after effects Tutorial

After Effects: Animating Jittery Electricity in a Lightbulb

Simon Turner
|2 min read
Written by Simon Turner


In this tutorial, Simon Turner is here to explain how to create that captivating jittery or electric effect he used in his animation. If you've ever wondered how to make text or illustrations look hand-drawn and dynamically jittering, then this is for you. We’ll be diving into the world of displacement maps. Let’s get started!

Steps to Achieve the Jittery Effect:

1. Setting up the Composition:

  • Start with a blank After Effects composition with a white background.
  • Add a new text layer. For our purpose, let's use the word 'text'.
  • Align this text both vertically and horizontally for clarity.

2. Creating a Solid for Displacement:

  • Create a new solid layer; name it 'map' (this will serve as our displacement map).
  • Ensure this solid matches the resolution of your composition.

3. Applying Fractal Noise:

  • Search for the 'Fractal Noise' effect.
  • Apply this effect to your solid. This will serve as the dynamic pattern for our jitter effect.

4. Animating the Noise:

  • Navigate to the 'Evolution Options' within the fractal noise settings.
  • Alt-click the keyframe next to 'Random Seed'. This will open a text box.
  • Input the expression time * 10. This expression ensures the fractal noise changes ten times every second, leading to the erratic look we desire.

5. Recomposing the Solid:

  • Right-click on the solid with the fractal noise and recompose it into a new composition.

6. Applying the Displacement Map:

  • Temporarily hide the solid layer you just created.
  • Search for the 'Displacement Map' effect and apply it to your text layer.
  • Within the Displacement Map effect settings, change the 'Displacement Map Layer' from the text to 'map comp' (our solid).
  • Once set, unhide the solid layer. Now, if you play the animation, your text should exhibit that jittery or electric effect, mimicking the animation of the fractal noise.


And there you have it! A simple yet effective way to achieve a jittery or electric effect, making your text or graphics come to life with dynamic energy. This technique can be applied to a range of scenarios, from emphasizing hand-drawn styles to creating unique text effects. It's all about playing around and experimenting with the settings until you find what's perfect for your project.

Thanks for joining Simon Turner in this tutorial, and happy animating!


motion design
after effects

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