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12.4 How to Create Brush Effects in After Effects

Learn how to create stunning brush effects in Adobe After Effects using a simple template from Envato Elements.

In this tutorial you'll learn how to quickly and easily install and customize the Brush Elements template. Take your video opening or titles to the next level with these incredible brush effects.

Related Links

1 lesson, 00:49


2.Getting Started
5 lessons, 42:55

What Is After Effects?

Main Panels


After Effects Tools

More AE Tools

3.Compositions and Layers
3 lessons, 26:35

After Effects Composition


After Effects Layer Properties

3 lessons, 25:21

After Effects Keyframe Basics

After Effects Keyframe Easing

Spatial Interpolation

5.Masks, Shape Layers, and Text
5 lessons, 45:36

Learn How to Mask in After Effects

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 1

After Effects Shape Layers: Part 2

Text in After Effects

Text Animation and More

2 lessons, 13:42

What Is 2.5D?

More 2.5D

7.Motion Tracking
4 lessons, 34:04

Motion Tracking, Camera Tracking, and 3D Text

More Motion Tracking

Camera Tracking in After Effects

3D Text in After Effects

8.Mattes and Cool Effects
4 lessons, 43:43




Mind-Blowing Third-Party Effects

9.Build a Lower Third
2 lessons, 21:35

How to Make a Lower Third in After Effects

Final Touches on the Lower Third

1 lesson, 09:11

Exporting From After Effects

1 lesson, 01:16


12.Bonus Lessons
4 lessons, 2:14:00

How to Make an After Effects Text Animation

How to Use After Effects Intro Templates

How to Create Handwriting Animation in After Effects

How to Create Brush Effects in After Effects

13.Frequently Asked Questions
8 lessons, 1:34:42

FAQ Introduction

How to Export Video From After Effects

How to Export Video From After Effects Using PreRendering

How to Mask in After Effects

How to Animate Text in After Effects

How to Make a GIF in After Effects

How to Duplicate Layer in After Effects

FAQ Conclusion

12.4 How to Create Brush Effects in After Effects

Hello and welcome, my name is Dave Bode for Envato. And in this video, I'm going to be showing you how to use an element collection that I found on Envato Elements to create some really cool looking stuff in after effects. Now, in this particular case, it's a brush element. Element—that can be kind of confusing—but essentially, this is a collection of animated brush textures if you will. Let's check out the demo here and kind of see what we are working with. Essentially, you can see this is a really cool kind of animated brush thing that's happening here. And there's not much after effects wizardry that's going on behind the scenes as we'll see when we jump into the project file. These are basically videos that are created. You can see the project file is pretty big. But I'm gonna show you how to use these in an interesting way inside of after effects, because a lot of times you'll find things like this. And you'll say, man that looks really cool, but I don't really know how to use that. That doesn't work for my particular project. And I think that's a tricky thing for a lot of folks, because you see a thing that's kind of already one way and it's hard to envision it in another, well, more different way. Now if you're unfamiliar, Envato Elements is a digital asset library that gives you access to a ton of great stock video, video templates, music, sound effects, graphics, photos, add ons, and more. They have a broad commercial license that covers your usage in all your projects. So you can download the file right here. And when you do, you'll get a zip file. And when you unzip that, you'll get these two folders. I'm going to jump on into the project files folder and I'm just going to double-click the project.aep file and open that up in After Effects. It'll pop up a warning. Let's just click OK. It's just saying this was created in an older version of after effects and it needs to be converted. All right, that has opened up. And the first thing that I'm gonna do, which I sometimes forget when I'm doing tutorials, is I'm gonna save this, it's always a good idea to save. Underscore new, press OK, there we go. Now we're good to go. All right, so the very first thing that I want to do is make sure that your screen looks similar to my screen. So if it doesn't, not to worry. Just come on up here to the menu, go to Window, Workspace, make sure it's set to standard. It is set to Standard and it still doesn't look quite right, let's just reset Standard to same layout, and I'll move a few things around. And then your screen and my screen should look very, very similar. So the first comp that this project opens up to, is kind of a demo of what all of these animated brushes look like and they're kind of grouped together here in groups of five. So you can see how they look and that's