Table of contents

Introduction

Pastiche is a plug-in for Adobe After Effects CS6 or later, that allows you to fill a source layer with a collage of layers.

Pastiche In A Nutshell Pastiche Close-up
Pastiche in a Nutshell

If the source layer changes over time, Pastiche is able to animate layers so that they morph from one collage to another.

Example of Animation 1 Example of Animation 2
Examples of Animation

Pastiche starts by finding a set of points in the source image among non-zero alpha pixels. The points are then converted to position, scale, rotation, and opacity values for the collage layers. Every 2D layer of the composition is used to create the collage, except adjustment layers, null layers, locked or video disabled layers.

Getting Started Back To Top

For a quick test of what Pastiche does, you can follow these steps:

Note: A good practice would be to precompose the source layer, and make any change to the source in that precomposition.

Parameters Back To Top

Pastiche provides many parameters that help you to customize the look of the collage, from options that affect layers scale and rotation, to animation controllers such as keyframe velocity and temporal offset.

User Interface
User Interface

Source Layer Back To Top

This parameter specifies which layer must be used as source for Pastiche. Typically you would select the layer to which the effect is applied (the default selection), but you can choose any other layer.

Transform Back To Top

Pastiche affects the Transform properties of every 2D composition layers (ignoring adjustment, null, video-disabled and locked layers), by setting a new value or by adding a keyframe.

If you don't want to modify a specific transform, select the Ignore option in the popup.

When working in animation mode, it is often desirable to display the same collage during a couple of seconds (freeze/stop) before starting morphing into the next collage. You can do that using the Use Previous Value option: Pastiche will use the same Transform values than the previous ones, and the resulting collage will look identical.

Position Back To Top

This parameter controls the way layers are positioned inside the source image. The following options are available:

Grid Distribution Organic Distribution Random Distribution Radial Distribution
Position Options

Note: If you use the Grid and Radial options, you may notice a message in the Info Palette when the process is finished. This message indicates the number of empty cells, meaning that there aren't enough layers in the composition to completely fill the grid or the concentric circles. To fill in empty cells, simply add more layers to the composition and rerun Pastiche.

Empty Cells
Empty Cells notification in Info Palette

Scale Back To Top

This parameter controls the way layers are resized when creating the collage. The following options are available:

Note: For all options (except for From Neighborhood), the minimum and maximum layer size can be specified using the Min/Max Size parameters.

Scale From Alpha Scale From Luminance Scale From Neighborhood Random Scale
Scale Options

Rotation Back To Top

This parameter controls the way layers are rotated when creating the collage. The following options are available:

Note: For all options (except for Orient Towards Center), the minimum and maximum layer rotation can be specified using the Min/Max Rotation parameters.

Rotation From Alpha Rotation From Luminance Orient Towards Center Random Rotation
Rotation Options

Opacity Back To Top

This parameter allows you to control the transparency of the collage layers. The following options are available:

Note: For all options, the minimum and maximum layer opacity can be specified using the Min/Max Opacity parameters.

Opacity From Alpha Opacity From Luminance Random Opacity
Opacity Options

Options Back To Top

Once you have selected the Transform properties to modify, you can customize the look of the collage by adjusting the following parameters.

Min/Max Size (px) Back To Top

These parameters allow you to set the minimum and maximum layers size in pixels. For instance, if From Luminance is selected for Scale, then the darkest pixels would produce min-sized layers and brightest pixels would produce max-sized layers.

Prevent Overlap Back To Top

This parameter allows you to prevent overlap between the collage layers. For instance, say you have selected Scale > Random with Min and Max Size set to 10 and 100 respectively. If a layer can't be resized to 70px whithout overlaping neighbor layers, then the random size will be chosen between 10 and 70.

This option also supports rotation, which means that the overlap detection system takes into account the position, scale, and rotation of the collage layers.

Transform - Options - PreventOverlap
Prevent Overlap

Note: To determine the size of a layer, Pastiche uses the layer bounds. It doesn't analyze pixel values of the collage layers. For instance, if a transparent 100x100px image contains only a 10x10px circle, its size would be considered as 100x100px.

Rescale Factor Back To Top

This parameter allows you to apply a global scaling factor on every layer. Scaling is performed once the collage has been created.

