How to Animate Liquid in After Effects

After Effects October 16, 2019 3 min read

Hey everyone, this is Owen with Motion Array and in this tutorial I’ll be showing you how to animate liquid in After Effects. Alright, let’s get started.

I’ll begin with a comp that already has a few design elements in it to save some time. Double click the rectangle tool with no layers selected. This creates a new rectangular shape layer that is the size of the comp. Name the new layer “Liquid”.

Go into the rectangle path properties and change the size to 500 x 500. Delete the stroke (if there is one) and adjust the fill to a pale yellow. Then go to Effect > Distort > Wave Warp. In the Wave Warp settings change the Wave Height to 20, Wave Width to 100, and Wave Speed to 2. Now change the Y position of the Liquid layer so that it’s below the cup. With the playhead at 0 frames set a keyframe on the Liquid’s Position and Wave Height. Move the playhead to frame 45 and change the Y position so that the Liquid has filled the cup. At frame 55 change the Wave Height to 0 so that the liquid is settled. Apply an Easy Ease to the Wave Height keyframes and the second Position keyframe. Highlight the keyframes at frame 45 and 55 and right click on one of them and go to Keyframe Velocity. Change the incoming influence to 60%.

Duplicate the cup layer and add a fill to it. Change the name of the duplicate cup to “Cup Matte 1” and place it directly above the Liquid layer. Change the Liquid’s track matte to Alpha Matte. Select both the Liquid and the Cup Matte and duplicate them. Drag the duplicates below the originals. Change the color of the duplicated fill to be a darker shade and in its Wave Warp settings change the Phase to 100 degrees so that the two liquid layers are offset. Select all of the liquid and cup matte layers and go to Layer > Pre-compose. Name the new composition “Cup Fill” and hit okay.

Create a new solid by going to Layer > New > Solid. Make the solid 850 x 1100 and name it “Bubbles”. Go to Effect > Simulation > CC Bubbles. In the CC Bubbles settings change the Bubble Amount to 500, Bubble Speed to 7, Bubble Size to 1, and Shading Type to None. Scale the Bubbles solid down so that it fits closer to the cup size (I used 42%). The reason we are scaling it down rather than setting the solid to that size initially is because we can get the bubbles even smaller this way. The smallest size that CC Bubbles creates is still larger than I was happy with. Set a keyframe for the Bubble Amount at frame 10. Set a keyframe the for the Bubble layer’s opacity at frame 30 with a value of 100%. At frame 60 change the Bubble Amount to 0 and the Opacity to 0%. Highlight all these keyframes and apply and Easy Ease.

Duplicate the Cup Fill precomp and drag it above the Bubbles layer. Set the Bubbles layer’s track matte to Alpha Matte. Make the sure the original cup layer is above the Bubbles and Cup Fill so that the animation doesn’t go over the stroke and then you’re done!

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