After Effects Tutorial

After Effects: Creating TV Static

Laura Kramer
|4 min read
Written by Laura Kramer


Laura Kramer has designed this tutorial to guide you in creating a TV static effect in After Effects. This element is common in video editing and can help establish an atmosphere or mood in a video, particularly if you're aiming for a nostalgic or retro vibe.

1. Setting the Foundation:

Establish the groundwork of your effect.

  • Create a new composition. For most projects, a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels is recommended.
  • Introduce a black background to make sure any transparency during the subsequent steps is filled with black, a typical look for TV static.

2. Adding the Primary Layer:

Solid layers in After Effects act as canvases for many effects.

  • Go to Layer > New > Solid.
  • Select a black color for this layer, as this provides the best foundation for the dark undertones of TV static.

3. Fractal Noise - The Essence of Static:

Fractal Noise, a core element in creating various visual textures, is key to simulating static.

Understanding Fractal Noise:

Fractal noise is based on mathematical concepts called fractals—structures that look similar, regardless of the level of magnification. This self-similarity at every scale is what makes fractal noise versatile and widely used for generating patterns like clouds, textures, terrains, and in our case, TV static. Scientifically, fractals are evident in many natural phenomena, from coastlines and mountains to snowflakes and even galaxies. In digital graphics, using algorithms that harness these principles allows us to produce complex, organic-looking patterns from simple calculations.

  • In your effects panel, search for "fractal noise".
  • Drag this effect onto your solid layer.

4. Morphing the Fractal Noise:

Tweaking the properties of Fractal Noise gets us closer to that classic static aesthetic.

  • Access the transform dropdown within the fractal noise effect.
  • Uncheck "uniform scaling" and set the scale width to 10,000. This gives the noise a stretched appearance, resonating with the linear disruptions we associate with static.
  • Move to the “offset turbulence” section. It’s pivotal for the 'movement' or shifting of the noise patterns.
    • Start your keyframe at coordinates 960x540.
    • For the end position, set it to 960x1070. This vertical shift mimics the flickering movement we recognize from old TV sets.

5. Introducing Additional Noise:

Layering different noise effects can give more depth and randomness to the static.

  • Apply the regular noise effect found under fractal noise.
  • Modify the noise amount to 70%. This setting adds a grainy layer, enhancing the static's authenticity.

6. The Venetian Blinds Effect:

This effect introduces striped patterns, offering a touch of organized chaos to our static.

  • Add the Venetian blinds effect to your layer.
  • Adjust the “transition completion” setting to 20% and modify the “feather” option to 5. These tweaks produce semi-transparent lines, reminiscent of signal disruptions.

7. Duplication & Modification:

Layering different noise patterns further enriches our static effect.

  • Duplicate the layer we've been working on.
  • In the top layer, navigate to the fractal noise transform settings and adjust the “offset turbulence” to approximately 960x430. This creates a different movement pattern, enhancing the depth of the static.
  • Ensure both layers' keyframes align to maintain a cohesive effect.

8. Finalizing the Composition:

Combining the layers using blending modes can produce a richer result.

  • Right-click the top layer.
  • Navigate to blending mode and select overlay. This merges the two noise patterns, generating a nuanced static effect.

9. Play & Review:

Ensure your creation aligns with your vision.

  • Play the effect multiple times for smooth loading and a clear preview.

Closing Thoughts:

Mastering the TV static effect opens the door to a plethora of creative possibilities. Whether you're capturing a retro aesthetic, signaling a dream sequence, or just adding an artistic touch, this static effect is a valuable tool in your After Effects arsenal. Well done!

The Result



after effects
AE effects
fractal noise
offset turbulence
TV Static effect
uniform scaling
venetian blinds effect
overlay blend mode

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