Create a Cyc Wall Background in After Effects

After Effects October 12, 2019 3 min read

In this After Effects tutorial you’ll learn a quick and easy technique for creating a cyc wall background inside of After Effects. There are many different ways to do this, but this particular method is created using only a single layer and a couple of different effects. Be sure to watch out for banding in the gradient, especially after your final video is rendered and compressed.


Hey guys, Tyler here for

In this quick After Effects tutorial, I want to show you how to create this cyc wall background. This effect is not 3D, but it does give really nice results and best of all it’s all on one single layer. So, let’s go ahead and take a look on how to create this.

Alright, so the first thing I want to do is create a new composition and to do that I’m going to come up to, “Composition” then, “New Composition” and I’ll just name this, “Cyc”. I’ll leave it 1920 by 1080 and I’ll click ok. Next, I want to add a new solid to this composition.

So, I am going to come up to “Layer”, “New”, and “Solid”. I’ll name this “Cyc” as well. I am going to come down here to where it says “Make Comp Size” and what that does is make the solid the same size as the composition that it’s going to be created in. So, I am going to click “Make Comp Size” and I am not going to worry about the color and I am going to click ok.

I want to add a couple of effects to the Cyc solid, layer. So, with it highlighted I am going to come up to “Effect” and “Generate” then I am going to come down to “Gradient Ramp”. What this effect does is it basically generates gradient like the name says. So, over here I am going to change a few things, I am going to change the “Ramp Shape” from “Linear Ramp” to “Radial Ramp”. And, I am going to switch these colors, I want to change the start of the ramp, color to a brighter color, and the end color to my darker color.

Alright, so that’s looking pretty good. Next, I want to add another effect. I am going to highlight my layer, come up to “Effect”, “Distort”, and I am going to apply the “Mirror” effect. And by default the reflection center is over here on the right hand side, so I am going to click and drag that out to the center. Over here on the reflection angle, I am going to change it from 0 degrees to 90 degrees and now we can start to see our Cyc Wall take shape. But I don’t want the floor of the Cyc Wall to be here in the center of the frame. So, I am just going to come to the reflection center and drag it down a bit. To get rid of these dark gray areas, I am going to drag the “End of Ramp” position down as well. Now, we can start to see our Cyc Wall effect.

One thing to be cautious of, is that when using a “Gradient Ramp” you can get some really bad banding in these gradient areas. Whenever you render the video out and you can press it, it just gets chunky and ugly. So, to avoid that, you can just come up to “Ramp Scatter” and increase that a bit. What the will do is add a little bit of noise into this gradient area to reduce the banding after you render and compress your video.

We can also come up here and change the colors to whatever we’d like. Maybe a nice blue, we could go a little brighter, and reduce the scatter a bit. You know you can move the floor around to wherever you want.

That is how you can create this kind of fake Cyc Wall effect on one single layer. I hope you liked this tutorial and I hope you learned something.

If you liked this tutorial, we’ve got lots of other tutorials for Premiere Pro, After Effects, and filmmaking in general!  If you’ve got any questions or want to see another future article topics, leave us a comment down below.