very, very handy to have to kind of preview things very quickly when you wanna start kind of adding these together and building things out. Some of them are pretty simple, it's kind of a swipe to the left and a swipe to the right, if you will. Some of them are a a little more complicated, they're a kind of a zigzag, if you will. Now, let's take a look at what else we have going on here. There's also an opener comp, and if you double click to open that. This is part of the demo video that you saw. Now, it's not populated with any video. But essentially, we have kind of a media placeholder item here, and that's set to alphamat. So it's looking at this alpha layer and this alpha layer if we double click on it to open it, is a few of these brush textures kind of strung together here to make this kind of block of brush elements. Essentially, just kind of a big brushy blob here. And it works very well, it's very effective and it looks pretty cool. And so this is kind of a 3D vibe that's going on here, where the camera kind of pulls back these elements kind of appear in front of one another. And that's a good place to start. And so you can jump in here and double click on these media items. And you can throw your videos in here or your photos and that'll give you a good place to start. Let's take a look at some of the other things that are included in this project file. One of them is this really cool grunge overlay in this overlays folder here and there's a collection of them, there are 10. And if you play it, it's kind of a low frame rate kind of video here with some different things just kind of some noise and some squiggle, some paint things going on. And this look really really cool to over lay or use some kind of planning mode over your footage. And you can use this with kinds of projects so it doesn't have to be in this brush element. Then it can be in any kind of promo just to give it a little more grip and texture. You can vary the opacity to get different effects and use different blending modes and things like that. It's really cool. You can also use this as a background. You can stack these in multiple layers and use blending modes to get all kinds of very interesting animated grungy backgrounds or you can just lock them. If you find one that you like, you can just freeze frame it and use it as a textured background, which is pretty cool. There's also a collection of about 20 different transitions. And these are the animated brushes that are strung together to make these really cool wipes, which I think look pretty neat. Not something you'd use for every project but if you're going to go for something with a brush vibe or a project that has kind of a grunge vibe, these are pretty cool I think. They're really quick and you can use these in After Effects. You can also use this in your video editor of choice, Final Cut, Resolve, Premier, whatever. These are, basically, just black and white. There's no alpha channel. You can see here they're H.264. So you can use these as luma mattes in any of your projects. Pretty cool stuff. And then we have the brushstrokes. And here there are 50 which you saw in the other Comp. Really cool stuff. All right, so let's build something, let's use a few of these elements. First thing I'm gonna do, I'm gonna make a new comp here. I'm gonna call this Brush1. I wanna make it 1920 by 1080, 23.976 or you can use whatever frame per second you would like. I'll make it 14 seconds long, that's fine, and I'll just click OK. I also have it set to black background which I think will be helpful. Now what I want to do is, I wanna close some of these other comps that I had opened up here. I'm gonna jump back to the main comp, and I'm gonna pick a couple of these that I think look pretty cool. Actually, I'll just start with these, one, two, three, four, five. I think that's a good place to start. What I wanna do is I want to make kind of an animated brush alpha matte. And so I'm just gonna start it number 1 and I'm gonna bring this out. And because I want this to fill the length of my comp here, what I'm gonna do is I'm going to enable time remapping. I'll just gonna right click here on the layer and choose enable time wrapping. It's ctrl+alt+T is the shortcut for that and then I'll just extend the end out here. Alternatively, I'll just undo that. You can also go to time and then freeze on last frame. It kind of saves you stuff there. And so what I'm gonna do is just put this up at the top here and then I'm gonna duplicate it and I'm gonna bring it down. And then because I want this brush alpha element here to have a lot of variation, what I'm gonna start doing is just alt replacing these layers. So I'm just going to put in the next file down, which is not number 2, but it's 10, it doesn't really matter. And I just drag that down, I held alt over the layer that I wanted to replace and that