Ray Dynamic Texture Review

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Ray Dynamic Texture Review

Texturing in After Effects can be tedious...

If you've ever worked on an After Effects project with a lot of textures you know what a pain it can be. You spend a TON of time clicking, duplicating, moving, copying, and matting. Those days are now over! The brilliant Sander Van Dijk has solved this problem with his latest tool, Ray Dynamic Texture.

Ray Dynamic Texture has a lot of hidden gems in it; from saving complex shapes and animated textures, to expressions, presets, and effects. It's a versatile multi-tool that will save you time and headaches.

In this episode of The Workflow Show, you'll learn how to unleash many of Ray Dynamic Texture's most powerful features, including some that aren't very obvious at first glance.

Get Ray Dynamic Texture here.

If you're looking for some textures to get you started grab the free sets by Ariel Costa at Sander's tool site Georegulus. You'll also be able to find more of his amazing tools like Ray Dynamic Color, along with tutorials on his tools and other great resources.

If you have any questions, click over to the Q&A tab to post them. Other students can answer you, and we'll put our team on the case to try and get you a solution ASAP.

WFS-RDT-Assets.zip
    • Where is the scene file for this project? I would love to download it to copy the expressions.

    • Just added them to this page! They must have slipped through the cracks.

    00:00:00,462(choppy electronic melody and beats)
    00:00:08,291- [Instructor] Hey! Joey here for School of Motion,
    00:00:10,204and on this episode of Work Flow Show,
    00:00:12,202we are going to be checking out Ray Dynamic Texture,
    00:00:15,275an incredible After Effects sript
    00:00:17,313from the man, the myth, Sander van Dijk,
    00:00:19,903available at aescripts.
    00:00:21,838Now, let's dive in and take a look
    00:00:23,617at this incredibly powerful tool.
    00:00:26,890So, here's a very common task that almost every
    00:00:29,548After Effects artist in the world has to tackle.
    00:00:32,524Adding texture to some layers.
    00:00:34,632The standard way to do this
    00:00:36,111is to first add a texture to your comp,
    00:00:37,939like this grungy, scratchy one.
    00:00:39,904Then you move that texture
    00:00:41,621above the layer you want to apply it to.
    00:00:43,689Then you duplicate your layer
    00:00:45,022to create a matte layer, and you should probably
    00:00:47,171rename that new layer so you can keep track.
    00:00:49,315Then you move that layer above your texture,
    00:00:51,274tell your texture to use
    00:00:52,549the new matte layer as an alpha matte,
    00:00:54,277then parent the texture to the original layer,
    00:00:56,462remove any key frames from your matte layer
    00:00:58,270and parent that to the original,
    00:00:59,688just in case you change the animation in some way,
    00:01:02,009so the matte doesn't get out of sync
    00:01:03,333with the original layer.
    00:01:04,519Then we adjust the texture, scale it down,
    00:01:06,551set the transfer mode to Overlay maybe,
    00:01:09,229adjust transparency to taste, and after all that,
    00:01:12,396you've got one layer with a texture on it.
    00:01:15,161Now, just do that four more times and your done.
    00:01:18,398With Ray Dynamic Texture, that process looks like this.
    00:01:21,893(two clicks)
    00:01:24,347Way faster, right?
    00:01:25,835Even better, you can select multiple layers
    00:01:28,667and apply texture to all of them at the same time.
    00:01:32,116Five seconds later, your done.
    00:01:34,768You've just saved yourself a bunch of time
    00:01:36,680and avoided a very tedious process.
    00:01:38,816And if that's all this script did,
    00:01:41,013it would still be more than worth the price,
    00:01:43,379however, this tool goes way deeper
    00:01:45,724than just applying textures.
    00:01:47,724But before we get to the really fancy stuff,
    00:01:49,530let's talk about how this script actually works.
    00:01:52,109It's very similar to Sander's other script,
    00:01:54,118Ray Dynamic Color, another indispensable tool.
    00:01:57,608You create texture pallets,
    00:01:59,390which are really just After Effects comps
    00:02:01,546that live inside your project.
