Create liquid transitions

By cleverly combining filters and masks in After Effects you can easily make one layer swirl and ripple into the next to create a convincing liquid transition. Christopher Kenworthy explains how.

Most video applications provide you with hundreds of ways to create a transition from one shot to the next. But the beauty of After Effects is that you can create your own transitions, and fine-tune them to reflect your footage.

This tutorial will show you how to combine the Liquify filter with a mask to create a liquid transition effect that sees one shot bleeding gradually into the next. Ideally, these transitions should reflect some aspect of the connecting shots, or the film's mood. Here, two water shots are connected, so the liquid effect is ideal.

The waterclock used for this tutorial will swirl and ripple for a few moments before the image drains away, revealing the rippling image beneath, which then settles. Rather than having the mask unfold evenly, it instead reveals just the right-hand side of the image first (leaving a space where the man will appear). His movement motivates the opening of the mask to reveal his layer completely. Watch the, included in the support files, to see how this works.

Once you've mastered this simple technique you'll soon find ways to apply it to a range of filters and transitions.

Click here to download the support files.

Click here to download the tutorial for free