In this tutorial, we’re creating an effect similar to the Breakbot’s Baby I’m Yours video (vimeo.com/12428605), without resorting to hand-painting 2,000 individual stills. The technique will allow you to output a watercolour effect that’s flexible enough to use as the basis for many different projects. 

We’re going to be using After Effects’ fantastic fractal noise plug-in to generate random patterns, and a pre-keyed clip of a guitarist to act as a luma-matte. You won’t need to buy any special plug-ins either.

On the Download Zone, you’ll find a video clip from Ribbit Films to use.

Step 1 Import the footage on the Download Zone into a new After Effects project. We’ve supplied a pre-keyed clip, and a luma-matte version. You’ll also want to find and download a watercolour texture – we got ours from cloaks.deviantart.com – the Natural Paper collection.


Step 2 Grab the source-matte-sd clip and drop it onto the new composition button in the project panel. Add a black solid (Layer > New > Solid) and position it beneath the matte layer. Select the solid layer and choose Effects > Noise & Grain > Fractal Noise. Finally, change the track matte for this layer to use the matte layer above.