just replaced the element with this new one. And then with this one, I can just rotate it, I just grabbed W and I'll just rotate it around. I don't even need to snap this to 90 degrees. I'll just kind of visually lined up here. And I think, sometimes when you alt replace things, the time remapping may get goofed up. So for now, what I'm going to do is I'm going to disable time remapping, and I'm just going to use the shortcut Control Alt T, and then I'll go ahead and freeze all of them at the same time. And I'm just going to keep building this out. So I'm going to duplicate number 10, I'm gonna drag that down. And I'm just gonna alt replace it here with 11 and I'll flip that around. Now for some of these that don't have a very strong alpha on the edges, what I'd like to do is just duplicate it again and then just go ahead and alt replace this with another one and maybe just offset it just a hair. And that'll kind of fill it up a little bit more. And I'll just keep going and duplicate it again. I'm just going to bring this one down, and then I'll alt replace this, kind of flip it around. Just kind of build it over here. Duplicate that. And I'll alt replace 7 number 14 and flip this around. Number 14 is kind of a very hard edged brush and I don't really like that. So I'm just gonna skip this one and go to 15. That works pretty well. Duplicate this and I'll just keep going down the list here and kind of building this right down. There we go. I think that's looking pretty good. And then there's one, yeah, right there. It's a 15 or 16. I'll duplicate that one and then I will alt replace that with something, just to kind of fill it up a little bit more. And so if I play all these from the beginning, it's going to kind of look like a mess, and mail disappear, which is not great. So I'm going to select all of these, right click on them, go up to time, freeze on last frame, very good. And then what I want to do is I want to sequence all of these from the bottom to the top. Now you can do that manually just by, I'm gonna press U on the keyboard there to collapse all those layers, I could just deselect the first layer and then hold alt and then page down, so I hit page down three times and that offset all of these layers by three frames and I can control click the next layer here and do the same thing and then keep going, that's a little bit tedious. Another way you can go about it, is you can use a script. And this is something that I purchased from, and it's a handy little tool. And I'm gonna use one called rift and this is a layer sequencing script. It also does keyframe sequencing, which is very, very handy. And so what this does is, I can select all my layers and I can say, I want these to sequence in an ascending order, which means from the bottom of the layer stack to the top of the layer stack and I want them to sequence linear. They also do some different kind of shapes here in, out and then you can pick a variety of different curves and shapes but I'm just going to set this to 15 frames and then press the go button here. And maybe one more time. And then just see what this looks like. Okay, that looks, that looks pretty good. Maybe I'll undo that, so I just have this one offset here. Yeah, I think that's pretty good. Now, like I said before, you can do this manually. If I zoom all the way in here, you can see that these are about a frame apart. So there's a couple different ways you can go about that. You can do that manually. You can try and use the Keyframe assistant sequence layers option there. One thing you'll notice with rift is that, this puts the layers, you can see as I move the CTI, it puts the layers in between frames which I find a little annoying. But one of the cool features about this is it has a feature right here. And that will basically snap all of the layers to the frames which makes me feel a little bit better about life. There. So this is not a tutorial about rift, I just wanted to show you it's another cool tool to have in your pocket for layer sequencing, keyframe sequencing, and things like that. It's pretty cool, you can check that out on So now that I have my element built, it's time to use this with some footage. So what I'm gonna do is create another comp here really quick. I'm gonna call this scene 1. And before I go any further, I'm just gonna kind of organize a little bit cuz this drives me nuts when the project's not very organized. If I get too many comps outside folders, well, it just bothers me. Just create a folder here called unused. That makes me feel better. Okay, so in my elements folder, I'm gonna bring down this brush element here. Singing, this is just an example, you can use whatever you like. So I'm gonna pull this down into my comp and I'm going to go ahead and scale this to the frame. Hit the control alt G, which scales to the comp height. And then I'm