Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
The Bulge Effect
The Bulge effect is very similar to the Spherize effect. Both
effects attempt to create a round, bulging distortion on a layer. If
you're looking for a quick and simple effect, go for Spherize effect.
If you're looking for more control over your bulging, use the Bulge
There are a lot of uses for bulge distortions. You can apply
Bulge to an elastic wall or a painting to make it look like there is
something trying to break out. You can apply Bulge to the belly of
a large cartoon character to animate his belly jiggling while he is
laughing. You can animate the Bulge effect as it's applied to the
chest of a character to simulate their heart beating.
Let's actually experiment with a few more examples. We can
create these from the Distort.aep project from the Chapter 7
folder. First, let's apply Bulge to the dotted line layer in the
Motion Graphics comp. When you apply the effect, you'll see
a circle with four points around its “corners”. This circle deter-
mines the area on your layer that will be distorted with the
Bulge effect. Instead of using the sliders in the Effect Controls
panel, you can move the points on this circle around in the
Composition panel. Moving these points left and right will adjust
the Horizontal Radius value, and moving them up and down will
adjust the Vertical Radius value. You can move the entire bulge
distortion area with the Bulge Center property or by dragging
the effect control point at the center of the circle. Bulge Height
determines the strength of the bulge distortion. Keep this value
small for a more subtle effect. The Taper Radius parameter helps
blend the bulged pixels in with the regular pixels. If you want
to create the illusion that there is a ball under the surface, for
example, you want to keep this value low because there would
be a stark transition between the ball and the area that isn't
In Fig. 7.7, you can see the result of the Bulge effect on my dot-
ted lines. If we were to animate the stroke of this line, the Bulge
effect would create the illusion that the dotted lines were zoom-
ing toward you. Almost like the magnifi cation of the dock icons
on the Mac OS. Here, my settings are 340 for Horizontal Radius,
90 for Vertical Radius, 1.5 for Bulge Height, and 114 for the Taper
I usually keep my Antialiasing value high. This effect renders
quick enough on any machine that meets After Effects' minimum
software requirements, that it shouldn't slow you down keeping
this effect at high quality.
Note that at high Bulge Height levels, the pixels on this layer
start getting distorted and pixelated. In a moment, we'll look at
Bulge applied to a vector-based shape layer, and there will not be
any pixelation.
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