit the period key on your numpad.
The Effects for Audio Track folder contains effects that affect the audio in your footage. First, make sure your audio is in the Audio (Put Your Audio Here) comp. This comp has your footage by default. Next, open the Effects for Audio Track preview comp. Select the CONTROL LAYER and look at the slider controls in the Effect Controls panel. Note that there are sets of controls for the three main audio effects - Volume Oscillation, Flanger/Chorus, and Pitch Oscillation. To use any effect, turn it on by checking the checkbox for that effect, then adjust the controls to your preference. Use the Auto On/Off Blinking controls to make the audio effects turn on and off randomly and automatically. When they are off, your audio will play normal.
After Effects is Freezing During RAM Preview: There is an expression used throughout the template on the Time Remapping effect which can cause After Effects to freeze during RAM previews. This occurs when the audio is turned on for the layer with the expression. You will know which comps use this expression because the out-point of the comp will be set to 30 seconds. There is also a composition marker at the 30-second point that says "Keep this work area short when previewing". The render areas are short because long work areas cause AE to freeze for a longer duration when doing a RAM preview (a RAM preview is when a comp is played using the 0 key on the numpad). It's important to be aware of these comps so that you don't extend the work area and then preview the comp, causing AE to freeze and potentially lose all your work. This issue does NOT affect exporting - only RAM previews. When you export the comp, you can set the work area to any length.
Error Message: If you get an error message, it is most likely a problem with an expression, and it is probably something that can be easily fixed. Sometimes when you open a comp, your timeline cursor might not be visible in your timeline. Look at your timecode and you can see if your cursor is at a negative timecode. Your cursor placement depends on where your cursor was in the previous comp that you opened. This "missing" cursor can cause errors on some of the expressions. If you get an error message when opening a comp that says "result not found", click somewhere on the timeline and bring the cursor back. Then select all the layers, right-click, and choose "Reveal Expression Errors". When they pop up, turn the expressions back on again and the problem should be resolved.