Easily Bend Water Like The avatar (After Effects Tutorial)

Learn how to bend water like Katara or the Avatar from The Last Air Bender in this Adobe After Effects tutorial video.

Real Life Waterbending

Who doesn’t want to be able to bend the 4 elements just like the Avatar. Sadly this is not something we can do in real life, so our next best bet is to use visual effects! But if you have been working in vfx for a while you know simulations like water and fire aren’t particularly that easy either. It’s takes a lot of skill to get the movement and flow right and to make it even worse you need to give it the right texture too!

3D simulation

Creating this effect in a 3D software is probably the first way you’ll think off. Depending on the software you have native water simulations. Otherwise you could use plugins like X Particles for example to achieve this. Understanding how these work takes a bit of time but once you get the hang of it you can create water and all the particles around it super easy. A big plus is that your physics will be right or only need some small tweaking.

X-Particle Fire and Water simulation

After Effects

If you know After Effects and have time enough to finetune it you can create a pretty decent water bending effect. Here you’ll be using shapes, noise maps and distortion effects to create the illusion of water. One drawback of this is that you’ll need to take care of all the physics yourself. Which can be quite tricky depending on the kind of shot you want.

There are however templates like the one of CGVisuals which is extremely good and easy to use! They create the water and all the particles it should have, its fairly heavy so expect long render times.

CG Visuals water after effects
CG Visuals Water Animation In After Effects

practical

Yes you read that right! It is possible to pull this off particle! However it will greatly depends on how you shoot this. For example, you can use a bucket off screen to throw in a wave of water when your talent does a certain move. Or a garden hose to shoot in some water. I think you see where I’m going with this. You can be as creative as you want and throw around real water offscreen or with the help of a mask to get realistic physics. The downside of doing it practical is that you wont be able to have a lot off control over the movement.

Storyblocks

Big thanks to Storyblocks for their support. If you ever need stock footage for your video head over to them! Next to the 4K stock clips, they also have After Effects templates, Premiere Pro presets, overlay effects and so much more. Download unlimited video assets for a single price per year.

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