3 Quick Texture Methods for AE

I've been getting a few questions recently from MoGraph friends and students about texturing methods for After Effects, so I thought I would put together this quick tutorial going through a few tricks and tips that I have on this subject.

Method 1 involves a scanned piece of newsprint given to me by my buddy Chris Roth from The Other House in 2006. I love this method because it's completely low-tech and has a friendly, hand-made quality to it.  If you want a copy of this legendary newsprint texture, here is a link.

Method 2 uses fractal noise. I believe I saw this technique a few years ago on Lester Banks, and it's super easy and fast. Plus, since fractal noise comes native with AE you can share settings and comps easily.

Method 3 involves creating layers in Photoshop. I heartily recommend Kyle T Webster's amazing brushes, which you can find here. Additionally, this method uses the awesome combination of two expressions: posterize time and wiggle.  

Check it out!

New Graphics Reel


Oh man, I do not like making new reels. Does anyone? 

First you have to find just the right music track. That always takes forever.  I drove Robert -- my biz partner and master music editor -- crazy making :45 cut-downs of track after track. 


At some point I was really close to using this mid-tempo cover of the classic John Denver song by Toots and the Maytals. It's a great tune, to be sure, but ... what was I thinking? 

Luckily I stumbled across that killer instrumental track "Beats For The Listeners" by Erik B and Rakim from their sophomore classic Follow The Leader, and everything got a lot easier. After asking Robert for one more cut, that is.


My goal for this reel was to show only new work, and get rid of all those old projects that were awesome a few years ago and now seem dusty and dull. Luckily I've been pretty busy in the last two years since my last reel, so there was a lot of new material to choose from.

In the end I got very close to including only new work. Everything on the reel is from 2015 and 2016, except a few shots from the documentary Greedy Lying Bastards that I animated in 2012. Still, I'm considering this a success.

The opener and closer were super fun to make, and helped me push forward the collage/mixed media aesthetic I've been enjoying so much recently. Plus I got really into the idea of using as many different, clashing patterns as possible in one frame, while still looking coherent.

I built a simple little rig so I could control the X and Y Position and Scale, as well as the Copies property of a Repeater I had on the word REEL, all with one slider. Nothing too fancy. Depending on the size of the images I wanted to show on screen, I used different multipliers, positive and negative to move them in a range.

scan014 copy.jpg

Collecting and assembling the vintage images and patterns was especially gratifying. Not sure why this midcentury American imagery inspires me so much, but I think it has something to do with the combination of optimism, glamor, and downright strangeness. 

I still haven't worked out this collage bug I'm feeling, and want to play more with accidental processes. I might have to learn more about coding. Darn.

Finally ... gratitude. All this new work makes me realize how much amazing teaching and guidance I've been given recently. Thanks very much to Joey Korenman, Michael Jones, Jorge Estrada, Ariel Costa and Colin Hesterly for continuing to push me. Almost every piece on this reel was directly influenced by one or more of these super fellows.


More kudos for Nix + Gerber

"Nix + Gerber" named Short of the Week on One Room With a View

Sweet review by Lina Jurdeczka:

"When it comes to the spaces we live in, there are few topics as contested as clutter. While some people are devoted to and even thrive in the midst of creative chaos, others feel oppressed and anxious being surrounded by random objects. For those of us who are not committed to or simply can’t up-keep a Muji-esque minimal space, working on any kind of larger project ironically goes hand-in-hand with living in an environment that resembles what is left after the end of days. The creation of one thing seems to go on a par with the destruction of another. This premise is at the heart of Robert Hall’s and Nol Honig’s extraordinary documentary short Nix + Gerber.

Since 2005 the artist Lori Nix and her partner Kathleen Gerber have explored the idea of a world post-mankind in their series The City. With extreme attention to detail, they create miniature models of subways, churches and libraries as they crumble and have nature take back some of the spaces. An anonymous graffiti from the May ’68 riots in Paris features the slogan “Sous les pavés, la plage!”: “Beneath the paving stones, the beach!” Nix and Gerber’s work explores a similar idea, that of a repressed nature claiming back its ultimate superiority over man-made urban environments.

With this tension between creation and destruction at the core of their work, Nix and Gerber appropriately conclude the series by portraying their own studio. Once the picture of the diorama is taken the pair gleefully destroys months of their work. The lovingly crafted tiny copies of Sleater Kinney and Kate Bush albums end on a dumpster in Brooklyn, while the photograph is hung in a gallery. In just under eight minutes, Nix + Gerber manages to convey an incredibly rich meditation on the creative process and the space it occurs in."