gonna set the track matte here to alpha matte. All right. Now you can see where we are going with this. And it doesn't kind of fit my little brush element there perfectly. So i'm just gonna scale this down until it just gonna fills the frame. The video is actually not framed up perfectly to do this. But if I scrub along here, her face kind of lands more in the center. I think that works pretty well. Cool, I think that's great. That's a good start. By itself, this is not anything to write home about. So, I'm going to get some other assets and elements in here, I'm going to create another folder called textures, and I'm gonna import some other assets that I found on Elements. Before I do, I'll just show you what I found. I found this very cool vintage paper texture collection here, with these really cool kind of old-timey paper elements. I also found another water color backgrounds, texture here that I really like. I kind of dig water colors. So, I'm just going to import a few of those into my project. And I jump in here. Yeah, I like this one, that one, this one, and that one. I'm just gonna pick a few of these. And I'm gonna jump into my watercolors folder here. And I'm gonna pick a few of these that look pretty cool. Maybe this one, and that one, and that one right there. That looks good. All right, so if duplicate my brush element here and then I grab one of these watercolor textures, I'm gonna pull that down and this is huge. So I'm gonna scale that down, but before I do, I'm gonna flip that this way. By holding W and then Shift to snap that to 90 degrees and we'll just kind of size this down a little bit. And then I'm gonna set this to alpha, and then I'm going to change the blend mode to something like Overlay. And then I'll bring up the effects controls which is now way up here, it's not visible yet. And I'm going to put an effect on this called tint, And that'll kind of knock down the strength of that overlay effect a little bit. I can also pull down the opacity, and this is just gonna give these brush strokes a little bit of texture and grip. I can also apply a curves effect, And then just using the RGB curves, I can kinda push this up or pull this down to increase the strength of this a little bit more. Maybe I want, something like this actually, I don't, [LAUGH] maybe I don't want this exact texture right on her face here. So I'm just gonna Alt replace this with a different texture. And maybe I'll try one of these vintage paper textures here and I'll flip this back around. And then jump in here. And if the strength, Of this overlay texture isn't working for you can set this the Linear Light, and I'm positive that the strength will definitely work there in Linear Light mode. So you can turn this way down, just to give you a little bit of juice there, just a little bit of texture I think looks pretty cool. This brush element does come with a texture here and I believe it's in the solids folder. Yeah, there's a Paper Texture here, so I can bring this down and I can use this as the background or I can use one of those other Paper Textures here. Like maybe this vintage paper texture and just replace that and maybe scale that down just a little bit and use this kind of as the background. I might also apply a curves effect to this and maybe brighten this up a little bit. Maybe also give this a tend to fact just to knock down the saturation just a hair, so it's not so orange. Cool, I think that's a good start. Now I can take all of these layers here, because I kinda like the way they look and I can pre compose those. So I can come up here to Layer, Precompose or use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + C. And I'll just call this Singer, Brush, which is fine. Now if this bothers you that the layer is much bigger than, The brushstrokes you can come in here and just trim this down. Sometimes when you get a lot of elements going in your project having layers that are not trimmed exactly to the contents can be a little bit annoying. So with this region of interest tool, if you will, right down here, you can create a little rectangle here and then you can come up here to composition. Crop comp to region of interest and now when you jump back to the scene one comp. This will be a little bit easier to grab because it more closely fits the size of the actual material inside the comp. All right, I'm just gonna extend this out here, very good, we're looking good so far. I also wanna create a title here for this comp. So what I'm gonna do for that is I'm gonna grab a couple of these brush strokes here. And I'm not sure which one that I wanna use. So I'm just gonna preview these over here and I think actually this one, whichever that one is, These are set to multiply. Yeah, that looks pretty good, so I'm gonna use number 3, let me find that over here. All right, so I'm gonna pull number 3 down into