How to: Animate a dance-off for a music video in After Effects

Once beloved by 1980s pop videos, the echo effect is making a comeback. Whereas in the days of synths and bad hairstyles the effect was pretty dreadful, the renaissance we’re seeing now is more tempered and deliberate. Thankfully it’s also really easy to imitate in After Effects.

5_animateforamusicvideo

Step 4

Create a new black solid (New > Solid) and choose to make it the same as the comp size. Drag the solid to the bottom of the layer stack so that it sits behind the dancer.

6_animateforamusicvideo

Step 5

Add a new yellow solid and position it at the bottom of the layer stack. Draw a rectangular mask over the top two-thirds of the frame and add a feather to the mask by opening the disclosure arrows to reveal the mask properties. To position your dancer on the stage you’ve just created, simply click on her and drag her within the composition window.

There’s a small amount of fringing intermittently throughout the clip around the feet area. You could tidy this up by using a couple of effects in After Effects’ tools, which you’ll learn how to do later.

7_animateforamusicvideo

Step 6

Duplicate the dancer clip layer by highlighting it and pressing Ctrl/Cmd + D. A second copy of the layer will appear. Turn off the visibility of this layer and drag it beneath the original dancer clip. Add a new solid in a bright colour (we’ve used orange). Drag this beneath the copy dancer layer and set the track matte to use the duplicate dancer layer as a transparency matte.

8_animateforamusicvideo

Step 7

Although this is working, you can’t readily see the results of your labour yet because the original dancer clip is obscuring the orange silhouette we’ve created. To deal with this issue, and to create the echo effect we’re after, click and drag on the duplicate dancer layer to offset it in time around 0.3 seconds. Experiment to get this completely right on a clip by clip basis.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags digital videoVideo EditingAfter Effects

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sam Hampton-Smith

Digital Arts Magazine
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?