Wave Warp for Flag Motion in After Effects
Wave Warp is a tool with many uses, and one such use is to make a flag appear to wave in the wind. While it is debatable if this is the best effect to use in this instance, I want to show you how it would be done.
I’ve taken a graphic from Envato Elements into Photoshop, and then separated the flag from the background layer (although I’ve kept some of the rope from the pole with the flag). Then, I filled in the background behind the flag on the background layer. Once the composition is brought into After Effects, apply Wave Warp, a Distort effect, to the flag layer.
The Wave Type has many selections. Some are very random, like noise. Some are fluid, like Sine wave. And some are more jagged. Use Sine for the flag. Play around with Wave Height, Wave Width, Direction, and Wave Speed until you get a movement to your liking.
Set Pinning to Left Edge in this case, since the flagpole is on the left. However, we have a slight problem. The left side of the flag is still moving more than we’d like. Wave Warp is pinning the edge of the layer, not the flag itself. To fix this, precompose the layer. Open the precomp and drag the flag all the way to the left of the composition. Then, go back to the main comp and bring the flag over to its normal position on the flag pole.
Now the flag is moving as it was, but the left side movement is restricted moreso than before.
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