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Time Displacement / Slit Scan in After Effects

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Adobe After Effects Tutorials

Adobe After Effects, doctor who, interstellar, noodle effect, slit scan, stark trek: the next generation, time displacement, vertigo

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Learn how to create the Noodle Dance from TikTok in Adobe After Effects. Create stunning Slit Scans with the Time Displacement effect and gradient ramps.

Slit scan or Noodle effect

The effect we’ll be recreating today is fairly know. I think most probably know it from TikTok as the Noodle dance. Here you can see that parts of the video have a delay so creating this “Noodle” effect.

However TikTok is not the inventor of this effect. The correct term for this is the Split Scan. This effect got used in movies as early as 1958 in Vertigo. Here they used this technique to create the spirals you see in the intro sequence. Next to this movie/series like Doctor Who, Star Trek: The Next Generation and even Interstellar made use of this age old technique.

Vertigo Intro Sequence
Intro sequence Vertigo

How does it work?

In the early days they didn’t have fancy software like we do know so they needed to be really creative. For example the intro sequence of Vertigo they used a technique where they had a camera mounted on a slider. This camera moved from one point to another photographing through a small slit with a long exposure so creating such a stretched image. Here is a cool video where they show you how you can do this the old way.

Luckily these days we can use our handy After Effects for such things. You can use the Time Displacement effect for this and just simply add a displacement layer, that’s it! Now for the displacement layer you need a gradient from white to black. This gradient can be linear, radial or even a crazy pattern.

Simple black to white
Basic gradient

It also doesn’t need to be static you can do whatever you want. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that the video that sits on the black has no time displacement while on the white it has the maximum time displacement.

Storyblocks

This video was sponsored by Storyblocks. It’s an enormous online library full of high quality HD and 4K stock clips, After Effects templates, collections and much more. We use the library on a weekly base to download overlay effects, like smoke, dust particles, flares,… You can download an unlimited amount of clips for only one price per year so it’s super useful to have.

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1 thought on “Time Displacement / Slit Scan in After Effects”

  1. That’s awesome thanks man, I’m wondering if you have a quick one for the masks, I’m still fresh in AE and a bit struggling using them 🙂

    Reply

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