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Tutorial 106: Making Waves

Joe Clay | Jan 19, 2018

In this week's tutorial we take a request from YouTube user LRZMRQ. He asked us to take a look at two videos that have a similar wave effect—Lullaby Theories: A Secret Message and CNN - Love in Conflict - Yana's Letter—and recreate it. Also, check them out. They're both worthy of watching all the way through.

We borrow on a couple of past techniques to build this effect. We use our old friend the curved Zig Zag from Tutorial 01: Sine Wave and we combine that with Wiggle Paths, and the technique from Tutorial 55: Mo Better Blobs—but not the one from the tutorial itself. Instead we look at the better version from Motion Café explained in the text below the tutorial on that page.

The idea here is to come up with a more organic wave than can be obtained through any of those things alone. So we take a triangle in this case, though it can be any shape, add a Zig Zag set to smooth, add Wiggle Paths, duplicate that group, change the second version slightly, and then use Offset Paths to expand and blob the waves together, and then another Offset Paths to bring it back in. Unlike the Blobs, instead of setting the Offset Paths to be inverses of each other, we expand more than we contract, so that our paths are a little more round.

If you need to loop this and need copies, or if you want to change the look, change the Random Seeds in each Wiggle Paths to be something non-zero. Having it set to zero means it will randomize as you add other things to the shape layer, and it won't be the same on duplicates layers either.

And that's basically it. Now it's up to you to modify it and use it in an interesting way!

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