Learn how to create seamless background loops in Adobe After Effects. Tutorial contains free project files!
In this After Effects tutorial, you'll learn how to create a custom background animation for loops. Pulling it off is actually easier than most people think, and using some key effects makes the process even easier. This lesson is ideal for beginners or anyone who wants to know more about After Effects.
Ready to make some loops? Well, let's get started!
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Create a background tile
First we need to create a background, then later we can animate other objects and shapes in the loop. I recommend starting with one Background tile Composition that is 200 × 200 Pixel. Then add a texture with shapes, sprinkles, or even a grid pattern.
When you're done, create a new composition 1920 × 1080 Pixel. This will serve as ours Main composition that we add everything. In this example, our loop is four seconds long at 24 frames per second.
Go ahead and add that Background tile Composition for Main Composition. Now apply the effect CC RepeTile to the background tile level. Set the under the CC RepeTile effect settings Correct, Left, Above, and Low Values too 2,000.
You should now see the background tile pattern repeating throughout your main composition.
We can set the background in motion by applying that Offset Effect also on the background tile level. Once applied, the keyframe Shift Center To Frame. You can set the value on the X. and Y axis.
I recommend starting Shift Center To Keyframe value 0.0. Then set another one Shift Center To Keyframe at the end of your loop. When adjusting the Shift Center To value, make sure that the number you select is evenly divisible 200 (because our original background tile is 200 × 200 Pixels large). For example, set the final keyframe value to 0, 600.
Create group tiles
Adding and overlaying other animating shapes is a similar process to the background tile. Create a new composition with the name Group 1and set the composition size to 400 × 400 Pixel. Then add two shapes left side this composition. (I recommend creating some 200 × 200 Pixel guide layers for any shape.) You can also subtly animate them if you prefer. Just make sure they end in the same position where they started for the length of the four-second loop.
Next, duplicate the composition of Group 1 and name it Group 2. Clear the existing shapes in the new Group 2 composition and add two new shapes right side.
Finalize the loop
To complete your loop, return to yours Main composition and Add in the two new ones Group compositions. Apply CC RepeTile to both and expand them in all directions 2,000 Pixel. Then apply Offset to both and keyframe the Shift Center To Setting to create your loop. (Again, make sure that the end value by which you keyframe them is evenly divisible 400because the group compositions were 400 × 400 Pixel.)
I have added a Drop shadow Effect on both group compositions for a look of the 90s. You can also flip the group compositions around 45 degreesif you prefer.
You can create all kinds of different looks by adding more effects to your final background loop. Add one Setting level especially in your main composition and apply the effect CC Kaleida. Now you have an abstract kaleidoscope loop. You can also apply glow Effects on your group compositions for a unique look.
Finally, you can change your main composition a 3D planeand use a 3D camera to create a "macro-looking" background loop. Just put that Focus distance Turn it on in the middle of your 3D layer loop depth of field for the camera and set the opening and Blur level Values.
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