my comp, I'm gonna set that to Time >Freeze on last frame, very cool. And I'll put that over here, I'm gonna apply a fill effect. And I'm just gonna pick kind of a dark red color for now, and then I'll put some text on top of this. I'm gonna call my singer Jane Star, Switch back to the selection tool, I'm just gonna scale this up and put this over here. Now for whatever reason this brush stroke isn't working, we can look for a fatter one if it's not working with the size of your text. There are a few fatter brush strokes here, like this one right here down at the bottom, where is that? Yeah this one right here, so number 37. So, I can just Alt replace number 3 here with 37. And that's work pretty well, probably what I would have to do is duplicate this and may be flip it around a little. Just to increase the opacity a little bit, and then I can take this element here, and just pre-compose that. And I'm gonna go ahead and just trim that down really quick. There we go, it makes me feel a little bit better. I'm just gonna reposition everything in the center cool. And that's gonna be in the wrong spot but no problem, I'll just reposition that. Now if we jump back into my Jane Star here Title, for one we can play will of fonts just kinda scroll along here. Because the font that I've selected, there's not incredibly interesting so we can just scroll down and pick one at random that didn't work. Here's one called Joe Hand 2, I like this one, that looks pretty cool. Now to give this a little bit more texture, what I could do is duplicate one these layers here, 37, and I'm gonna pull that on top. I'm gonna get rid of the fill, I'm gonna grab another one of my texture layers. And this time I think I'm going to use one of these watercolor ones. Have you pick them that one right there, and I'm gonna pull this down underneath. This is pretty big, so I'll just reposition this just like that, and I'm gonna set this to alpha. And just like before, I'm gonna apply a tint effect to this and then set this to will try overlay, and that doesn't really do it for me, and do Soft Light. That's okay. We could also invert this, And then apply curves. And then play with the curves until we get something that looks all right. Yeah, maybe that looks pretty nice. It's got a nice kind of effect. You can see without it, eh with it, a little bit better. I like it. So jump back here to this comp. All right, so I'm gonna grab, in my Bode Elements, this brush element here. I'm gonna bring that out. And I'm gonna position that right about there. And I'm gonna put that behind my Singer Brush. And I'm just gonna scale that up a little bit. Something like that. I may turn this just a hair as well. Maybe just a very small hair. And then I'll apply a fill effect to this. And then maybe choose a bright blue color, just to give this a little bit of kind of punch behind my singer layer, something like that. It can be scaled down just a hair more. I just wanna give it kinda of a nice outline there, which I think looks pretty cool. Let's see if all this timing still looks correct. Yeah, we're looking pretty good so far. And I just noticed that my Singer Brush layer here is not trimmed up to the beginning of my comp. So I'm going to hold Alt+[ to trim that up to the beginning of the comp. And double-click on that and go inside the comp. And I'm gonna pull the beginning of the work area to align with the beginning of these layers right here. And then trim the comp to the work area. Then back in my Scene 1 comp, I'm just going to extend the beginning of that and then line that back up so everything kind of aligns nicely. There we go. That's nice. One thing I can do is I can offset this in time just a little bit. And so that way the background kind of pops on, maybe that's a little bit too much. But that gives a really nice kind of layered look to this. Now finally, I want to make this 3D, although this flat look looks fine. And you can animate scale and kind of position to give it kind of a parallaxy sort of effect. But an After Effects camera works just as well. So I'm gonna throw a basic 1 node camera, 35 millimeters. I'm gonna turn Depth of Field off. I'm gonna hit F4 and make all of these layers 3D. And then I'm gonna take my Vintage Paper layer, press P to bring up the position, and I'm gonna push this way back, maybe 3,500. And then I'll just scale this up to kind of fill the frame a little bit. It's a big texture so we're not gonna get any quality loss here. I'm also going to parent my Brush 1 layer, To my Singer Brush layer. I'm also gonna press P, now this is gonna read, and then I'm gonna push the position of this back just a little bit. And then scale it up a tiny bit more. That's gonna give it just a hair of parallax, which will look nice. I'm gonna take my Title layer, and I'm going to pull this closer to the camera. And maybe scale it