With the recent announcement of the title for the next Star Wars installment, chances are fan films will start popping up recreating the famous Star Wars hologram.  One of the hallmarks of this effect is adding TV-esque scan lines to the footage.  With After Effects, you don’t have to knock yourself out, just use a standard cheesy wipe effect.

One of the great things about the effects in Adobe After Effects is that you can use them for more than what they were originally intended for.  Way back when I was first getting into After Effects, I always created my scan lines in Photoshop.  Not only was this a waste of my time, I later found out I didn’t even need to do it thanks to the Venetian Blinds effect.

Wait a minute!  Isn’t that just a cheesy hold over wipe from ‘80’s GrassValley video switchers?  It is, but because you have complete control over the effect, you can create some very interesting results.

Step 1:  Import your footage into After Effects and create a composition.

Step 2:  Key out the background following one of the keying articles I have written.  If you are looking for a complete list of the 80+ After Effects tutorials I have written over the last couple of years, visit my website at www.mindspring.com/~schleicher and you will find a plethora of valuable information, or visit the After Effects Channel here on DMN.

For an in-depth article on using After Effects’ Color Difference Key, be sure to read the  Episode 6: Holograms  article.

Step 3:  Apply the Venetian Blind effect to your hologram layer.

The key to creating a scan line with the Venetian Blind is the width amount.  For this quick sample exercise, set the Width to 5 pixels.

If you change the Transition Completion to 30% (or higher depending on what you are trying to do), you will initially see that your scan lines are vertical instead of horizontal.

This can be easily remedied by changing the Direction amount to 90 degrees.

There you have it, a quick and easy way to create scan lines of any thickness for your hologram project or other TV-esque project.

Following my  Episode 6: Holograms tutorial, you can create a believable hologram effect in no time at all.

On Your Own
Experiment with multiple instances of the Venetian Blinds effect on a layer.  You might be surprised how quickly you are able to create a series of windows on a building or a dramatic checkerboard.

If you have questions about After Effects, feel free to visit the DMN After Effects Forum where you can get your answers from some of the best AE talent around.