Creating a watercolour wipe in After Effects – Part 1

Deconstructing a complex transition

Over 3 years ago, in a rare moment when I had some spare time, I attempted to create an After Effects project that revealed an image as if it were a watercolour painting.  I posted the result on my website and since then it has proved immensley popular, and I’ve always been meaning to clean up the original project and give it a bit of a facelift – and here it is.

The Watercolour Wipe - 2013 edition

After tweaking a few things I thought it would be interesting to deconstruct the whole project and look at how it all works.  This took much longer than I expected, so the result is a two-part video presentation that analyses the workflow and logic behind the newly updated and completely overhauled watercolour wipe.

In part 1 I give some background and talk about the way the project is structured so that changes to the source image can be automatically updated in the final composition.

In part 2 I look at the layers in the “final” comp and talk about what they’re all doing.




(click the ‘full-screen’ icon for best results)

You can download the collected After Effects project here.

Chris Zwar

Chris was born a geek, and was lucky enough to own a Commodore 64 at a time when the number of students at his primary school who owned a computer could be counted on one hand. Upgrading to an Amiga with the onset of the desktop video revolution, Chris began experimenting with digital graphics and animation in his bedroom, and incorporating them into his high-school video productions.

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