down just a little bit, and then kind of position it in this neighborhood here. And then I wanna rotate things just a little bit. So I'm gonna press R on my Singer Brush layer and rotate this on the Y, maybe just like that. And then I rotate my title here on the Y, maybe just kind of oppose that angle just a little bit, we'll go take this and just move it over, just a hair. I can also lock my Brush layer so I don't accidentally move that, when I don't intend to. All right, I'm gonna create a null here, I'll right-click in some blank space, go to New > Null Object. I'm gonna name that Cam Cont, stands for Cam Controller. I'm gonna make this a 3D layer and parent my camera to it. I'm just gonna use my Cam Controller layer here to do a little rotation of everything in the cont. You can see Adapter Resolution is on. I'm gonna turn that off, so we can kinda see what's going on. There we go. You see, a little bit of camera move is gonna make this look really, really cool. So, okay, that's too much. Whoa, really got a hold of that one, what just happened there? I see, I forgot one step in my Jane Star title layer here. I'm gonna take one more of these 37 layers, duplicate it, bring up above my Jane Star text, and then set Jane Star here to Alpha Matte. And that way it wipes on with the brush strokes. And that'll be a little bit better. Okay, very cool. So I'm gonna start at this angle. And I'm just gonna play here, [SOUND], looking good. Maybe go to seven and a half seconds, and push this around this way a little bit. I think that's pretty good. And I'm gonna take my background layer here and scale that up so that it kinda fills everything. All right, we're looking good. Let's set this to fit up to 100%. Check this out. Hey, this is looking pretty nice. I like it. I can also take the camera here and hit P, put a position key frame. And maybe just push in on this a little bit more, right here. Maybe something like this. Maybe push this to the right a little bit. Maybe too much, something like that. Let's check this out. Very nice. Now if you want more parallax, just take my title layer here and pull that closer to the camera, and then scale that down, maybe reposition a little bit. And this should give us a little bit more parallax effect. Very cool. For a final touch, what I'm gonna do is grab one of the overlays and I'm gonna put that in this scene here as an overlay. And I'm not sure exactly which one here, so I'll just click on these and I'll pick one that's kind of got a medium sort of coloring. Maybe this one here. Experimentation is kind of the name of the game here, some of these will work, some of these won't. Maybe this will work. I'll just Alt replace this with one that's maybe that's got a little bit more grit to it. Yeah, I'm not sure. Yeah, this one right here. This looks great. Now you can see that this is not going to fill up the entire length of the comp here. And actually, I can trim this down, because I don't want us to go past these key frames. So I'm just gonna hold Shift here and then I'll snap my CTI to this key frame right here. I'll press N on the keyboard, and then I will trim my comp to the work area. N trims the out point of the work area to whatever the CTI is. And so now my comp is only seven seconds and eight frames long, which is great. So one thing that I need to do is get this to loop. So I'm going to enable Time Remapping. And then I'm going to Alt click on this stopwatch, and I'm gonna type an expression, loopOut, with a capital O, ("cycle"). And that will, Loop this. So now I can extend the end to the end of the comp. And now I just need to hit F4 on the keyboard to bring up the blending nodes, and I'm gonna try overlay, see what that looks like. That's an interesting sort of look. And again, if this is to kind of punchy or it's not quite the right look, you can just grab a curves effect and bring that over here. Maybe darken it down. You can see the more dark this is, the more intense it is. And maybe overlay doesn't work. A linear light will definitely give you some texturing. You're gonna wanna probably knock the intensity down with the opacity here quite a bit, but I'll just preview this for a second so you can see what this looks like. Yeah, that's pretty strong, maybe 15%, let's try that. Check that out, that's gotta a great look to it. Really simple, really quick to put together. You could make a whole promo with this, fly some cameras around, all kinds of brushstrokes, and all of that with this brush elements pack that you can find on Envato Elements. Well, that about wraps it up for this video. I hope you had fun, and I hope you learned something, especially about how to use various elements in a creative way. Again, my name is Dave Bode, for Envato. Thanks so much for watching, and I'll see you around. [MUSIC]

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