    00:02:03,581You then add textures to your pallet,
    00:02:05,522and the script updates to show you swatches
    00:02:07,758which represent your various textures.
    00:02:10,395You can arrange these textures however you want
    00:02:12,453in the pallet comp.
    00:02:13,803It doesn't matter.
    00:02:15,042The script is smart enough to grab the right texture,
    00:02:17,306no matter what frame it's on
    00:02:18,839or where in the comp it's positioned.
    00:02:21,557Here's a pallet that you can download for free,
    00:02:23,624and it's been created by the amazing designer Ariel Costa.
    00:02:26,628And I hope I pronounced that right.
    00:02:28,311You can see that this pallet has been organized really well
    00:02:31,662with helpful guide layers to tell you what each texture is.
    00:02:34,868These guide layers don't show up as swatches
    00:02:37,059so you can create pallets
    00:02:38,553that literally have instructions right inside them.
    00:02:41,468You'll also notice
    00:02:42,493that some of Ariel's textures are animated,
    00:02:44,620which can give you some very complex looks with one click,
    00:02:47,895but we'll get to that in a minute.
    00:02:49,621Once you've built your pallet, it's as simple as
    00:02:51,242selecting a layer and clicking a swatch,
    00:02:53,494and in seconds your texture is applied.
    00:02:56,201There's also plenty of settings in the script
    00:02:57,949if you'd like to use a different track matte setting,
    00:03:00,508like Luma Matte instead of an Alpha Matte.
    00:03:02,991You can hold shift when applying a texture
    00:03:04,930to automatically parent it to the original layer,
    00:03:07,786and you can select a texture,
    00:03:09,325hold Option, and click on other swatches
    00:03:11,744to try out different looks quickly.
    00:03:13,814You can also set properties on the textures
    00:03:15,899inside your pallet so that they come into your comp
    00:03:18,609exactly the way you want.
    00:03:20,432Here's the pallet I used in my original example.
    00:03:23,245This texture here has a few properties
    00:03:25,322preset on it the way I want.
    00:03:27,230The scales is set to 40%, the transparency is 50%,
    00:03:31,184and it's set to Overlay mode.
    00:03:33,181One quick note: by default, Ray Dynamic Texture
    00:03:35,859will reset the transformation properties
    00:03:37,977on textures when you apply them.
    00:03:39,978So, to do what I've done, you need to set
    00:03:42,147key frames on your texture, which tells Ray
    00:03:44,301to use the actual values on the layer.
    00:03:46,766But let me show you some other amazing things it can do.
    00:03:49,673Looking at this animation, I'm thinking
    00:03:51,460the texture might be cooler if it was animated.
    00:03:54,111I mentioned that Ray supports animated textures already,
    00:03:57,020and maybe you're thinking you can load in
    00:03:59,378some cool image sequence to use.
    00:04:01,436Well, you can do that, and in fact,
    00:04:03,529Ray will automatically loop the texture layer for you.
    00:04:06,758Pretty cool.
    00:04:07,804But, there's also an easier way.
    00:04:10,020Here's my original texture in Photoshop.
    00:04:12,244I applied the Offset effect to it,
    00:04:13,849so I can see that the edges of the texture aren't seamless.
    00:04:17,062Using the healing brush and the clone stamp,
    00:04:19,175I can quickly paint out those seams,
    00:04:21,173and create a tile-able texture.
    00:04:23,053Now, back in After Effects, I can use a neat trick
    00:04:25,653to make this texture look like a series of frames.
    00:04:28,987I'm going to apply the Offset effect to the texture.
    00:04:31,832Then, put a simple expression
    00:04:33,595on the Shift Center To property.
    00:04:35,755The expression essentially tells After Effects
    00:04:38,196to Offset this texture by a lot in a random way,
    00:04:41,334but only eight times per second.
    00:04:43,767You can see that this expression creates the illusion
    00:04:46,101of a serious of frames cycling.
    00:04:48,150And, by the way, if you have a free School of Motion
    00:04:50,335Student account, you can grab this exact RDT pallet
    00:04:53,464as soon as you're done watching this
    00:04:55,105and use this expression on your own textures.