Transform - Options - Rescale Factor
Rescale Factor

Min/Max Rotation Back To Top

These parameters allow you to set the minimum and maximum layers rotation in degrees.

Min/Max Opacity Back To Top

These parameters allow you to set the minimum and maximum layers opacity.

Layer Order Back To Top

When enough points (non-zero alpha pixels) have been found in the source layer, they are converted to position values that are then assigned to the collage layers. This parameter controls the way Pastiche assigns points to layers.

Layer Order
Layer Order

You can choose one of the following options:

Note: When creating animated collages this parameter can greatly influence the look of the animation between successive collages. Don't hesitate to try different options for this parameter to see what best fits your composition.

Animation Back To Top

By default Pastiche creates a single collage at current composition time. However, Pastiche also supports animated source and is able to create multiple collages at once. To achieve that, you can either specify the rate at which Pastiche must produce a collage, or add layer markers to indicate keyframing times.

Frames to Render Back To Top

This parameter allows you to select one of the following render modes:

Interval (frames) Back To Top

This parameter specifies the number of frames between two successive collages.

For instance, if you have a source precomposition that contains a text layer whose source text is animated, say a keyframe every second (see image below), you would set the Interval to 30 (or whatever the composition frame rate is).

Keyframe Interval Example
Interval Example

Force Keyframing Back To Top

This parameter allows you to force the creation of keyframes when creating a collage. It is available only when the Current Frame render mode is selected.

Temporal Interpolation Back To Top

This parameter sets the temporal keyframe interpolation by adjusting speed and influence of keyframe velocity. The following options are available (speed in/out is set to 0% for all presets except for Custom):

Keyframe Interpolation
Temporal Keyframe Interpolation Presets

Speed and Influence Back To Top

These parameters allow you to specify custom values for the speed and influence of keyframe velocity.

Spatial Interpolation Back To Top

This parameter sets the spatial keyframe interpolation. The following options are available:

Spatial Tangents - Linear Spatial Tangents - Inner Half Circle Spatial Tangents - Outer Half Circle Spatial Tangents - Random Inner & Outer Spatial Tangents - Random Spatial Tangents - Zig Zag
Spatial Tangents Presets

In/Out Tangent Back To Top

These parameters controls the length of the in and out spatial tangent vector. A value of 0% indicates a linear spatial interpolation, whereas 100% would produce a circular motion.

Offset (frames) Back To Top

This parameter controls the number of frames between the first keyframe of the first layer and the first keyframe of the last layer in the collage. By default the offset is set to 0, which means that all collage layers start moving at the same time.

Temporal Offset (5) Temporal Offset (15)
Temporal Offset

Offset Method Back To Top

This parameter specifies the sort function used by Pastiche to determine the order of layers when offsetting keyframes in the timeline. The following methods are available:

Temporal Offset Method - From Left To Right Temporal Offset Method - From Right To Left Temporal Offset Method - From Top To Bottom Temporal Offset Method - From Bottom To Top Temporal Offset Method - Distance From Comp Center Temporal Offset Method - Distance From Image Center Temporal Offset Method - Random Temporal Offset Method - No Offset
Offset Methods

Motion Blur Back To Top

This parameter activates the motion blur switch for all collage layers.

Advanced Back To Top

You normally would not need to change these parameters. However, in some occasions they may be useful.

Random Seed Back To Top

Some parts of the plug-in call a random number generator. By default Pastiche uses a random seed for the generator. This produces a different collage at each execution. Deactivating the Random Seed option enables a Seed parameter that allows you to specify a custom seed.

Seed Back To Top

The Seed parameter allows you to specify the seed of the random number generator. Each time Pastiche is executed, the same sequence of random numbers is used in the calculations.

Create Button Back To Top

This is the main command that tells Pastiche to start working.

Remove Existing Keys Back To Top

This parameter allows you to remove all existing keyframes before executing Pastiche.

Note: If there are a lot of keyframes to remove (e.g., thousands), this operation could take a long time. If you are in this situation, you could select all collage layers, press U and click on the stop watches to erase keyframes, or opt for the standard Undo command. Both of these methods will clear all Pastiche keyframes very quickly.

Troubleshooting Back To Top

If you detect a bug or have any questions about Pastiche, do not hesitate to contact our customer support team.

Please visit Motion Boutique website to be informed about Pastiche updates, tutorials, and more.