Tutorial 208: Glass Shift

Joe Clay | Jun 18, 2020

Useful tutorials don't always have to be flashy. In this one, we show you how a simple gradient can be combined with Posterize to make a displacement map that we can use to make some quick and dirty movement for our graphics.

This kind of setup can easily be applied to anything to add some movement. It's perfect for those types of projects where all you have to work with is a ton of stills.

For some inspiration, check out Roy Cranston's work on Behance.

We also mentioned our FREE Normalize Track script and Daniel Hashimoto's 3D Normalization in AE tutorial. This project uses assets from WB LUTs v1 as well as Corona—no not that Corona. And that's it. We hope you put it to good use when you need something quick.


On the Matte layer we're using for displacement, these two expressions are applied to their respective properties inside of the gradient fill. This allows us to drag a slider, and change the width of the gradient. It's a linear gradient with one side pure black and the other side pure white.

Start Point
x = thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Width")("Slider")/2;
[-x, 0];
End Point
x = thisComp.layer("Controller").effect("Width")("Slider")/2;
[x, 0];

The other two sliders are basically pickwhipped to the posterize and displacement effects we're using.

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Grab the Project Files

Get the project file through our Gumroad Store. This project file contains the After Effects file shown in the tutorial as well as a legacy version saved back to AE v15. It also includes the photo from Sam te Kiefte on Unsplash, as well as an element from our Corona pack, and our Workbench LUTs v1.

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Get the project on Gumroad