Screen/Pixel VFX?

unknown_001 Posts: 148 Just Starting Out*

So I am trying to create the effect of a pixelated monitor for an upcoming shortfilm. I have seen this post from videocopilot, where he used After Effects and a plugin called "CC Balls" to achieve this effect. Here's that quick little tutorial he posted: 

So I started experimenting with this in Hitfilm. The witness protection effect did not give me what I was looking for, so I tried out Atomic Particles. This was the closest thing I could find to what Andrew was using in his quick tutorial, but I ran into an issue. The Atomic Particles get actually cut off at the edges of the text, which is not what would happen with pixels - they just wouldn't be there. (See the images below)

Atomic Particles

Is there any way to make it so on the edges they just aren't generated?

(Did I explain that well enough?)


  • CleverTagline
    CleverTagline Posts: 3,342 Ambassador

    I'm guessing you want something like this:

    The basic effect is fairly easy to do, and can all be done in Express or Pro.

    First make your text layer (obviously).  Onto that text layer add the Mosaic effect.  To keep this easy to match with later effects, I set my Mosaic properties to 192 horizontal and 108 vertical, which gave me perfect 10x10 squares.  Next add Crush Blacks and Whites Alpha, and set the Opaque value to .001.  This will prevent the edges from having any semi-transparent blocks.

    Above this text layer, add a Grade layer.  We'll use this later.

    Above this, add a plane, and make it the default mid-grey color.  Onto this plane, add the Half Tone effect.  Swap the colors so the dots are white and the background is black, set Angle to 0, and set the resolution to 192, which will make the dot array match the resolution of the mosaic on the text.

    Next add the Set Matte effect to this plane, and set its source to be the grade layer.  This will force the dot array to only appear where the text appears (and you can hide the text layer, BTW).  There will still be black space around the dots, so add the Demult effect to the plane to knock it out and only leave the dots.  Feel free to move, rotate, and scale the text layer, as dots will appear and disappear as needed.

    This is actually part of how I made the LEGO effect for this tutorial last year:


  • FilmSensei
    FilmSensei Posts: 3,155 Expert

    Another way to make the matte would be to put the Grid Effect onto a plane, invert it, and adjust the border radius and point positions to get the size of square dots you are looking for. Make that you Matte Comp and use it in your Main Comp as the matte.

  • unknown_001
    unknown_001 Posts: 148 Just Starting Out*

    @jsbarret - Thanks so much! This works perfectly, and it's exactly what I was looking for. I'll have to watch that lego tutorial again.