In this video tutorial, learn how you can create an infinite loopable animation in Adobe After Effects in three easy steps.

One of the most consistently helpful YouTube channels creating After Effects content is Sonduck Films, and they have recently dropped a tutorial on how to create an Infinite Loopable Tunnel Background. This type of sequence is perfect for anybody looking to create a sci-fi/trippy/psychedelic dream sequence or title sequence. The method is as simple as creating a shape layer and then playing with the Offset and adding a Trim Path. Let’s hop in!

Playing with the Offset

After Effects Tutorial: How to Create an Infinite Loopable Background — Offset

The lower you set the scale, the more space will be between the shapes you’ve chosen. Then you’re going to start pushing forward through your shape, so go to Offset and set a key frame at the beginning of the animation. Then, after you’ve set your second keyframe, lower the Offset value into the negative range. This will push the perspective forward through the shapes. The higher the Offset value, the faster you will travel. Once you’ve done this, if you want to make the shape unique, you can increase or decrease the Rotation of the shape, adding a little original touch if you want the shapes to be spinning as you move forward.

Customizing the Animation

After Effects Tutorial: How to Create an Infinite Loopable Background — Customizing

Next you want to add a trim path, under your Shape Layer, go to Add then select Trim Path. Then, you’ll want to open Trim Path, go to the beginning of your timeline, and set the Start option to 100%, then set a keyframe. You’ll see how this erases your shape completely. Next, move forward about 1-2 seconds on your timeline and reduce the start percentage back down to 0 percent. As you can see, this will animate the Shape being drawn as we move through the shape toward your infinite end. Also, don’t forget to Easy Ease those two keyframes as the Trim Path needs to have smooth exits and entries.

Add a Shape or Overlay to the Shot

After Effects Tutorial: How to Create an Infinite Loopable Background — Add Shape

Once you’ve done the basic animation, you’ll want to add a little bit of depth and spice to the shot. How do you this? Couple of things. First, you could add an interesting overlay to the shot. In Josh’s tutorial, he adds a particle/dust overlay that gives the animation a science fiction-y retro look. But, before that, he adds one more minimal shape: a line. Pretty simple, but it does make the final product look more dynamic and interesting. Here’s how to do it:

Turn your original shape off in your main comp. With your  first shape selected, take the Pen tool and draw a line in the middle of the window. Next, open up Shape 1, then Transform, then play with the position, and you’ll see that the shape starts to twist around like the previous shape has done. You can play with the X and Y position so that you can get the shape/line centered as much as possible. Now turn your first shape back on (hit the eye button on the far left) and you’ll see they both are taking up the screen. Make sure the colors are different so that the contrast is pleasing to the eye.

If you’re interested in overlays and interesting elements that you could add to the finished product, check out our library on Shutterstock Elements.

Looking for more After Effects tips and tricks? Check these out.