    00:04:57,500So by applying this expression to my texture,
    00:04:59,627I now have an animated texture that I can apply
    00:05:01,960in one click, like this.
    00:05:04,570That is a ridiculously powerful tool to have.
    00:05:07,701And now that I've set it up once,
    00:05:09,123I don't ever have to set it up again.
    00:05:11,343I can reuse this pallet in any project
    00:05:13,652I work on in the future.
    00:05:15,055So, this animation looks pretty good already.
    00:05:17,224But, I'd like to beat it up a little more,
    00:05:19,031so it feels vector-y and perfect.
    00:05:21,230There's a couple of go-to tricks
    00:05:22,430I like to do for stuff like this,
    00:05:24,339and here's where Ray Dynamic Texture
    00:05:26,076really shows its potential.
    00:05:28,475See these two swatches here that look different?
    00:05:31,297I'll click this first one, then this one,
    00:05:33,535and in two seconds, I've added two adjustment layers
    00:05:35,819with very specific roles.
    00:05:37,963The first, which out of respect, I've named the CubEffect
    00:05:41,829applies a subtle turbulent displace to my whole comp,
    00:05:45,284and changes that displacement eight times per second.
    00:05:48,290This second layer is my standard vignette
    00:05:51,186that I frankly overuse on almost everything.
    00:05:53,694I actually have a little bit of vignette shame.
    00:05:55,820Anyway, Ray can actually save
    00:05:57,471these adjustment layers inside of a pallet,
    00:05:59,921and you can then apply them in one click.
    00:06:02,185So, with a few more clicks, we now have this.
    00:06:05,150Let's talk about some other insanely useful things
    00:06:07,460you can do with Ray Dynamic Texture
    00:06:09,033and see just how fancy we can get.
    00:06:11,612Earlier, I went into Photoshop and made a bunch of textures
    00:06:14,328using some Kyle Webster brushes
    00:06:16,232which are all so amazing, by the way.
    00:06:18,509I made eight textures, each on their own layer,
    00:06:20,821then I imported the layered Photoshop file
    00:06:22,950into After Effects as a composition.
    00:06:25,045I selected all the layers, clicked the plus button
    00:06:27,563in the Ray interface to create a new pallet,
    00:06:29,548which automatically contained the selected textures.
    00:06:32,357So, in no time, I have a cool set
    00:06:34,223of textures for this project.
    00:06:35,893Let's say I have a bunch of shapes I want to texture.
    00:06:38,168I can selected each one, find a texture I like,
    00:06:40,990then move on to the next one.
    00:06:42,470It's not really much of a problem.
    00:06:44,112But if I have a bunch of shapes, like this,
    00:06:46,890even this cool work flow can be a little tedious.
    00:06:49,509Now, remember, the script supports expressions
    00:06:52,348on your textures, and this opens up
    00:06:54,133some really crazy ways of working.
    00:06:56,534If I go back into the pallet, I can duplicate
    00:06:58,654all of my textures then pre-compose them.
    00:07:01,334If I go into the pre-comp, scale it up
    00:07:03,574so that it retains the resolution of my textures,
    00:07:05,825set the duration of each texture to one frame,
    00:07:08,688sequence them, and trim the comp
    00:07:10,687to the length of this sequence, eight frames,
    00:07:12,878I now have what Sander calls a smart comp.
    00:07:15,774This smart comp contains a different texture on every frame.
    00:07:18,975And by using this really slick expression
    00:07:21,045that Sander provided, I now have a secret weapon.
    00:07:24,306Don't worry if you don't understand this expression,
    00:07:26,658by the way, you can just download my pallet
    00:07:28,668and copy it if you want to, look on Sander's YouTube channel
    00:07:31,592for instructions on how to do this yourself.
    00:07:33,796Now, I can select as many shapes as I want,
    00:07:36,354apply the smart comp texture,
    00:07:38,332and get an automatic, random assignment of textures.
    00:07:41,886And of course, I can replace any textures I don't like
    00:07:44,641with the static textures I already had in my pallet.
    00:07:47,896And if that's not cool enough,
    00:07:49,883I can also save shapes in my pallet.
