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September 13, 2022

How to animate textures in After Effects

Animated textures are a growing trend in motion graphics – and for a good reasons. They add personality without being distracting. They add movement without being complicated. And they can add a real life touch to something that’s purely digital.

So what’s the best way to animate textures in After Effects?

Simple position expression technique

For the Get Rect promo video, I did the following…

Animated texture

First I found a texture that was 6000 x 4000 and added that to my comp.

Next, I set the Anchor Point to be at the very top left of the image.

Next, I added following expression to the position property:


xMax = thisComp.width - width;
yMax = thisComp.height - height;
xPos = random(0,xMax);
yPos = random(0,yMax);

The posterizeTime() function allows you change how many frames per second the rest of the expression will effect the property.

The xMax and yMax variables were used to determine the highest (or lowest) the X and Y position values could be without clipping the image. This is calculated by taking the comp width and subtracting the image width (and the same for height). Since the Anchor Point was set to the top left of the image, I knew 0,0 was a safe minimum.

The xPos and yPos variables were calculated using the random() function to cycle randomly between 0 and the value of the xMax or yMax.

Finally, I used [xPos, yPos] to spit out a proper X, Y value for the position.

Now my texture was animating automatically, I just needed to add it to the rest of my animation.

I applied a Black & White effect to the texture image, then pre-comped it and added it to my main comp. Next, I changed the blending mode to Multiply and then dropped the Opacity down to 20%.

How to use Texture Hop

After having some success with the technique above, I decided to expand upon it and create Texture Hop, a free After Effects preset with actual controls and a lot more features.

Instead of only randomizing position, you can also randomize rotation, reflection, and scale. Frame rate is controlled with a simple slider.

Just add any texture to your comp, apply the Texture Hop preset, then adjust the controls.

I also made a Pro tier for $10 that includes 10 high resolution textures as well as a Premiere Pro MOGRT version.

high resolution textures
10 high-resolution (5,616 x 3,744) texture jpegs.

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