    00:07:52,561There's no button in After Effects to create a triangle.
    00:07:55,297You have to create a polygon, set it to have three sides,
    00:07:58,238scale it down a little bit,
    00:07:59,665move the anchor point where you want it,
    00:08:01,240but once you've done that, you can add that shape
    00:08:03,661to your pallet, and have it on demand with one click.
    00:08:07,143And if you create an effect stack
    00:08:08,876that you find yourselves using over and over again,
    00:08:11,286like a subtle bevel with a drop shadow to create some depth,
    00:08:14,848you can save those effects as a swatch in your pallet
    00:08:17,814by applying it to an adjustment layer.
    00:08:20,397Then, select your layer or layers in your comp
    00:08:22,930and add the effects by clicking the swatch.
    00:08:25,148Another crazy trick with this, is to go into your pallet
    00:08:27,601and select any properties in those effects
    00:08:29,948that you may want to change globally in your comp.
    00:08:32,771Ray Dynamic Texture has a feature that adds
    00:08:34,933a simple expression to those properties
    00:08:37,092and now, when you apply those effects to multiple layers,
    00:08:39,661you can change the effects globally just by tweaking
    00:08:42,668the settings on the master effect inside your pallet.
    00:08:45,732It takes a little time to build these pallets up,
    00:08:47,882but once they're done,
    00:08:49,176they become these custom-look development toolkits
    00:08:51,772that you never have to make again, and here's why.
    00:08:55,008The script makes it super easy
    00:08:57,134to save and share these pallets.
    00:08:58,915All you need to do is collect a project
    00:09:01,130that only contains the RDT pallet comp.
    00:09:03,737That becomes its own After Effects project.
    00:09:06,985Now, when you start a new project, all you need to do
    00:09:09,586is import your pallet's After Effects project,
    00:09:12,111refresh Ray, and now you have all the same
    00:09:14,551textures, effects, and shapes ready to go.
    00:09:17,499I've imported both pallets from this demo
    00:09:19,685into a new animation comp, and I'd like to apply
    00:09:22,187that hand-made look to this sequence.
    00:09:24,726So, I select my squares in the background,
    00:09:27,252apply the animated texture to everything,
    00:09:30,101tweak the opacity and transfer modes
    00:09:32,519on the background just a little bit,
    00:09:34,719then apply the CubEffect and my vignette.
    00:09:37,589It took about 30 seconds in total,
    00:09:39,898and it would've taken maybe five to ten minutes
    00:09:41,949to build from scratch and do the old-fashioned way.
    00:09:44,419But when you're a professional motion designer,
    00:09:46,853time spent fiddling around with software is time
    00:09:49,138that you're not spending on the important stuff
    00:09:51,543like design and animation.
    00:09:54,450That's it for this episode of Work Flow Show.
    00:09:56,451I hope you enjoyed learning a bit
    00:09:57,897about Ray Dynamic Texture, and hopefully it can fit
    00:10:00,698into your work flow and speed up your process tremendously.
    00:10:03,830And you can find out a lot more about this tool
    00:10:05,842by going to the links in the show notes of this episode
    00:10:08,517to check out the plug-in on aescripts,
    00:10:10,499or on Sander's YouTube channel.
    00:10:12,736Sander's site also has a resources page,
    00:10:14,937which will eventually turn into a massive texture library
    00:10:18,073for Ray Dynamic Texture, and we'll link to that
    00:10:20,411in our show notes as well.
    00:10:22,030If you haven't already, grab a free School of Motion
    00:10:24,011Student account so that you can download
    00:10:25,588the RDT pallets that I used in this demo,
    00:10:28,462and use them however you want.
    00:10:30,137And if you happen to think we should feature
    00:10:31,880any other tools on this show, please let us know
    00:10:34,626by hitting us up on Twitter @schoolofmotion,
    00:10:37,577or emailing us at [email protected]
    00:10:40,454Thanks for watching, and I hope you're as excited
    00:10:42,301as I clearly am about Ray Dynamic Texture.
    00:10:45,295(choppy electronic melody and beats)

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